A home’s roof is more than just the shingles visible on the outer layer. Each layer does its part to protect a structure from the weather and to keep the outside to and the inside in. When considering all that a roof does, homeowners should also bear in mind the contributions to a home’s energy efficiency. Several factors can affect a home’s energy usage, notably roof insulation. Read on to find out more about some insulation options.
The type of insulation probably most familiar to the average homeowner is the batt blanket. Although they do come in other varieties, batt blankets are typically rolls or blocks of fiberglass. As one of the least expensive insulation types, they are a popular option. Fiberglass resists moisture. A DIY homeowner can pick up batt blankets in most any hardware store. Be sure to pick up some protective gear for installation to avoid contact with or breathing in the fibers.
Another popular option, loose-fill insulation is usually made from recycled wood and paper products and is installed by blowing it into place. Homeowners will often see it referred to as blown-in cellulose insulation. With a higher R-value than fiberglass, loose-fill insulation will make a bigger difference in a homeowner’s energy bill. To avoid attracting pests, the material will be treated.
Unlike batt blankets, loose-fill will eventually settle over time, reducing the effectiveness of the insulation. More loose-fill can be added when this occurs.
Cellulose-based loose fill can be more prone to moisture damage, namely mold. Make sure that the attic space is adequately ventilated to avoid this damage.
Not all loose-fill is cellulose. Mineral wool can also be used. This inorganic material is manufactured from slag or broken-down rock. Mineral wool’s R-value is lower than cellulose, but it lasts longer and is not as susceptible to moisture damage.
Foam insulation comes in two basic types: liquid expanding foam and foam panels. Expanding foam is sprayed into place, then expands to fill every nook and cranny in the space. With this better coverage, it boasts the highest R-value. It will not compress over time, but will always hold its shape. Foam is also not attractive to pests at all and can expand into tiny areas of access.
Because sprayed-in foam emits fumes, best to leave it to the professionals for installation.
Foam panels feature many of the same benefits as expanding foam: not attractive to pests and high R-value. The panels, however, do not fit as snugly into place as the sprayed-in variety, so it won’t fill all the crevices. Without the fumes or itchy fibers found in batts, foam panels are perfect for DIY.
Think of radiant barriers like shielding your roof with aluminum foil. Typically applied to the roof sheathing, radiant barriers reflect solar heat away from the roof. If you are installing a new roof, you might consider adding a radiant barrier as part of the process.