Does roof insulation make a difference?

installing roof insulation

Updating and Protecting Your Home

Have you ever been in a barn during the winter when there is snow everywhere, including on the roof of the barn? Was it cold? Or during the summer when the sun is beating down on the roof of the barn? Did you feel you were in an oven slow roasting? Yes, roof insulation can make a huge difference! That barn without roof insulation is an enormous part of why you were so cold or hot. To learn more about roof insulation in Colorado Springs, CO, give us a call at (719) 368-7654.

Can I put insulation under my roof?

Insulating between roof rafters does more harm than good. The attic needs ventilation, and when the rafters are insulated, it takes away that ventilation. Without ventilation, the roof stays warm on the exterior, then ice and snow melt. That water runoff will create ice dams at the roof edge.

Ice dams create a buildup of moisture in the attic and moisture causes mold. Attic ventilation prevents this from happening. That ventilation comes from a ridge vent and soffit vents and roof insulation on the underside, those vents can’t work.

installing roof insulation

Is it better to insulate ceiling or roof?

Unless you are closing in the attic and installing air conditioning, the ceiling plane is where insulation should be installed for the best effectiveness. If you are planning on using the attic as a room that will be air conditioned, some general rules that should be adhered:

We recommend a rigid foam vs a spray foam insulation above the roof sheathingto avoid thermal bridging through the rafters. This also keeps the sheathing warm, a vital feature in areas of the country that are cold or have mixed climates. When sheathing is kept warm, it prevents an accumulation of moisture sheathing rot. 

Building codes in America require a minimum of R-30 of rigid foam for homes in Zone One, R-38 for homes in Zones Two and Zone Three, and in Zones Four through Zone Eight, insulation rating of R-49 is required.

To reduce the thickness of the insulation placed above the sheathing, installing some foam above the rafters is allowed with the rest to be installed underneath, in contact with the roof sheathing. Take care in to reduce too much of the top layer.

What is the difference between roof insulation vs ceiling insulation? The biggest difference is where you install them to get the most benefit from them. Attic insulation is for ceiling plane, roof insulation is for the roof slope, installed on the roof slope itself, above and below the rafters. Both ceiling and roof insulation are excellent options, but which one is best?

Ceiling insulation benefits:

  • Easier installation
  • Less expensive
  • Doesn’t require increases ventilation

 Roof insulation benefits:

  • Covers more area
  • Energy saver
  • Better for older structures
  • Provides health benefits by preventing dampness and mold

Can you over insulate a house?

You home needs to have insulation, but you can have too much of a good thing when it comes to home and roof insulation. An over-insulated home can create too tight of a seal, eliminate ventilation, and trap moisture. As we have already discussed, too much moisture and too little ventilation grows mold. 

So, if your home has mold, does this mean it is over-insulated? Absolutely not! There are many things that can cause dampness and allow mold growth in a home. It could be your HVAC system has a malfunction, you could have a leaking pipe or the sump pump isn’t working properly. 

If you have noticed any of the following things, it may be worth your expense to have a professional home insulation inspection: 

  • Energy bills are higher than usual with no increase in usage
  • Rooms are drafty or temperatures are uneven room to room
  • Second floor is unusually warm

A professional home insulation inspection will determine if you have enough or too much insulation and that the insulating materials were installed correctly.     

Can you put too much insulation in attic? 

Yes, as we said earlier, while attic insulation is good, you can have too much of a good thing. To access if you need more attic insulation from the attic ladder, look across the attic span and if the insulation is just level with the floor joist or below the floor joists, you have some insulation added.  By hiring a professional insulation contractor, they’ll know exactly how much you need, and they’ll make sure it is installed properly and spread through to the farthest eaves and edges.

Can too much insulation cause condensation?

Poignantly, condensation and dampness and advances in insulation for houses have created problems with condensation in homes and that has created more mold and health issues. There was a time when homeowners opened their windows and fireplace chutes. This would provide a home with ample ventilation. Today, we have central air and heat, double glazing, blocked up fireplaces, and other means of insulating our homes and they aren’t getting enough ventilation.

measuring roof insulation

In Closing

What about using roof insulation with foil? Foil insulation is definitely worth considering if you are insulating a restricted roof space that regular roof insulation isn’t a viable option. Make sure there are ample air gaps on either side for the best efficiency. Professionals recommend using one with several layers and weight for the best performance.