For proper attic insulation, one thing that contractors agree on completely is using the right product (or combination of products) for the job. Even before choosing the product, there are some important considerations, and a good contractor will work with the customer to best assess the project needs. To begin with, a thorough attic inspection would be in order – then an assessment of the existing conditions – then some debate about product options – and finally, a discussion about costs.
One of the most affordable options, especially when there are budget limitations, is “blown” insulation. This is a product that’s composed of fiberglass or cellulose, both of which are “fluffy” in nature. The whole idea behind “blown” insulation is to restrict air movement, which is what contributes to effective insulation, especially in those large attic spaces. Both the fiberglass and the cellulose versions are fabricated to be fire-resistant, mold resistant, and rodent resistant.
“Blown” insulation is blown throughout the attic space using special equipment that disperses the material with uniform density. This type of insulation can be applied right on top of any existing insulation, and will increase the R-value accordingly. Both fiberglass and cellulose can effectively cover the attic space, including all HVAC ductwork; wooden support beams; plumbing pipes; and electrical wires. Properly installed, “blown” insulation delivers excellent dollar value per inch.
The very best insulation product in the industry is spray foam insulation. Contractors acknowledge spray foam as the best insulator for the attic, delivering the most features and benefits of any other product on the market. This product is sprayed out in thick liquid form, and expands into its place almost immediately. It hardens into a thick, dense blanket of insulation, covering every hole, crack and crevice completely. Even the hard-to-reach spaces are filled and sealed.
The beauty of spray foam insulation is its ability to provide total coverage. Everything is enveloped – the wood support beams – all of the plumbing and wiring – and all of the HVAC ductwork. When professionally installed, the attic space is 100% sealed and insulated. The finished job constitutes a complete “system”, and actually provides a combination air barrier and moisture barrier in one. No other product on the market can provide a comparable R-Value.
For the professional contractor, the very best approach to attic insulation is the “hybrid” approach. It’s a combination approach that makes use of BOTH “blown” insulation AND spray foam, and it could be a combination of spray foam + cellulose OR spray foam + fiberglass. The spray foam application provides the very best air and moisture barrier, while the “blown” insulation provides the dollar value that keeps the project on budget.
While it’s true that the products and techniques described above might be viable as DIY projects, it’s also true that a professional will deliver the best job. The experts know how to create a system – a well-balanced environment where everything is well sealed, well ventilated, and well insulated. Its what professional installers refer to as a “true insulated building envelope”.