Why Upgrade my Attic Insulation?
Most homes in Manitoba were built during a period of time when energy was cheap and plentiful. As a result little attention was given to energy efficiency. With today’s modern energy costs it pays dividends to be more energy efficient.
Typically the primary reason for retrofitting your home’s insulation is energy savings, so make every dollar count! If you are going to insulate, insulate your attic, it is here where most homeowners are typically able to achieve the highest increase in insulation, over the largest area of space, for the most reasonable cost.
Winnipeg has seen a glut of colder than normal winters lately. Maybe you’ve noticed a problem with your attics performance which was not apparent in warmer years. Deal with it before the next deep freeze and put an end to the long term damage done by excessive moisture accumulation and ice-dams.
What Materials Should I Use?
We will typically recommend one or a combination of blown in loose fill insulation and spray foam.
Spray foam is a versatile product with a high R value per inch, it is also a vapor barrier as well as an insulator. It is good for creating a continuous vapour barrier over a variety of rough surfaces and penetrations and can also be sprayed directly on the roof deck in sloped attics.
Loose fill insulation is resistant to mold and made with non-flammable recycled material.
Don’t just top up your insulation!
Many people are poorly served by simply topping up existing insulation levels. Your attic is a complex system separating the generally warm moist inside environment from the cold Winnipeg winter.
Typically, older attics will not only have very little insulation but also lack ventilation and a suitable vapour barrier or will have holes which allow warm moist inside air entry into the attic. When an attic is warm it is common to see snow melting off the roof while other roofs remain covered in snow. In severe cases, as snow accumulates it begins to insulate your roof to the point where the bottom layer of snow will melt and freeze with fluctuating temperature causing an ice dam. As well as forming icicles, an ice dam can work up and behind the shingles where it melts and causes leaking inside the attic.
Changing a leaky attic from warm to cold by adding insulation without stopping the leak will often allow excessive condensation to form on the cold underside of the roof where it can melt and damage the roof, insulation, and ceiling.
Upgrades to attic insulation should always be performed with complementary retrofits including installing appropriate ventilation, and air sealing penetrations such as bathroom fans, plumbing stacks, electrical wires, pot lights and other fixtures. When properly assessed and upgraded, attics keep the heat in and the moisture out.
My Attic Is a Problem That Needs Fixing.
If the damage is too severe or recurring for a long time, bulk moisture has made its way into the attic causing damage and the insulation needs to be removed and the problem addressed. However unfortunate these situations are we are equipped to deal with them. Don’t waste the opportunity made by removing damaged material to perform a full inspection of the air/vapor barrier. It is an opportunity to correct moisture problems once and for all.