We’ve focused in our past few articles on the importance of home insulation, the year-round economic and quality of life benefits of optimizing your attic’s insulation, and how to figure out the value of your current insulation so you have a starting point to discuss upgrading with a professional.
Here, we’d like to talk about three of the most common types of attic insulation—loose fill, batting, and foam—and how to figure out which approach might be best for you:
Loose fill insulation is exactly what it sounds like—it’s loose bits of different types of material that come packaged in a bag and are either manually spread into place or blown into place with a machine designed to pack the fibers to the required depth.
Because the insulation fibers are loose, they do a good job of filling in irregular spaces, or spaces that have a lot of obstructions to work around. They are also an appropriate choice if there is a good layer of insulation already in place, and you just want to add an additional layer to increase its R-value.
Batting is insulation material that is packaged as a rolled-up sheet. It comes in different materials and thicknesses, and can be laid down and fitted between your attic’s studs or joists. It works really well in attics that have regular joist spacing without many obstructions.
Batting is available with or without paper and foil facing that can give you added protection by acting as a vapor barrier. Installing batting requires space to work, so if your attic has a low clearance you may be better off with an option like loose fill insulation, which can be blown into place more easily in tight quarters.
Foam insulation comes as boards or panels that can be installed just about anyplace your home needs insulation, and as a liquid that is sprayed where it’s needed and then hardens into a durable insulator.
Foam insulation is versatile, and spray foam has the added advantage of being able to fill irregular spaces or small holes to stop up air leakages. It can even be used to create seals around wires, windows, doorframes and the like for added insulation.
Each of these types of insulation comes in different materials that have their own pros and cons. We’ll cover insulation materials in a future post, but for now, having a basic understanding of the main types of insulation available will help you get off to a great start in discussing your insulation needs with a trusted professional!