Tips to prepare your attic for thermal insulation
When preparing to insulate the attic of your home, there are several things that need to be considered in time and that need to be prepared. If you entrust the insulation work to a specialized company, we can forget about this work – it will be done by the chosen company for you. However, if you want to save money and think that you can do all the preparations yourself, then there are several things that need to be adjusted and done in a timely manner.
Inspection of the old thermal insulation
If the attic is already insulated, you must check the condition of the current thermal insulation layer. What to watch? First of all, whether the thermal insulation material is still in good condition – it has not molded, settled, rotted, damaged or flattened, as well as it must be checked whether there are no gaps in the thermal insulation material. All damaged old thermal insulation material must be removed. If it is moldy, then the attic after cleaning should be disinfected with a special antifungal agent – this will protect yourself from the growth of new mold. Remember that once the old thermal insulation layer has suffered from mold, this means that the thermal insulation has been improperly installed, all the correct insulation instructions have not been followed and all damaged material must be removed. It is not reusable.
It is important to check that the old thermal insulation is still in an even layer, there are no gaps between it – fragile places through which heat is lost. The easiest places to identify vulnerabilities are with an energy audit. It will show all the places where the heat is lost from the home and therefore need special attention and insulation.
Choice of material
For attic insulation, we recommend choosing bulk thermal insulation materials – ecowool or mineral wool. Loose thermal insulation will evenly cover the entire surface to be insulated without creating gaps, as well as fill all cracks and joints in structures.
Vapor insulation is invaluable for proper, sustainable and effective insulation. There are people who believe that steam insulation, because it stops the flow of air and moisture, makes the premises unhealthy, and if we want to use ecological ecowool for insulation, then steam insulation spoils all its good properties. Nonsense! If you do not put steam insulation where it is especially important, you will be able to say goodbye to your valuable eco-cotton wool, because they will be gone quickly. Let’s explain why.
Everything is based on very simple basic principles of physics – warm air rises, cold air settles down. However, along with the warm air that rises on your insulated attic, so does the moisture. When exposed to the warm air coming from inside the dwelling with the cold in the attic, a dew point and condensate form. If steam insulation is not used, the thermal insulation will soak within a few months, thus being damaged and exposed to fungi and rot. When using steam insulation, the thermal insulation layer is protected and it lasts for a very long time without losing its properties.
The same principle applies to external walls – use steam insulation to prevent water from flowing through your thermal insulation. It really happens!
When insulating the attic, be sure to think about how you can then move through it. As it is not allowed to walk on the thermal insulation layer, because then the material is flattened and its thermal resistance changes, it is necessary to create special footbridges, which you can move on in the future.
Footbridges must be constructed in the direction from the attic hatch to all the most important objects, which may sooner or later need to be reached. For example, to windows, chimney, communications, etc.
The size and material of the footbridges do not matter – you can make them so that it is easy to move along them. However, it must be adapted that there must also be an insulated surface under these footbridges. Thus, footbridges must be made as bridges, lifting them to such a height that thermal insulation can be laid under them to the same thickness as elsewhere in the attic.
As the entrance to the attic is mostly made through a hatch leading to the dwelling, it is necessary to provide the possibility to enter the attic without thermal insulation in the dwelling each time. If you insulate the attic with loose thermal insulation, then every time you open the hatch there is a possibility that you will be covered with thermal insulation material. Because it falls! So, to avoid this, you need to build small edges around the hatch, which are at least about 5 cm higher than the intended thermal insulation layer.
Never seal the attic. Now that they are insulated for you, be sure to ensure that the attic is properly ventilated. It is important to keep the air temperature in the attic only a few degrees higher than outside. However, the attic is insulated – so you can ventilate them safely and not be afraid of the cold.
To achieve attic ventilation, you can create a ventilation hatch or place metal grilles in place of the attic window glass, which allows air to circulate freely.