How Many Inches Of Insulation Is Needed In Attic – The R-value measures how well a building’s insulation can prevent the flow of heat into and out of the home. A higher R-value means better insulation performance and thus more savings on the next heating and cooling bill. This guide will teach you everything you need to know about insulation R-values to better insulate your home.
Insulation values are measured in R-values per inch of thickness. The R-value tells how well a certain type of insulation can keep heat from leaving or entering the home. The R-values of the insulation vary depending on the type, thickness and density of the insulation material. In general, a higher insulation R rating means better climate control and better energy efficiency in your home. A higher insulation R-value usually also means a higher price point.
How Many Inches Of Insulation Is Needed In Attic
For each insulation type and material, check the manufacturer’s stated R-value per inch of thickness. In general, the method of installing the insulation can give you an idea of how it compares to other insulations.
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Your home may not need the highest R-value insulation. The R-value you need for insulation depends on the local climate.
The map above shows each U.S. region and the Department of Energy’s corresponding climate zone. Once you find your home’s zone on this map, you can use the insulation R-value chart below to determine the minimum insulation R-value.
Find your zone on the map, then use the Insulation R-value chart above to determine the level of insulation you need to insulate your attic, wall, floor and crawl spaces. These R-values are the sum, so this should be the total R-value when you add up the entire insulation depth. For example, if you have an insulation type with an R-value of R-5 per inch of thickness, you would need to install a 6-inch depth of insulation in the attic to reach R-30 if you live in Zones 2 or 3.
Note from this table that the ideal R-value varies for each part of the home. The ideal R-value for attic insulation is different from the ideal R-value for wall insulation. Make sure your home is properly insulated in all these places.
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Insulation ratings can be improved by adding insulation layers. You can also mix insulation type and material. For example, if your attic already has fiberglass insulation blankets installed, you can improve its R-value by installing blown cellulose insulation over the blankets. The R-values of both insulations accumulate. You can achieve better thermal performance in the attic by adding an extra layer of insulation.
As with attics or anywhere else in your home, adding layers of insulation to exterior walls is key to achieving a higher R-value and better thermal performance. Foam board insulation is easy to install between wall studs and on top of existing cover insulation. Seal gaps around windows and doors with spray foam insulation.
In addition to attics and exterior walls, you will get higher R-values for your home when you remember to insulate these areas as well:
Now that you understand insulation R-values, you can make sure your home is properly insulated. If you don’t have all the tools you need to install insulation and improve your insulation’s R-rating yourself, consider our tool rental services. Just like a hat and coat insulate your body against the cold, attic insulation does the same for your home.
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When your home isn’t properly sealed and insulated, cold air sneaks in and heat escapes, making your heating system harder and your home less comfortable. Effectively sealing and insulating your home can reduce heating and cooling costs by an average of 15 percent.
Your attic is one of the first places you should consider insulating, especially since most homes don’t have enough attic insulation.
Insulation is classified according to its R-value – the higher the R-value, the greater the insulating power. If you live in a mild climate, attic insulation should be at least R-38, or about 13 to 14 inches. If you live in a colder climate, aim for at least R-49 or about 16 to 18 inches of insulation.
How do you know if your attic needs more insulation? As a general rule, if you go into the attic and see the ceiling joists on the attic floor, the insulation is not sufficient.
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If you live in an older home, make sure the wiring is in good condition as well. If this is not the case, the wiring must be replaced before the insulation is added.
Two types of insulation can be placed in an attic floor: batt or roll insulation (also known as blanket insulation) and blown-in or loose-fill insulation. Blow-in insulation requires special equipment to install, but fills the space better than batt or roll insulation, which can leave gaps without careful placement around rafters, vents and other obstructions.
The insulation is most commonly made of fiberglass, cellulose or mineral wool. Many energy advisors recommend blown cellulose insulation because of its excellent coverage, high R-value and air sealing ability. Blown cellulose insulation is treated with boric acid, which acts as a fire retardant and insect repellent.
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Proper attic insulation is the best way to prevent heat loss in winter and keep cool air in summer. So it’s time to pay attention to what’s going on out there.
If you feel like your house is leaking money through a drafty or unsealed attic, do an energy audit and/or use a thermal camera to find cool spots upstairs. However, it is possible to fill these holes. Depending on the age of the insulation, you may be better off replacing the attic insulation directly rather than filling the gaps.
Start by determining what R-value is recommended for your home based on your location. You can find this information at the Energy Agency. If you’re not familiar with R-value, it’s basically the thermal resistance of an insulation material, measured by its thermal resistance or R-value. The higher the R-value, the more effective the insulation material is. Your home’s R-value points will guide you in choosing the insulation you need.
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In general, the R-value of an attic should be between R-30 and R-49. In particularly cold climates, you may go up to R-60. Let’s say your chosen insulation has an R-value of three per inch and you want to achieve an overall value of R-36. You will need about 12 inches of insulation material.
Blanket insulation is available in wadding or rolls and is the easiest do-it-yourself insulation material. It is available in fiberglass, mineral wool, plastic fibers and natural fibers. This type of insulation is ideal for an attic with regularly spaced beams and joists and very few obstructions.
Tubing must be carefully cut to fit snugly around vents to maintain R-value effectiveness. The price can vary depending on the thickness and material, but is usually between 0.15 and 0.50 cents per square foot. You can expect an R value of 3.1 to 3.8 per inch.
Loose-fill insulation is ideal for installation in attics where there is very little headroom and where there are many obstructions such as vents and joists. It can be effectively blown over existing insulation and is available in fiberglass, cellulose and mineral wool. Cellulose is the most efficient material and has an R-value of 2.2 to 3.8 per inch, but when exposed to moisture it can become moldy.
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This type of insulation can be purchased online or at Home Depot and applied by hand, or you can rent an easy-to-use machine to blow it into place, which costs about $100 a day. Rent is often included for free if you buy a minimum amount of insulation. If you hire a professional, it will cost about $1 per square foot.
This type of insulation is expensive and not a DIY project, but it has one of the highest R-values at 3.5 per inch for open cell and 6.5 for closed cell.
Both types are made of polyurethane. The difference is that closed-cell foam cells are filled with gas, which helps the foam expand to fill the spaces around it. The open-cell foam cells are filled with air, which gives the insulation a spongy structure. Both types of insulation form an effective air barrier, but closed-cell insulation can also act as a moisture vapor barrier if necessary.
Open cell spray foam insulation is about $1 to $1.25 per square foot and closed cell spray foam is about $1.25 to $1.50 per square foot.
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Timothy is a lifelong DIY enthusiast obsessed with smart home technology, beautiful tools, and tinkering with his FJ62 Land Cruiser. He is the DIY editor at Popular Mechanics and
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