Properly insulating your attic is one of the best ways to reduce your energy bill and improve the comfort level inside your home. But with the vast majority of households in the U.S. currently under-insulated, many homeowners are settling for less. And that means they are missing out on the comfortable living space and the savings that upgrading their attic insulation can provide.
But when do you actually need new insulation, what benefit are you really getting, and which contractor is the best choice for the job? We answer these questions and more below, so you can be an informed consumer when it’s time to upgrade your home’s insulation.
Judging when it’s time for an insulation upgrade can be tricky since it’s not as obvious as with missing shingles on your roof or cracked siding. So, consider the signs below when deciding whether it’s time to replace or upgrade your home’s insulation.
Properly installed insulation can maintain its insulating properties for about 15 years. However, a lot can happen over that time, and it’s always a good idea to check your existing insulation and see if an upgrade could save you money in energy costs.
The R-value measures how well insulation resists heat through conduction. Even if your home is new, it may not meet the recommended R-value for your area because building codes often require a much lower R-value, leaving you with higher energy costs throughout the year.
While insulation isn’t always a necessary part of a roof replacement, it’s a great time to upgrade and get the most out of your new roof. Additionally, you can save time and money installing blown-in insulation seamlessly while your roof is off.
Unfortunately, the attic is often a hospitable place for pests to make their home. Other than just being a nuisance, small animals can harbor disease and should be removed by professionals along with the old insulation.
The correct amount of attic insulation makes your home more comfortable and saves you money, so it’s a surprise that so many homes are under-insulated!
Proper insulation creates less fluctuation in temperature inside the home, meaning rooms won’t vary in temperature, and you won’t have to adjust the thermostat constantly.
Properly insulating your attic allows you to utilize heat and air conditioning less, which helps with energy efficiency and can earn back your investment through lowered utility bills.
Homeowners can earn up to 107% back in home value by insulating their attic, according to Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value report’s last calculation about insulation.
Your roof is a significant investment, and proper insulation is an integral part of roof maintenance. It helps control the temperature in your attic, preventing condensation from forming on the decking and keeping shingles at the proper temperature.
Many factors go into determining a fair price for attic insulation, and all quotes are not built equally. As you evaluate insulation pricing, remember that scope (which can vary between companies), materials, and process all drive price. It’s important to understand what you’re buying and why. Aside from different insulation materials, a few key factors contribute to the blown-in attic insulation cost.
Blown-in insulation material is usually priced by the square foot, so the larger your attic and the more depth of insulation that you need will contribute to the overall cost.
Different areas have building requirements with different R-values (a measurement of the insulating properties) dependent on the climate. If you live somewhere with more extreme temperatures, you will have a higher quote than a more temperate area.
Proper insulation begins with exact measurements and calculations by experienced professionals, which is not worth skimping on. However, you can save on labor if you get blown-in insulation installed during a roof replacement when there is already a hole in your roof.
Finding the right remodeling company for your insulation replacement or upgrade can be daunting, with so many options out there. As with any home improvement project, make sure that the contractor you choose is licensed and insured. It’s a good idea to choose someone who is familiar with the entire roofing system, how your insulation will work with the airflow in your attic, and the roofing materials above to create the proper seal for your home. Finally, avoid any handshake agreements. While most insulation jobs are relatively straightforward, you should still get a full scope of work and a detailed proposal in writing before any work on your home begins.
Brothers’ insulation installers have decades of experience working with all sizes and types of homes. From a straightforward blown-in insulation upgrade to a full roof replacement, we will always use exact measurements and calculations to ensure that you’re getting the best possible solution for your home. Our consultants thoroughly assess your job, and our tradespeople get the job done right, the first time.
There is always someone who will do the project for cheaper. Put your insulation project in hands you can trust.
We base our entire company around an honest and fair approach to working with homeowners. There are no high-pressure sales or switch-around tactics when it comes to your insulation project.
Our consultants always use exact measurements and calculations to ensure that you’re getting the best possible solution for your home.
Brothers’ insulation installers have decades of experience working with all sizes and types of homes, so we know how your insulation works with your other roofing components to best insulate your home.
Every insulation project is completed by our trusted installers, with detailed work orders based on your thorough proposal that ensure you’re satisfied with the final result.
A term you will hear a lot when discussing your roof’s insulation is R-value, a key metric in assessing your roofing system. R-value is the measurement of how well insulation materials resist heat through conduction. The higher the R-value, the better the insulation performance will be.
Understanding what affects R-value will make you a more informed homeowner and could save you money in energy costs. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) states that by combining proper equipment maintenance and upgrades with the recommended R-value of insulation, you can cut your energy use for heating and cooling from 20% to 50%.
For example, in the Baltimore area, the DOE recommends R-60 attic insulation; however, building codes only require an R-49. So, while most insulation only needs to be upgraded every 20-30 years, even the insulation in new homes could be under the recommended R-value.
Accurately calculating exactly how much insulation your home needs, considering R-value, is something a professional roofer should do. Guessing how much insulation you need will only cause problems in the long run.
There are three common attic insulation types used today; batt, spray, and blown-in. Each insulation type has advantages and disadvantages.
Fiberglass batt and mineral wool batt insulation usually come in pre-sized rolls that fit between joists and studs in the attic. Many homeowners try to DIY this option because installation is relatively easy, and batts are generally the least expensive insulation material.
However, even though batt insulation is the easiest of the three to acquire, it should still be installed by a professional. It can pose dangers to the skin and lungs and usually needs to be fitted around objects and wiring in the attic. But even professionally installed batts do leave inevitable gaps in insulation, which will lower the attic R-value.
When correctly installed, spray foam attic insulation can offer some of the best insulation performance with a significantly high R-value. Spray foam is applied as a liquid that becomes a rigid foam insulation layer, making for the perfect air barrier that has both durability and longevity.
However, most shingle manufacturers have a warranty exclusion for spray foam used under a roof as it is usually installed on the attic ceiling, restricting air flow and ventilation. So, even professionals can have a hard time getting spray foam right. If the spray foam isn’t thick enough, key air leakage sites are missed, or the spray foam contracts and pulls away from the roof framing, then all that increased R-value is lost. Additionally, spray insulation is usually the highest-priced option.
Blown-in attic insulation has the unique ability to fill all the nooks and crannies without the high chance for error that spray foam has. Typically, blown-in insulation can have an even lower cost than professionally installed batts, as it is a relatively easy job for a professional. Plus, during a roof replacement, the tube can be inserted through the top of your roof for a seamless experience.
The one downside to blown-in insulation is that it does settle over time. However, it still has a longer lifespan than batts. For these reasons, we think that blown-in cellulose insulation makes for the best attic insulation.
Your insulation and ventilation work together to regulate the temperature in your home. For example, if insulation is installed incorrectly and covers up vents in the attic, hot air will be trapped, and you’ll see a rise in energy bills as your HVAC system works overtime. Additionally, ventilation allows moisture in the air to leave your home. If your house is not properly ventilated, moisture will be trapped and condensate in your attic, leading to mold growth.
The amount of ventilation needed for your roof is dictated by an airflow calculation. Contrary to popular belief, simply having vents across the roof doesn’t mean you’re well ventilated.
Instead, you need someone to determine the square footage and net-free area of your roof and attic. These numbers will help determine the volume and balance of intake and exhaust vents.
This is something that every roof replacement contractor should include in your proposal. This could lead to regulatory problems somewhere down the line if a permit is skipped and a future roof inspector finds that the roof wasn’t installed properly.
Before work begins, make sure to ask your insulation installer what kind of insurance they and the insulation manufacturer offer before investing in new insulation.
Your insulation installment company should offer a warranty on workmanship. This means that if the insulation is installed incorrectly or any damage occurs during install, they should fix the issues at no cost to you. For example, Brothers Services offers a ten-year workmanship warranty.
The insulation manufacturer will offer an additional product warranty. The manufacturer’s warranty should cover any defect in the material or manufacturing of the insulation that affects R-value.
Unfortunately, unlicensed and uninsured contractors can easily void manufacturer’s warranties with incorrect installation and failures to comply with building codes, so be sure to hire someone you can trust.
Additionally, warranties usually won’t cover things that the manufacturer or the installer does not have control over, like fires, floods, or any alterations made after the installation. If you have questions about the offered warranties, your contractor should sit down to discuss them with you.
Not sure where to go from here? Learn more about insulation and to keep your home comfortable year-round.