Insulation options for your home roof, Avoiding mold spores in the attic, Building roofing
Insulation Options for Your Roof: Which Is Best for Your Home?
10 March 2023
When it comes to upkeep and maintenance, one area of a home that’s often overlooked — possibly due to the adage ‘out of sight, out of mind’ — is the roof’s insulation.
Insulation materials have low thermal conductivity; their primary purpose is to reduce the overall heat transfer coefficient (i.e., to keep heat in the winter and keep cool in the summer). Roof and attic insulation is thus incredibly important: it enables a building to achieve and regulate a comfortable temperature for those living or working there. All types of home insulation help reduce heat loss and heat gain, moderating energy bills.
Over time, insulation in the attic or roof can begin to degrade, erode or even be disrupted. Failing to understand the importance of effective roof insulation can lead to various problems, outlined below.
Poor ventilation may lead to mold spores in the attic. Mold can grow in old, unused places and on the insulation, even if there hasn’t been a water leak. This is especially true in areas with high humidity — mold can transfer through the house via cracks or leaky vents, creating a health hazard for residents.
Higher Energy Bills
Insulation is vital in trapping hot air in the colder months and keeping heat out during warmer seasons. If insulation is consistently wet — due to a roof or pipe leak or poor ventilation, causing dampness in the attic — it will be less effective in its purpose, resulting in higher energy bills.
If your roof has experienced a leak, checking the insulation is paramount. When insulation has been exposed to prolonged dampness, it can hold water, which may cause corrosion to roof fasteners and any wood elements in the roof.
The R-Value Scale
If the time has come to replace the insulation in your roof, several options are available. Each option is rated on a thermal resistance scale — known as the R-Value scale among roofing experts.
Skilled teams like Professional Roofers use the R-Value to determine the efficiency of different types of insulation and their ability to retain and repel heat. For insulation with minimal protection, the R-Value would be below R30. For optimal insulation, look for an R-Value nearer to R60. Your geographical location will often dictate where your home would fall on the R-Value scale. An expert team like those mentioned above can advise you on this crucial factor.
Types of Insulation
Insulation can be divided into four categories.
Using this method, either a closed-cell polyurethane foam or an open-cell polyurethane foam is sprayed onto the underside of the roof.
In addition to its insulating qualities, the perk of spray foam is its ability to seal gaps in the roof. Its downside is its cost but weighed against its energy-insulating properties; spray foam could be a solid long-term investment.
Batt or Blanket
This option comes in rolls of varied R-Value. It’s usually made from glass fibre or mineral fibre and can be cut to size to fit around rafters and joists.
The perks of batt or blanket are that it can be low cost and can conform to irregular surfaces. The cons of this type of insulation are that it may irritate skin and lungs during installation.
This type of insulation is ideal for large spaces, like an attic. Cellular, glass or mineral fibre is usually applied atop pre-existing insulation for an extra boost.
The pro of loose fill is that it can also fill cracks and gaps and get into hard-to-reach areas; its downside is that careful safety measures must be taken during installation.
Insulating Boards or Rigid Boards
A great lightweight option that’s easy to cut. Rigid boards are usually made from plastic or mineral fibres.
The perks of rigid boards are that they’re relatively easy to install and they’re great for saving space. However, due to their rigidity, installing them can be challenging.
A properly insulated roof can reduce energy bills and improve attic ventilation — in turn preventing moisture problems later down the line. While DIY enthusiasts may attempt insulation themselves, it’s always advised to connect with a professional team for insulation installation to guarantee effective results.
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