Honesty hour: how often do you think about your attic?
If you’re anything like us, the answer is “not much.” And why would you? After all, most of us don’t spend copious amounts of time up there. In fact, you may only spend a few minutes in your attic each year as you dig things out of storage.
Because of this, it’s easy to forget about the attic and think of it as a relatively inconsequential piece of your home. The truth, though, is that the condition of your attic can affect the entire home, including:
- Temperature 🌡️
- Moisture levels 💦
- Roof condition 🏡
If you’ve been experiencing reoccurring problems with your roof, or signs of water damage, it might be time to tackle your attic head-on. The best solution? Adding attic insulation.
Adding insulation is the most effective way to tackle your problems, but it can also feel intimidating for the average homeowner. You likely have lots of questions. How much does attic insulation cost? What kind of insulation is right for my home? And what will it actually do?
We’re here to answer all those questions and more!
Why Should I Insulate My Attic?
The first question you likely have is obvious. What exactly does adding insulation do for your attic? Here are some of the benefits you will get with a properly insulated attic.
- Temperature Regulation – Because attics are the room that is closest to your roof and higher than the rest of your house, they are very vulnerable to heat loss. After all, we all know that heat rises. This means that in the colder months, the heat from your HVAC system can rise to the uninsulated attic and escape via the roof. Adding insulation will help keep the hot air where you want it and keep the temperature regulated.
- Noise Reduction – There’s a huge difference between falling asleep to the soothing sound of rain pattering on your roof vs. feeling like the rainstorm is in the room with you. Adding insulation material to your attic can help reduce noise and keep your home peaceful.
- Usable Space – While many of us think of our attics as storage spaces, the truth is that they have the potential for so much more. Proper insulation can make a room much more useful. In fact, with temperatures regulated, you have the potential to turn your attic space into a bedroom, playroom, or office, which can help to double your home’s usable square footage!
- Adds Value – Looking to make some home upgrades that will increase your home’s value? You can’t go wrong with adding new insulation. While it is not a fix that will be visible to future buyers, it is often a strong selling point since it increases energy efficiency and protects the home against water damage.
5 Problems Caused By Poor Insulation
We know what you are thinking. “My attic is fine! Can’t I just leave it be?”
Sure, you can. However, a poorly insulated attic can have all sorts of negative effects on your home. Most homeowners aren’t even aware that improper attic insulation might be the cause of some of these common household problems.
1) Ice Dams 🧊
One of the most common roofing problems we see is the formation of ice dams. Ice dams occur when warm air escapes from your attic and melts the snow on your roof. As this snow melts, it travels down to the cooler roof edge. It then refreezes and forms a dam that traps melted water.
As the water begins to pool, it can damage your roof and leak through the layers into your home. This can lead to a host of problems, including:
- water damage
- mold growth
Adding insulation helps to keep the warm air inside your attic and away from the snowy rooftops.
2) Condensation 💧
Condensation is another common problem that comes from a lack of insulation. Attic condensation typically forms on an attic’s windows and walls. Condensation occurs when the indoor temperatures have high contrast with the outdoor temperatures.
While condensation may not seem particularly threatening, it can severely damage your walls and floors, as well as your personal belongings.
3) High Energy Bills 📈
When your HVAC system is working double time to make up for the heat that is escaping through your roof, it is inevitable that your heating bills will start to increase. If you are looking to keep costs down, investing in new insulation could help significantly.
4) Allergies 🤧
Do you suffer from seasonal allergies? What would you say if we told you that a lack of insulation could be causing it? Insulation doesn’t just keep warm air inside. It also helps to keep allergens and irritants out of your home.
5) Pest Infestation 🦝
Old insulation is a prime spot for pests to nest. If you are dealing with frequent pest infestations, adding pest-resistant insulation may be a good option for you and your home.
Types of Attic Insulation
Now that you know the benefits of adding insulation, it’s time to learn about the different insulation types available to you!
Batt insulation is one of the most common types of insulation for homes. These fiberglass batts are unrolled and then secured to your walls. They typically have a vapor barrier that prevents moisture from settling into the insulation. They are also quite easy to install.
Spray Foam Insulation
If you are looking for a heavy-duty type of insulation, you can’t go wrong with spray foam insulation. Not only is it hugely durable, lasting for multiple decades, but it is also waterproof and doesn’t expand and contract with the weather.
For most people looking into installing attic insulation, blown-in insulation will be the go-to choice. Blown-in insulation is generally used as a filler for existing insulation. You have two types that you can choose between: fiberglass and cellulose.
Fiberglass blown-in insulation is the most popular choice, as it is cheap and good for filling in small nooks and crannies. That being said, it doesn’t age as well as other types of insulation and will likely need to be replaced after several years.
Blown-in cellulose is made up of shredded newspaper. It is by far the cheapest option when it comes to loose-fill insulation types. However, cellulose insulation is the least energy-efficient insulation type on this list and is highly appealing to rodents and other pests.
Structural Insulated Panels
Structural insulated panels aren’t much use for insulation replacement. However, if you are considering adding on and creating a new build, SIPs are a great choice in terms of durability.
How Much Will It Cost to Insulate?
It’s time to get down to it.
For most homeowners, the most pressing question when it comes time to install attic insulation is what the cost to insulate an attic will be.
The good news is that insulation on its own is not particularly expensive. Insulation costs range between $1-$7 per square foot. With the average American attic being between 1600-18000 square feet, you can expect to pay $1,500-$4,000 in attic insulation costs.
When budgeting, it is important not to forget labor costs! A quality contractor usually charges $70-$80 per hour for their services.
Can I DIY Attic Insulation Installation?
If seeing those numbers intimidates you, you might find yourself wondering if you couldn’t just do the insulation installation by yourself. While a DIY fix may seem like a good solution for your attic insulation problem, we have some bad news.
If you are adding attic insulation to an existing structure, you are likely looking at adding loose-fill insulation. Typically, blow-in insulation requires professional insulation by an insulation contractor. On the bright side, hiring a professional means that you can relax, knowing that you are getting your insulation installed properly. When it comes to your attic insulation cost, hiring a professional is well worth it.
Get a Professional Insulation Consultation
If you’re looking to learn about your attic insulation options, First American Roofing and Siding can help! As experts in our field, we can help you assess your home and come up with a plan to make your home more energy efficient, water resistant, and safe through every season. Contact us today to get a free estimate on your attic insulation installation!