Why it May End Up Being a Good Thing
As your home ages, so does your insulation. Traditional insulation in bags or panels can sag and lose its seal. This allows air to flow through more easily, with the obvious negative effect on your energy bills. But removing the old and inefficient insulation from your attic is more important than just the financials. The presence of rodents, foul odor and leakage are other reasons to remove insulation. Old insulation may contain vermiculite or fiberglass, both of which can pose health risks.
If deteriorating, old insulation can also become a haven for moisture – and thus of mold and mildew. In the summer, moist air in the attic can affect your roof sheathing and cause shingles to deteriorate. In the winter, heat loss in an attic melts and can form ice dams at the roof’s edge. Water then backs up under shingles, eventually damaging the structure of the roof and, at the very least, resulting in interior leaks. Finally (and more happily) – you may simply be renovating your home, adding a second story to your house or basically renovating the attic space. Time to remove the old!
Spray Foam – The Ideal Replacement
Increasingly, homeowners are turning to spray foam insulation as a replacement material. Although more expensive to install, spray foam’s advantage shows up in your next energy bill. U.S. studies show that 40% of a home’s energy is lost as a result of air infiltration through walls, windows and doors. However, buildings treated with spray foam insulation insulate as much as 50% better than traditional insulation products. Add that to the extra impact of replacing deteriorating insulation, and substantial savings are realized. Because of its enhanced ability to reduce energy use, spray foam insulation is regarded as a “green” material.
Insulation that is sprayed protects better against moisture, simply by virtue of its ability to cover an entire surface with no cracks. It also infiltrates existing fissures and gaps in walls and roofs in a way that traditional packed insulation cannot. Spray foam can be used in small amounts and in tiny areas.
Finally, spray foam insulation is often used to reduce noise. It substantially reduces sound transfer through a building’s roof and walls.
Who To Call
The installation of spray foam is no job for the casual renovator. In addition to the liquid spray which must be hosed in to the space, it requires special applicators and a trained staff wearing protective gear. An experienced company will also carry out the removal of the old, possibly dangerous, insulation.
Look for a company with a track record and one that has worked on projects similar to yours. You may require an entire attic to be covered or your job may be more complicated: an awkward basement area, garage or cathedral ceiling, or even crawl spaces. What is the company’s ability to carry out that kind of job? Go online and check out the company’s website and reviews of its work.
Remember: your home is not some vast industrial site requiring cleaning. You live under that attic, and the existing insulation must be removed and replaced with care, to protect your health and your budget.