Attic Insulation in
Madison, WI

Attic Insulation

Introduction

We need to start with saying that every home is different. Architecture, framing, age, and even the habits of people living there create a unique environment within each building.

While the information below is true in most cases, always remember that nothing replaces an expert insulation contractor’s inspection.

If you’re experiencing insulation related problems or in need of new insulation, it’s worth getting an estimate. Even if you’re in the planning phase, you can plan with accurate numbers.

Research on the impacts of insulation on comfort, safety, and efficiency has come along way over the years.

There is a huge difference between passing building codes and being smart with your money and safety. It’s similar to getting a car with 15 miles per gallon, except the 30mpg cars only cost a couple hundred dollars more. It takes very little time to get that money back from improved efficiency. After that, it’s just extra money in your pocket.

And that doesn’t consider all of the other comfort and safety benefits from our improved approach to insulation.

The Best Attic Insulation

Most Effective: Blown in Cellulose (R50)
 
 
 
 
Notes and Exceptions
Attic hatches need to be insulated for the same reason blown in insulation is better than batts. All the heat will bypass the insulation by going through the attic hatch, and that 2×2 foot uninsulated area will reduce the effective value of a 1,000 square foot attic by 30%.
Air sealing is critical for the same reason. Air carries heat and sneaks through the many ceiling penetrations (for lights, fans, etc.). In some attics, insufficient air sealing causes more damage than insufficient insulation.
 
Tight spaces like hip roofs are common and become a problem because there isn’t enough height for enough insulation. Depending on severity, spray foam insulation may be required in these areas. Spray foam at a depth of 5 inches provides as much protection as over one foot of cellulose or fiberglass.

The Most Recommended Option

R50 Blown in Cellulose

You may see R38 as the recommended attic insulation value, but that figure is dated. It simply costs more to heat a home with R38 attic insulation. Blown in insulation has better coverage. Cellulose outperforms fiberglass and is less expensive when factoring in heating bills.

Why Blown In Insulation

Full Coverage
Heat always takes the path of least resistance. Even small gaps covering 2-5% of the surface will reduce total attic insulation quality by as much as 33%! Gaps also increase the chance of condensation and mold growth. 

Blown in attic insulation performs better than rolls, batts, or boards of insulation because it can’t have gaps.

Why Cellulose

Similar Cost, Far Better Results
Cellulose attic insulation costs slightly more than fiberglass—at least initially. However, it’s so much better at insulating that many homes recoup that cost difference within 24 months through lower heating bills. After that, the lower utility costs turn into extra money in your pocket. This doesn’t even factor all the other benefits of cellulose.

Cellulose costs a bit more that fiberglass, but lowers heating and cooling bills much more.

Why R50

The Modern Day Standard

You may see R38 as the recommended attic insulation value, but that figure is dated. It simply costs too much to heat a home with R38 blown-in attic insulation. R50 is the modern-day standard for attics, though some go with R60. 

R Value only tells part of the picture. That’s why the actual performance of R50 cellulose outperforms R50 fiberglass and is similar to R38 closed cell spray foam (explained here).

Types of Insulation

A Big Difference

No matter the location, insulation type plays a big role in results. We go into detail about the 3 common insulation types in this article.

Insulation Types at a Glance

Fiberglass is the least expensive upfront, the least effective, and the most expensive over time.

Cellulose is slightly more expensive upfront, a great insulator, and offers the biggest “bang for your buck.”

Close cell spray foam (polyurethane 2-part foam) is the most expensive, offers unmatched insulation value, and generally gets the job done when other insulations won’t.

Automatic

State Rebates & Incentives

Many (though not all) Wisconsin insulation projects are eligible for hundreds of dollars in rebates through the state’s Department of Energy. We typically capture at least 1 rebate per week for our clients.

We are certified to implement these rebates and complete nearly all the paperwork for you. We even instantly discount the rebate from your invoice, so you’re not left waiting for the rebate check to arrive.

Know YOUR Numbers

Planning with general numbers often leads to inaccurate estimations and budgets. That’s one of the many reasons we offer free estimates. Whether you need a quick fix or are planning for work next year, work with actual numbers specific to you.