The best consumer is the one who’s informed and educated. And it shouldn’t be any different for attic insulation, mainly because the insulation products and the installation process need to be fully understood – there are just too many things to consider. Although a DIY effort is not completely out of the question for attic insulation, the unprepared DIY fan can potentially fail. Needless to say, the rework can be costly. On the other hand, a professional installer understands both the product and the installation, and can ensure success with a proper install. One way or the other, the average consumer should deliberate carefully, and take everything into consideration before forging ahead.
Avoid the potential for over-insulating
With existing insulation in the attic, jamming more material into the same space will not always pay off in terms of R-Value. Insulation experts maintain that the first layer of attic insulation is the most effective, so adding more layers doesn’t necessarily provide the same cost-effectiveness.
Don’t over-do the stuffing and cramming
The whole idea of insulation is to trap air and resist the movement of heat. Stuffing and cramming doesn’t allow for the insulating material to function properly and do its job. It’s more important to focus on the best coverage possible – including those hard-to-fit and hard-to-reach spaces.
Beware of animal nests or insect infestations
If there is evidence of animals in the attic, they probably have a home there. This must be rectified, and properly. The critters must be removed, any damages must be repaired, and further intrusion must be circumvented, depending on the source. The same approach would apply to insects.
Take note of moisture, mold or mildew residue
Moisture, mold and mildew are sure signs that the attic is not properly ventilated. Damp insulation is useless. The potential for rotting wood is an even worse scenario. Beyond any repairs and/or replacements, it’s essential to ensure optimum ventilation as part of any insulation effort.
Attic ventilation MUST accompany attic insulation
The expert insulation contractor understands the formulas and ratios for properly venting areas, based on the total square footage of an attic space. And there are additional influences to consider. Is there an existing vapor barrier? Is it in good repair? Is it properly installed?
Insulating an attic, regardless of the size or shape, is going to be more than just “topping up” the existing insulation. It pays to do the job right the first time; to use the right product for the job; and to employ the right installation process. Whatever the product choice, it will need special handling. As well, the application equipment requires expertise. And finally, the application itself will require proficiency. There is no product on the market that will deliver optimum results without a proper install. At the same time, it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s product specifications, and to install according to the building code. Doing half the job will deliver half the results.
The fact is, expert installers do more than assess and evaluate the challenges. They create a total system: an attic space that is sealed well, ventilated well, and insulated well. It’s a complete job.