We all should have energy efficiency at the forefront of our minds, especially when escaped heat from your home could mean a hefty electric or gas bill. If you're thinking of adding some additional insulation to your attic, there are plenty of questions you're sure to be asking yourself. Can the attic insulation touch the roof? We've done some searching and have the answer for you.
Attic insulation should not touch the roof. Although it can be tempting to over insulate, resist the urge. Too much insulation hinders airflow and can keep excess moisture from escaping, especially in attics.
Now that we know attic insulation shouldn't touch the roof, let's discuss it in more detail. We'll examine insulation in the attic, as well as answer some additional questions you might have. Keep reading!
What happens when attic insulation touches the roof?
There are a handful of things that can go wrong if your attic insulation touches your roof.
You likely automatically think more insulation is better than less in regards to energy efficiency, but that isn't necessarily the case. Too much insulation in your attic during the summer can actually increase your energy cost because that insulation is blocking cool air from moving. Proper roof ventilation is important in all climates, regardless of the season.
Stuffing insulation along the eaves of your roof can cover up the soffit vents which extend beyond the edges of your home. If these are covered, the airflow from the soffits to the ridge vent is blocked. This airflow mustn't be blocked, because the flow is what keeps the roof cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, preventing ice build-up. Airflow is important for more than just a temperature controlled-roof, however. We'll touch on that more in the next section.
Airflow at home is important, especially airflow through the attic. If you have any moisture build-up from condensation or spills, that moisture isn't able to properly evaporate without the airflow.
Because of this, an excessive amount of insulation will affect your air quality. Fresh air is important for maintaining health. Not only that, if moisture isn't able to evaporate quickly, it can grow mold and mildew. Breathing in mold or mildew can bring on numerous adverse health effects.
How Can You Correct Insulation Touching the Roof?
The best way to keep the insulation from touching your roof is to have insulation stops, or baffles, installed before the insulation to allow proper airflow. These can be made of something as simple as cardboard and are fairly inexpensive to obtain. They are simple to install using either a staple gun or nails between the rafters and around the perimeter of your attic. Many rolls of insulation come with a barrier.
The extra airflow these insulation stops provide will prevent frost from forming on the interior of your roof, ultimately preventing rot and eventual shingle damage to the exterior of your roof.
Curious about the cost of insulation in an attic? Read our article: How Much Does It Cost To Insulate A 1200 Sq Ft Attic?
Can You Put Too Much Insulation In Your Attic?
You can definitely put too much insulation in your attic. Not only should you not let insulation touch your roof, but you should avoid installing too much. The detrimental effects we discussed above apply to over-insulating in general as well as for insulation touching your roof.
If you feel your house needs more insulation due to creeping energy bills, consider installing higher quality insulation. Home insulation comes in "R" grades. The higher the "R" number, the better the insulation will be about keeping the hot or cool air in your home.
Although you don't want insulation just crammed into your attic, it is important to install enough insulation to keep your home temperature controlled. Ensure the ceiling joists are covered, as cool temperatures can sneak in through the wood. Additionally, make it a point to add weather stripping around your attic access point, as well as stapling insulation to the inside of the attic door. Forgetting to properly insulate the attic door can cause a lot of drafting.
How Can You Tell If Your Attic Is Properly Insulated?
The number one symptom of improper insulation is higher energy costs. Most utility companies place usage from the same month the year prior on your statements. Review this tool with each bill so you can readily notice a significant increase in energy costs.
Another way of telling if your attic is properly insulated is the temperature of your ceiling or walls. If they are cold to the touch in the winter, then you need better insulating.
The best way to resolve an insulation problem is to have a home inspector or contractor come in and assess the effectiveness of your insulation.
How Long Does Insulation Last In The Attic?
Most insulation will last in the attic for 20 to 30 years. However, it's best to have it replaced and refitted after about 15 to 20 years if at all possible. The climate you live in will have a large bearing on the effectiveness and lifespan of your insulation. Any severe weather can affect it as well. The integrity of the insulation does degrade over time, so it's best to update it before it gets to the point where it is completely ineffective.
Replace your insulation if you notice large fluctuations in your home temperature between day and night, if your energy bills grow, or if you notice an abundance of pests throughout your home.
If you're interested in more information about adding new insulation, check out our post, Can You Add New Insulation Over Old?
Does Insulating The Attic Keep The House Cooler?
Insulating the attic will definitely keep your home cooler in the summer. Not only does it hold in heat, but it also keeps cool air from air conditioning or fans down where it belongs. Most temperature exchanges happen through the roof, so attic insulation is by far the most important insulation a home can have. Your home's insulation will also act as a buffer to absorb the heat before it makes its way indoors to you.
Ensure proper ventilation and air quality by installing something between your roof and insulation to allow adequate airflow. It's not just a matter of keeping those energy bills down; it's a matter of the overall health and happiness of your family. Remember, if in doubt, consult a contractor or building inspector. This is an area in which there shouldn't be any shortcuts. Your family's well-being is worth the effort!