Because most attics are easy to access, homeowners find this area of the home very cost-effective to insulate. Even in an attic that is already insulated, there plenty of potential to improve and enhance overall energy efficiency. In fact, even if the only upgrade is air sealing, this will make a dramatic difference. A well-sealed attic will prevent heat loss and stop moisture accumulation. Both elements will contribute to long-term energy efficiency as well as added indoor comfort.
For professional insulation contractors, air sealing is integral to the performance of any installed insulation. The problem in the attic is that every little gap allows for undesirable air movement – the plumbing pipes; the ceiling light fixtures; the HVAC ducting; even the various exhaust fans. Without effective air sealing, warm indoor air will escape from the attic in winter. Similarly, warm outdoor air will intrude into the home through the attic during the summer months.
Today, many professionals are recommending spray foam as the ideal application for the attic. This product will seal every little hole in the attic, while performing as an insulating barrier at the same time. It’s also possible to install spray foam in conjunction with other insulation products, something that an expert contractor can recommend. Whatever the final approach, spray foam requires the experience of a professional contractor who understands this unique product.
Other than spray foam, the other two product approaches for the attic are fiberglass batts and loose-fill insulation. Each has their own benefits, and can often be used in combination, especially in an attic space that has many irregular and hard-to-reach spaces. Here again, a professional install is recommended, as these products need to be strategically installed to ensure maximum performance. A DIY weekend project will not yield the same outcomes as an expert installer.
Beyond insulation, attics and roof cavities require appropriate ventilation. This can be effectively achieved with soffit vents, ridge vents, and baffles – but without, insulation performance will be compromised. Often underestimated, attic ventilation is essential in managing air moisture in the summer and winter. Poor ventilation will assuredly cause problems throughout a frigid winter and during a sweltering summer. In short, sealing, insulation, and ventilation work in tandem.
One of the benefits of contracting an insulation professional for the attic is having the work done right from the start. Structural issues are evaluated; moisture problems are addressed; and air leakage is assessed. More than that, upgrades and retrofits are recommended in order to resolve problem areas and deliver maximum energy efficiency once the project is complete. Professionals know what to look for and can reliably offer the product and installation that best suits the need.
For homeowners who plan to re-insulate the attic space, it’s important to know whether existing materials need to be removed before proceeding. Once again, it’s the experts who can determine whether existing insulation is performing, deteriorating, or simply inadequate. In addition, a comprehensive assessment will set the stage for the most effective solutions to be implemented.