Upgrading Attic Insulation

These days most attics don't have enough insulation or have insulation that isn't working as well as it should be. An upgrade -- one that will pay off every year and in every season you live in your home -- is only one simple phone call away. Yes, you can and should add more insulation to your attic. It's one of the best ways to increase your home's energy efficiency. Fiberglass and cellulose fiber are the two most common attic insulation materials. Each yields an R-factor of roughly 3.5 per inch. Cellulose consists of ground-up newspaper material, which is then treated with fire-retardant chemicals. Fiberglass is made of billions of strands of extruded glass fibers packed into specifically sized batts. Some fiberglass batting now comes encased in perforated poly bags to help contain loose glass fibers and make handling and installation easier. Fiberglass also is available as a loose-fill or blown-in material.

R-factor is a numerical indicator of an insulation's efficiency at retarding the flow of heat. The scale goes from low to high; higher R-numbers mean a given insulation is better able to stop heat from moving from one place to another. Current building codes recommend an insulation R-factor of R-38 for attics in most of the country. That would be about 10 to 12 inches of fiberglass batting or blown cellulose fiber insulation. Bear in mind that R-38 is actually the minimum recommended standard for attic insulation. Proposed energy codes would increase that number to R-50.

While the price of fuel oil, gas, and electricity continues to rise, attic insulation is relatively inexpensive and remains one of your best energy-efficiency upgrade values. The roof or attic – the single most important area of any structure to insulate. The fact that heat rises attributes to the fact that over 60% of all structural heat loss is through the roof. Is it Cost Effective to Insulate?

The right insulation system can save you money, reduce the amount of energy you use and make your home more comfortable. Keep in mind that installation costs (including changes to the framing, cladding, and finishes) are usually the most expensive part of an insulation project. The local climate has an impact on the cost-effectiveness of any insulating project.