Before insulating your attic, decide whether you need added insulation or a new installation altogether. Whatever your purpose, you have to make a choice considering your budget and your requirement. Make a thorough research on the different materials available to decide on the best attic insulation.
When considering insulation, the R-value is extremely important. This is the rating given to insulators in terms of thermal resistance and is indicative of the resistance to heat flow. The higher the R-value, the better insulation you can expect.
Batts are flexible insulations made from loose fibres. They are available in strips suitable for standard spacing. In case of non-standard spaces like beams, doors or window frames, these have to be cut and trimmed. These are loosely held together by adhesive. The most widely used materials are fibreglass and cotton.
These are quite affordable than other types of insulation. Furthermore, you can be installed it yourself. Cotton batts add an eco-friendly touch as these are made of recycled blue jeans.
The disadvantage is that these have very low R-value and they don’t, often, fill spaces. These can be used in conjugation with other materials to get an effective solution.
Blown-in insulation uses cellulose, fibreglass or rock wool that is churned into small chunks and blown in with the help of pneumatic equipments into the empty spaces.
These have a higher R-value than batts and are ideal for filling gaps.
Blown in insulation is ideally suitable for irregularly shaped areas and filling around obstructions. The cellulose or fibreglass can be mixed with adhesive before spraying to make them resistant to settling. Cellulose is made from recycled newspapers, so it is also a responsible choice.
The disadvantage is that this is more expensive than batts and is best left to a professional for installation.
Spray foams can be open-celled or close-celled and there is an ensuing debate on which is the better option.
Open-celled foams enable water vapour to pass more easily through them but have a lower R-value than its counterpart, for a given thickness.
Close-celled foams are better suited for dry, limited spaces. These have a high R-value and are very effective insulators.
On the downside spray foam insulation requires professional installation and the prices are, roughly, three to four times higher than the other insulation types.
A word of caution
You may have chosen the best attic insulation,
but it may not be effective if you don’t keep certain essential aspects in mind.
- A faulty installation spoils everything, so get the best contractors to do it for you.
- Close all gaps, large and small, before the installation. Any air passage will bring down the efficiency of the insulation system.
- Adding denser insulation over lighter ones or placing thicker materials into thinner cavities will bring down the R-value of the product.
- For best results, it is advised to put insulation on the beams and the walls of the attic, also.
The best attic insulation
is, actually, a combination of cost and efficacy. You can use a single type or combine them judiciously. If you have been able to get the combination right, you have ensured for yourself years of low electricity costs and a healthy, comfortable living.