One of the easiest ways to reduce your energy bills is to properly install attic insulation. Adding insulation to an attic is simple, but requires careful preparation.
Warning: if you think you have vermiculite insulation in your attic, there’s a chance it could contain asbestos. Do NOT disturb it. Only insulation contractors certified to handle and remove asbestos should deal with vermiculite attic insulation.
Attic Insulation Types
The two types of insulation that are usually installed in an attic are Loose-fill and Batten Insulation. Loose-fill insulation is usually less expensive to install than batten insulation, however, installation costs may vary. Loose-fill insulation also usually provides better coverage when installed properly. At Avalanche Roofing & Exteriors, we typically recommend installing Owens Corning’s AttiCat Expanding Blown-in Insulation.
Preparing to Install Attic Insulation
- Seal all attic-to-home air leaks. Most insulation does not stop airflow.
- Duct exhaust fans to the outside. Use a tightly constructed box to cover the fan housing on the attic side. Seal around the duct where it exits the box, and seal the perimeter of the box to the drywall on attic side.
- Cover all openings including dropped ceilings, soffits, and bulkheads into the attic area with plywood and seal to the attic side of the ceiling. Make sure the attic insulation does not block any soffit vents to allow for proper attic ventilation.
- Seal around the chimney and framing with a high-temperature caulk or furnace cement.
- At the tops of interior walls, use long-life caulk to seal the smaller gaps and holes. Use expanding foam or strips of rigid foam board insulation for the larger gaps.
- If your attic access is located in a conditioned part of the house make sure to insulate and air-seal it.
- Knee walls are vertical walls with attic space located directly behind them. They should be properly insulated and air-sealed as well.
- Install blocking (metal flashing) to maintain fire-safety clearance requirements (usually 3 inches) for all heat-producing equipment found in the attic. This includes flues, chimneys, exhaust fans, and any light housings or fixtures. Unless, the light fixtures are IC (insulation contact) rated. IC-rated lights are airtight and can be covered with insulation.
- Check the attic ceiling for water stains or marks. They indicate roof leaks or lack of ventilation. Make repairs before you insulate. Wet insulation is ineffective and can damage your home.
- If you live in a hot or warm climate consider installing a radiant barrier along with your attic insulation.
- If you are constructing a new home or remodeling, make sure any attic decking that provides additional storage space or a platform for an HVAC unit or hot water tank is raised above the ceiling joists to ensure proper attic insulation depth. Secure the decking to the top of the raised lumber after the insulation is put in place.
We Can Help
While we all know attic insulation is a key element to bringing down your utility bills and increasing the overall efficiency of your home. It is often easy to forget just how much work goes into installing it properly. While the process is not all that difficult; it is tedious work. Fortunately, Avalanche Roofing & Exteriors specialize in attic insulation installation! We would love to do the work while you sit back and relax. Simply call us for your free estimate today!