Add insulation to your home’s attic

Question:  We bought an older home recently because it has character and many features that we were looking for.  But, the attic needs to be insulated and we would like to do it this summer. 

We had a quotation from an insulation company located in another city, mainly because they canvassed our area for business. They seemed knowledgeable enough and gave us all kinds of assurances, but we are still skeptical. Do you have any suggestions for choosing a good insulating contractor?

Answer: I would highly recommend that you deal with an insulating contractor located in your city or your district.  If there is any problem with the job, they will be easy to contact and close by. 

Although the emphasis is put on upgrading the ceiling insulation, one should consider other areas of his home, such as an uninsulated basement that can lose more heat than a poorly insulated ceiling.  

Also, you may want to consider adding more insulation to your walls. Depending on what type of exterior you have and if you ever decide to renovate the exterior, there are a couple of things you can do. Rigid insulation can be applied to the outside of the home and also there are some siding materials that have an R6 backing. In most cases, when both are applied, it doubles your home’s existing insulation value.

When insulating an attic, some contractors will install less insulation than contained in the contract. For example, fluffy insulation can be fluffed up with the addition of extra air when blowing it into the attic. This insulation will almost immediately lose its fluffiness and settle.  The way to prevent this is to find out from the insulation manufacturer how many bags of insulation are required to add the contracted R-factor for an attic your size. To ensure that you have the complete number of bags you require for the job, the contractor will usually stack the bags outside the truck and feed them one by one to the blower.

Another thing to be aware of is that insulation can be blown in such a way as to have the correct number of inches at the attic hatch where it is easy to check, but, as the insulation is blown out to the outer wall, it becomes thinner and thinner. A way to solve this is to have the contractor put a mark on the bottom of the roof rafter where the insulation should come to. Then inspect it or have it inspected before you give the final payment.

 Keep in mind that the contractor cannot indiscriminately blow insulation in, covering existing vents that allow for air to come in from the soffits or eaves. Insulation stops and air chutes must be installed to keep this area of ventilation open.

I always suggest getting three quotations before hiring a contractor. Ask for names of former customer’s  to see if they were satisfied with the job.  

A professional is usually certified, however, ask to see their certificate. A good contractor will be happy to provide you with this information.