Insulating Spaces: Attics


As one of the major sources of energy loss in your home, your attic is the first place to add insulation. Your attic can experience extremely high temperatures in summer and very low temperatures in winter, resulting in high energy bills throughout the year. According to the Energy Information Administration, 25% of your home’s energy can be lost through your attic. Adding attic insulation can help you regulate these temperature fluctuations and ensure a lifetime of indoor Complete Comfort

Areas in your home to insulate

  1. Attics and Ceilings
  2. Exterior Walls
  3. Interior Ceilings, Floors, and Walls
  4. Floors Over Unheated Spaces
  5. Basement Walls
  6. Cathedral Ceilings
  7. Knee walls

The most important room to insulate

The insulation in your attic can last 80 to 100 years, and will only need to be replaced if it is deteriorating and losing its effectiveness. According to Remodeling Magazine, attic insulation is the first home improvement homeowners can make to enhance their home’s value, returning 117% on its cost. But why is that? Here are the main benefits of adding attic insulation:

Keeps your energy bills under control. Adding attic insulation can help improve your home’s energy efficiency and increase your energy savings. According to the U.S Department of Energy, you can save 10 to 50 percent on heating and cooling costs by properly insulating your attic.

Protects your home from outside temperature changes. Insulation acts as a barrier against external environmental conditions: a fully insulated attic will help regulate your home’s temperature, keeping your home protected in the coldest and hottest months of the year. Cool air stays inside in summer; warm air stays inside in winter. Plus, proper insulation will help protect your home against moisture and water damage. 

Improves your overall indoor comfort. A properly insulated attic can help you achieve Complete Comfort and make a big difference in energy efficiency, durability, and air tightness. Proper insulation will also help reduce the noise level inside your home. Plus, your HVAC system won’t have to work harder to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature. 

Important steps in preparing for attic insulation 

  1. Inspect your attic condition. Compared to the rest of your home, your attic will need a thicker layer of insulation with a higher R-value. To find out if you need more insulation or if it needs to be replaced, measure the thickness of the insulation installed in your attic floor. You’ll need to add more insulation if your insulation is level with or below floor joists. However, if you notice any damage in your attic, we highly recommend hiring a CertainTeed credentialed contractor to properly inspect your attic and address the issue.
  2. Seal all joints, seams, and air leaks. Sealing any gaps, cracks, and holes before adding insulation will reduce air infiltration into your attic and help maintain the desired temperature in your home. It will also help your insulation perform at its best. 
Proper attic ventilation benefits your roof and your wallet.
  1. Make sure your attic is properly ventilated. Attics require ventilation to breathe. Proper ventilation in your attic helps prevent moisture and condensation issues by continuously moving air all along your roofline. In addition to making you feel more comfortable, your roof system will perform better and last longer.
  2. Select the right insulation for your attic. The type, width, thickness, and thermal resistance value (R-value) of the insulation are important factors to consider. But if you already have attic insulation, then you might want to add a second layer on top of it. Layering your insulation will increase its R-value and maximize its thermal performance. A professional contractor can help you get the right solution to meet the DOE’s recommended R-values for your region. 

The R-value of your attic insulation highly depends on where you live and your climate zone. Make sure to check your local building codes requirements before adding insulation to your attic.

The following map and chart show the DOE recommended R-values for attic insulation in the U.S.

DOE Recommended R-values for Attics
1R30 to R49
2-3R38 to R60
4-8R49 to R60
Based on 2015 & 2018 IECC

The best types of insulation for your attic 

When it comes to attic insulation, the right type of insulation depends on which part of your attic needs to be insulated. Here is a list of the most common types of attic insulation:

  • Blown-in insulation works perfectly if your attic is hard to access, or if you need to reach tight spaces. CertainTeed Fiberglass blown-in insulation can be compressed to any desired depth without degrading its stated R-value. 
  • Batts insulation works perfectly in attics with minimal obstructions. They are commonly used to help stop the spread of heat in your attic, and can be applied on top of an existing insulation. Fiberglass batts such as CertainTeed InsulPure™ are designed to provide both acoustical and thermal performance and can be either used in new construction or remodel projects. 
  • Spray Foam provides outstanding comfort and indoor air quality. This type of insulation is particularly useful in hard to reach areas. Install spray polyurethane foam (SPF) insulation where air is leaking to fill voids and seal air leaks.

If your attic is not insulated yet, have no fear. We have a complete line of high performance insulation products that work together to ensure your home is fully protected, from your attic to your basement and everywhere in between.

If you already have insulation installed in your attic, make sure to have it evaluated by a professional contractor before winter strikes.  

Not sure where to start? Connect with a CertainTeed credentialed contractor in your area.

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We’re always available to assist you with any questions you may have. Please let us know what you need:

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