Insulating your attic is a great method to keep your house safe from temperature fluctuations and moisture damage. Many types of attic Insulation can also help you save money on your heating and cooling bills.
In the winter, insulation functions as a barrier to prevent heat transmission from the inside to the exterior of the home, and in the summer, it acts as a barrier to prevent heat transfer from the outside to the inside.
Types of Insulation Materials
Fiberglass is a type of insulation made out of extremely thin glass fibers. It is one of the most used insulation materials. It’s frequently utilized in a variety of insulation products, including blankets (batts and rolls), loose-fill, rigid boards, and duct insulation.
Medium- and high-density fiberglass batt insulation materials with somewhat greater R-values than regular batts are now available. Denser insulation is designed for locations with limited hollow space, such as cathedral ceilings.
2. Mineral Wool Insulation Materials
Mineral wool is a word used to describe two types of insulating materials:
- Rock wool is a synthetic material created from natural minerals such as basalt or diabase.
- Slag wool is a man-made substance manufactured from slag from blast furnaces (the waste matter that forms on the surface of molten metal).
Mineral wool has a post-industrial recycled content of 75% on average. It is generally available as a blanket (batts and rolls) and loose-fill insulation, and it does not require any extra chemicals to make it fire-resistant.
3. Cellulose Insulation Material
Cellulose insulation is created from recycled paper goods, typically newspaper, and has a high percentage of recycled material, ranging from 82 percent to 85 percent. The paper is reduced to small pieces before being fiberized, resulting in a product that fits snugly into building cavities.
To assure fire and insect resistance, manufacturers add the mineral borate, which is occasionally combined with the less expensive ammonium sulfate. When put at the right densities, cellulose insulation will not settle in a building cavity.
Some natural fibers–including cotton, sheep’s wool, straw, and hemp are used as insulation materials.
4. Polystyrene Insulation Materials
Polystyrene is a colorless, transparent thermoplastic that is often used in the manufacture of foam board or beadboard insulation, concrete block insulation, and a form of loose-fill insulation made out of tiny polystyrene beads.
Small foam beads are made from molded expanded polystyrene (MEPS), which is often used for foam board insulation.
These beads can be used as pouring insulation for concrete blocks or other hollow wall cavities, however, they are exceedingly light, readily charge up with static electricity, and are famously difficult to regulate.
5. Cementitious Foam Insulation Material
A cement-based foam used as sprayed foam or foamed-in-place insulation is known as cementitious insulating material.
Aircrete is a form of cementitious spray foam insulation that incorporates magnesium silicate and has a viscosity comparable to shaving cream at first. In closed cavities, air krete is pushed.
Cementitious foam is less expensive than polyurethane foam, is nontoxic and nonflammable, and is manufactured from minerals recovered from saltwater (such as magnesium oxide).
6. Polyurethane Insulation Materials
Polyurethane is a thermoset foam insulating material with a low-conductivity gas contained inside its cells. Closed-cell and open-cell polyurethane foam insulation are also available.
The high-density cells of closed-cell foam are sealed and filled with a gas that helps the foam expand to cover the gaps surrounding it. The insulation has a spongy feel and a lower R-value because open-cell foam cells are less thick and filled with air.
Insulation made of polyurethane comes in two forms: liquid sprayed foam and stiff foam board. It’s also possible to make laminated insulating panels with a variety of faces.
7. Polyisocyanurate Insulation Materials
Polyisocyanurate, often known as polyiso, is a closed-cell thermosetting plastic foam that contains a low-conductivity, hydrochlorofluorocarbon-free gas.
Polyisocyanurate insulation comes in a variety of forms, including liquid, sprayed foam, and rigid foam board. It’s also possible to make laminated insulating panels with a variety of faces.
Polyisocyanurate insulation that is foamed in place is typically less expensive than foam boards, and it performs better since the liquid foam molds itself to all of the surfaces.
Our Pick for the Best Insulation for Attic Ceiling
Spray Foam Insulation
Spray foam insulation is a type of insulation and air barrier that is used to keep air out of walls, floors, and ceiling cavities. This covers the areas surrounding outlets and light fixtures, as well as the areas where walls meet windows and doors.
Spray foam can be sprayed into an open cavity, such as attics, crawl spaces, and rim joists, in new construction. Existing houses, commercial structures, and pole barns can all benefit from it. Spray foam may be administered as long as the cavities are accessible and there is access.
Spray foam maintains its form indefinitely. Spray foam, unlike traditional insulating materials, fills fractures, gaps, and crevices during installation. It will not sag, compress, or settle with time.
Types of Attic Insulation in Old Houses
1. Perlite Insulation Materials
In homes built before 1950, perlite insulation materials were extensively used as attic insulation.
Perlite is made up of very tiny, light-weight pellets that are formed by popping rock pellets. This results in pellet-based loose-fill insulation that may be placed in place or combined with cement to make a lighter, less heat-conductive concrete.
2. Phenolic Foam Insulation Material
Years ago, rigid foam board insulation made of phenolic (phenol-formaldehyde) foam was rather common. It’s only available as board insulation right now, but it’s also available as a foamed-in-place insulation.
The foaming agent in phenolic foamed-in-place insulation is air. One of the most significant disadvantages of phenolic foam is that it can shrink by up to 2% after curing, making it less common nowadays.
Top 3 Best Attic Insulation for Hot Climates
1. Spray Foam Insulation
Spray foam insulation offers significantly higher R-values than other insulation options, making it the ideal choice for hot regions. Insulation’s R-Value is a measurement of how well it performs. Spray foam insulation is in high demand because of its high R-value per inch.
This implies that spray foam may provide an effective layer of insulation in less area on external walls that are just 4 inches thick. Spray foam, on the other hand, fills into gaps and fractures, sealing air leaks in your house.
2. Rolled Batt Insulation
One of the most prevalent forms of insulation is rolled batt insulation, which is what most people think of when they think of insulation. It is put between rafters and wall studs and comes in pink or yellow rolls. Staple guns are used to secure the portions in place through the insulation’s paper covering. For budget-conscious insulation projects, rolled batt is a fantastic choice.
3. Loose-Fill Insulation
For attic floors and walls, loose-fill insulation is an excellent choice. It’s a common choice for upgrading ancient walls that either don’t have any insulation or have sagged with age. A machine blasts loose fill into the areas that need to be filled. It’s also known as Blown-In Insulation because of this.
Tips for DIY Attic Insulation
1. Attic Insulation Costs – H3
Insulating your attic might cost anywhere from $1700 to $2100, according to Home Advisor. The following are the primary elements that influence the price:
- Your insulation’s type and material
- Fee for a contractor or insulation installation
- Square footage of your attic
Note that if you need to insulate around electrical boxes or wires, you may need to enlist the help of an electrician as well.
2. Begin with the attic floor.
Stop storing things in your attic. Why? Because adding material to the floor is the easiest and cheapest way to insulate an attic. However, even in warm areas, you won’t be able to squeeze enough insulation behind plywood to accomplish the job well.
Plan to remove the flooring and replace it with fresh insulation. You’ll have to find a new home for those out-of-season garments and Christmas decorations now that the floor is gone.
3. Blocking the vents is not a good idea
Pushing insulation deep into the tiny gaps where the roof rafters drop down to the tops of the external walls is one of the most common mistakes people make when insulating attics. The insulation will prevent fresh air from entering via the soffit vents, which can lead to moisture and mildew issues.
Install a polystyrene attic baffle between each pair of rafters to protect these vents. Place the baffles so that the insulation does not cover the vents, then fasten them with 14-inch-long staples to the bottom of the roof sheathing.
4. Fill in Holes in the Ceiling
This step is crucial to your home’s overall energy efficiency. Every crack, hole, and opening in the room ceilings directly under the attic, as well as any passageways for cables, ducts, pipes, and wires, must be sealed.
While these gaps may appear little, they are significant energy wasters that must be repaired in order for the insulation to perform at its best.
High-quality caulk or slightly expanding foam insulation can be used to seal most cracks and holes. Many building rules mandate that ceiling penetrations be sealed with fireproof caulk.
5. Appropriate attire is required
It’s a good idea to protect your skin, eyes, and lungs from airborne fibers when working with insulation. Wear long pants (not shorts), a long-sleeved shirt, tight-fitting eye goggles, gloves, and a dust mask, or a dual-cartridge respirator, if possible. To keep out irritating fibers, tape the cuffs of your jeans and shirts together and apply baby powder to the back of your neck.
In most cases, adding attic insulation is a good idea. However, in other cases, such as in older homes, putting insulation might pose major complications. It is also important to pick the best insulation material if you live in a hot climate.
Most forms of insulation can be installed by an experienced DIY handyman, but if you’re not sure how to do it, hire a professional.
More From EcoStar Foam
Star Spray Foam insulation is proud to provide affordable, efficient insulation services to the community of New Orleans. We have built a reputation in the NOLA area for efficient, high-quality insulation at an affordable cost.
We use quality materials to maximize the amount of heat retained inside your home – and we install them for you hassle-free. Contact us today!