By Karina | December 15, 2010
I’ve been blathering on about how badly we need to insulate our home for – well! Over a year. And after all of my chest-pounding about how I need to stay accountable (and missing THAT self imposed deadline) I am happy to say: THE ATTIC IS INSULATED. It’s true! Here it is, crazy eaves and puffy insulation for everyone!:
Now, I did talk a lot about different types of insulation. I had gotten some quotes from contractors to do the eco-friendly spray insulation, but after evaluating the estimated R-value per inch thickness for traditional fiberglass and the spray insulation it didn’t seem like there would be any large benefit in future-height-of-ceiling for using that more expensive material.
So we decided to go for the fiberglass insulation and here are the three major reasons why:
- We were able to find and work with a contractor that we feel comfortable with and trust, which is alarmingly hard to do so.
- Fiberglass insulation has a large percentage of recycled materials included.
- We actually accomplish something and when the heat comes on I don’t have to feel like I’ve been blowing money and carbon dioxide out the ceiling when the heat clicks on!
It appears that there are two reasons to be worried about fiberglass insulation: the off gassing from the formaldehyde binders used to allow the insulation to be compressible during shipment and recover its loft while it’s in use, and the fact that the fibers may shed small particles that could be embedded in your lungs and cause future issues. My response to each of these concerns is the same: get something without formeldehyde in it. It so happens that Johns Mansville has decided to make all of its consumer applications formaldehyde free and although the necessity of this is disputed, it was only a little more expensive and seemed like an easy choice to make. When I asked the contractor what he thought about it after installing it at our house he said: It seems just like the regular stuff, but it wasn’t as smelly. Success!
Here is the trade-off we made: in order to get the fiberglass insulation without formaldehyde, and in order to fit the standard sized insulation into our janky rafter bays, and in order to preserve a nice ceiling height in the attic, we only have about R-21 up there – and we have a few bays with R-19, where we had to get whatever we could to fit in the bays. And I know! The US Department of Energy recommends at least R-49 in our area… but the technology just isn’t there for us, so we have compromised in favor of actually GETTING SOMETHING DONE.
One of the issues with fiberglass insulation is that it allows air to travel through it, but we will be putting up drywall and finishing the attic in the next year or so (*cough* though that is what we said about insulating, too…) and the drywall will prevent the air movement, which will, in turn, make it seem more insulated in the house.
And as it is? the attic is amazing. Not only is it CLEAN, which is huge, but it is so quiet and still up there. Our second floor is only a few degrees colder than the ground floor (where the thermostat is), which is solely due to the insulation. And my partner and I are raring to go at finishing that room up because it looks so darn GOOD already!
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