The Blog

Attic and Crawl Space Insulation: A Smorgasbord of Options

By Chuck Henrichsen on March 25, 2014

If your energy bills are sky high and your house is still freezing cold, perhaps it’s time to take a look at the condition of your attic or crawl space insulation. In many cases, crawl spaces and attics are our last thought because they’re out of sight. However, properly insulating your attic and crawl space areas can save you thousands of dollars in the long run. On many occasions, our customers have found that insulation jobs pay for themselves in a matter of months due to a decrease in the energy it requires to heat their home.

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Rolled or Batted Insulation

These large segments of insulation are rolled or laid onto a surface. Generally, they work best in flat areas that do not have cross beams or obstacles such as wires or outlets.

Fiberglass Batt Insulation: Effective, and cost-effective

The most common form of batt insulation is fiberglass. It’s effective insular qualities make it a popular choice for attic or crawl space insulation. It also tends to be one of the most inexpensive insulation options on the market.

Q: Is there a downside to rolled or batted insulation?

A: You need to know how to use it well, when insulating an area that is split up into small chunks by wall beams or supports, batt insulation often has difficulty covering the entire area well. It tends to leave voids in the nooks and crannies, counter-productively allowing heat to escape. Also, if the insulation shifts over time, it often leaves segments of the area uncovered. Overall, it’s difficult to insulate an attic area with batt insulation. Clean Crawls however, has professional experience with the differences in insulation and the deficiencies of each option. We tailor our insulation recommendations to best fit the needs of our client and the area we are insulating. A fair number of our insulation jobs have required a combination of various types of insulation materials. Consider, for example, the following options.

Blown Insulation

As opposed to batt insulation that is laid down in a large sheet, blown insulation is applied in smaller pieces. The insulation comes in large blocks that are broken into pieces by a machine called an insulation blower. The chunks are blown from the machine through a hose. This type of insulation does a far better job of forming an effective heat trap in spaces that have small crevices and oddly shaped areas. Nooks and crannies are far easier to seal with blown insulation.

Fiberglass and Cellulose Blown Insulation: Fills the Area Completely

The most common forms of blown insulation are cellulose and fiberglass. Blown cellulose insulation is an environmentally friendly product usually comprised of recycled newspaper, while blown fiberglass is just that - blown fibers of glass.

Spray Foam Insulation

Spray Foam Insulation has a great reputation for being the most effective type of insulation on the market. “So,” I hear you say, “In that case, why are the others so popular?” You’ve probably already guessed the answer - cost. Homeowners can expect to pay 2-4 times as much for foam insulation.

Reasons you might want to pay the premium, are that spray foam provides the highest R-value per inch, it acts as an air barrier and as a moisture barrier. So, using spray foam can prevent air leakage and moisture build-up that you would normally need to deal with separately.

Rigid Foam Board Insulation: Highly Insular

As mentioned previously, this type of insulation tends to have the highest insulation value. However, it’s mostly used in crawl space areas that tend to have larger flat areas that need insulation. Rigid foam board has the same issue as batt insulation when it comes to navigating around beams and other obstructions. Hence, rigid foam insulation is often combined with spray foam insulation.

Spray Foam Insulation: Fills Space and Works the Best

This type of insulation is sprayed onto the area’s surface and then expands, making this type of insulation ideal for attics and crawl space areas that have a lot of obstacles that would get in the way of batt blankets or foam sheets. Occasionally, rigid foam sheets are used to cover larger areas and the spray foam is used to fill in the gaps, resulting in an overall very well-insulated attic or crawl space.

A Hybrid Approach

An approach we recommend to many clients for their attics is to use spray foam on the first two inches of the attic to get the benefits of the air seal and the moisture barrier, then fill the remaining with the less expensive blown fiberglass or cellulose.

Why would you want to have Clean Crawls insulate your attic or crawl space? Not only are we experienced with each type of insulation discussed before, but our track record is full of satisfied clients, happy with a job well done. We’re more than willing to work within your budget needs, finding a happy medium between an effectively completed insulation job and the amount of money you have to spend.

We would love to offer our professional advice regarding your attic and crawl space insulation needs. If you would like a free quote, submit our quote request form anywhere on our site and we'll give you a call to schedule an appointment. Also, please contact us at any time with any questions you have about our services or our rebate offerings.

Chuck Henrichsen
President and CEO of Clean Crawls, Treasurer of E3 World Wide, proud husband and father.

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