Attic Insulation — A Complete Guide to Choosing the Best Insulation Products
Proper attic insulation is an easy way to regulate your home’s temperature. But choosing the right material can be an arduous challenge. There are so many types available, and you may be unfamiliar with all of them — especially if you’re a first-time homeowner. A material that’s right for a neighbor’s attic might not suit yours. So how are you supposed to choose the best attic insulation?
Below, you can learn about the various types of best attic insulation and discover which one is right for your home.
Best Attic Insulation
Curious about the different types of attic insulation? Explore six of the most common ones below:
Fiberglass Batt Attic Insulation
Many people consider fiberglass batt to be the best attic insulation. It consists of plastic reinforced by small glass fibers. The batt version comes in blanket form — i.e., small, pre-cut sections that you can lay down wherever you need to.
You must exhibit caution when installing this material, as it’s a common lung and skin irritant. You should always wear pants, a long-sleeve shirt, a face mask, gloves, and protective eyewear.
The glass found in fiberglass is often made from sand and recycled glass, so it can benefit the environment (as long as you shop intentionally).
- Cheap compared to other options
- Can install on your own
- Suited for areas that are free from obstructions
- Not as effective at heat retention as other materials
- May cause skin irritation during installation
Our Top Pick
Our top pick for this material type is the Johns Manville Batt Insulation. This R-30 insulation is formaldehyde free fiber glass insulation protected on one side with moisture resistant Kraft facing.
The batts come in pre-cut 48 inch lengths for easy installation in 16 in., 2 in. x 10 in. attics and ceilings. One bag covers 58.67 sq. ft.
Wondering if this option is right for you? Schedule an attic inspection here to get a quote!
Fiberglass Roll Attic Insulation
Another type of best attic insulation, fiberglass roll is the same material as the type we mentioned above. It features tiny pieces of glass reinforced by plastic, but the form it takes is slightly different. As you could probably guess, the rolled version comes in longer pieces that you can roll out.
The roll is easy to transport, and you can cut it to the appropriate lengths. Keep in mind that the batts version offers more square feet per package than rolls do.
- Suited for wide-open areas
- Comes in lengths varying between 20 and 40 feet
- Leaves fewer chances for gaps
- Fewer square feet per package than batts
- Not the most effective at heat retention
Our Top Pick
Our top pick for the best attic insulation for fiberglass roll is the Owens Corning EcoTouch. This product has advanced fiber technology that allows for quick, precise installs. It’s also shed-resistant, meaning it avoids some of the problems associated with traditional fiberglass materials.
If you don’t want to install this product yourself, click here to schedule an attic inspection and receive a quote.
Cellulose Attic Insulation
Cellulose attic insulation features recycled paper products. Some homeowners may be wary of this material, as they fear it’ll present a fire hazard down the line. If you decide to invest in this type of insulation, make sure to look for a manufacturer that adds borate or ammonium sulfate. These compounds make the material resistant to both fires and insects, meaning you can create a safer and healthier living space for your family.
Cellulose is much denser than fiberglass, so it’ll provide better heat retention in the winter and cool air retention in the summer. Because cellulose consists largely of recycled materials, many homeowners view it as an eco-friendly option.
- Environmentally friendly
- Denser than fiberglass
- Resistant to fires and insects
- The installation process leads to a lot of dust
Our Top Pick
Our top pick for cellulose attic insulation is the 25-pound bag from Greenfiber. It lowers your cooling and heating costs by up to 20% and reduces sound power by 60%. The new-and-improved formula is suitable for use in all climates, so there’s no need to consider your area’s year-round weather conditions.
If you’d like professional help with the installation process, be sure to schedule an appointment and get a quote today!
Loose-Fill Fiberglass Attic Insulation
Fiberglass is one of the best attic insulation materials, and it’s available in various forms. We’ve already discussed the batts and roll forms, both of which involve flat, pre-cut sections.
But fiberglass is also available in loose-fill or blown-in form. You’ll need special equipment to blow this material into place, so most homeowners decide to hire a professional for the task.
The material easily fills wall cavities and oddly shaped areas, as it doesn’t come in pre-cut dimensions.
- Best for oddly shaped areas
- Can fill wall cavities
- Quick installation process
- Requires special machinery
Our Top Pick
Our top pick for loose-fill fiberglass attic insulation is the Johns Manville Attic Protector Fiberglass Blown-in Insulation. It covers nearly 110 square feet per bag and delivers an R-value of R-19. It receives a gold certification from Greenguard, and it’s SCS-certified for home indoor air quality.
Looking to hire a professional for the task? Schedule an attic inspection and get your free quote today!
Spray Foam Attic Insulation
Spray foam attic insulation usually features one of three types of plastic: polyurethane, polyisocyanurate, or polystyrene. You or a professional can install foam insulation by spraying it or installing it into stiff foam boards. Some installers prefer to use a cement-based foam known as cementitious foam insulation.
This best attic insulation offers some of the best performance available, as it fills all the crannies present in your attic’s flooring and walls.
- Best performing material
- Choose from your preferred installation method
- Doesn’t take long to complete
- One of the most expensive options
Our Top Pick
Our number one pick for spray foam attic insulation is the Dow Froth Pak 650. This kit is the moisture barrier closed-cell type, which is preferable to the open-cell type. It prevents air leaks, minimizes the risk of mold and mildew, and possesses a Class A Fire Rating for your peace of mind.
Get it professionally installed by scheduling an attic inspection and requesting a quote!
Reflective Insulation & Radiant Barrier
While other materials slow conductive heat flow, reflective insulation systems and radiant barriers reduce radiant heat gain. A radiant barrier will block radiant heat, but a reflective insulation product will help you control condensation and achieve a specific R-value if you need to meet your building’s regulations.
Keep in mind that the reflective surface should always face an air space for optimal efficiency, and you should minimize dust accumulation to enhance the surface’s reflective capabilities.
- Can reduce attic temperatures up to 30°F
- Effective in very warm climates
- Also works as a vapor barrier
- Need to keep it free of dust
Our Top Pick
Our number one choice for this type of material is the Double Reflective Insulation Roll from Reflectix. This product is a wide roll that’s excellent for large projects. Depending on the type of application, it can provide an R-value up to R-21. It reflects more than 95% of radiant energy, significantly reducing cooling and heating costs.
Looking for professional installation? Be sure to schedule an appointment today and get an estimate!
Benefits of Attic Insulation
Not sure if you need to insulate your attic? Performing this task will present various benefits to you and your family, so it’s an investment well worth making. Learn about several advantages of the best attic insulation below:
Lowers Your Energy Bill
Heat tends to move toward colder environments. So, it’ll move into your home during the hot summer months and flow out of your home during the colder winter months. This addition (or loss) of heat will cause your air conditioner or furnace to go into overdrive.
Cooling and heating your house will be very difficult with an uninsulated attic. But adding insulation will limit external airflow, meaning your units won’t have to use as much energy to cool and heat your home. You’ll notice your energy bills drop substantially when you upgrade to the best attic insulation.
Improves Air Quality
Pollutants like mold, smoke, radon, and dirt linger in the air outside your home. If given the opportunity, they’ll find their way inside. But when you invest in the best attic insulation, you can prevent these pollutants from invading your attic and home. As a result, you’ll protect your family members from the adverse health effects of air pollutants, including respiratory issues, headaches, and fatigue.
Keeps Your Room Temperatures Stable
Inadequate insulation in your attic can cause uncomfortable temperature fluctuations throughout your home. You may notice that your upstairs area is warmer than your downstairs area, or one of your spare bedrooms is warmer than the kitchen area.
It’s essential to perform a thorough job. Under insulating your home can cause unwelcome temperature fluctuations and create undesirable living conditions.
Restores Utility to Your Attic
Some families only use their attics for storage. The thought of spending time in the room above their house is a forbidden one because of the unbearable heat or cold.
But you can eliminate extreme temperatures in your attic by investing in attic insulation. Once you complete a thorough job, you can turn your attic into an extra bedroom or playroom for your kids.
Increases Your Home’s Value
If you’re looking to put your home on the market soon, you should consider investing in the best attic insulation. While attic insulation doesn’t produce aesthetic results, any buyer will surely appreciate this addition. New attic insulation is a convincing selling point, as it protects the roof, keeps the temperature comfortable, and lowers the building’s energy costs.
How to Choose Attic Insulation
Now that you’re familiar with the different types of attic insulation, you may be wondering how to choose the one that’s right for your home.
There’s no exact science, but you must consider several factors.
First, you’ll need to think about the size of your space. How much square footage of material will you need? Your measurements will affect the cost, so it’s important to know what you’re working with.
Next, you’ll need to consider what material you’d like to use. Loose-fill materials come in bags and are blown into place, meaning you can install the material to your desired density and depth. But keep in mind that these materials require special machinery, so you’ll either have to rent the equipment or hire an expert.
Alternatively, you can choose from batts or rolls, which come in pre-cut sections. They work best in spaces without obstructions, and your attic should ideally have adequate headroom.
The final consideration to make is the material’s R-value. When a material has a higher R-value, it’ll offer greater insulation performance. You’ll see manufacturers list their products with R-values like R-13, R-23, R-30, etc.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you have some unanswered questions about the best attic insulation? We’ve got answers! Read below for solutions to some of the most common inquiries homeowners have about attic insulation:
How Much Does It Cost to Insulate an Attic?
The cost of attic insulation will vary greatly depending on your location, the materials you choose, and the size of your space. Some experts estimate that the cost varies between $1 and $7 per square foot. Most homeowners can expect to pay $1,500 on average, including materials and labor.
You can save a significant chunk of money by doing attic insulation yourself, but you must be confident in your abilities. Otherwise, you risk doing a sub-par job and creating the need for a do-over down the line to fix any issues.
What Is the Most Energy Efficient Attic Insulation?
The most energy-efficient attic insulation will depend on the material’s R-value. From our experience, spray foam attic insulation tends to have high R-values. It’s dense and reaches the tightest nooks and crannies.
Which Is Better: Attic Insulation Blown or Rolled?
No option is better than another. It all depends on the homeowner’s preferences and needs. For example, blown attic insulation is easier to install in spaces with irregular sizes and shapes. But rolled attic insulation is simpler to install in general, as it doesn’t require special machinery.
What Is the Healthiest Attic Insulation?
It’s best to look for attic insulation materials that don’t contain additives. Cellulose is a natural option, as it contains recycled materials. As a result, it’s less likely to irritate your family members’ lungs.