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Which is the better insulation option for me?

Answered by Brett ~ August 6, 2010 ~ Comments

My heating and cooling ducts run through my attic. I'm looking to add more insulation to my attic. So which kind and style would work best in my situation (spray foam, spray loose insulation, or both? Best bang for my buck and best energy plan?

Radley ~ Montgomery, Alabama

Brett Kulina

Radley, it is a smart idea to increase the amount of attic insulation in your home, and you just might be rewarded for your efforts with a home which feels more comfortable to you during the hot and cold months of the year. More importantly, you should see a decrease in the cost of heating and cooling your home once its overall energy efficiency is improved.

I am a big fan of spray-in foam insulation because of its high R-Values and the air tight seal which is created when installed properly. The downside, of course, is that spray-in foam can be expensive. However, you can mitigate the cost issues of spray-in foam by using it in conjunction with another type of insulation. For example, if you have an 8-inch rafter bay which needs insulating, you could first spray 2-inches of foam, followed by a more traditional batt or blanket insulation to fill out the remainder of the rafter cavity. This way you can have the airtight benefits of spray-in foam, while you are achieving an overall higher R-value with the addition of the less expensive insulation product.

Of course you could use a simple blown-in fiberglass insulation product. When installed correctly, these types of insulation systems can deliver excellent performance and can achieve higher R-Values than traditional fiberglass batts. Blown-in insulation performs better than traditional batts because it is able to fill voids or odd shaped spaces, something a pre-cut insulating batt can not do.

Regardless of the type of insulation you choose, make sure to find a qualified installer who will do a careful installation job. More often than not, the reason that some insulation products don't perform their best is do to a sloppy install job.

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