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Attic Insulation: One of the Best Investments for Homeowners

by Justin Havre

Attic insulation ranks as one of the best investments for homeowners, offering significant energy savings and return on investment when it's time to sell the house. When it comes to increasing overall home efficiency attic insulation along with other improvements like low-e windows and efficient heating and cooling systems are key. However, for homeowners it's often best to start at the top, and that means considering the benefits of proper attic insulation.


Understanding R-Value

R-value is how insulation is rated. The higher the R-value, the higher the insulating power of the material. The NRCan (Natural Resources Canada) states,

"To rate insulation, its resistance to heat flow is measured, and products are labelled with both an RSI value (Résistance Système International) and an R-value. The R-value is the imperial measurement, and the RSI-value is the metric measurement of thermal resistance."

It's important to note that R-value isn't the only factor that should be considered when adding attic insulation, or insulation in any other location of the home. The amount of insulation needed depends a lot on the region and its climate. In addition, the insulation must be installed properly in order to get its full R-value.

Benefits of Spray Foam Insulation

For most homeowners, the attic offers the most cost-effective location for adding insulation. Spray-foam insulation professionally installed is one of the easiest methods and saves the homeowner time and hassle. Options include two types of spray foam insulation: open cell spray foam and closed cell spray foam.

Open cell spray foam  is used for interior insulating purposes only and is ideal for attics. For homeowners looking for a strong return on investment, it's a good choice as it's typically budget-friendly and provides an R-value of 3.7 (at one inch). Open cell spray foam accommodates seasonal shifting, has vapor permeability, and also provides sound dampening.

Closed cell spray foam may be used for both interior and exterior insulation. It's a good choice for between the joists in the attic, providing an R-value of 6 (at one inch). Although a bit more expensive than open cell spray foam insulation it does have several benefits. It also accommodates seasonal shifting and has vapor permeability. It provides a vapor barrier as well plus it offers structural reinforcement and it can deflect water.

Energy Savings

Not only does this improvement pay for itself at the time of a sale, but it also pays for itself each month in the form of energy savings. Homeowners should note that energy or fuel savings also depends on several factors. These include but are not limited to:

  • Climate/area temperatures
  • Size of the home
  • Age of the home (10+ years old usually needs more insulation)
  • Materials used in the home's construction
  • Amount of insulation already in place

According to NAIMA Canada, about 80 percent of all Canadian homes are under-insulated and "the correct amount of attic insulation can help you maintain a comfortable temperature throughout your home and help save money on your energy bills."

When uncertain if your home needs additional insulation, rely on professional contractors who can perform an inspection and help determine how much is needed and the best type for the home. Attic insulation is a good investment for most homeowners and will provide a positive return on investment if and when the home is sold.


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