Attic Insulation

Is Cheap Attic Insulation Worth It?

We all know that insulating your attic is a good thing, but how much do the details matter? Does the kind of insulation you choose make that much of a difference? And does this really count as a DIY project?

Here at SoDak Insulation, we have made insulating your attic our number one concern. Whether you are contemplating cheap attic insulation or wondering if it is even worth starting the project, we can help. Read on for our top tips and insider advice, and you will be an insulation expert in no time!

Why Insulate Your Attic?

Before we get into the pros and cons of cheap attic insulation, you may ask why you should bother in the first place? This issue is a particular concern in warm climates, where heating the home is less of an urgent priority.

The simplest answer can be found in physics: heat rises. When air is heated, it expands, causing it to become less dense than the surrounding particles. Because the hot air is now less dense than the cold air around it, it rises up and to the top of the house: the attic.

Of course, the hot air doesn’t automatically stop when it hits the attic. If your attic is inadequately insulated, it will simply keep going. As a result, you will have to spend more money heating your home. Without insulation, a huge amount of the heat generated will simply be lost forever.

old attic with poor cheap insulation and holes

What Are The Types of Insulation?

There are a range of options when it comes to choosing an insulation material. 

Batt or Blanket Insulation

Batt insulation, also known as blanket insulation, is one of the most common selections. It comes in several variations: foil-backed felt, rocks, glass or mineral fiber — and it is easy to install. 

This option is perfect for exposed wall cavities and easily accessible spaces, though it may be too bulky for smaller apertures. Any fiberglass insulation needs to be handled with care.

Loose-Fill Insulation

Another popular choice for cheap attic insulation is loose-fill. This option is constructed from granular or lightweight materials. Common choices include cellulose insulation, recycled newspaper, cork granules, or mineral wool. 

Loose-fill options are a great choice for obstacles or awkward shapes. They can, however, risk coming loose if the attic is particularly draughty.

Sheet Loft Insulation

Sheet loft insulation is designed for the sloping side of your roof and takes the form of solid boards. Depending on your selection, they can be made moisture-resistant and fire-proof, as well as offering insulation properties. 

Options include straw, cork, and wood. These can offer a perfect fit if you are investing in a complete loft conversion. Once complete, the boards can be covered in plasterboard for a neat finish.

Blown-in Insulation

As the name suggests, this option involves insulation being blown into gaps between joists. In most cases, the task needs to be carried out by an experienced professional. 

Recycled paper and wool can help boost eco-credentials, and this type of insulation is lightweight and easy to handle. On the downside, it is amongst the most expensive options.

cheap attic insulation in a house

How Does Attic Insulation Help?

Attic insulation may set you back the initial insulation cost, but you can soon recoup any losses. Making sure that your attic is securely insulated helps to improve the energy efficiency of your home. 

It also helps by reducing air leaks and helping to reduce the heating and cooling costs of your home. You will soon find yourself making serious savings, allowing even cheap attic insulation to pay for itself in a few years.

Additionally, attic insulation is a sure-fire way to boost the value of your home. This is also a great way of making it more appealing to buyers should you decide to sell in the future. A potential buyer will see the value in insulation. In time, this could help you secure your desired asking price with minimal fuss.

What Do I Need To Do Before Choosing Cheap Attic Insulation?

Before deciding on your preferred insulation, there are a few steps to get your attic ready for a transformation.

Consider the current condition.

Before you start, evaluate the existing condition of your attic. This will help you to determine the best insulation for your needs. If you find wet or damp patches or mold or rotten wood areas, you may have a leak. 

If this is the case, it will need to be fixed before you insulate. Take a structural engineer up with you to catch any problems and make sure the area is ready to go.

Seal the space.

Once you have evaluated and addressed any issues, you need to ensure that the attic is air sealed. This means sealing up and removing holes, cracks, or gaps — these allow air to transfer from inside to outside. If left untreated, you will be unable to maintain a consistent, desired temperature.

Common options for sealing include spray foam insulation, designed to expand, and caulk. You will still need to leave ventilation after sealing; this is best left to the experts for a smooth, professional finish.

a worker installing roofing insulation in a home

Remember existing insulation.

In some cases, you may be able to simply update or replace your existing insulation. This is an easy way to enjoy cheap attic insulation and can be a great way to save some serious cash if you are insulating on a budget.

Choose your insulation.

Before you decide, there are three considerations: the desired R-value, the available space, and the cost. 

The R-value relates to the rating for the thermal resistance per inch of material. The higher this number, the better the insulation. 

Different types of insulation will need different amounts of space to allow for effective insulation. As an example, fiberglass batts typically have an R-value of 2.9-3.8 per inch. Therefore, to achieve R 49, you will need 13 – 17 inches thick — this can be tricky in confined spaces.

Cost is another important factor, and this is where cheap attic insulation comes in useful. Fiberglass bats tend to be the most affordable option, but any tears or damage can reduce efficiency. 

Ultimately, you need to decide whether you would rather save money now and risk a bill later. Alternatively, you can choose to invest a little more to start with.

Still Undecided?

Here at SoDak Insulation, we have made it our mission to advise and assist on all insulation matters. Our experienced team has the skills and qualifications to carry out full attic insulations. We can also offer professional advice on the best options. 

Why not leave your job in the professionals’ hands, and let us take care of the hard work for you? Get in touch today, and enjoy an estimate or full inspection.

Attic Insulation

How to Tell the Difference between Cellulose and Asbestos Insulation

Are you buying or selling your home? Have you noticed higher heat bills than average? If so, it is time to get an insulation inspection from SoDaK Insulation and Restoration.

Do you know your insulation may contain asbestos, which needs special handling? Do you know how to tell the difference between cellulose and asbestos insulation by sight?

The difference between asbestos and cellulose is hard to tell, specifically by looking. The Asbestos Institute recommends a professional when there is an excess of ten square feet of asbestos. The risk of exposure and contamination is exceptionally high for you and those who come into contact with it.

sign warning of dangers of asbestos insulation

Asbestos: What is it?

Asbestos is a mineral found in nature. It is heat and corrosion-resistant. Builders commonly used asbestos as insulation in many homes and businesses, including in floor tiles and other building materials from 1950 to the 1980s.

In the 1980s, asbestos was discontinued as insulation because of cancer-causing dangers.

Vermiculite insulation, which may contain asbestos, is believed by environmental experts to be in millions of homes. A licensed abatement company is required to rid your place of vermiculite with asbestos.

Many dwellings have asbestos, but it only becomes a problem when there is damage of some kind, and the particles then become airborne. The United States Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, known as OSHA, lists medical conditions called asbestosis and mesothelioma resulting from breathing in asbestos fibers. These conditions affect the lungs and can reduce lung function that often advances to disability and death.

What is Cellulose Insulation?

Various materials, including cardboard, hemp, straw, newspaper, and many other materials, make up cellulose insulation. Contractors use the paper-based cellulose mix and treat it with boric acid to give it fire resistant properties.

There are two types of cellulose insulation: dry cellulose, also known as loose-fill insulation, and wet cellulose.

Dry cellulose is blown through wall holes and used to fill wall cavities around pipe and wiring. Wet spray cellulose differs as it generally is used as an application to newly built walls. Wet cellulose is derived by added water to the spray, which gives a better seal for preventing heat loss.

Cellulose insulation, made from recycled materials, is considered eco-friendly and a fire retardant. Perfect for going green and earning LEED!

worker showing the difference between cellulose and asbestos insulation

How to Tell the Difference between Cellulose and Asbestos Insulation

Telling the difference between asbestos and cellulose is best left to a professional. Experts in the field highly recommend homeowners do not handle asbestos themselves.

It is tough to determine if your insulation contains asbestos. It is something you do not want to be touching and contaminating around your house. SoDaK Insulation and Restoration will recommend the best removal of any damaged asbestos areas and a safe insulation program for your home or business.

Besides traditional insulation, asbestos could be in the following places: cement, plaster, specific brands of batt insulation, electrical panels, and wrap insulation, such as on pipes.

Again, undamaged asbestos is generally not a cause for concern. It is a problem when the asbestos fibers transport through the air. Breathing in these fibers is a significant health risk.

As part of an insulation inspection, you should also evaluate for mold and mildew. Both can affect the insulation and its effectiveness.

Wear and tear on your house and bats and vermin are the leading causes of damaged insulation. A professional assessment is needed to determine the scope of asbestos exposure.

worker installing new insulation on a roof

Asbestos Guidelines for the Homeowner

The EPA (the United States Environmental Protection Agency) has the following guidelines posted if you think you have asbestos in your house.

  • Leave undamaged asbestos-containing materials untouched.
  • Limit access, especially by children, to any areas with damaged material that may contain asbestos.
  • Take every safety measure to avoid harming places with asbestos-containing material.
  • Have the removal of asbestos and repairs done by people trained and qualified to do such work.
  • Do not sweep up or vacuum debris that may contain asbestos.
  • Do not sand, scrape, or drill holes in asbestos-containing materials.
  • Do not use sanding or scrub brushes on power strippers to remove wax from flooring that may contain asbestos. 
  • Never track asbestos material on your shoes or clothing through any building. If you must walk through the area, have it cleaned with a wet mop. If the material is from a damaged area or a large area, call an asbestos professional.

Insulation Basics

Why is insulation important? As it sounds, insulation is a barrier to trap heat—the same concept as putting on blankets or jackets to keep your body warmth from escaping. Adding more layers and repairing holes keeps you warmer, just as with your home’s insulation.

Heat naturally will go to colder spaces, and that process is called heat transfer. Insulation decreases the transfer.

The insulation holds air in place. The soft material secures little pockets of air. Heat is more stable in insulation as it is not mixing around looking for the colder air, thus keeping the heat in place.  

Before You Buy or Sell

A professional inspection of your insulation is a must before purchasing or selling a property. No one wants to be surprised with an issue, such as the presence of bat guano or asbestos. SoDaK Insulation and Restoration will apprise the situation and develop an action plan to suit all interested parties.

High Utility Bills

Does your air conditioner seem not to keep the house as cold as it used to or your heat bills off from the past? If so, time to check your insulation. 

SoDaK Insulation and Restoration will come to your home or business, inspect your insulation levels, and restore areas that need attention by removing old insulation and installing new. You don’t want to find yourself in a potentially dangerous asbestos situation.

Professionals for the Job

Telling the difference between asbestos-containing insulation and cellulose insulation is difficult. The safest and best option is to have a trained professional inspect and remedy the situation. Call SoDaK Insulation and Restoration today to get your house healthy!