What’s The Best Attic Insulation?

Know the facts. Make the best decision. 

Insulation is one of those things that homes can’t be without. Think about it, without any insulation in the walls or attic it would be impossible for your home to maintain a steady temperature, making your power bills huge! The problem most people have is there are so many different types of insulation that things can sometimes get confusing. A good practice for you to do before you buy insulation is compare the R-values of the different types. R means resistance to heat flow and the higher the R-value, the greater the insulating power. Also another factor you have to consider is that in order to get the marked R-value the insulation must be installed properly by a professional HVAC technician.

Rock Wool Insulation

Rock wool is the first type of insulation we will be going over. Rock, or mineral, wool insulation is a dense and firm block of minerals that is cut and then fit into the spaces in between the wooden frame of your attic. This block is shoved into a wall cavity and fills the whole space, no gaps, no sags, no spaces, no stapling.

Another great characteristic of mineral wool is that is is hydrophobic, or repels water. Most other types of insulation when wet will be ruined. Mineral wool will literally cause the water to drip right off of it, keeping your attic insulated and dry.

Although rock wool is thicker than fiberglass batts, it still retains some of the same problems when it comes to installation. Both of these products need to be cut absolutely perfectly or else they will be of no great help to you or your energy bills. Unfortunately this type of insulation only gets to be about 4 or 5 inches thick, with an R value of just 15. As you will see, R-values may be much higher…

Denim Insulation

Denim insulation is a very good product, just maybe not for Floridians. It is made from high-quality natural fibers that contain qualities such as effective sound absorption and maximum thermal performance. It contains no chemical irritants and requires no warning labels and is made from 80% recycled material; and even better than all of that, it has an R-value of 30!

Unfortunately the installation of this 8 inch thick insulation isn’t so easy. These batts move, aren’t stiff at all, and have to be cut just perfectly to perform well. Also denim insulation is really only best to be used in northern states because it does a great job holding heat in. It performs best in places with low temperatures and high winds. This perhaps is the reason why it is so popular in Canada, consequently making it very expensive to buy here in the U.S.

Spray Foam Insulation

Spray foam comes in two flavors, open cell and closed cell, and provides both insulation and air barrier. It can be a nice form of insulation for your home with it’s R-value being as high as 19 and the insulation being only 3″ inches thick.

Some common problems that can happen with spray foam installation though are that the installers may miss some of the air leakage sites, or spray too little or too much of the foam into the attic. The installer may spray extra foam because they haven’t identified the location of the building envelope (the boundary between conditioned and unconditioned space). In very rare cases the spray foam has even been known to contract and pull away from framing, resulting in unusable insulation.

Radiant Barrier Insulation

Radiant barriers are installed in attics to reduce summer heat gain by using a reflective material as insulation. It can rate up to an R 19 using its reflective foil that casts back radiant heat rather than absorbing it. Most common insulation materials work by slowing conductive and convective heat flow but radiant barriers and reflective insulation systems work by reducing radiant heat gain coming from the inside of the roof.

In order to be effective, the reflective surface must face an air space. Dust accumulation on the reflective surface will reduce its reflective capabilities, this is where proper installation plays a big role in its effectiveness. The radiant barrier should be installed in a manner to minimize dust accumulation on the reflective surface and technicians and homeowners must avoid making contact with bare electrical wires because the reflective foil on this insulation conducts electricity.

Blown-In Insulation

Blown-in fiberglass insulation is perhaps the best kind of insulation so it’s no surprise that’s what we use here at Professional AC & Heating. The type we use is called Pink Panther Pro Pink 177 insulation and it is a type of dense fiberglass that literally gets blown in to your attic and hardens almost like concrete. It is nearly impossible for unwanted air to break through this almost 12 inch thick, 30 R insulation barrier. Another perk to this going with this type is that it lasts for the life of the home and unless it is damaged, it will never have to be replaced. It is very rare in the heating and cooling world that there is a product you will never have to buy again.

In Florida it is estimated that more than 60% of homeowners have an inadequate amount, or inadequate type of insulation in their attics. With the blistering sun beating down on your rooftop it is important for us to get these problems fixed. Upgrading to blown-in insulation has even been known to reduce your heating and cooling bill by up to 30%. Give one of our insulation specialists a call today and see if your home has adequate insulation, we may be able to save you money in the future!

The Best Attic Insulation Options for Your Home – Bob Vila

What Is The Best Type Of Insulation For An Attic? – The Clever Homeowner

What is the best attic insulation available today? (houseunderconstruction.com)