Which is Best: Batts, Blown-in or Sprayed Insulation?
Three types of insulation are most commonly utilized in the attic — the most critical area of the house to properly insulate. Adequate attic insulation is one of the main players that prevents heat loss from rooms in winter and heat gain into rooms during summer. When the right type and amount of insulation is installed, heat transfer between the living spaces and the attic in either direction is minimized.
The three types of insulation installed in the attic all have pros and cons.
These roll-up blankets of insulation look like pink cotton candy and are pre-cut to fit between attic joists. Standard fiberglass batts offer an insulating R-value of about 3.2 per inch of installed depth. The main downside of fiberglass batts is that it’s difficult to achieve total coverage. No matter how accurately the batts are cut and pieced, small gaps and irregular openings allow some heat transfer.
Composed of pulverized paper treated with fire retardant, cellulose resembles mounds of fresh snow. Blown in under air pressure, cellulose offers superior coverage as it fills all spaces, including irregular nooks and crannies. The R-value of standard cellulose is 3.8 per inch. Cellulose is generally more expensive than fiberglass batts and must be installed by a professional crew with specialized equipment. DIY installation is usually not an option.
Spray foam is applied to the underside of the roof instead of the attic floor, converting the attic into a conditioned zone with controlled temperatures. Spray foam has an R-value over 6, providing excellent heat resistance. In addition to reducing conduction and radiation of heat, spray foam also effectively seals air leaks that also allow heat transfer. However, spray foam typically costs up to three times more than fiberglass and must be applied by experienced specialists to ensure you get all the benefits.
At Sobieski Services, Inc., our goal is to help our customers in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey learn more about energy and home comfort issues — especially HVAC and plumbing issues — so that they can save money and live in healthier, more comfortable homes.