As a homeowner, we know that the roof is the most important part of our home next to the foundation. Our entire home is created from the ground up on a solid foundation while the roof is what protects our entire investment from the top down. Maintaining proper care of the roof will ensure your home will remain sound and damage-free for years to come and become the ‘stress-free’, ‘peace of mind’ paradise we all crave!
The foremost importance of insulation is to save your roof from damage that can result in rot and leaks. These things are extremely compromising to your structure and will result in costly replacement and repair expenses.
Let’s take a look at how rot can occur from lack of insulation or improper installation of insulation. As we know, heat rises and rising heat in our home will escape into the attic. Once inside the attic, heat will continue to rise into the peak and permeate throughout and along the apex of the roof and throughout the shingles. If your home is in a cold climate that sees plenty of snow in the winter months, this is especially troubling. As the temperatures fall, you turn up your home’s heating and that heat rises. You can evidence a poorly insulated roof by looking at the cap of the roof. When snow falls this draping of snow over a roof cap or apex of the roof, is referred to as snowcap. As the temperature in the attic rises from the rising heat inside your home, this snowcap melts. The condensation, or run-off, runs down the roof and gathers at the edges of the shingles then freezes again. This is called an ice dam. As this process occurs over and over, the freezing build-up of ice at the roofs’ edges begin to overlap and creep upwards underneath your shingles. As the thaw/freeze cycle happens over a period of several months, this constant moisture under your shingles can cause your roof to rot.
As if a rotting roof, out of our eyesight isn’t bad enough, let’s take a look at how that can lead to hidden leaks. Now not only is our roof compromised but possibly also the outer wall structure as well. As we mentioned, as condensation gathers at your roof’s edges it backs up under the shingles. This constant long-term moisture causes wood rot which then allows that moisture to escape down inside your outer walls. All this damage can remain hidden for a very long time. A long enough period of time to cause a significant issue with costly consequences.
Now that we understand the importance of proper insulation in our attics, let’s dive into the types of insulation available and which product is best suited for your home. All insulations are not created equally as one might expect. Having the proper insulation is just as important as the insulation itself. There are insulations designed specifically for hard to reach places and gaps that a basic insulation may miss therefore leaving you exposed to possible damage down the road. Insulation has different ratings called R-ratings as well that tell you the insulating factor on a scale. The higher the R-rating factor, the better you are insulated. The level of insulation recommended for attics is R-38 or about 10-14” of insulation. Let’s explore the types of insulations available along with their R-rating as well as affordability.
This insulation comes in bags and is blown into place. This type of insulation is good for spaces containing obstacles and non-standard joist spacing. This type is also used where adding insulation to existing insulation is required. Loose-fill insulation comes in different materials. Research the material best suited for your specific home as the material used also varies in price and R-rating.
Batt comes in rolls and is best used in attics with open space and even joist spacing that is free of any existing insulation. You simply buy the number of rolls needed and roll it out between your joist. Batts also comes in various material forms and the R-rating varies with each form. Again, do your research on the type of Batts that best suits your home’s specific needs.
The use of an R-rating chart helps determine the rating per inch of any insulation. These charts can be found online or at your local do-it center. So, with nothing more than a flashlight you can inspect your attic and see what type of insulation you already have, determine its R-rating and calculate if what you have is doing the job or if you should add insulation to make sure your home is protected.