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Attic Insulation

What Type of Insulation is Best for My Attic?

Last year, your feet were always cold. You’ve decided to take action. Your attic is the place to start. But what type of insulation is best for your attic?

Winter is coming. It isn’t uncommon to see the first flakes of snow in October in the midwest. 

Be ready to bundle up this coming season. Get your layers: sweaters, jackets, vests, coats. 

But you shouldn’t need to bundle up indoors. Let your attic wear the layers, and you will stay comfy in your home without always reaching for a sweater. 

If you’re ready to invest in your comfort at home, reach out to SoDak Insulation for an inspection or estimate today. We’ll walk you through your options and offer solutions fine-tuned to your home.

How Does Insulation Work?

Regardless of the type you choose, insulation works by preventing the transfer of heat. 

insulation material like fiberglass or cellulose

Think of a thermos. It will keep the heat inside when you fill it with coffee. It keeps the heat out when you fill it with lemonade. 

The thermos is blocking the movement of heat in both cases. Likewise, the insulation in your attic keeps your home’s heat inside while keeping the exterior heat out.

Have you ever been disappointed in a thermos? You were planning on a nice, hot chili for lunch. But when you opened your container at noon, the contents were barely warm. You just experienced the effects of inadequate insulation. 

You don’t want your house to be like lukewarm chili.

The thickness of your insulation matters, but the kind of insulation you choose matters even more.

All types of attic insulation have an R-value. R-value is a measure of how well the insulation material prevents heat loss. 

As you consider what type of insulation is best for your attic, you’ll need to know the ideal r-value to add. In a cold climate like South Dakota, plan for a total R-value of 60. This will keep your home cozy all winter long.

What Type Of Insulation Is Best For My Attic? 

Proper insulation improves comfort levels and energy efficiency. Adding insulation is a relatively inexpensive improvement with a big payout in comfort as well as lower utility bills. 

Let’s take a look at some common types of insulation for your attic.

builder installing or removing old insulation

Fiberglass Insulation

Fiberglass insulation is the pink stuff most people think of when they hear the word insulation. Molten glass is spun into fibers, like a glass cotton candy.

This type of insulation is available in rolls or batts that are easy to lay between the floor joists. 

Fiberglass insulation has several advantages to consider:

  • It’s inexpensive. When estimating the cost of adding R-value, fiberglass can give the biggest bang for your buck.
  • Insects don’t eat it. Fiberglass has no nutritional value, so insects are not drawn to it. 
  • Blanket fiberglass insulation can be installed without any special tools. It just needs to be rolled out to cover your attic space.
  • It doesn’t burn. 
  • Faced insulation (the kind that comes with a vapor barrier on one side) is resistant to moisture and mold.

 

Fiberglass insulation has some disadvantages to consider, as well:

  • It’s itchy. If you’re planning on installing this yourself, make sure to cover all of your skin. Wear a dust mask to protect your lungs. The tiny shards of glass that make up fiberglass can leave you feeling itchy or scratched up if it touches your bare skin. If you inhale them, they can cause lung disease.
  • It doesn’t seal at the edges. Like a blanket that isn’t tucked around your feet, fiberglass batts can leave a gap where it meets the walls of your attic. You can try to squash it in those spaces, but fiberglass insulation only works well if it isn’t compressed. 

Blown-in fiberglass doesn’t have this problem.

  • It will eventually lose its fluff. Insulation works by trapping air. Fluffy insulation holds more air in place, so as fiberglass batts settle and sag over time, its efficiency decreases. 

Fiberglass is also available in loose-fill, which is blown in with a machine. This job is best left to professionals. 

loose fill fiberglass insulation for attic

Cellulose

Cellulose insulation is made from recycled paper, making it an eco-friendly choice. This loose-fill insulation is blown in with a machine, making it easy to reach those edges where your attic is too short to stand. 

Here are a couple of pluses about cellulose:

  • It’s environmentally friendly. 
  • It fits in tight spaces. The blown-in cellulose works neatly around ducts and wiring.
  • Cellulose is fire-resistant. It’s coated with boric acid and is considered safe. 
  • Insects won’t eat it. 

Here are some of the downsides:

  • Settling. Like fiberglass, cellulose has a tendency to settle over time. As it ages, it becomes less efficient.
  • It has the potential to mold. Cellulose will soak in any moisture quickly. If there are any moisture issues in your attic, cellulose will quickly mold.

Cellulose may be the best type of insulation for your attic, but you definitely want to correct any moisture problems before installing it.

Foam Insulation

Spray foam insulation comes in two forms.

Closed-cell foam has a higher density and a higher R-value. It also is more resistant to water penetration. 

Open-cell foam has a lower R-value. It expands as it’s applied, making it a good choice for hard to reach areas. 

Open-cell foam is permeable to water and air. It should only be used for small fill in spaces. 

Closed-cell spray foam has some excellent advantages:

  • It expands quickly to create an airtight barrier around gaps and crevices. 
  • Spray foam doesn’t soak in water, and it doesn’t let water pass by. If you do have water penetration in your attic, spray foam has the best chance of holding up to it.
  • It lasts. Unlike many other options, spray foam does not settle over time. 
  • It’s a great sound dampener. Spray foam helps absorb sound waves that might otherwise echo around your house. 

The downsides:

  • It costs more than other options. 
  • You’ll need a professional to install it.
  • It can’t be added to other types of existing insulation. If you’re just looking to beef up the R-value in your marginally insulated attic, this may not be the best type of insulation.

The Best Choice Will Keep You Happy For Years To Come

So, what type of insulation is best for your attic? It’s the kind that leaves you and your home the most comfortable. 

Contact SoDak Insulation today to get more information about the best attic insulation plan for you. We can give you options that won’t leave you out in the cold. 

 

Categories
Attic Insulation

Save Money This Winter with Home Insulation Services

In a world of current uncertainty, finding ways to cut back on costs is crucial for many of us. Making the most of home insulation services may not be the most obvious choice. It is, however, a great chance to save the pennies and stay cozy this winter.

Here at SoDak Insulation, we are dedicated to helping our customers secure their homes — even on a budget. Why not get in touch before the winter months hit, and see how our free estimate could help you stay snug and secure?

What Are Home Insulation Services?

As the name suggests, the term ‘home insulation services’ refers to available options to help you insulate your home. This concept helps keep the property warmer by reducing heat loss and helps make your home more energy-efficient.

For many of us, staying warm accounts for a large percentage of our energy bills. A surprising amount of heat is lost each year through inadequate insulation. Research from the US Department of Energy confirms that 49% of energy consumption is used to heat or cool homes. Over time, this can lead to some very high bills.

house in cold winter snow

Do I Need Home Insulation?

You should start by checking the current situation, by removing electrical outlets or unfinished surfaces to check for existing insulations. There are a few signs which may indicate that your home could benefit from additional insulation:

  • Very high power bills when heating or cooling
  • Icicles on the rooftop in the winter months
  • Drafts — usually around a window or dryer vent
  • Fluctuating temperatures between rooms — this could show an issue in a particular area of the home.

 

What Are My Options?

Home insulation services offer several different varieties of insulation and insulation materials. The type of insulation you choose will ultimately depend on your own setup and the areas in your home which most require attention.

Attic Insulation

Attic insulation is one of the most common ways to boost your overall home insulation. The roof comprises an enormous area of your home, and it is situated at the top of the house. As we know, heat rises, which means that most heat lost will be at the top of the house — from the attic. 

Most home insulation services will start with this part of the house, as it can have the most dramatic impact on reducing energy costs. There are two main options available, depending on your type of attic. The easiest is designed for an unfinished space and simply requires you to add layers to your flooring on top of the existing material.

insulation in a home

The second option is to finish the attic and place insulation against the roof. This is the more useful option in most cases as it provides complete insulation. Additionally, if the heating and cooling ducts pass through this space or are in a humid client, roof insulation is the way to go.

When it comes to getting the work done, there are two solutions. Those looking to cut costs can go the DIY route — in which case take care not to compress the material. Alternatively, it is possible to hire professional insulation contractors. 

The latter will often open you up to better materials, such as cellulose insulation or fiberglass, which can fit crevices more snugly. Most home insulation services and contractors will also spray foam polyethylene on the roof. This process helps block water and molds to the shape of the rafters.

Wall Insulation

Wall insulation is perhaps the most popular option once the attic has been taken care of and is one of the popular insulation solutions. As a bonus, it is usually fast and relatively painless, especially in stud bays. Once again, cellulose and fiberglass insulation are the most popular, while rock wool also works well.

It should be noted that if your walls are already insulated, you will need to remove drywall and plaster to add more. This can drive up costs and reduce any potential savings. If you are in this situation, there are other home insulation services you can take advantage of, such as attics and crawl spaces.

Crawl Spaces

Did you know you can make the most of your crawl space by using it to cut down on energy bills? Up to 30% of all energy loss can occur at the bottom of your house, making this a must for insulation. 

There are two main options here: walls or floors. In the former, the crawl space is treated as an outdoor area and insulated beneath the floor. In the former, the focus is on the walls.

Though the latter is less common, it is cheaper. The process involves closing all exterior vents — except any needed for any exhaust or combustion air — and insulating the walls. The space is then treated as though it is indoors, and less material is required. The walls can then be finished to neatly hide any insulation.

house wrapped in a scarf on a radiator to indicate home insulation services

What Will I Save?

Home insulation services put off some homeowners due to cost, and this is a valid concern. In particular, the attic can prove a costly project and may command a bill of $1000 – $2000 if done correctly and with the best material.

However, there are estimates that the average homeowner can make savings of 15% on heating and cooling costs. This translates as an impressive 11% of the total energy costs by merely adding adequate insulation. 

This can add up to savings of around $200 per year — and the figures increase in colder areas. Climate zones six and seven can see savings of up to 20%, making this a worthwhile investment.

The long-term future is also positive; houses with the correct insulation can often command a higher price on the market. This is good news if you decide to sell. Home insulation services are seen as an investment in the property and attractive to buyers.

In addition to the financial benefits, adding insulation to your home means that it is a more comfortable and pleasant place to be. You will be able to enjoy the space all year round, with no fluctuations in temperature or high energy bills. 

This is a chance to remain cozy in the winter and cool in the summer. As an added bonus, many homeowners report that insulation also offers noise protection, allowing you much needed peace and quiet.

How Can We Help?

Here at SoDak Insulation, we know a thing or two about home insulation! We are keen to help our customers enjoy their homes comfortably and in the most cost-effective manner. Better still, we have the secret weapon to help you achieve this. Reach out today for a free estimate, and prepare to start enjoying your home once more.