Go Deeper ...

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The Attic


Take It From The Top

Axiom: heat rises. So insulating the highest part of a house - the attic - protects the house from heat loss, thus keeping it warmer in winter at less cost. You can not only get the biggest savings in the attic, but it is usually the easiest place to add insulation.


According to Energy Star.gov, "a quick way to see if you need more insulation is to look across your uncovered attic floor. If your insulation is level with or below the attic floor joists, you probably need to add more insulation. The recommended insulation level for most attics is R-38 (or about 1215 inches, depending on the insulation type). In the coldest climates, insulating up to R-49 is recommended.


Whether you are hiring a contractor or doing your own insulation, do your prep work, finding leaks and checking for moisture which will need repair before your job begins.



  • Plug all air leaks, cracks, holes, drafts
  • Install metal flashing around any heat-producing equipment, i.e. exhaust fans, light housings (unless they're IC or "insulation contact" rated), flues, chimneys, etc.
  • Install material to the maximum Energy Star-recommended R-value
  • Install a vaper barrier according to material manufacturers' instructions
  • Maintain adequate roof ventilation
  • Be sure to fill all gaps and insulate around obstructions
  • Wear protective clothing: gloves, goggles, long sleeves and a dust mask.

Insulating the attic floor
1. Installing batts, rolls and blankets (fiberglass or rock wool)

2. Loose Insulation (fiberglass, mineral wool & cellulose)

Loose-fill insulation is typically "blown in" using special equipment, so a contractor is often involved. A dedicated do-it-yourselfer may, of course, choose to rent that equipment, or even buy a product that is simply "fluffed" on with a rake.


Insulating other attic spaces
The Radiant Barrier
Reference Corner

R-value measures a material's resistance to heat loss.  The higher the R-value of your insulation, the more effective it will be. 

Check the map for your location, then find the recommended R-values for each part of your house. (Click map to enlarge.)