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In Texas, winters are short but cold, windy, and rather dry. The summers are the opposite. Temperatures range from 36 to 96 degrees Fahrenheit. They rarely go below or above. As a new homeowner in Texas, you might be anxious to find out the best attic insulation for this region. Look no further, we asked experts, and they gave us satisfying answers.
Fiberglass is the most popular type of insulation in Texas. It is the most effective and perfect for filling in tights nooks and crannies. It is installed around pipes, wiring, and hard-to-reach areas.
Some are also using batts, blown-in, or spray foam to a certain extent. Read on as we explain why fiberglass is preferable and clarify the limitations of the other types of insulation.
Types Of Insulation
There are several types of insulation for attics, but three are the most popular. Insulation material comes as loose-fill, spray foam, batts, radiant barriers, foam boards, and rolls.
Of the three types of insulation, fiberglass is the most commonly used in Texas.
Fiberglass insulation is composed of reinforced plastic material combined with glass fibers. The plastic and glass fibers are bound together with resin. The resin creates a strong and durable bond.
Cellulose is made from recycled paper products. These paper products are fiberized to get an insulation material. Insulation made from cellulose reduces heat loss and sound transmission. Cellulose sits compactly in cavities in any part of the building.
Foam is made from polyurethane or polystyrene. Its cells are filled with gas that expands to fill cavities or spaces for insulation. It comes in two forms, that is floorboards and spray foam.
How Thick Should Attic Insulation Be In Texas?
The higher the R-value, the better the performance of the insulation. R-value is the resistance to heat movement. This is the strength of the insulation material.
The recommended R-value of attic insulation is R-38 to R-49. This translates as a minimum of 12 inches to 20 inches of insulation.
Pick the R-value depending on your location. This includes how cold it gets in the winter, and how hot it gets in the summer.
Can You Over Insulate The Attic?
Yes, it's possible! Insulating the attic is good but remember that it stays all year round. Therefore, over insulation might result in a lot of moisture being retained in the roof.
Once the roof doesn't "breathe" properly, mold and mildew will thrive in the attic. Ensure that you allow the roof to have proper ventilation when insulating the attic.
Fiberglass: Pros And Cons
Fiberglass has proven to be the number one insulation material in Texas. It's readily available and easy to use.
Fiberglass comes in two forms:
- Batts: These are large sheets sold in rolls. They look like blankets which you can easily place in between the floorboards in your attic.
- Blown-in: Blown-in fiberglass looks like cotton candy. You purchase it in bags in form of large chunks. A machine is used to blow out the chunks to fill out the necessary cavities.
These two forms accomplish insulation of the attic slightly different, but their advantages include:
- Fire-resistant: Because glass fiber doesn't burn.
- Non-edible: Fiberglass doesn't contain any living organisms that could attract insects.
- Ecologically viable: Because fiberglass comes from recycled glass and plastic.
- Non-shrinkage: Over time fiberglass doesn't shrink. Shrinkage doesn't occur because it is reinforced with glass.
- Lightweight: It is lighter than cellulose. Therefore, no additional weight to the attic floor.
- Choice: Fiberglass can be found in high or medium density
- Cost-efficient: Rolls are affordable and could cost $0.80 to $1.64 per square foot for installation according to the thickness, brand, and R-value.
Fiberglass has some downsides to it that are important to note:
- Health Hazard: The glass silvers could cause lung cancer when inhaled during installation.
- Maintenance: Needs re-gelling every five years, which is a costly affair.
- Seals: Additional plastic seals are needed to protect it from moisture.
- Installation hassle: You need to wear protective gear to avoid eye, nose, and skin irritation.
What To Do Before Insulating An Attic
Insulating your attic could be a weekend DIY project or a professional's job. Pay attention to these tips below to get excellent results.
You'll need to insulate a finished or unfinished attic to keep your electricity bills minimal. Prepare your attic by doing the following:
- Ensure that you have placed in the attic all the tools required for the job.
- In an unfinished attic, lay planks to ease mobility when working.
- Draftproof the attic by putting weather strips at the entry of the attic. Seal cracks and seams around chimneys.
- Check the ventilation to avoid any moisture being retained and causing mold and mildew in the long run.
- Check for exposed wiring in the attic. Don't cover any ducts, electrical wires, light fixtures, or pipes.
Watch this video for a visual guide to help you understand the above steps:
Before purchasing any insulation material, calculate to get the amount required. There are two ways to go about it:
- Invite a professional to do the calculations, if you don't have existing insulation. The expert will guide you and give you the exact calculations for a fee.
- If you have pre-existing insulation, use this as a blueprint. Experts suggest buying a different brand or type for better results.
How To Insulate Your Attic Using Fiberglass
When insulating your roof, you'll have to remember that it needs to breathe. Air moving from the eaves to the roof keeps it cold. No ice dams will form in the winter.
Proper ventilation will save your roof all year round. To successfully insulate your attic, follow these steps.
- Use appropriate tools and protective gear. Wear a dust mask and gloves when working with fiberglass.
- Install layers of polythene on the attic floor to stop moisture from destroying your insulation material.
- Start from the furthest corners edging towards the entrance/exit of the attic.
- Seek help and be keen on hard-to-reach areas or obstructions around joists.
- Use other types of insulation where you can't use fiberglass. For example, you can use foam to seal cracks and cavities.
Check out this video below for helpful illustrations:
Cost Of Insulating An Attic
The cost of insulating an attic in Texas could range from $1,700 to $2,100. It estimates at $1.50 to $3.50 per square foot. The cost of the insulation material and how much area needs to be covered will influence the installation cost.
You might need the services of an electrician and a contractor. In Texas, these professionals charge $70 to $85 per hour.
Texas Insulation Code
Texas has a compliance guide for homes. The requirements differ with each climatic zone of the state. New homeowners should familiarize themselves with the IECC guidelines before insulating their homes.
To avoid penalties and increase the value of your home, stick to the guidelines. You could hire a professional to do the insulation and save yourself the hustle of trying to comprehend the guidelines.
The best insulation for homes in Texas is fiberglass, although other types of insulation can be utilized. Fiberglass can be expensive, but it will help cut down on electricity bills.
Fiberglass poses a health risk when not properly handled during installation. Indulge the services of a professional before commencing insulation.
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