Adding insulation to your attic is a home improvement project with an incredible return on investment. Bolstering your attic’s thermal barrier helps to keep your home more comfortable while also limiting the wear and tear on your furnace and AC. Even if you have insulation in your attic now, it may have settled and therefore may not be providing the efficiency that you need. Not only that, the regulations have changed for minimum requirements so here is what you need to know in terms of attic insulation:
Types of Attic Insulation
There are a variety of attic insulation options available depending on the space and project. The three major options are batts, blown, or sprayed:
- Fiberglass Batts – also available in cotton and other materials, batts (rolled insulation) are the insulation that most people are familiar with. This type of insulation is very handy between wall studs, but has some downsides when installed in an attic. Batts can have gaps when installed around all the pipes or wiring that you’d find in an attic floor.
- Blown-In – arguably the most popular type of insulation for the attic, blown-in insulation is made of loose fiberglass or cellulose fibers. These fibers have a tendency to fill in the gaps around pipes and wiring. Also, the spray in process makes it easier to upgrade your attic insulation – blowing over existing batts or fibers that have become compressed.
- Sprayed – open or closed cell foam is more expensive, but it also produces the best thermal barrier. Another major advantage is that instead of installing the foam on the attic floor like you do with batts or blown in insulation, foam can be sprayed to the attic ceiling or roofline. This keeps any duct work or pipes below the insulation instead of above it and also frees up the attic for storage and usability.
How Much Insulation Do I need?
There are two major factors in determining how much attic insulation you need. The first is the R-value (thermal resistance) of the type of insulation and the second is the intended total R-value you’d like to achieve. Minnesota is in one of the colder climates in the U.S so EnergyStar recommends an R-value of 38-49. Therefore you take the R-value per inch of the common attic insulation types (cellulose 3.7, fiberglass batts 3.2, fiberglass fibers 2.5) and figure you’ll need anywhere between 15” and 20” of depth to truly maximize efficiency.
Minnesota State Code requires R-49 in attics. At Snap Construction we blow in R-60 which is recommended by Xcel Energy and Centerpoint Energy.
The insulation you have installed now may be old, compressed, wet, etc. which is why it never hurts to consult Snap Construction before you embark on installing new product in your space. We can get an idea of what you have installed and make a recommendation based on the size and age of your house as well as other factors. Call or email today to schedule a FREE attic inspection 612-333-SNAP (7627) – [email protected]