Ceiling Insulation

Ceiling Insulation Services

It is not a surprise that our quality of life and home comfort can be a direct function of such things as the quality of our insulation and heating/cooling system efficiency. Ceiling insulation is an integral part of keeping your home comfortable and your energy bills reasonable all year round. Learn how this insulation works, the type of materials used, average costs, and more.

Why Do We Need Ceiling Insulation?

Insulation helps minimize heat transfer between the inside and outside of a home. During winter, heat escapes from your heated home through the ceiling drywall into the cold attic. During summer, heat from the superheated attic penetrates your home through the drywall, making your living spaces excessively warm and stressing your AC. That brings us to the necessity of insulation.

Ceiling insulation provides both worlds of comfort and cost savings. It traps heat generated by your furnace inside your home during winters and keeps summer heat outside.

By controlling energy transfer, ceiling insulation saves your heating and cooling system from having to work extra hard to maintain a stable indoor temperature. That translates into less energy consumption. You not only experience more coziness in your home but also pay lower energy bills.

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What to Look for Before Installing Ceiling Insulation

People often insulate their ceiling after plastering, but not without facing the tight corners and difficult access in the attic. That is why we recommend insulating during renovation or construction. If your home does not have an attic, you have no choice but to climb a ladder and insulate from below.

Before you begin to insulate your ceiling, check for any water leaks or damage and get a professional to fix the issue. Remember that some insulation ceiling materials like fiberglass trap heat using air pockets that shrink and lose their insulating properties when exposed to water. That could mean a sooner than expected insulation replacement, which none of us want.

Water can encourage mold growth on your insulation, increasing health hazards in your home. Now available are waterproof options such as mineral wool that are less susceptible to water damage. But let us not forget that water leaks, when not addressed quickly, can cause expensive structural damage. So, never proceed with any insulation project without first repairing a plumbing issue.

You do not have to replace the entire existing ceiling insulation. It could be holding some insulating power that you can enhance with new insulation. Whether or not to retrofit will depend on the conclusions derived from a thorough inspection of the insulation. The bottom line is to replace damaged, moldy, or critter-infested insulation.

You will need to determine the amount of insulation required. R-value denotes insulation’s effectiveness and is the principal factor in insulation calculation. The rating is higher in colder areas and lowers in warmer regions.

If you have recessed lights in the ceiling, check if they are rated Type IC (insulation contact). Keep the insulation material at least 3 inches away from non-IC-rated recessed lighting fixtures to prevent fire hazards. Insulate around or under the wires, and have an electrician perform any electrical modifications.

Just as importantly, check the local Building Code insulation requirements. Code violations can be expensive, often amounting to hefty penalties and costly tear-down and re-do of projects.

Still, you cannot afford to ignore other dangers of poor installation, from high energy bills, high indoor humidity, increased equipment maintenance to mold problems. So, before taking on the DIY path, conduct thorough research to ensure your project’s success.

An established home insulation contractor like Conejo Valley Home Services can leverage their experience to remove the bottlenecks associated with DIYs and complete your project to your expectations and per industry standards.


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Types of Insulation

» Batt Fill Insulation

Batt insulation is among the most popular materials for attic, ceiling, and drywall insulation. It is generally manufactured from glass fiber, rock wool, and slag wool.

The standardized sizes of batt rolls allow them to fit between regular joists, studs, and beams, offering a commendable barrier against conduction heat losses. The blankets are DIY-friendly and easy to transport.

It is crucial to ensure the insulation pieces snugly fit between the joists to prevent the leakage of heat and cold air. The standard sizes may not work in every home. It becomes trickier if your house has unusual architectural designs, which may demand the intervention of an insulation expert. So before confirming your order, ensure the insulation ceiling batts are the right fit for your ceiling spaces.

Insulation batts can be faced or unfaced. Faced insulation has a Kraft paper + asphalt lining that serves as a vapor barrier. Unfaced insulation batts offer insulation only.

Batt insulation provides a relatively low R-value, ranging from R-2.9 to R-3.8 per inch. Let us assume you live in a colder region. To achieve the required thermal insulation, you will need to install more insulation layers than someone in a warmer location.

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» Loose-Fill Insulation

Also referred to as blown-in insulation, loose-fill insulation is a type of ceiling insulation made of loose cellulose or fiberglass fibers.

Loose-fill fiberglass insulation
  • Loose-fill fiberglass insulation is manufactured from recycled glass fibers whose primary raw materials are silica sand, soda ash, and limestone. Its heat resistance rating (R-value) ranges between R-2.2 and R-2.7 per inch.
Cellulose loose-fill insulation
  • Cellulose loose-fill insulation is made of recycled paper products, primarily discarded newsprint. Often treated with fire-retardant (mainly boric acid) to prevent the ignition and spread of fire, this type of insulation boasts recycled material content as high as 85%. It offers an average R-value of R-3.5 per inch.

Installing loose-fill insulation involves blowing the materials into the target spaces using an insulation blower machine. The machine feeds insulation into a tube extending into your home. You will require an extra hand to complete this project. One person operates the blower machine while the other directs the tubing around the ceiling.

Loose-fill insulation does an excellent job of filling spaces and gaps often not optimally sealed by insulation batts. However, it is unsuitable for draughty areas as constant airflow can make the material shift around. Unevenly distributed insulation performs poorly.

» Spray Foam Insulation

Also known as foam-in-place insulation, spray foam is a polyurethane-based liquid foam directly sprayed to target spaces where it hardens into effective insulation material. You can blow this insulation material under the floor or onto the attic surface.

Spray foam insulation for ceilings can offer twice as much insulation power as batt insulation. It is the best choice to seal small cavities, and you can spray it around wires, pipes, and door and window frames.

This type of insulation is available in two options: closed cell and open cell.

Open-cell foam comprises cells deliberately left open to make a softer and more flexible insulation material. Contrarily, closed-cell foam consists of cells pressed together to prevent air and moisture penetration. Open-cell foam is much cheaper than closed-cell foam, but it has lower insulating power, making it unfit for regions with extreme weather temperatures.

What makes open-cell foam popular insulation for a ceiling is that it expands so much after spraying, meaning it can seal the tightest of spaces in your home. It also offers superior soundproofing properties.

Advantages of closed-cell foam insulation include:

  • It offers 2X the heat resistance power of open-cell foam insulation
  • Its rigidity enhances a building’s structural integrity
  • The compressed cells keep away water and moisture

» Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs)

SIPs are prefabricated panels with a foam insulation layer bonded to two outer OSBs (oriented strand boards). Offering 12%-14% energy savings, these composite panels come in various shapes and sizes with a typical thickness of 4-8 inches.

SIPs’ R-value ranges between R-2.7 and R-6.0, depending on the core foam’s type and thickness. Available are boric acid-treated panels that deter insects yet are harmless to human beings and pets. A panel’s interior can incorporate fire-rated materials like gypsum boards to slow down fire spread and give building occupants enough time to evacuate safely.

Note that ISP insulation can be extremely airtight. You must therefore install a controlled fresh-air ventilation system.

To prevent rodents and insects from penetrating the composite panels, homeowners can:

  • Apply insecticides to the panels
  • Treat the ground with insecticides before and after initial construction
  • Keep indoor humidity below 50%
  • Trim overhanging tree limbs
  • keep outdoor plantings at least two feet away from the walls

What is the Best R-Value for Insulation?

R-value denotes the thermal performance insulation must provide to keep your home cool during summer and warm in winter. Higher R-value means better insulation and more energy efficiency.

The R-value of ceiling insulation varies with prevailing climates. To determine the recommended insulation level for your region, refer to the Energy Star’s R-value region map, a handy chart that assigns unique R-values to different zones in the U.S.

For retrofit projects, first, determine the R-value of the existing insulation layer. Subtract it from the recommended R-value for your region to obtain the required R-value of the new top layer.

Benefits of Ceiling Insulation

  • Increased home comfort: Heat moves from warm areas to colder areas. Ceiling insulation counteracts this process to keep conditioned air inside your home. You can rest assured that your home will feel cozier all year round.
  • Saves on energy costs: By helping maintain even indoor temperature, insulation for the ceiling saves your furnace and AC from overworking to keep your home comfortable. As such, you should see a substantial drop in your energy costs.
  • Prevents mold growth: The vapor barrier paired with ceiling insulation prevents condensation and moisture accumulation, preventing associated effects like mold growth.
  • Improved indoor air quality: Ceiling insulation (on the attic cavity) can prevent the penetration of airborne contaminants into your home. This helps keep your indoor air fresh and healthy.

What is the Average Cost of Ceiling Insulation?

The average cost to insulate 100 square feet of ceiling ranges between $225 and $255. Premium prices range between $285 and $340, while the lowest costs are around $170 per 100 square feet. So, expect to pay anywhere between $1.7 to $2.6 per square foot.

Typical factors influencing ceiling insulation costs:

  • Structural complexity: Expect to pay more if your home’s ceiling structure is complex or has limited accessibility. Any required professional electrical modification will set you back more money.
  • Insulation material: Insulation materials vary in price. For instance, fiberglass blow-in insulation for the ceiling ranges between $0.5 and $1.10 per square foot, while the cellulose counterpart will set you back between $0.60 and $2.30/square foot.
  • Replacement: Deteriorated ceiling insulation requires complete replacement, which involves a labor-intensive and time-consuming removal process. This can amount to a significant rise in your insulation expenses. You can save money by topping up old insulation, provided it is healthy.

Which Type of Insulation is Right for You?

Several considerations factor in the decision on the best insulation for ceilings. You will need to determine what is ideal for your budget, the comfort of your family, and the future of your home.

The most important consideration is the insulation materials. Referring to the R-value chart, determine your home’s R-value zone and use the figure to find a product that matches your insulation requirements and budget. No doubt, making the right choice can be tricky. Take advantage of a home insulation contractor’s expertise to evaluate to find and install the right product for your home’s unique insulation requirements.

A premier and highly reputed insulation contractor in the Conejo Valley, Conejo Valley Home Services takes care of your entire ceiling insulation project with utmost professionalism. With many years of industry experience, our company specializes in fiberglass batt insulation and cellulose and fiberglass blown-in insulation. Call us today at 805-499-0448 for ceiling insulation that maximizes your energy cost savings and home comfort.

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