What is the Best Type of Insulation for an Attic?

Our homes are a series of interconnected systems that work together for a common purpose. This is not so different from our bodies with their independent respiratory, digestive, autoimmune and other systems. This “sum is greater than the parts” philosophy seems to be built into living systems and our understanding of non-living systems as well.

One part of the home system that deserves more attention is the attic. Attics are no longer the romanticized loft and hideout space that they once were, and instead, are often simply a space of utility to protect our homes from rapid temperature changes. The way they perform this function is through the application of spray foam insulation, fibreglass insulation or another insulative material.

Today, hpspray.com takes a crack at answering the question, “what is the best type of insulation for an attic?” Learn everything you need to know to make an informed decision right down below.

Which Insulation is Best?

Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer on the “best” insulation material. While spray foam insulation is a popular choice and crowd favourite, it simply cannot meet the demands of all climes and conditions it could be placed in. When choosing the best insulation, it is instead much more effective to choose based on the needs of your home, using several different variables to arrive at the right conclusion. First among these is the R-value of the insulation product.

The R-value of Insulation

When talking about R-value, it is important to understand that this is a measure of the insulation’s ability to retain and reflect heat. The higher the number, the more effective the insulation. While it would be easy to point to spray foam insulation as having the highest R-value, and therefore the best product, that would not be accurate.

The reason that you can’t just choose the highest R-value and call it a day is that it can have diminishing or even negative returns in the wrong environment. Just imagine the different insulation needs of two houses, one of which is in the desert while the other is north of the Arctic Circle. Obviously, retaining heat is much more important for the second home and could actually lead to serious problems in the former home. Therefore, it is also important to consider the application technique of the insulation.

The Application Technique

Worker Spraying Blown Fiberglass Insulation between Attic Trusses

There are three primary methods of insulating an attic. The first method is to lay the insulation in place, which you see with fibreglass batting. The second method is blown-in insulation, which is a common practice with cellulose and fibreglass insulation. Finally, spray foam insulation uses specialized spray equipment to apply the material directly to your attic.

These methods all come with their advantages and disadvantages. For example, laying insulation is difficult to do in attics and is better suited to wall spaces. Blown-in insulation is often less expensive than other methods but is quite messy and dusty. Spray foam insulation should only be applied by professionals, which will increase the cost. Still, this also gives you the peace of mind and assurance that the job is done right.