Why You Need Attic Insulation

Should you insulate your attic roof? Insulation is a wise choice to increase the energy efficiency of your home. Quality insulation will make it more cost-effective to heat and cool your home, The Department of Energy’s estimates range from a 10% to 50% savings, depending on several factors. However, attic insulation isn’t just about heating. Proper attic insulation can also keep your roof in better condition by helping to prevent ice dams and condensation.

Your building codes may require you to have a certain quality of insulation. However, installing even better insulation is to your advantage and your roof’s advantage. Although, over-insulation can heat your shingles and shorten their life-span. This is especially the case if your roof also lacks proper airflow.  Balancing the two needs, one for insulation and one for ventilation is critical.

Almost all building codes and all asphalt roofing manufacturers require proper ventilation of a roofing system, regardless of the form of insulation used.  Some forms will impact not only the life of your roof but the coverage your roofing manufacturer provides under your warranty.  You should read and understand your roofing warranty and the limitations it has relating to air flow and roofing insulation.

Discover what you need to know about attic insulation and how it affects your roof.

How Attic Insulation Benefits You and Your Roof

Here is how proper attic insulation can benefit your roof:

  • Helps prevent ice dams: Heat from your home escapes through your ceiling into your attic if you don’t have insulation. Therefore, during winter, your shingles are at a higher temperature. Warmer shingles may melt the snow sitting on top of them. As temperatures drop, or as the meltwater finds its way to the eaves (which are colder), it refreezes as ice. This is called an ice dam. Ice dams can have a negative impact on your roof performance and shingle life. They increase your risk for leaks and may damage your gutters if they spread into them. Proper insulation is the best way to prevent damage from an ice dam. You should ensure your attic is properly ventilated and install an ice and water protector.
  • Prevents interstitial condensation: Interstitial condensation occurs in between the layers of your roof. It occurs when warm and cool air meet and create condensation or water droplets. These droplets can build up and damage your roof materials. However, adequate insulation prevents heat transfer through the roof and therefore minimizes the risk of condensation between its layers.
  • Prolongs shingle life: With proper attic insulation, your shingles should not be exposed to ice dams and will experience less temperature fluctuation. This helps them perform for longer.
  • Prevents gutter damage: Without insulation, your roof deck experiences more dramatic changes and may expand and contract faster. Over time, this expansion and contraction can shift your gutters and loosen your gutter fasteners.

Beyond its effect on your roof, proper attic insulation can also make your home more comfortable and benefit you in other ways, such as:

  • Easier to heat and cool: When you have quality attic insulation, more heat stays in your home through the winter, and less radiates down from your attic in the summer. This resistance to heat makes it more affordable to heat or cool your home to the temperature you’re comfortable with.
  • Longer life from HVAC appliances: Furnaces, air conditioners and other HVAC units may last longer when they don’t need to work as hard. In contrast, furnaces that run all the time to keep up with heat loss through your attic are more likely to develop problems and may have a shorter life span.
  • More consistent temperatures: Attic insulation keeps conditioned air in the home, instead of allowing it to escape through your ceilings, which may make your rooms a more consistent temperature from ceiling to floor. This can make you more comfortable in your home, especially if you have cathedral ceilings.
  • Soundproofing: Attic insulation can also reduce the amount of outside noise that comes into your home. This extra benefit can be helpful if you live near busy roads, construction or other sources of noise. However, if your primary goal is soundproofing, wall insulation is typically a better option.

For more questions ​on your Attic Insulation, contact Dykstra Knight today.