Types of Attic Insulation
When it comes to attic insulation, the most common options include batts/rolls, loose fill/blown-in insulation, and polyurethane spray foam insulation. Within those categories, you will find a wide variety of material types, making the decision a little more complex than it seems.
Sometimes known as “blanket” insulation, batts and rolls are intended to fit between ceiling joists in your attic. Rolls come in extensive lengths that “roll out,” while batts are in pre-cut pieces. If the space has a lot of obstacles to work around, opt for batts. If you have more uninterrupted space to work with, opt for rolls. Both batts and rolls are suitable for attics that currently lack insulation.
Some of your material options for blanket insulation include the following:
While it’s both common and cheap, this insulation can cause itchiness and skin irritation, so wear protective clothing when handling this material.
Unlike fiberglass, cellulose insulation won’t cause irritation. It can be corrosive on bricks and metals, but it's also very inexpensive and made mostly of recycled material. It also tends to absorb moisture, which can lead to mold if you’re not careful.
- Mineral Wool
Mineral wool is harder to find than fiberglass insulation, and it’s more expensive as well. However, one of its strong points is its fire-resistant qualities, so it could be useful near chimneys and other areas that are frequently exposed to high temperatures.
Cotton insulation can be pricey and difficult to find. However, it’s made of recycled denim, and it’s effective at blocking sound as well as the elements.
Loose Fill/Blown-In Insulation
This type of insulation is suitable for cavities and other small gaps in your attic. After using a machine to fluff and blow it into place, you can apply this insulation alongside or on top of blanket options. It’s also possible to manually distribute this insulation, but the process will be more difficult and the end result will likely be compressed and less effective.
Loose fill insulation is available in many of the same materials as batts and rolls. Cellulose is the most common type of material used for loose fill, but it still comes with a potentially troublesome flaw – it absorbs moisture. Expect to find mold if this insulation is exposed to too much moisture in your attic.
Polyurethane Spray Foam Insulation
When you spray this insulation into place, it quickly expands and creates a tight seal. Despite its usefulness, the insulation must be applied carefully in order to be effective. For example, the chemicals must be properly mixed and the local temperature and humidity must stay within a specific range. This insulation comes in two varieties. Open-cell spray foam is cheapest and least dense; closed-cell is more expensive but also denser.
How Attic Insulation Effects Your HVAC System
Heat gain and heat loss from poor attic insulation can cause your home's HVAC system to work harder and longer to keep your family confortable. This increase in energy consumption will be reflected in your utlity bills. To see how Northeast Mechanical can help, please click the link below.