Attic Insulation

attic insulation, blown cellulose insulation, insulation r value, blown attic insulation, basement insulation

Attic Insulation

Attic Insulation: There are a lot of choice available to the homeowner when selecting a green attic insulation in a new or retrofit home.

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If you are planning to build a new home and especially if you decided to green it up a bit, the homes attic is one of the best places for you to save energy and reduce your energy bills dramatically.

You will find that the attic is also one of the easiest places to insulate a home, whether that is a new home or if you are adding insulation to an existing home and there are a growing number of environmentally-friendly choices that are available to the builders, homeowners and green home designers.

Ventilated Attic - Attic Insulation

Ventilated Attic - Attic Insulation

Ventilated Attic Space Insulation Types

Typically attic type insulation is placed on the floor of the traditionally ventilated attic space, or the ceiling of the occupied space above, to keep seasonal heat or cold from escaping the conditioned air in the living space below the attic.

The remainder of the attic space above the insulation and below the roof rafters is uninsulated and is typically ventilated through roof vents or gable vents.

The homeowner has available to them several types of insulation materials to insulate the attic floor.

Ventilation Baffles to Prevent Ventilation Blockage in a Vented Attic Space

Ventilation Baffles to Prevent Ventilation Blockage in a Vented Attic Space

Attic Insulation - Batt Type:

One of the most common forms of insulation that is used for attic insulation is called batts or blanket insulation. Batts are available as slabs or sheets of insulation and blankets are available rolled in bags.

Both Batts and blanket insulation is trimmed and placed between the wood joists of the attic floor and it is typically only friction-fit into place.

The most common type of batt and blanket type of insulation is available in the form of spun fiberglass particles, which can contain a certain amount of recycled content.

Some of the green types that batt insulation is made from include:

Cotton Insulation that is made from recycled textiles

Rockwool Mineral Wool that is made from recycled steel slag, which is a byproduct of steel manufacturing and natural stone products.

Most of these types of insulation carry an R-value of between 3.0 and 4.0 per inch.

Batt insulation is one of the best types for the homeowner to install themselves, as long as proper precautions are taken, before installation, such as wearing protective clothing, gloves, breathing masks and eye protection.

Of course this insulation is also installed by professional insulation installers as well.

One of the bigger drawbacks of batt-type insulation is that it is quite easy to leave gaps between adjacent rolls as they are placed between the floor joists, reducing the insulation efficiency.

Note: For if you would like to know more about the importance of ventilation of your attic space, visit our article: Attic Ventilation for lots of tips and recommendations.

Blown Cellulose Insulation - Attic Insulation

Blown Cellulose Insulation - Attic Insulation

Attic Insulation - Loose-Fill Insulation:

Loose-fill insulation is another great option for insulating a vented attic space.

This type of insulation is usually installed by a professional because of the need for special installation equipment. The product is sprayed over the entire attic floor and covers everything, including the structural members with a complete insulated layer.

The fact that the insulation is sprayed, eliminating any gaps in the insulation cover, is a real advantage over the use of batts and is a very good choice for both new construction and retrofits.

Like batt insulation, loose-fill type insulation can be manufactured from rockwool minerals, cotton fibers or fiberglass materials.

Another great option for loose-fill insulation material is cellulose, which is made from recycled newspapers and magazines.

The R-values of loose-fill insulation can degrade over time, especially if the product is blown-in dry, and this can reduce its efficiency.

Attic Insulation - Spray Foam Insulation

Attic Insulation - Spray Foam Insulation

Attic Insulation - Spray Foam Insulation:

For a higher level of insulation performance of Attic Insulation, consider using one of the spray foams.

This type of insulation, when installed properly, by a professional installer can give you R-values approaching 7.0 per inch of thickness.

Spray foams outperform other insulation types in that it does a superior job of blocking air leakage and leaves to gaps in your insulation.

Also, it stays in place and will not settle over time as can some of the forms of loose-fill insulation.

Considering the long-term payback of this superior insulation, justifies its higher initial installation cost.

As most spray foams are manufactured from petroleum-based products, it is wise for the homeowner to investigate some of the more environmentally-friendly aspects of soy-based foam insulation.

Non-Ventilated Attic Spaces - Spray Foam Insulation:

There are some conditions where a builder will elect to insulate a non-ventilated attic space, to basically heat the attic in lieu of going through the expense of ventilating it. Spray foam insulation is an ideal product to use for this purpose as it can be spray-applied directly to the underside of the attic roof itself.

In areas that experience very high summer temperatures, this is a growing trend.

As always, keep the lines of communication open between yourself, your green home designer, and builder, so you can best decide which attic type - ventilated or unventilated, and which insulation will best suit your budget and energy efficiency needs.

Other insulation articles you may be interested in:

Blown Attic Insulation
Blown Cellulose Insulation
Green Insulation
Insulation Types
Rockwool Insulation
Soy Insulation
Spray Foam Insulation

DOE Recomended Levels of Insulation

Department of Energy Recommended Insulation Levels Map