You’ve got a problem: your house is hot in the summer and cold in winter. You might also be looking at sky-high energy bills and even moisture damage. The answer to these issues may be adding insulation, but that still leaves the question of where to apply additional thermal protection to see the most benefit. While both ceiling and roof insulation will increase your home’s resistance to outside temperatures, insulating the ceiling should be your priority.
First, let’s understand the differences.
- Ceiling insulation refers to putting insulation into the floor of the highest level of your home. In most cases, this would be the attic floor, which would be the ceiling of the story below. That means the actual attic space is outside the insulated zone.
- Roof insulation is installing a thermal product into the roof slope above and below the rafters. In that case, your entire structure is inside the insulated envelope.
Here’s why ceiling insulation beats roof insulation in most cases:
Indoor Temperature Management
You want to be comfortable in your home. It’s no fun to sweat while you cook dinner or shiver when you step out of the shower. Keeping your house’s temperature in a moderate, pleasant range allows you to enjoy your life at home. Ceiling insulation helps you to do that. Outside temperatures will stay outside if you have a thick, effective layer of insulation in your ceilings. Insulation, particularly in your ceiling, will help you more effectively control indoor temperatures.
Ease and Cost of Installation
Installing ceiling insulation is relatively easy. It involves placing loose-fill or batt insulation into your home’s attic or air space. If you are inclined, this is a viable project to take on yourself. You either roll out the blanket-style batting or use a blower you can rent at a home improvement store. If you choose to pay someone to perform this work, it can be accomplished quickly and is not expensive. They will place insulation between the joists of the attic floor.
Roof insulation is more involved and expensive. This is not a project you should take on yourself because it is more complicated, and that complication means paying for expert labor. You will want to work with a roof services company to ensure the work is performed correctly and that your roof materials aren’t damaged in the process.
While ceiling insulation does leave your attic or air space un-insulated, it still provides a highly effective thermal barrier. That means you can run your air conditioner less in the summer and your heater less in the winter. Think of the insulation as a cozy blanket you provide for your house. Just as you need less heat for yourself when you have a blanket on your bed, your home requires less heat when it has an insulated blanket keeping your living spaces separated from the outside air. The same holds true for summer, even though a blanket wouldn’t be advised for personal comfort. Your insulation is a barrier keeping the air you’ve paid to cool inside your home and the hot air out.
By adding insulation, your home can better regulate its temperature without the help of your heating and cooling systems, meaning your energy bills stay lower. Since ceiling insulation is cheaper to install, the return on your investment is excellent. You spend less and still see a decrease in your energy costs.
A properly vented roof is critical to your home’s integrity because it prevents moisture problems. If you add insulation to your roof, you must consider the vent system and whether you need to install additional vents. Installing ceiling insulation doesn’t affect the roof’s venting. That means that as long as your roof is already adequately vented, you don’t need to worry about the effect of the insulation on your home’s venting. Your come can continue to breathe properly, and excess moisture won’t gather and condense in your attic.
When to Consider Roof Insulation
For some homes, the ceilings are part of the roof deck. One example would be a finished attic. Another would be a cathedral ceiling with no air gap between the ceiling and the roof. In other cases, due to the design of your ceilings, adding insulation could be cost-prohibitive or negatively affect the design elements of your home. In these situations, insulating your roof is probably your best option.
In extremely hot climates, when the sun beats down on the roof and heats your space, you may see significant additional energy savings if you insulate the roof, possibly in addition to adding insulation to the ceilings.
A local roofing company can explore options with you to help you hone in on the best option for insulating your home.
Insulation may not be the most exciting home project, but insulating your ceiling can help make your home a pleasant, energy-efficient haven. Staying more comfortable, saving money, and prolonging the life of your roof and home make ceiling insulation well worth considering.