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Category Archives: Residential
Attic Insulation for Winter: Maximizing Energy Efficiency
Are you the type who can’t wait for winter and think cold air is invigorating and snow falling is pretty? Or, do you suffer through, counting down the days until spring? Either way, one thing remains the same for everyone, winter temperatures make keeping your home warm and energy efficient a challenge. The obvious solutions are programming your smart thermostat and sealing cracks around windows and doors. Even more effective, yet often overlooked, is upgrading your attic insulation.
The Underlying Science of Attic Insulation
Imagine you’ve just brewed a cup of coffee. Without a lid, the steam (and much of the heat) quickly disappears into the atmosphere. Your home operates similarly. Heated air, by nature, rises upwards. Without effective insulation, especially in the attic which acts as the ‘lid’ to your home, this warmth dissipates, leaving interiors cooler and causing your furnace to work harder. This is the easy scientific explanation of why your attic insulation is as important for comfort and cost-efficiency as anything else in your home. Even an energy efficient furnace and sealing drafts can’t do their jobs if all the warm air is going to escape through the attic.
What are the Red Flags That Indicate Your Attic Insulation Needs Upgrading?
The Persistent Draft: When cold breezes waft through your hallways or rooms, despite doors and windows being shut, it’s a telltale sign you have insulation gaps or not enough insulation.
Different Rooms. Different Temperatures: A house where each room seems to have its climate might be perfect for a horror movie scene, but in the real world, it’s a serious symptom of inconsistent attic insulation.
The Financial Factor: When winter heating costs become noticeably higher compared to previous years, it’s time to inspect the insulation.
Ice Dams are Nature’s Warning Sign: While they might create a winter postcard scene, ice dams can signify severe insulation problems, hinting at heat escaping easily through the attic.
Taking a Closer Look at Your Home Insulation Options
Kansas City homeowners are fortunate to have a variety of insulation choices that work well for our four-season weather. But with choice comes the need for informed decision-making, so consult an insulation installation expert who can explain the options in detail. Here is an overview to get you started:
Fiberglass: A veteran in the insulation world, fiberglass (the pink stuff) is known for its impressive thermal resistance. With its ability to be rolled out or blown in, it offers versatility to fit various attic structures. Additionally, it’s moisture-resistant, reducing risks of mold.
Cellulose: Boasting green credentials, cellulose is environmentally friendly and efficient. Treated to resist fire and pests, its dense composition offers excellent insulation.
Spray Foam: This modern insulation solution is akin to sealing your attic with an airtight lid. As it’s applied, spray foam insulation expands, filling gaps, nooks, and crannies, offering unparalleled heat retention.
Frequently Asked Questions About Home Insulation in Kansas City
What’s the ideal attic insulation for Kansas City homes?
Given our city’s unique climatic challenges, both fiberglass and cellulose are frontrunners. While fiberglass impresses with its moisture-resisting capabilities, cellulose offers density-driven efficiency.
That being said, each home has its quirks, making it even more important to get an energy audit from a trusted home insulation company, like A+ Insulation.
To blow or to roll attic insulation? Which is best?
Blown-in insulation, given its ability to mold into spaces, offers comprehensive coverage. Rolled insulation, on the other hand, provides a straightforward application, especially suitable for spacious attics.
Does attic insulation require maintenance? How often and why?
Insulation isn’t a one-time deal. Regular inspections, especially after severe weather events or roof replacements, ensure longevity. Signs of dampness, mold, or pest intrusion should be checked out immediately.
Why choose a local, Kansas City insulation company?
Just as you wouldn’t consult a west coast expert for Midwest weather patterns, insulation tailored for Kansas City requires local know-how. Local contractors provide nuanced, climate-specific solutions. Plus, you know they’re going to be around when you need them. Work with a local, Kansas City insulation company that has thousands of satisfied customers willing to leave real testimonials.
The Year-Round Benefits of Quality Attic Insulation
Beyond keeping you warm and keeping energy bills down during the coldest winters, insulation serves an important role throughout the year. In sweltering summers, a well-insulated attic prevents heat from descending into living spaces. It acts as a barrier, ensuring the cool, air-conditioned interiors remain undisturbed. This dual-role underscores insulation’s importance in both energy conservation and enhanced living comfort, regardless of the season.
Where can I find top-tier attic insulation near me?
Kansas City’s winter beauty is undeniable, but so is the need for a comfortable, energy efficient home. Proper attic insulation is more than just a home improvement; it’s an investment in comfort, energy efficiency and financial savings.
A+ Insulation has local expertise, uses quality materials and has a commitment to excellent service. If you are considering upgrading the attic insulation in your home, contact us to learn more about our services and to get a free estimate.
Is Investing in Roof Insulation Worth It? Let’s Talk Numbers.
Heat flows from warmer to cooler areas until there is no difference in temperature. It’s that simple. So, no matter the season of the year, your home needs to be properly insulated, from the top down, if it’s to remain comfortable.
More than comfort, because insulation is responsible for up to 70% of your home’s total heat gain and loss, it has a significant impact on energy efficiency and associated costs, like wear and tear on your HVAC system. If you’re wondering whether investing in roof insulation is worth it, here are few numbers to consider.
Is Your House at Least 10 Years Old?
If your home is more than 10 years old, chances are, it doesn’t have adequate insulation. Building codes change. Materials evolve. And, older roof insulation degrades over time. If your insulation was improperly installed, or insufficient in the first place, its performance will have only worsened over the years. Plus, common issues like water damage, mold, rodents and other pests can eat away at insulation’s effectiveness.
On a related note, according to the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association, up to 90% of U.S. homes are under-insulated, regardless of their age. For most Kansas City area homeowners, updating or upgrading ceiling, crawl space or roof insulation can result in significant benefits you can feel.
How Much Can New Roof Insulation Save Me?
When installed by experienced insulation contractors, insulation can reduce energy costs by as much as 30%. Exact savings are dependent on several factors, such as your existing energy costs, ceiling design and installation quality, which is why it’s important to trust your roof insulation to an expert. Trained, certified professionals will be able to spot issues and pinpoint your greatest opportunities for savings.
Often, homeowners looking for the best return on their roof insulation investment, find that the attic is the place to start, especially in Kansas City. During our coldest months, hot air easily escapes through any roof not properly insulated. By adding or upgrading attic and wall insulation, homeowners experience an average of $1,000 in energy savings within a couple of years.
It’s not an exaggeration when we say, insulation is a powerhouse compared to other energy-saving products and strategies. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, insulation within ENERGY STAR homes, which are designed and built with efficiency in mind, contribute more than 600 times to overall energy savings than all of a home’s compact fluorescent lights and ENERGY STAR appliances and windows, combined.
When installed correctly, just 18 inches (depth) of insulation can help produce the savings mentioned above. Expert guidance is key, though, since exact specifications are dependent on a home’s type of heating and cooling system, attic construction and layout, proper air sealing, moisture control and more.
What Are My Options?
A+ Insulation offers three types of roof insulation: batted, blown-in (also known as loose-fill) and spray foam to accommodate a variety of spaces and comfort needs. Our trained and certified experts can identify the right option for your attic, as well as potential hazards (leaky roof, rotted attic rafters, poor ventilation and fire risks) to ensure lasting performance and optimal cost savings.
Professionally installing, upgrading or replacing your home’s roof insulation is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to improve its energy efficiency. And, because heat rises straight to the ceiling and through any leaks, gaps or damaged materials, the attic is the best place in your house to explore savings.
Our licensed and knowledgeable insulation contractors can evaluate existing issues that need to be fixed and help you choose the right insulation to keep you and your family comfortable. Not to mention save a lot of money in the hottest and coldest months of the year. Call us at (913) 281-2250 or visit insulatekansascity.com/contact to schedule a free, no obligation evaluation.
Why Getting a New Roof Requires Calling an Insulation Contractor
So, you’ve decided it is time for a new roof. Although costly, once the project is complete, homeowners enjoy unmatched peace of mind and performance — so long as the project is done right.
It is not uncommon for people to overlook insulation during a roof replacement. Many simply forget about it. Others don’t want to add additional costs to the project. Like most major home expenses, though, it’s important to think long-term when tackling a roof replacement. While the cost to address insulation at the same time as a roof replacement may be tough to swallow upfront, over the years, it will pay off tenfold.
How Does Insulation Make a Difference? Sure, your roof is a key piece of home infrastructure. But insulation is just as important. It regulates temperature, maintains air quality and keeps out noisy disturbances — or at least it’s supposed to.
In reality, in the U.S., between 65-80% of homes are under-insulated. That means the majority of American homeowners are missing out on key benefits like energy efficiency, lower heating and cooling bills, and cleaner, healthier living spaces.
In fact, studies indicate that heating and cooling accounts for more than 30% of residential energy consumption in the U.S.
Following a roof replacement, those figures can increase and issues can become severe without expert craftsmanship. During construction, nails and other debris often fall below onto attic insulation — sometimes roofers even walk on it — creating a handful of problems including dents and uneven surfaces, all of which diminish insulation’s effectiveness.
Including an insulation contractor as part of your construction team is essential. They will provide expert guidance to ensure maximum performance for the long-haul.
Can’t I Just Use a General Contractor? Once the roof is off, there’s no better time for homeowners to get a clear view of the state of their insulation. Whether they realize it is time to replace aging materials or repair damaged ones, hiring a contractor with expertise is the way to go. General contractors (GC) or roofers may claim to know what they’re doing, but more often than not, they lack a full understanding since there are so many nuances to proper insulation installation and maintenance.
A licensed, knowledgeable team will be able to manage and execute your project from design through ongoing care and repairs. Below is a list of the common issues that arise following a roof replacement as well as normal wear-and-tear. In each scenario, an insulation contractor will be better equipped to resolve any shortcomings than a GC or roofer would be.
Uneven Surfaces As we mentioned before, insulation is put to the test during roof construction. It catches debris and when construction is complete, many homeowners are left with uneven or punctured insulation — which can have costly consequences.
Uneven surfaces result in different levels of thermal resistance. In short, this means damaged areas will let in too much heat in warm months and let out too much heat in fall and winter. Either way, homeowners end up paying more on energy bills and are likely to experience discomfort due to extreme indoor temperatures.
Collapsed or Compacted Insulation In addition to being hit by debris, insulation is subject to increased foot traffic during construction. This can compact or collapse insulation, which also diminishes its effectiveness.
Even if your insulation manages to avoid damage during construction, many of us store knickknacks, furniture, holiday decorations, boxes… you name it in our attics. Over time, this will also compact insulation in certain areas. If the depth isn’t the same across the attic floor, you will run into problems down the line.
Improper Attic Ventilation Improper or lacking attic ventilation results in an excessively hot attic in the summer and a wet attic in the winter. In many of these instances, insulation is the culprit — and victim. Soffit vents allow air flow into an attic, keeping it cool in the summer and allowing moisture to evaporate.
If not properly installed or replaced after construction of a new roof, insulation can block these vents, resulting in damaging condensation and moisture. In time, these issues will lead to the growth of mold and mildew, which can become a health risk.
What Can I Expect Working with an Insulation Contractor? Although well-intentioned, contractors without insulation expertise will not know how to avoid and fix costly insulation issues. Following roof construction, an insulation contractor can assess any damage and design a solution based on the condition of the material and the specifics of your home.
An insulation contractor can even out surfaces, repair dents and other damage, and ensure proper ventilation and air flow to avoid potential problems in the future. Best of all, when you hire a team like A+ Insulation, you’ll be kept in the loop and know exactly what’s happening and why with your home’s insulation.
One client shared, “What I like about A+ is that I’m educated. When they come to the house and tell me that there’s work that needs to be done, it’s explained to me what it is they’re doing, why it is they’re doing it and what I should expect at the end.”
We know a new roof is a big expense, but to make the most of your investment, it’s so important that the insulation underneath is able to perform. Our certified craftsmen are trained to resolve any issues and can evaluate your energy needs and potential savings. After designing a solution, they will communicate their plan for remediation, so that you feel confident moving forward.
What Benefits Can I Expect from Working with an Insulation Contractor? Many people underestimate the essential role insulation plays in a well-functioning home. It protects your family’s health and safety as well as your wallet. As much as 30% of your home’s heat can be lost through your roof, which can be a major problem.
An energy auditor shared, “The thing I like most about A+ Insulation is that they’re honest, dependable; they know the implications of doing a job the right way the first time…and they always deliver a job the right way.”
Most insulations have a virtual lifetime guarantee if they are installed properly. It is one of the best investments you can make in your property. And even though its primary purpose is temperature control, insulation addresses nearly every issue impacting your family’s comfort and well-being at home.
Relying on expert contractors is the most straightforward path to creating a more energy-efficient, pleasant, safe and durable home.
Realize Maximum Benefits with an Insulation Contractor like A+ Insulation If you want to realize the full benefits of your roofing and insulation investment, hiring a qualified insulation consultant is key. A+ Insulation helps Kansas City homeowners save money and live more comfortably with smart solutions tailored to their specific needs.
If you recently completed a roof replacement or plan to in the future, let our licensed and knowledgeable insulation contractors evaluate your Kansas City home’s insulation needs. Call us at (913) 281-2250 or visit insulatekansascity.com/contact to schedule a free, no-obligation estimate.
Is Insulating Foam Effective for Your Home?
Do you know that insulation doesn’t have an expiration date? No matter how long it has been since you’ve insulated your home, it never actually stops working. With that in mind, the right home insulation solution is a one-time deal that can last you a lifetime.
Close to 30% of your residency’s energy is wasted when it seeps through the floors, walls, and roof. If not insulated properly, air leaks out through parts of your home, rendering it cost-inefficient. So besides the virtual life-long guarantee, insulation is also pretty cost-effective. Once you’ve done it, you’ll start seeing its benefits in your reduced heating bills, for example.
To make sure you’ve made the right decision by insulting your home, there are aspects of it you need to consider, so stick around and read all about it.
What Does Insulation Mean, Exactly?
In a nutshell, insulation is the process of protecting your home from noise, weather, and other environmental occurrences. It refers to having your residence thermally managed.
But even though most of the insulation is done regarding making your home thermally effective, there are also other purposes for insulation, such as fire insulation, impact insulation, and acoustic insulation.
Insulation is used to block the passage of heat, cold, sound, or impact through your residence or place of choice. Most people opt for insulation to keep their homes cost-effective, and it’s becoming a significant feature of many homes in Kansas City.
Of the four types, spray-foam insulation is the most commonly used insulation type that prevents homes from getting too hot, too cold, or prone to developing mold.
Foam Insulation: What Is It?
Spray foam is a type of insulation material used to hinder the air from leaking through the walls, floors, or ceiling recesses. Spray foam is particularly practical to use in places that are difficult to reach, such as small cavities in the ceiling or narrow holes in the floor.
Also, insulation foam is widely used for securing the spaces around light fixtures and power outlets or any other space where the windows and doors are placed.
What makes insulation foam practical to use is that it can be applied directly into any openings and in any building construction — new or already existing. Whenever there’s a visible cavity in your home that can be accessed, insulation foam can be sprayed in.
Another perk of using foam for insulation is that it will never lose its shape. Whatever opening you might have in your house, like gaps, cracks, and crevices, the foam will fit like a glove. It won’t sag or compress over time, unlike other traditional insulation materials.
Why Choose Foam for Insulation?
Among the other materials used for insulating a home, foam is definitely the most sought-after insulation material — and for a good reason. Homeowners opt for foam insulation because it won’t shape-shift. It won’t overflow the cavity. Neither will it sag or modify the original shape of the space.
Insulating your home with foam can help you maintain the preferred temperature and lower your electric bills. Foam locks in the air in cavities and hinders it from passing through walls, floors, or ceilings, which leads to more cost-efficient energy management.
Other than preventing air leaks, the foam will insulate your home from drafts — just spray it anywhere you think you might have a draft, and that’s it. The foam will expand and fit the crack or cranny like a glove.
What Else Can Foam Be Used For?
People living in places that experience severe shifts in weather conditions are more often faced with condensation issues because if there’s a significant discrepancy in the exterior and interior temperature, condensation will form. This will most commonly happen to windows with no or little insulation.
So besides energy management and draft control, homeowners use foam to deal with the condensation build-up in their walls. Insulation foam can halt different air temperatures from meeting, thus causing condensation by sealing the air.
Other than preventing condensation, foam insulation will work wonders for ice dams in winter.
Those living in cooler places know very well how pesky ice dams can get. Every time water on the roof freezes and the heat that comes from the attic starts to melt it, it runs down and forms an ice dam near the gutter, at the lower side of the roof.
For this to no longer be the case in your home, insulating the roof deck with foam will lock in the warm air and prevent it from leaking through the roof, melting the ice and causing ice dams.
How Can Insulating My Home With Foam Benefit Me?
As a homeowner in Kansas City, you’ll be getting the most of your money’s worth from high-quality insulation. Choose well and you’ll be all set for a lifetime.
Insulating your home means you’ll be taking care of every single issue that’s been causing your energy bill to go through the roof or even causing you physical discomfort in your own home.
Here are some of the aspects that foam insulation at home can take care of:
No More Air Leaks
Using foam for insulation will fill and seal every crack, and cavity in your walls, floors, or ceilings, making sure. Thanks to the foam being made of polyurethane, it will expand close to 100 times its size to fit every opening and prevent the air from leaking nicely.
What’s Sealed Will Stay Sealed
Foam won’t budge, no matter how long it’s been since you’ve insulated the cracks in the ceiling. It won’t disrupt the constriction of your walls, floors, or ceiling. It will stay in place and do its job for years to come. Unlike other insulation materials, the foam won’t settle or sag, which makes it the most cost-efficient investment for insulation.
No More Allergens
Insulating your home with foam translates to preventing allergens, dust, and pollutants from entering your living space — it even halts bacteria and mold build-up. Foam insulation is especially beneficial for residential homes of families with children, meaning the young ones can enjoy growing up in a safe environment.
Less Energy Loss
After you have insulated your home with foam, you will begin noticing the reduction of loss of energy since the foam will prevent the heat and cool from escaping the room, causing your AC or heater to work overtime which will end up with you paying more for your monthly bill.
Since polyurethane doesn’t make a good nesting environment or food source, insects or rodents won’t be able to infest. In contrast to other insulation materials, the foam expands and fills in the entire crack or opening in question, so there will be no room for anything to settle in.
Termites and other pests will also be out of the question — the foam can act as a barrier between any wooden construction.
How Expensive Is Foam Insulation?
Well, the whole process of insulating your home is costly; it’s not just foam insulation.
But considering everything you will be doing to make sure your home is safe, cost-efficient, and made to last, the cost of insulation won’t seem like much since you’ll definitely be getting your money’s worth.
The cost of insulating your home will depend on several factors:
The type of insulation and the material used;
Where is your home located;
Is it a new home or an older construction in question;
The labor cost in your designated area.
If you’re looking to insulate a newly constructed home, the insulation cost will be less than that for insinuating an older construction.
When it comes to the type of insulation, spray foam insulation is a tad more expensive than fiberglass insulation. Still, the numbers don’t even come close to the benefits you’ll be getting from foam insulation.
Should I Chose Foam Insulation for My Home?
Getting your home insulated is a no-brainer since you’ll be making an investment in your home that will last you a lifetime. Now, depending on your own preferences and budget, there are four types of insulation to choose from: fiberglass, mineral, cellulose, and foam.
According to the features of each insulation type, foam insulation is the most energy-effective insulation that will deliver exactly what you want from insulation: cost-efficiency, comfort, lifetime guarantee, and safe living space.
How To Do It?
If you landed on insulating your home, then opting for foam insulation will have you smiling in no time. Just choose the right company to do all the heavy lifting, and you’ll be all set for years to come.
Common Attic Insulation Problems and How to Solve Them
Hot air rises, and so will your energy bill if you have a poorly insulated attic. During fall and winter, 25% of heat escapes through the attic. That’s 25% of your heating costs wasted on heat energy that doesn’t do its job.
This is why proper attic insulation is crucial to achieving an energy-efficient home. The insulation forms a barrier between your attic and the outside temperature, keeping the inside of your home warm in the winter months and cool in the summer.
But the attic also tends to be the least visited space in most houses, so many homeowners don’t realize when their attic insulation has issues or isn’t working at all. This results in your home’s temperature being poorly regulated and your energy bills skyrocketing.
As such, it’s important to check your attic insulation and identify any problems so you can solve them right away. We listed some of the most common attic insulation problems below.
Uneven insulation material
Some homeowners choose to DIY their attic insulation. And while this can be done, not only can it be potentially disastrous, it can also lead to uneven insulation application.
When the insulation material is unevenly distributed, it results in different R-values or thermal resistance in the attic. That means one part of your attic may have higher thermal resistance while the others may let in more heat flow.
Instead of suffering the consequences, such as higher energy bills and poor temperature regulation, it’s best to leave the attic insulation job to professionals.
Collapsed or compacted insulation
The attic acts mainly as a storage space for boxes and bulky items that are not in use. But when your attic is too crowded and the boxes press against the insulation, the latter becomes compressed and loses its ability to insulate.
When attic insulation gets compressed or completely deteriorates, its R-value decreases. And when your attic insulation’s R-value decreases, so does your attic’s thermal resistance, making your house less energy efficient.
Avoid collapsed or compacted insulation by keeping heavy boxes and other bulky items off the insulation material. Instead of placing all the items on the floor, install shelves and other storage solutions that will relieve the weight from your attic insulation.
You can also install solid flooring on top of your attic insulation so you can place items on the floor without directly putting weight on and possibly damaging the insulation material below.
Nonexistent skylight shaft insulation
If you have a skylight, there must be a shaft in the attic that runs from your roof, passes through the attic, and ends at your ceiling. The part exposed in your attic needs to be insulated, too, but many don’t bother with this step.
With sunlight passing through the skylight, heat goes through the shaft. Similarly, cold temperature creeps in during winter. If left uninsulated, the shaft will be a point of low thermal resistance in your attic, leading to ineffective attic insulation.
Make sure to insulate around the shaft and seal it properly. Insulation installed onto skylight shafts is prone to becoming loose and falling to the floor, so it’s best if it gets sealed.
Missing insulation from repaired spaces
If you have proper attic insulation but have since made repairs to your attic, you might have missed fixing the insulation as well.
Attic repairs may move around or completely remove the insulation material. Once the project is done, you or your contractor may forget to replace it. As mentioned before, if your attic insulation has bald spots, those parts have less thermal resistance and will let out heating or cooling energy.
If you’re doing repairs, put insulation on your checklist of things to accomplish. And if you’ve done repairs in the past and know that you didn’t replace the insulation, check it now and insulate as soon as possible.
Uninsulated access to the attic
According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s guide of where to insulate in a home, attic doors must be insulated. Otherwise, they’re like holes in the layer of insulation covering your attic floor that facilitate heat transfer.
Prevent energy loss in your home by insulating access to your attic.
If you have an attic hatch or a scuttle hole, which is a removable panel in your ceiling leading to the attic, you need to weatherstrip the trim of the hatch, attach layers of foam board to the panel, and install your choice of insulation on top.
Keep the R-value of the insulation of the hatch’s removable panel the same as that of the insulation in the rest of your attic.
If your attic access is through a set of pull-down stairs, you can insulate it by weather stripping the perimeter of the frame and building an insulation foam box topped with batt insulation in the attic to enclose the stairs.
If your attic is accessed through knee wall doors, make sure to buy knee wall doors with built-in insulation.
If this is not an option, you can seal it the same way you seal an attic hatch: by weather stripping the frame and attaching foam insulation to the attic side of the door.
Blocked attic ventilation
Lack of ventilation in the attic results in either a hot attic in the summer or a wet attic in winter. Sometimes, insulation blocks the soffit vents in your attic—this is a vent that allows air to flow into the attic, keeping it cool in the summer and allowing moisture to evaporate.
If your insulation blocks these vents, it contributes to attic condensation and moisture. This can result in the growth of mold and mildew, which can put your health at risk.
Avoid the hazards of inhaling or ingesting mold and mildew by making sure the vents in your attic are clear of any insulation materials and other blockages.
Since your insulation materials can move or fall, especially if they’ve been installed for more than a decade, it’s best to check your attic regularly and make sure they are not blocking the soffit vents.
The attic is often dark and undisturbed, making it a perfect hideaway for pests, insects, and small animals. Attics with inadequate insulation are especially attractive to these pests, which thrive in places with excessive moisture. They also use exposed insulation materials to build their nests.
Keep your attic free of pests by finding and sealing all cracks, gaps, and holes. Make sure also to replace the insulation material in these spots to restore thermal resistance in your attic.
If there’s already an infestation, call your local extermination company to get rid of the pests. Then, fix all the holes they might have made through the attic insulation.
As mentioned earlier, the R-value of your insulation indicates your attic’s thermal resistance or ability to regulate the temperature in your home. The higher the R-value, the greater the insulation.
But each insulation material has a different R-value, determined by its density and thickness. The R-value also depends on the number of layers for multilayered attic insulation.
Additionally, the recommended R-value depends on the climate in your area, your HVAC system, and which part of the house you want to insulate.
If you install insulation with an inadequate R-value, the temperature in your home will not be properly regulated, and you will not be able to maximize the energy efficiency that attic insulation brings.
According to the Department of Energy, attic insulation should at least be R-30. However, this is the minimum and depends on which climate zone you belong to.
Those in Zones 1 to 5, for example, require attic insulation of at least R-38, while those in Zones 6 to 8 would need at least R-49 attic insulation.
Types of Attic Insulation
The two common types of attic insulation are blown-in insulation and batt insulation.
Also known as loose-fill insulation, this type comes in tiny chunks of insulation material, such as fiberglass, blown in using a machine. It has an R-value of approximately 2.5 per inch, so you need a thick layer to achieve adequate attic insulation.
On the other hand, batt insulation comes in rolled-up sheets with the insulation material held in place by adhesive binders like reflective foil. It is easy to install and has an R-value of about 4.3 per inch.
Get Adequate Attic Insulation from Experts
A+ Insulation is a Kansas City-based insulation company that professionally installs insulation in different parts of the home, including the attic.
Our expert attic insulation contractors even install cathedral ceiling insulation and other forms of insulation for tight spaces between your roof and your ceiling.
Let our licensed, knowledgeable team of attic insulation professionals evaluate your Kansas City home’s insulation needs. Call us at (913) 674-9913 to schedule a free, no-obligation inspection and estimate.
Ice Dam Formation and How Insulation Prevents It
While picturesque, ice dams are not welcome sights. They can cause water damage to your roof and attic. Worse, the sharp icicles hanging off an ice dam are safety hazards. If any of them fall or if the ice dam itself falls, they may cause serious injury and even death.
Read on to learn about how ice dams form, what you can do about them, and how you can prevent them with proper insulation.
Ice Dam Formation Process
Snow on the roof melts, refreezes at the eaves or gutter, and forms ice dams due to temperature differences across the roof. This means that warm air is coming from within the house and up into the attic, heating the underside of the roof.
However, the heat doesn’t reach the eaves or gutter, so the water freezes there. The ice accumulates, forming a dam that causes melt water from the warm roof to back up. The melt water then starts flowing under the shingles and into the house.
Damage to Your Home
If ice dams form on your roof, it can tear gutters off and loosen shingles. The backed up water can seep into your house, causing water and moisture damage.
It can lead to stained and sagging ceilings, peeling paint, a warped floor, and soggy attic insulation. This also provides habitats for mold and mildew growth. Additionally, your home will lose its resale value.
The ice dam may melt and come loose when the weather warms. It can fall, possibly taking shingles and the gutter with it, and injuring anyone below.
Presence of ice on the gutters or on the lower edge of the roof
Ice around the soffit vents or coming through the vents themselves
Icicles along the roof’s edge
Ice or melt water on the siding
As soon as you see any of these signs, take measures to prevent ice dams. You may try using heat cables. These are placed along the edges of the roof and will heat it so that melt water doesn’t refreeze and form a dam.
Some may find the heat cables unattractive. Also, they can only be used to prevent ice dams, not remove existing ones. If you choose to use this method, install them early.
Dealing with Existing Ice Dams
Once ice dams have formed, don’t try to remove them yourself. You will be putting yourself at risk of injury. Instead hire a professional to ensure ice dams are removed safely.
If the ice dams are already causing damage to your home, there are a few things you can do to mitigate it. Keep in mind that these are only temporary solutions.
What not to do
Let’s start off by talking about what not to do when you have an ice dam.
You might be tempted to get a hammer, chisel, or some other tool to hack at the ice and break it off. However, this can break your roofing. Don’t use salt either. It’s highly corrosive and may damage your roofing, siding, gutters, and downspouts.
Freeze leaks with cold air
If the ice dam causes a leak in your attic, you can stop it by blowing cold air onto it. Bring a fan into the attic and aim it at where the leak is from beneath the roof to freeze it. This will help prevent further damage to your home.
Rake the snow
You should always remove excess snow from your roof after a heavy snowfall, but it becomes even more important to do so when you have an ice dam. Use a long-handled roof rake to safely scrape snow off your roof from the ground. This will help decrease the amount of melt water buildup.
Never try to remove snow by climbing up as you’ll be in danger of slipping and falling. You don’t need to reach your whole roof either, just whatever part of it you can with the rake.
You can try using de-icing methods to melt the ice dam or create a gap in it. Check your local hardware stores for de-icing products such as calcium magnesium acetate. They’re sold as tablets or crystals that can be spread over affected areas to safely melt the dam.
Another method is to fill a discarded pantyhose or something similar with calcium chloride ice melter. You then lay this across the ice dam, hanging over the edge. This creates a gap in the ice dam through which the water can drain.
Attic insulation as a permanent solution
The best way to prevent ice dams from forming in the first place is to keep the entire roof at the same temperature. You do this by insulating your attic. Proper insulation will keep heat within your home from escaping and warming your roof.
It’s possible to insulate your attic yourself, but only if you’re highly experienced. Installing insulation is a job for professionals. Unless you have several years of DIY experience, it is highly advisable you hire one.
In addition to attic insulation, there are several other ways you can prevent heat from reaching your roof to minimize the risk of ice damming.
Along with poor attic insulation, poor ventilation is one of the two main causes of uneven roof temperatures.
By allowing the cold winter air to flow through your attic, it keeps your roof cold and prevents ice from forming a dam. Proper ventilation also reduces moisture in the attic, preventing mold, mildew, and rot.
Your attic’s insulation should have a vapor barrier that keeps warm, moist air from entering the attic. There should be only one, between the ceiling and the insulation.
If the vapor barrier is above the insulation or if there is more than one, moisture can get trapped, causing the insulation to get wet. This can lead to mold growth. If there’s no vapor barrier, heat and moisture will enter the attic.
A+ Insulation will correct this problem for you should we find it.
Seal the attic hatch
Your attic hatch is a huge opening through which heat can enter your attic. Air seal the trim with caulk and foam sealant depending on the size of the gap. Air seal the hatch perimeter with compression bulb weatherstrip. Finally, insulate the hatch itself with foam.
Ensure all exhausts lead outside
If your exhausts are improperly installed, they can bring heat to your attic. All ducts should lead hot air outside, either through the roof or the walls. They should never go through the soffit as they will heat the roof.
Use sealed can lights
As recessed lights are installed directly into the ceiling, they can create pathways for heat to travel into the attic. Unfortunately, they can’t be insulated. Use sealed IC-rated lighting fixtures instead and cover them with insulation.
By installing thermal insulation on your ducts, you minimize energy loss. Less heat will escape from the ducts and into your attic. Use fiber-reinforced mastic for the joints and cover everything with R-5 or R-6 foil-faced fiberglass insulation.
You can further insulate your attic by sealing electrical penetrations and vent pipes with a fire-stop sealant. This blocks off small passages through which heat can travel.
Clean your gutters
During the fall, gutters are often clogged by fallen leaves and branches. Make sure to clean them before winter comes around. Otherwise, water will flow through them more slowly, giving them more time to freeze.
Investing in attic insulation and ventilation might seem like too much just to deal with ice dams. However, they also come with various long-term benefits, and you’ll be glad to have them the whole year, not just during winter.
Utility bill savings
With better insulation, you won’t need to spend as much on heating and cooling to maintain comfortable temperatures. Insulating your attic can save you up to 30% on energy bills. This also saves you on HVAC system maintenance costs since there’s less wear and tear on them.
Safer home structure
Insulating your attic protects your home from heat and moisture damage. It will protect walls from erosion, shingles from swelling and cracking, and plywood from softening and rotting. It also eliminates cool, moist areas where mold and mildew can grow.
Better indoor comfort and health
Homes are susceptible to sudden temperature fluctuations if they’re not properly insulated, even if they have the best heating and cooling systems. With proper insulation, you’ll ensure comfort throughout the whole day, even as temperatures lower during the night and early morning.
Insulation also prevents pollutants from entering through air leaks. This improves air quality within your home, helping you stay healthy and avoid diseases.
Let us insulate your attic
A+ Insulation provides high-quality insulation installations. We provide upfront, on-the-spot quotes and are as minimally invasive as possible during installations so you experience few disruptions.
Contact us to talk to one of our insulation experts. Call us at (913) 281-2250 if you live in Kansas or (816) 265-1947 if you live in Missouri. You can also fill out our contact form.
How to Insulate a Crawl Space: A Complete Guide
Crawl space damage costs homeowners an average of $5,500 nationwide. Typical crawl space damage repair costs $1,500-$15,000 in repairs. The average cost doesn’t include repairs for the effects of poor crawl space insulation to the rest of the property. Insulating your crawl space correctly can save you a lot of costly repairs in the coming years.
Insulation’s Home Defense Role
Many of A+ Insulation’s clients request crawl space insulation work during the months with extreme weather—the hottest and the coldest months. Insulation defends your home and foundations against the elements. During seasons with extreme weather, homes without proper insulation risk costlier damage to repair, making crawl space insulation worth the cost.
Hot Weather Risks
In scorching weather, the wood components of your home will dry out. The sediment around the foundations of your home depletes in moisture, shrinking, causing the support to weaken and shift.
The opposite is also possible. If there’s a lot of humidity in your area during the hot seasons, the wood in your home and foundations could get moisture damage from being exposed in the crawl space. Mold and mildew thrive in this damp environment, and both of these things can compromise the strength and structural integrity of your wood foundations.
Cold Weather Risks
The moisture damage becomes the most significant risk to homes in colder months. Rain or snow can put a lot of moisture damage onto the wood in your crawlspace and the rest of the home’s foundations.
Another significant issue revolves around plumbing and pipes, which are often built to run through the crawl space. Without the insulation, your pipes are likely to freeze and burst in extreme cold. This problem will cost even more money from you, approximately $5,000-$70,000 depending on the damage.
The Basics of Crawl Space Insulation
The way to approach crawl space insulation is to consider it part of your home’s general conditioning. Don’t look at it as an area you want to isolate or cut off from the rest of the home. Consider the temperature in it the way you would consider the temperature within the living spaces of your house.
The goal of insulation for your crawl space is to control the temperature and moisture in it. It’s a two-pronged approach. You need to make this low area more balanced in temperature and hold it in that condition, keeping the upper floors warm. And in the same procedure, you’re protecting the foundations of your home from the elements that could make it brittle or susceptible to wear.
Preparing to Insulate Your Crawl Space
Prepare the tools, materials, and necessary equipment before you begin any work to improve the efficiency of the process. It also helps ensure that you have everything you need and won’t be looking for missing tools or materials so that all work can proceed unimpeded by issues.
There’s more than one option available for crawl space insulation. What’s best for your home depends on the type of crawl space you have and what it needs to maintain the temperature in the area.
During the past decades, this has been the most popular choice for insulation. This may be the type of insulation you currently have in your home as it remains a popular option among builders. Fiberglass is a material made of a plastic matrix strengthened by glass fibers, which gives the material its name.
Fiberglass insulation can stop heat transfer through solid objects. It keeps heat from moving towards a colder area, making it ideal during the winter months. It comes in loose-fill or bats. However, it’s worth knowing that fiberglass could be unsuitable for some crawl spaces as it can cause damage to the wooden floor structure above it. Furthermore, if the fiberglass starts absorbing water, it gets too heavy and falls.
Closed-cell foam insulation is more expensive, but it’s a quick and effective installation option. It helps fill gaps and can be used even around uneven areas and obstacles. It works by creating a vapor barrier on surfaces that prevent them from being damaged by water and moisture.
However, it’s a permanent solution and won’t get easily removed if something goes wrong. Keeping the layer consistent is also challenging, as there’s plenty of potential to go overboard and spray too much on.
Open-Cell foam insulation is also expensive, but not as much as the closed-cell variety. Like the closed-cell variant, it’s quick and efficient to install, but it’s also a permanent option. Unlike closed-cell, it doesn’t create a vapor barrier.
So when it comes to insulating your crawl space, closed-cell spray foam is better, as it is better suited for your needs.
Foam Board or Rigid Foam
Rigid board or foam-board is a cost-effective insulation solution. It’s a better option than fiberglass for this reason. It’s waterproof and stable and won’t compress or fall apart like fiberglass batts. It’s ideal for walls and crawl spaces because it prevents needing fiberglass insulation in the first place. The foam board is placed securely against the crawl space to insulate against damage.
The downside to foam board is that it’s a lot more complicated to install than spray foam and more time-consuming. The board must be cut and fitted to the spaces that need insulation and requires accurate measurements to ensure a perfect fit. It also can’t be installed over obstacles and will need to be cut in such a way to avoid them.
Equipment and Tools
While some of the equipment may depend on the type of insulation that you’ll be putting onto your crawl space, most of them are necessary for both.
The materials used for insulation can be hazardous to your health. The materials that make up insulation can enter your lungs, make it difficult to breathe, and irritate the skin. Ensure that you use gloves, safety goggles, and a protective mask, especially when handling the insulation materials.
The crawl space will also be enclosed and difficult to move around in. Make sure you have bright lights that keep the area brightly illuminated so you can see what you’re working on. You’ll also want to wear knee pads to not hurt or scuff your knees as you move around the area.
The Insulation Process
First, you’ll need to clear your work area of debris. Make sure there aren’t any nails jutting out of the walls or over your head. Sweep away rocks or stones around the ground’s surface. And most of all, you need to eliminate any moisture sources.
This means you need to move downspouts away from your crawl space. It’s best to check the gutters of your home to see if any of them might be sending rainwater runoff down to the crawl space area.
If you have a garden, check your irrigation system. If the irrigation is causing the soil in the crawlspace to become damp or leaks water into the walls, you need to block out the water’s path and redirect it elsewhere.
Warm Climate Installation
Make sure that your insulation is placed securely against the surface.
The insulation must be in direct contact with the underside of your floor or the ceiling of your crawl space.
If you’re using fiberglass batts, use a crisscrossing wire to hold the material in place.
If you’re using spray foam, you can spray directly against the surface. However, you must maintain a steady hand and make sure that the insulation stays as even as possible. Maintaining even layers will keep the insulation more consistent in its performance.
If you’re using rigid board insulation, you’ll need to usemechanical fasteners. While you can use industrial adhesives to hold it in place, the mechanical fasteners will make doubly sure that the boards don’t fall.
Seal the space.
After adding the insulation, you need to seal up vents, doors, and any gaps that open up into this area. Use the caulking gun to seal the crawlspace’s openings. Exterior-grade caulk is the most ideal, especially for sealing vent covers, rim joists, and sills.
Look for areas with electrical wiring and plumbing. Often, these go through your crawl space, and they’ll have small gaps or openings to let these wires and pipes pass through. You’ll need to fill these areas in as well.
If you’re using spray foam installation, this is a lot easier to do as they can go over these spaces and act as the seal. But if you’re using the rigid boards, you’ll need the caulking gun to do the sealing.
Insulate the pipes and ducts
The pipes and ducts themselves need to be insulated as well. They have to get covered up with the insulation material and as closely as possible.
It’ll be more difficult to do this on such an uneven surface if you’re using foam boards, so try to use the fiberglass batting instead. You can also use spray foam.
Cold Climate Installation
Colder locations require adding more insulation than in hot climate areas. And it’s most effective when applied to the crawl space walls rather than the ceiling because the ground around the crawl space will be the source of the low temperature.
Rigid boards are considered the best insulation for these cases, because they control moisture better than the other types while sealing in air.
Cover the vents.
If your crawl space is already unventilated, you can skip this step. However, if you have a ventilated crawl space, you’ll need to remove any vents entirely and seal the area with the caulking gun.
Look for holes in the foundation as well and seal them up. You need to create as tight an airlock as possible in your crawl space.
Insulate the foundation.
The foundation of your home itself needs insulation along with the walls. This is another reason that foam boards work so well—it can be applied on brick, stone, and any other type of masonry.
Glue the boards to the inside of the foundation walls, or, use mechanical fasteners for even more security. After that, seal everything again with waterproof tape to create airtight and watertight insulation.
Look for any sources of moisture remaining inside the space.
Do a double-check of your work area to see if there are still any sources of dampness or moisture. Then you have to get rid of all of them as much as possible. The goal is to prevent condensation and dampness. This prevents mold and mildew from growing.
A good tip is to look over your plumbing pipes and check for leaks. Cover them up or seal them while you’re there in the crawl space and head off any potential problems during the cold weather.
Get Professional Inspection and Appraisal for Your Insulation
Some communities require professional inspections from a government authority to ensure that any insulation work is done according to regulation. This process not only ensures that the job has been done right, but that it’s also safe for the occupants of the house.
Insulating a crawl space can be difficult since it requires so much checking to ensure that all regulations are followed and that all areas are sealed correctly. Because of this, it’s worth hiring a professional to do it instead.
Professional contractors are well-versed in the regulatory requirements. They can also correctly calculate the amount of insulation needed and whether a space needs some or no ventilation at all. Finally, they have the equipment necessary to ensure the space is fully sealed.
Put your home’s safety and protection in the hands of professionals with long years of experience in insulating homes. Contact A+ Insulation today to request a quick quote, or browse our services to see other areas where we can do the insulation for you.
The Health Benefits of Having a Quiet Home
Living in a crowded, noisy part of town can make even staying at home tiring. There can be car horns from out in the street or noisy neighbors blasting their stereo. If this happens on a regular basis, it can have a serious negative impact on your health.
A quiet home is important to your well-being. If the noise gets to you and interferes with your relaxation and sleep, then maybe it’s time to consider getting insulation to soundproof your home.
More Rest and Less Stress
The most obvious and most important benefit to having soundproofing insulation is that less noise results in better relaxation by reducing disturbance to sleep and other activities.
You might be tempted just to ignore the noise. After all, whatever noise you experience in your home is likely intermittent; it goes away after a while and might not be worth investing in a permanent solution for. This might work at first.
However, a lack of quality rest time takes its toll on you. You might be able to ignore noise for a time, but you can’t ignore the physical and psychological effects it has on you. Quality rest is needed for your body and mind to heal and wind down.
Regardless of whether the noise is the engines of a plane flying overhead or the hum of the TV, it can activate your brain’s fight or flight response. And it aggravates existing health conditions by increasing stress levels.
Stress itself causes a variety of symptoms, including physical, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral symptoms. You become more prone to negative emotions, have less energy, possibly get tense muscles, are less able to focus, have less of an appetite, and more.
If it comes to the point that the noise affects your sleep, its negative effects on your well-being are unsurprisingly magnified.
Silence has been found to stimulate brain growth. It enhances sleep and lessens insomnia. And it restores your mental strength, allowing you to better use your creativity and do some self-reflection. Even just 10 minutes in total silence does wonders for your concentration.
You’re probably bombarded with various stressors throughout the day. There’s work, unpleasant relations to deal with, bad news about the pandemic, and many other possible stressors winding you up. Home should be a refuge where you can block all of this out. You don’t need your neighbor’s music adding to your irritation.
Eliminate the noise, and your home becomes a much healthier place to live in.
A Better Home Environment
A quiet home with each room undisturbed by noise is a peaceful home. Soundproofing insulation makes your home much more comfortable. In addition to preventing noise from the outside coming in, it prevents noise from going from room to room.
To add to your comfort, soundproofing insulation doesn’t just insulate your home from sound, it also prevents heat from coming in or escaping. This makes it easier to keep your home at your preferred temperature, meaning your home is cooler during summer and warmer during winter. It also saves you money on your energy bills as you spend less electricity on appliances to cool or heat your home.
Privacy and Peace of Mind
As discussed earlier, quality rest and lack of noise are incredibly important to maintaining your health. But what if, for example, the people you live with want to watch a movie late at night? Perhaps you have a child practicing an instrument?
Maybe you’re the one who wants to relax with an activity that’s relatively noisy but don’t want to inconvenience the rest of the people in the house. Perhaps you’re singing in your room and don’t want anyone to hear you. Or you’re chatting with some friends over the phone, or online on your PC, and want your conversations to be private.
Regardless of what it is, soundproofing insulation will keep any sound from escaping the room or at least muffle it to the point that it can’t be understood. It helps the whole household avoid disturbance from individual members.
Children that live in noisy environments have a harder time reading. Noise distracts them from important stimuli like their parents talking to them. It makes it harder for them to distinguish similar sound words. “Hit” and “bit,” for example, can sound very similar when there’s background noise messing with a child’s hearing.
Noise doesn’t just affect children’s language either. It can disrupt non-auditory tasks as well, so it could potentially disrupt the development of their other sensory skills.
By installing soundproofing insulation in your home, you’re also protecting your children. It keeps their young minds from being overwhelmed by too many stimuli, be it from loud construction outside or any noise made by family members within the house.
Of course, it’s not just children. While an adult’s learning and development wouldn’t be affected as much by noise, distractions would still hinder your reading or slow your learning of new skills. Learning is much easier when there aren’t any external sources of stress like noise.
More Effective Communication
Soundproofing your home allows for better communication between everyone living in it.
Noise can make it hard to have good conversations at home. This is partly because noise makes it harder to understand the other person, but it is also largely due to the aforementioned negative effects of noise on your health.
Sometimes, communication between household members is strained enough due to the family going through a rough patch. A noisy environment aggravates this and worsens your mental state, making it harder to resolve issues and misunderstandings.
Healthy communication is necessary for a happy household. And soundproofing insulation helps keep everyone calmer and thinking clearer by blocking out the noise.
Soundproofing Your Home
Soundproofing insulation materials are installed into your walls and ceiling. As sound comes into contact with the materials, the insulation reflects or absorbs noise and converts it into heat before it goes past your walls.
Homeowners are advised to insulate their homes from top to bottom. However, different insulation materials are suited for each part of a room. For most of your walls and entryways, blown-in and spray foam insulation are your best choices. For floors and ceilings, foam boards, rigid foam panels, and blanket batts are more suitable.
Some materials are harder to install than others, depending on whether your wall or ceiling is already in place. Blanket batts are better installed while a wall or ceiling is being built. But blown-in and spray foam insulation can be installed in finished walls or ceilings and hard-to-reach places.
It’s possible to install soundproofing insulation yourself if you have the tools and expertise. However, it is much more advisable to hire professionals to do the job for you. Improper handling of soundproofing insulation materials can irritate your skin and cause you to inhale small fibers and particles, possibly triggering respiratory issues.
Additional Ways to Soundproof Your Home
In addition to installing soundproofing insulation into your walls and ceilings, there are a few other ways you can soundproof your home.
The simplest way is to use rugs or carpets and stuffed and cushioned furniture. Rugs or carpets are effective for dampening the sound of footsteps on flooring like hardwood and tiles, which make a lot of noise. They also absorb sound, preventing it from bouncing from the floor. Similarly, stuffed furniture and cushions absorb sounds and help reduce echo.
While not ideal for your whole home, you can use acoustic tiles in select rooms for extra soundproofing. They absorb sound and limit reverberation. If you have a music room, this is perfect for improving the sound quality there as it will reduce noise from outside as well echo from the instruments.
Solid doors have a thicker density and are good for blocking out noise. For windows, you can use double-pane windows, which have air between the two glass panes and sound-absorbing curtains.
Take note that while these are effective means of soundproofing your home, they are best used in combination with soundproofing insulation. This is because your walls and ceilings are the parts of your home that come into contact with sound the most.
Get Soundproof Insulation for Your Home with A+ Insulation
Finding a solution to a quieter home is of utmost importance. And the cost of soundproofing your home is small in comparison to the costs associated with the health problems caused by noise exposure.
Call us at (913) 281-2250 or send us a message and ask for a quote or schedule an appointment.
Room Above Your Garage Too Hot or Cold? Follow These Insulation Tips
Many homes feature a room above the garage. These bonus rooms create extra functional space on your property without you having to expand into your yard. They’re great additions for homes with smaller lots and can be used for various purposes, such as an office, guest room, entertainment and hobby area, or a play space for kids.
Despite the number of possible uses for the space, it isn’t without some drawbacks. Rooms over a garage can be challenging to heat and cool because of where they are situated. So, many homeowners complain about their bonus rooms being too hot or too cold, discouraging them from using their bonus room and rendering that additional space useless.
These overly hot or cold bonus rooms are often a result of improper insulation. The warm or cold air from the garage and the adjoining rooms seep into the bonus room, making it difficult to maintain a specific temperature in that space. If you want consistently comfortable indoor temperatures in your bonus room, you need to properly insulate that room, the adjoining rooms, and the garage.
Most homeowners leave their unheated garages uninsulated, which is fine since they don’t need to maintain the temperature in that space anyway. If you have a bonus room, however, insulation becomes necessary even if you’re not heating your garage. The unconditioned air from your garage rises to the space above it, forcing your HVAC to work twice as hard to cool or heat the bonus room.
The first step to making your bonus room more comfortable, therefore, is to insulate your garage. Garages typically use any of the following types of insulation: fiberglass, rigid foam, cellulose, or spray foam.
Fiberglass is the most popular insulation type for garages because of its affordability. It comes in pre-cut rolls, batts, and blankets that are easy to install, so you can save costs on installation by making a DIY project out of it.
Fiberglass batt insulation is an excellent option if you’re not heating your garage. It gives your bonus room enough thermal resistance without you having to spend thousands on insulation.
Rigid Foam Insulation
Opt for rigid foam insulation if you’re planning to convert your garage into a living space. Rigid foam is the only type of insulation that blocks heat transfer through structural elements like wood and steel studs, which is why it’s perfect for converted garages.
Rigid foam insulation comes in stiff panels typically made from polyurethane. The foam boards can be cut into any size and installed under another material, so you can use them to insulate the walls and floor of your garage.
Cellulose insulation is made from recycled newspaper treated with a fire retardant and comes in loose-fill form, making it a popular choice among eco-friendly homeowners.
If you have an unfinished garage, cellulose is your best insulation option. The loose-fill material conforms to any shape, so it easily insulates the spaces between the garage ceiling’s joists and beams.
Cellulose insulation requires the use of a special blowing machine for installation, which you can rent at your local hardware store. If a rental isn’t available, you’ll have to have an insulation contractor install it for you.
Spray Foam Insulation
Spray foam is the best type of insulation material. Apart from offering the highest thermal resistance values, the insulating material also creates a solid barrier that blocks air and moisture gaps.
The downside to spray foam insulation is its cost. At $1.50 to $4.90 per square foot, it’s an expensive way to insulate an unheated garage. However, it can be an effective choice if you’re planning to convert your garage into a full-time living space, such as a home office or guest room.
Garage Ceiling Insulation
If your bonus room still gets overly hot or cold even with an insulated garage, your garage ceiling insulation might need to be updated.
Many building companies insulate garage ceilings using fiberglass batts, which leave gaps in between where air can pass through. If your garage uses fiberglass batt insulation, we recommend replacing it with spray foam instead. Spray foam fills the entire ceiling gravity and closes off any gaps that allow airflow.
To save costs on spray foam insulation, you can have it installed in the gaps between the existing fiberglass batts instead of taking them all out and replacing them.
Make sure to hire a professional contractor to update your garage ceiling insulation because you’ll need to remove the ceiling drywall and redo it after installing the spray foam.
Bonus Room Insulation
The room above your garage needs proper insulation, too. When insulating bonus rooms, you want to focus on three areas: the floor, the exterior walls, and the knee wall.
Pay extra attention to your bonus room’s floor insulation, especially if it’s not possible for you to insulate your garage ceiling with spray foam. Floor insulation is generally thinner than ceiling insulation, but it costs less to install and provides almost the same thermal resistance.
Your bonus room floor has three layers: the finished top layer, the structural bottom layer, and the middle underlayment that serves as insulation. An insulating underlayment is different from floor insulation. The former is an additional layer of material installed beneath your flooring, whereas the latter is packed between the joists under the subfloor.
Because the insulating underlayment is layered directly beneath the finished floor, it helps soundproof the bonus room and create a smoother flooring surface, which fixes the subfloor’s unevenness. The underlayment can also add protection from moisture, depending on the material used.
You can find various underlayment products made from materials with excellent insulating properties, including polyurethane foam, silicone, and fiberglass. These underlayment materials offer different insulation values, underfoot feeling, and soundproofing properties.
Although underlayment isn’t difficult to install, you do need to remove and reinstall your finished floor, so it’s better to hire a professional to do the job for you.
Exterior Wall Insulation
You can insulate the exterior wall of your bonus room as you would with any other room in your home since your goal here is just to reduce the amount of heat lost and gained by the said wall.
The easiest way to insulate an exterior wall is to install the material on the inside of the wall. Traditional fiberglass batts should suffice, but you should consider investing in spray foam insulation, especially if you live in an area that experiences sweltering summers or freezing winters.
Make sure to overlap the batts when possible. The insulation should fit snugly from the top to the bottom of the exterior wall to block all the potential paths of heat transfer. You can cut small sections from the batts and stuff them in the nooks and crannies of the wall, such as around the windows, doors, and vents to be thorough.
Once you’re done installing the fiberglass batts, layer a continuous sheet of vapor barrier across the wall to protect it from moisture problems. You can begin installing drywall afterward.
Knee Wall Insulation
Many homeowners forget to insulate their attic knee walls, which still leads to an uncomfortably hot or cold bonus room. Knee walls are the short walls underneath sloped ceilings that separate the bonus room from the attic space above the garage.
When left uninsulated, knee walls end up absorbing warmth from or releasing conditioned air to the outside through the attic. Not only does this make your bonus room uncomfortable, but it also increases your energy consumption and spending.
The common way of insulating a knee wall is by installing rigid foam insulation on the wall itself and the attic floor behind it. If you’re going with this method, you need to protect the insulation with an air barrier, which means air-sealing the knee wall as if it was an exterior wall.
Seal all the potential air gaps on the knee wall and the attic space behind it, including duct penetrations and electrical boxes.
An easier method of knee wall insulation is by insulating the sloped ceiling. This way, you won’t have to insulate the knee wall itself. The insulation should extend from the birdsmouth joint, or the triangular joint at the base of the roofing joist, to the flat ceiling above the second floor.
You can use either fiberglass batts, loose-fill cellulose, or spray foam for this insulation method.
Insulating the Room Over the Garage
Insulating the room above your garage can be a hassle since you likely need to remove the drywall and flooring. Doing so, however, can save you money in the long run.
An uninsulated bonus room is a huge waste of money. It’s uncomfortable to use, so you won’t be maximizing your investment in its construction. Additionally, it guzzles energy by absorbing warm or cold air from the outside, forcing your HVAC system to work twice as hard to maintain the temperature you want.
To keep the room over the garage from overheating, hire a contractor with ample experience in insulating bonus rooms. A+ Insulation is an insulation expert based in Kansas City. We offer a wide range of insulation solutions for the different parts of your home, including your garage, attic, and bonus room.
Beyond Energy-Efficiency: The Additional Benefits of Proper Home Insulation
Homeowners who want to cut down on cooling and heating expenses need to improve their home’s insulation. A properly insulated home has an easier time keeping indoor temperatures consistently comfortable all year round. The home’s dependency on cooling and heating devices goes down, as well as its energy costs.
Today, insulation is part of the building process. Homeowners who are having their houses built should make it a point to have them air-sealed and properly insulated. However, many owners of older homes have found that their homes have minimal or ineffective insulation or have insulation with traces of asbestos. These homeowners will need to tackle the insulation problem in a remodel or a home renovation.
Before work can begin, your home will need to be inspected by a qualified home energy auditor, and you will also need to have an energy assessment performed.
The auditor will identify areas in the house that need air sealing before proceeding with any insulation work. Once the audit is complete, the next step is to find the right indoor insulation for the different areas of your home.
We always advise our customers to insulate their home from roof to ground for optimum energy efficiency and to take advantage of its other benefits, which we will discuss in detail later. First, we’ll take a look at the typical rooms in a home and find the best insulation material to use for those spaces.
Indoor Area: Attic
Insulation type: Blanket Batt or Rolls
Also good for: unfinished walls, floors, and ceilings
Loose-fill insulation provides great coverage, especially when installed correctly. It is relatively inexpensive too and good for those who would like to do the installation themselves, as this material is easy to work with.
If you are going to install insulation yourself, make sure to wear the appropriate protective wear. This is to prevent coming into contact with and inhaling fiber and small particles from the material. It may cause skin irritations and trigger respiratory issues.
Indoor Area: Living Room, Entryways
Insulation type: Spray foam insulation
Also good for: rooms with finished walls and rooms with irregular/hard-to-reach spaces
Spray foam insulation normally comes in cans with a nozzle attachment. The nozzle is small enough to reach into the nooks and crannies that would otherwise be difficult to fill with other insulation material types. It seals the gaps where air can pass through, preventing cold air or warm air from escaping the room, so it doesn’t leave your cooling and heating devices working overtime.
The spray foam is perfect for sealing gaps between the wall and window frames, including door frames. It’s also good for use behind an electrical outlet in the stud wall, before installing full wall insulation.
A word of caution: applying too much can cause the doors or windows to jam, as the applied foam expands after a few seconds of being exposed to air.
Also good for: rooms with finished walls, hard-to-reach spaces, obstructed walls
Blown-in insulation is ideal for hard-to-reach spaces and finished areas. The blown-in technology provides better and faster coverage, especially in areas that cannot be covered by insulation sprays.
The blown-in foam absorbs sound and acts as a thermal barrier that helps rooms stay cool or warm for a longer period of time, as well as keeping the desired temperature with very minimal use of cooling or heating devices.
Ideal for renovation projects and DIY, the application is simple and straightforward. However, be careful not to spray too much material, as it will foam out as it dries and cover the stud wall surface. To achieve a thorough and more even coating, contact a professional to do it.
Indoor Area: Basements
Type of insulation: Foam Board and Rigid Foam Panels
Also good for: foundation walls, basement walls, floors, and ceilings
Foam boards or rigid foam panels are an all-around insulation material. It’s conveniently cut into widths that fit between standard stud gaps. The foam is a closed-cell material that offers a higher advantage in thermal conductivity compared to other insulation materials.
One drawback of using this material is that it leaves a bigger carbon footprint because it is made with poly materials. However, its insulation capacity makes it a good choice for sound-proofing and reducing sound absorption when you really need it.
For homes that are being renovated, it’s much easier to determine the type of insulation for each part of the home. If you want optimum results, it’s best to cover all your bases while the house is still being built and install the proper insulation from the outset.
Doing so also gives you the opportunity to assess if there is a need to add external insulation within a year, as you can test the internal insulation through the changing seasons.
Other Insulation Factors to Consider
Now that we’ve covered the ideal insulation material for each room type in your home, we’ll take a look at the important factors to consider when planning to insulate your home.
Budget. Insulation is an important aspect of building, renovating, and preserving the overall structural integrity of your home. Additionally, keep in mind that the most expensive type isn’t always the best option for your space or your budget. Getting the right amount of insulation and having it installed properly are the keys to successfully insulating and protecting your home.
Climate. Not all insulation materials serve the same purpose, which is why it’s important to consider the climate in your area. Different temperatures and moisture levels must be carefully considered when selecting the type of insulation and the space inside the house where it will be installed
Design. The height of walls, the distance of the ceiling to the roof, and the construction of the roof must all be considered when fitting these areas with insulation. These factors also affect the effectiveness of the insulation, especially for sound absorption and noise reduction purposes.
IC rating of recessed light fixtures. Unless the fixture is insulation contact (IC) rated, the insulation material shouldn’t be in direct contact with the fixture to prevent a fire hazard.
Alternatively, if your home still feels too warm or too cold during peak season, exterior insulation can help improve the indoor temperature in your home.
There are two types of noise: airborne and structural noise. Airborne noise includes structural sounds that travel through the air or can be picked up in the environment, like footsteps on the floor or a knock on the wall.
These noises can easily travel through thin walls and unsealed gaps between joists and wall joints. These unwanted sounds make their way in and out of a room the same way air does. This is why insulation and sound-proofing go hand-in-hand.
A room with reduced or very low environmental noise helps create a restful home environment, as it reduces stress and noise pollution within shared spaces. Insulation materials can help muffle or deaden environmental noise too, which is essential in the homes of those who work, play musical instruments, have small children, and are unable to fall asleep and stay asleep.
While insulation materials cannot completely cancel or absorb noise, they have the capacity to do a bit of both. For complete noise prevention and noise absorption, there are special materials that are suitable for either of these functions. However, these are usually installed post-construction and outside the walls, rather than inside the walls, during the construction phase.
Aside from noise reduction, insulation gives you the following benefits.
Insulation can contribute to a structure’s fire safety because it prevents small fires from spreading quickly. The most common type of insulation used in homes and buildings is fine glass fiber, which is a non-combustible material. Insulation materials are also installed with code-approved barrier materials, which increase their level of fire safety.
Smaller carbon footprint
A properly insulated home uses less energy for cooling and heating. Mineral wool insulation, for example, is an impressive insulation material that is an eco-friendly product. The fibers of the material are non-combustible, removing the need for additional fire-retardant chemicals. This material also lasts long and can withstand high temperatures; it won’t melt due to heat.
Increase in property value
Insulation translates to protection and energy efficiency. Moreover, soundproofing translates to privacy. These intangible benefits increase the market value of your home.
It’s Never too Late to Insulate
For older properties, installing insulation is the first step toward making your home more energy-efficient. Older homes need insulation as much as newer homes, after all. In the case of older homes that are heavily built with wood and other highly combustible materials, however, insulation plays a crucial role in contributing to the fire safety of the structure.
Some older houses with old or worn-down insulation also need to be reassessed, as it is possible that some joints and cracks need resealing. This will boost the reflectivity of the new insulation and help improve the energy efficiency level of the structure.
Insulation is undoubtedly beneficial for your home and when done correctly, you can enjoy its benefits to the fullest.
Insulation is the primary solution to high energy consumption and provides other comforts like noise reduction and noise absorption. It also contributes to the structural health of your home, as it can also deter moisture that can cause water damage and mold problems in the long run. Insulate your home today to create a better and healthier indoor environment.
Our insulation materials are guaranteed to give your home the protection it needs from excessive heat and cold temperatures, as well as mold and moisture problems. Call us at (913) 956-0449 or (816) 265-1947 today or request a quote hereand schedule a completely FREE inspection!
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Can you send us the names of the three young men that did our insulation yesterday? They were a dynamic crew! We loved having them in our home. They were all equally, bright, polite, mannerly, engaged with us & each other, neat, clean, fast & extremely pleasant. We can already feel a huge difference in this house. We think it was worth every penny & we are anxious to get the attic insulated soon as well.