Attic conversions are becoming more popular and could help you expand the amount of livable space or storage space in your home.
If it makes sense for your house, using the space between your ceiling and your roof could be a smart move – but there are a few things you’ll need to think about before getting started.
One of the big things is controlling temperatures inside the attic so that it’s comfortable for any occupants. Controlling temperatures will also help protect any furniture, appliances and building materials in the attic from heat damage over time.
Wondering what kind of insulation for your attic is best? Check out the top 4 types of insulation below to help you get started.
1. Glasswool Insulation Batts
Glasswool, also known as fibreglass, is one of the most popular, affordable and effective insulating materials available in Australia. It is made from up to 80% recycled glass materials which are melted down and then spun into fibres.
Glasswool insulation batts are a type of bulk insulation that work by trapping billions of tiny air pockets in their structure. These air pockets break up the flow of heat, reducing the amount of heat that’s transferred.
The benefits of glasswool include:
- Won’t catch fire
- Doesn’t attract vermin
- Doesn’t rot
- Easy to handle
- Highly compressible – more m2 per package
In the past, glasswool had a notorious reputation for causing itchiness when touched with bare skin. However, in recent years manufacturers like Knauf Earthwool have developed products which have virtually none of the itch factor associated with older glasswool products.
2. Polyester Insulation Batts
Polyester insulation batts are considered a premium alternative to glasswool batts. They are made from recycled plastic materials such as bottles and bags and contain no breathable fibres, making them a good choice for people with asthma or dust allergies.
Other reasons to choose polyester include:
- Nontoxic and non-allergenic
- Non flammable
- Moisture resistant
- Made from recycled materials
- Can be recycled at the end of its life
Polyester batts come pre-cut to fit between the ceiling rafters of most Australian homes. They are easy to handle and can be installed by professionals or as a DIY project if you have the right equipment and experience.
3. Acoustic Insulation
If you are converting your attic into livable space, you’ll want to make sure noises made in the attic don’t travel to your living spaces below. Footsteps, appliances and loud music can all travel through ceilings that don’t have acoustic insulation installed.
Acoustic insulation batts are very similar to the thermal insulation batts described above, except that they are denser and thicker to help prevent the transfer of sound.
You can find acoustic batts made from both glasswool and polyester. In addition to offering superb sound properties, they also offer all the thermal benefits as well.
If you live under a flight path or frequently experience heavy winds and rain, you might consider installing acoustic insulation under the roof in your attic to help reduce the amount of noise.
4. Reflective Foil Insulation
Overheating in attic spaces is a real problem, especially for regions that experience hot summers. One of the most effective methods for preventing overheating is to install a layer of reflective foil insulation under the roofing material.
Reflective insulation is made with a thin foil layer which reflects radiant heat from the sun away from your home. Not only will this help you regulate temperatures inside the attic space, it will also help reduce the amount of heat transferred to the rest of your home as well.
Reflective insulation is available in many different forms, including thin, flexible sheets and two-in-one reflective bulk insulation products.
R-Value tells you how effective the insulation will be
When choosing the right insulation products for your project, one of the most important factors to consider is R-Value.The higher the R-Value of an insulation product, the more effective it is at resisting heat transfer and the more potential energy savings you can untap.
Keep in mind that different locations have different minimum R-Value standards for attic applications. For warmer areas like Perth and Adelaide, a minimum or R4.0 is recommended. For cooler climates like Melbourne and Sydney, a minimum or R5.0 or R6.0 is recommended.
To experience the greatest comfort and energy efficiency benefits, experts recommend investing in the highest R-Value you can afford.
Keep in mind that the higher the R-Value, the thicker the product will be. If you are installing batts between the roof rafters, you will need to make sure the insulation batts are not too thick that they will be compressed as this will compromise their performance.
Converting your attic space? Now is the time to get your insulation right!
The best time to install insulation is during the construction and renovation phases. It’s not always easy to replace insulation later on, so it’s important to get it done right the first time – although this may depend on the clearance levels of your roof space. It’s best to speak with a professional about what insulation solutions are right for your project.
Investing in the right insulation products is a smart move that can lower your home’s energy consumption and save you money on your power bills. In fact, insulation can pay itself off in as little as 3-5 years and will last several decades.
Even if you are not converting your attic into livable space, it’s important to insulate your roof area as it’s responsible for the greatest heat loss and gain in a home. Roof and ceiling insulation can help increase comfort inside your home, reduce your energy consumption and help you save on your energy bills all year round.