Attic Insulation Houston helps regulate your home’s temperature and reduce energy bills. It also keeps carbon monoxide, a colorless and odorless gas that can mimic flu symptoms, from entering your home through gaps in the attic.
The best insulation types for your attic include fiberglass batts, mineral wool, and closed-cell foam. Each has pros and cons.
Fiberglass batts are a common insulation solution used by contractors to provide thermal and acoustic barriers for homes in all construction types and climate zones. They are inexpensive in comparison to other insulation materials and easy to find in home improvement and building supply stores. Depending on the R-value chosen, fiberglass insulation can save you up to 50% on your energy costs each year.
Unlike spray foam, which can be difficult for the average homeowner to install, fiberglass batt insulation is relatively simple and quick. In addition, you don’t need specialized tools to complete the job. It can be installed on the walls and floors of a new or existing home.
A layer of fiberglass attic insulation is a great way to prevent heat loss and save money on energy bills in the summer. It can also help prevent ice dams and frozen pipes by slowing down the flow of heat into an attic.
For a DIY project, fiberglass attic insulation is easy to handle and can be purchased in a variety of sizes from home improvement stores. For a more professional installation, contact a local insulation contractor.
When installing insulation, be sure to follow safety precautions and guidelines. This includes wearing protective gloves, a long-sleeved shirt, pants, and goggles. It’s also important to wear a dust mask to avoid breathing in fiberglass particles.
Depending on your budget, you can choose to use fiberglass or mineral wool batts, cellulose or open-cell foam, or other products. Generally, blown fiberglass or mineral wool insulation is best for floor and ceiling cavities with standard stud and joist spacing that are free from obstructions like electrical wiring, beams, and plumbing. It can also be used for attic spaces that are free from obstructions or where you’re encapsulating the attic.
To install a layer of fiberglass attic insulation, remove the vapor barrier and begin laying the insulation. Start with the first row and then continue to lay rows perpendicular to one another until you reach your attic joists. Be sure to leave a space for soffit vents and do not block these with insulation.
In the days before stricter building codes and safety regulations, builders used a wide range of insulation materials, including mineral wool, rock wool, fiberglass, vermiculite, and cellulose. Today, fiberglass batts and rolls are the most common types of insulation in residential homes. Fiberglass is available in rolled and blown forms and comes in a variety of R-values. It is easy to install and resists mold and mildew growth.
The R-value of a particular type of insulation is determined by its thickness and density. The higher the R-value, the better the insulation’s insulating power. The R-values of fiberglass range from R-19 to R-30. Rolls of fiberglass come in varying thicknesses, so be sure to read the label to ensure you are purchasing the right product for your attic.
Once the attic vapor barrier has been installed, place the first layer of fiberglass batts or unrolled fiberglass over the vapor barrier. Then, place a second layer perpendicular to the first for maximum insulating power. The more layers you use, the greater your home’s energy savings will be.
After the attic floor is insulated, secure it with stay wires. These are precut lengths of 14-gauge spring steel wire that have pointed ends that dig into the attic joists and hold the insulation in place. You can also use chicken wire or webbing.
When insulating walls, it is important to seal all open spaces where air leaks occur. These include electrical wiring holes, vents, recessed lighting, and dropped soffits. Insulating these areas will help keep warm air from escaping and cool air from entering your home.
Blown-in insulation is usually installed by professionals, but it can be done at home with a blower that you rent from most home centers or by hiring a professional to install cellulose or mineral wool. This type of insulation is more difficult for homeowners to work with as it requires you to remove drywall, so it’s best to leave this kind of project to a professional.
A well-insulated attic blocks the upward flow of heated air in winter and cooled air in summer, saving you money on utility bills. It also slows down heat buildup, which can cause shingles on the roof to swell and crack, and prevents the formation of water ice dams.
Mineral wool—also known as rock or stone wool—is a natural material made of recycled slag from steel mills and raw basalt. The rock-like fibers are spun like cotton candy, then put into batts or boards for use in new construction or as an upgrade to existing walls. The material is environmentally friendly, and EPA testing shows that it contains no harmful chemicals.
Unlike fiberglass insulation, mineral wool resists moisture and mold growth. It also provides better soundproofing than other types of insulation. The material is denser, so it doesn’t settle within wall cavities, where air pockets can form, which can affect acoustic performance. It doesn’t degrade over time, and it’s fire-resistant.
Like fiberglass, mineral wool can be installed in wall cavities or between joists. However, it’s also available on rigid boards that can be cut to size for a more precise fit. For old homes, the boards can be used to insulate and weatherize attic knee walls. The boards can also be fitted to walls around outlets and electrical boxes, as well as ducts.
In addition to its superior thermal performance, mineral wool offers good acoustic properties and is easier to install than spray foam or fiberglass batts. It’s available in both loose-fill and compressed formats, and the denser form is often called rockwool. It’s more expensive than fiberglass, but it offers a higher R-value—for example, rockwool insulation for traditional 2×6 walls has an R-value of 23.
One drawback of this material is that it can be dusty or itchy to handle, and if the tiny stone fibers are inhaled, they can cause a number of health issues. For this reason, homeowners installing the product should wear goggles, a mask, and gloves. It’s also important to note that mineral wool isn’t a great choice for green builders because of the formaldehyde in the binders used. Some companies are now using alternative binders, but it’s worth checking with your insulation supplier. For the greenest home, look for alternative versions of this material with no added binders.
Closed-cell foam is an excellent insulation option for your attic. It provides a high R-value, is an effective air barrier, and can reduce sound levels in your home. However, it should be used in conjunction with a proper vapor barrier to prevent moisture damage. It is also not as flexible or mold-resistant as open-cell foam. Additionally, closed-cell foam is more expensive than other types of attic insulation.
Closed-cell spray foam is composed of trapped gas bubbles that are locked together during the expansion and curing processes. It is manufactured from a variety of materials, including EVA, polystyrene, and rubber. It is available in a wide range of densities and thicknesses, which allows it to be tailored to different needs. It can be used in a variety of applications, from sound dampening to sealing and cushioning.
The physical structure of the bubbles in closed-cell foam is very similar to that of other cellular plastic insulations, such as neoprene, gym rubber, and cross-linked polyethylene (PE). This means that you can use the same tools when cutting these materials: either a utility knife or craft knife with a straight, non-serrated blade. It is recommended that you cut the foam on a stable surface to avoid damaging it.
Since the bubbles in closed-cell foam are tightly packed together, the resulting material is dense and rigid. It can achieve an R-value of up to 2x that of open-cell foam, and it is available in fire-rated versions as well. It is not as flexible as other forms of attic insulation, and it cannot be cut to fit around studs or joists.
It is not as breathable as open-cell foam, so it will trap moisture in the attic and lead to mold growth, which can be difficult to remove without removing the entire roof assembly. Because of this, it is usually only used in new construction or when the building is undergoing major renovations. If you are unsure which type of attic insulation to choose, consult a professional. They can help you find the best product for your specific home or project.