Attics are often overlooked when we seek extra room in our homes. In many houses, they are dark spaces that are too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter. Most of us use our attics for storing holiday decorations and outgrown clothing, but the attic can be a really valuable area that can save money on heating and cooling costs for the home.
Most of us can always use an extra room in our homes. Finishing the attic could give you that extra space for a luxurious master bedroom suite, playroom for the kids, a guest room or maybe even a craft room or art studio. Having a finished attic can add value to your home at resale time. It is also much cheaper than adding an addition. We can work with you to design and build a comfortable space that you can enjoy for many years.
Insulation is the most critical component in saving money on heating and cooling costs. The attic is one of the easiest places to add insulation and you will feel the results almost immediately. Since heat rises, if the attic is not properly insulated, the heat will escape and money will be wasted. Insulation will retain the heat so your boiler or furnace won’t have to work so hard.
According to the Dept. of Energy, in our area, insulation in our homes should have a total R-Factor of around 38. We can help you to determine the R-factor of your current insulation and determine the best type of additional insulation to get you the maximum benefit.
There are several types of insulation:
1. Blanket: Batts and rolls – made from fiberglass, mineral wool, plastic fibers or natural fibers. It comes in a large roll that can be cut to size and fitted between joists and beams.
2. Concrete block insulation – made from polystyrene, polyurethane vermiculite or perlite. Mainly used for unfinished walls & must be applied by someone with good masonry skills
3. Foam board or Rigid foam – made from polystyrene or polyurethane, has high insulating value for relatively small thickness
4. Insulating concrete forms – built into the home’s walls creating high thermal resistance
5. Loose-fill - made from cellulose, fiberglass, mineral wool, cotton, recycled denim. Blown into place using special equipment. Good for adding insulation to existing finished areas or irregularly shaped spaces
6. Reflective system – foil faced kraft paper, plastic film, polyethylene bubbles or cardboard – used in unfinished ceilings, walls and floors.
7. Rigid fibrous or fiber insulation – used by HVAC contractors to insulate ductwork
8. Sprayed foam – made from Cementitious, Phenolic, Polyisocyanurate, or polyurethane. Applied using small spray containers or pressure sprayers. Used for adding insulation to existing finished areas or irregularly shaped spaces.
9. Structural insulated panels – Prefabricated walls made from foam board or straw core insulation. Used in new construction. Builders connect them together to construct a house.
Proper ventilation is important in every room, but especially in the attic. It provides a cooler home in the summer and a drier home in the winter. Ventilation is essential for controlling heat that gets trapped in the roof. If the attic is not ventilated or is poorly ventilated, you will have higher energy bills and moisture will be trapped in the attic, causing problems with mold, mildew and wood rot.
There are several different types of ventilation systems:
Turbine vents – are traditionally used for removing trapped air in the roof. The upper part is a round globe with metal fan like fins inside. The fins are angled to catch the wind and spin the globe to draw out the warm air.
Power generated venting systems – very effective, this system uses a motor to pull the hot air out of the attic, but will not save money in the long run, as it runs on electricity.
Ridge type systems – most efficient and cost effective type. Mounted along the home’s roof ridge like a cap, the blend in perfectly because they’re covered with shingles.
Solar vents – These vents operate much like the power vents, but they’re powered by a small solar panel, which makes them a greener choice.