When to Upgrade Your Attic Insulation?

In this article, you will learn:
1. When to upgrade or install attic insulation
2. Understanding R-value
3. Insulation options for residential attics

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While families all around the world spend more time at home, the importance of maintaining a safe, secure and cost-effective environment has become more important than ever.

Although many home renovation projects have been put on hold in light of the recent pandemic, the extended time within our properties can often reveal any efficiency problems that might exist.

From uneven temperature swings to higher-than-usual energy expenses, many Canadian homeowners are unfamiliar with the importance of attic insulation until the quality and performance of their home has been compromised.

Today, more than 90% of North American homes lack sufficient attic insulation, making it difficult to maintain a comfortable, energy-efficient and affordable living environment.

At T. Simpson Roofing, we are committed to supporting our clients through every phase of the homeowning experience.

To better protect your property, family and budget, the following article will identify when to upgrade your attic insulation, the meaning of R-Value and the different options available for residential properties.

When to Upgrade or Install Attic Roof Insulation

Whether you have a finished or unfinished attic, there are a variety of red flags that may indicate when your attic insulation is not fulfilling its purpose:

1. High Energy Expenses:

Although energy expenses do seem to increase over the years, any higher-than-usual bills are often the first sign of an energy-efficiency problem.

Resulting from air leakage, thin insulation, deterioration and even poor installation, inefficient attic insulation forces your HVAC system to work harder in order to regulate comfortable temperatures within the home.

2. Uneven Temperatures:

If asked, many people can identify the “warmest” and/or “coldest” areas in their home.

While this can be the result of a variety of potential problems (such as inefficient windows, doors and/or insulation), it is recommended that homeowners consult a professional to isolate any specific areas of heat loss.

3. Property Age and Condition:

Much like the other areas of a home, attic insulation products will eventually lose their insulation properties over time.

For older residential properties, a professional contractor can help identify the condition of existing insulation and whether or not a replacement is recommended.

4. Water Damage:

As a damaged or deteriorating roof can allow water and ice to seep into a property’s attic, the evidence of water, moisture and/or mold could be a clear indication that renovations are required.

Once the roof has been patched up, the insulation will also need to be replaced as any water damage will compromise its capacity to efficiently insulate your home.

5. Infestation:

In some cases, attic insulation can attract small rodents, insects and/or pests to build homes within their warm and seemingly safe surroundings.

With the risk of compromised hygiene, energy-efficiency and structural damage, homeowners may have to work with animal control services prior to renovation and re-insulation.

Understanding R-Value

When shopping for attic insulation materials, you will find that each product is rated by its R-value capabilities.

This R-value represents a material’s thermal resistance, where a higher R-value represents a more energy-efficient insulating material.

For traditional homes (built before the 1970s), attic insulation would often have an R-value of 11 or less, which is far below the current standards that call for R-values as high as 38 or more!

If you are living in an older property or experiencing energy-efficiency problems within your newer home, it may be worth looking into the quality of your attic insulation as this could be impacting the comfort, quality and affordability of your home.

Insulation Options for Residential Attics

With a wide variety of insulation materials on the market, there are excellent solutions for both finished and unfinished attics.

In an unfinished attic, the goal of insulation is to keep the rooms below feeling comfortable throughout the seasonal changes. This would include insulating the attic floors, but not the walls.

With a finished attic, the insulation would be applied to the walls and ceiling (much like the rest of the house) to maintain and support a comfortable living environment.

At T. Simpson Roofing, we work with our clients to help them determine the most efficient and cost-effective insulation solutions for their homes:

Loose Fill Attic Insulation

Loose fill is one of two most common types of attic insulation.

While it is often installed directly into the wall cavities, insulation fibers can also be packaged into bags and blown into unfinished attic spaces to protect the home from heat loss.

Loose fill attic insulation options are available in fiberglass (2.2-2.7 R-value/inch), mineral wool (3.0-3.3 R-value/inch) and cellulose materials (3.2-3.8 R-value/inch).

Most Effective For Attics with:

– Existing insulation (to be topped)
– Low clearance/limited headroom
– Irregular or nonstandard joist spacing
– Obstructions and/or penetrations to work around

– Inexpensive
– Easy to Install
– Loses it’s efficiency over time
– Prone to moisture absorption

Batt and Roll Insulation

Commonly referred to as “blanket insulation”, Batt and Roll insulation is a prefabricated fiber material that is often packaged in rolls of varying widths and thicknesses.

By adding one or more layers, homeowners can achieve the desired level of insulation along with an optional paper or foil facing to act as a vapor barrier for additional protection.

Batt and Roll Insulation options are available in fiberglass (2.9 – 4.3 R-value/inch), mineral wool (3.0-3.3 R-value/inch), cellulose (3.7-3.8 R-value/inch) and cotton materials (3.7-3.8 R-value/inch).

Most Effective for Attics with:

– Sufficient headroom for installation
– Few obstructions or penetrations to work around
– Standard joist spacing (especially without existing insulation)

– Easiest to Install
– Inexpensive
– R-Value doesn’t fluctuate as much as loose-fill
– Fiberglass material is known to cause skin irritation
– Requires careful handling to fit around objects or wiring

Are You Interested In Updating The Insulation in Your Attic?

With the global focus on health, safety and financial security – it is important for homeowners to maintain a regular roof inspection routine to ensure that their homes are as safe, secure and efficient as possible.

At T. Simpson Roofing, we are proud to offer our clients over 25+ years of experience, a diverse selection of roofing options, exceptional warranties and an industry-leading team full of fully-insured roofing professionals.

From room temperature and comfort levels to energy consumption and utility bills – maintaining a well-insulated attic will help support a comfortable and cost-effective environment for you and your family for many years to come.

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If you are interested in learning more about your attic insulation options, we offer the largest GAF Certified Roof Replacement Services in Canada!

Click here or call 1-800-925-3044 for more information.

T. Simpson

Originally founded by a 16-year-old Tony Simpson as a way of acquiring funds to help pay his way through university, T. Simpson Roofing, propelled by Tony’s strong work ethic and commitment to delivering quality work and unbeatable customer service, quickly grew into a thriving business.

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