The warm air as we learn from physics, rises up and for your home it often means that it ends up in the attic. That is why the proper insulation of your attic is the first place you need to insulate, so as not to lose hot air during the winter. And of course insulation is going to helps us keeping our home cool in the summer.
Difference between flat and sloping roofs
Flat roofs can only be insulated externally, in other words in the roof structure. If you try to insulate a flat roof internally, moisture will form between the insulation material and the roof lining. This will cause the beams and roof boards to rot. Sloping roofs, on the other hand, can be insulated internally.
The choice of insulation material and its thickness is an important factor. The thicker the material, the better the insulation. However, doubling the thickness of the insulation does not mean that the insulation is twice as effective. The insulation must be placed in an airtight coating to prevent internal moisture from forming. The insulating material is usually provided with an airtight and watertight coating. Always use the maximum possible roll width to minimize connection points.
We will cover four types of roof insulation:
• fiberglass insulation panel with sealing membrane
• insulating lining
• mineral wool
• Styrofoam insulation panel
After that we will explain how you can complete the interior of the roof, as well as how you can insulate the floor.
Fiberglass insulation panels
In this case we first measure the width between the roof beams. Then we cut the insulation material, leaving 1 or 2 cm extra width. This way, we can be sure that the insulation material will remain firmly in place between the roof beams.
Remember that you should always wear a dust mask and gloves when cutting or working with insulating material. Cutting is easier if you press the material with the wood or aluminum cutting guide.
In this type of insulation we should make sure that there are no gaps at the connection points. The ones between the insulating panels through which air can pass. When the roof is completely insulated, then we should install the sealing membrane, working from top to bottom.
We always stick the film firmly in place on the roof beams , leaving an extra 10 cm overlap and cover the overlays with insulating tape.
In this case we should start working from a corner. At first we uroll the material between the roof beams, working always from top to bottom. We should make sure that the sealing membrane is well stretched. Then we attach the overlapping flanges to the edges with a stapler every 10 cm. Before sewing the bottom in place, remember to cut off the excess material. Always wear a dust mask and gloves when cutting or working with insulating material. Then press the insulating pieces firmly into place and glue them to the beams.
Cover the connections between the flanges with adhesive tape to make sure there are no gaps. You can also use duct tape to repair any tears in the material.
Mineral wool in form of rolls or sheets is the most commonly used material for loft insulation. The width of the insulation material should be slightly larger than the distance between the roof beams. This way, you can be sure that the insulation material will remain firmly in place between the roof beams.
Mineral wool is easily cut with a bread knife. Remember taking precautions and always wear a dust mask and also gloves, when cutting or working with insulating material. For a more beautiful result, it is easier to make the cut with a wood or aluminum cutting guide.
Styrofoam insulation panels
If the roof beams are flat and level, you can also use polyurethane, polystyrene or mineral wool insulation panels. In this case it is better to use reinforcement from boards, to reduce the risk of fire and deformation of the panels.
Lay the panels in a brick pattern so that the connections are not continuous. Thus, the waterproofing is improved and a flatter surface is formed. To cut the panels to the size you want, use a hand saw with thin teeth or a jigsaw. The installation of the panels is better by two people, because the panels are quite large and can be easily broken. Use an electric screwdriver to install the screws with large washers at 25 cm intervals.
Further completion on insulation
After insulating your roof, you can finish the interior with plasterboard or other sheet material. If you use plasterboard you will first need to make the wooden planks over the roof beams, so that you can build a solid frame on which you can easily place the plasterboard panels. After this you can fasten the drywall panels to the wooden planks using sheet metal screws. It is advisable to use an electric screwdriver with a head adapter for drywall, so as not to damage the drywall.
If your attic does not have an open staircase, it is in your choice to insulate the floor. Remember that the nsulation works best on a flat surface and the individual panels should be placed tightly together. To seal the floor as well as possible, you can first install an airtight membrane. If your attic floor is made of a lightweight construction, you need to install a moisture-resistant membrane, especially if there is a bathroom without ventilation just below.
Cut the panels or insulation sheets a little wider than the gap between the beams and press them firmly into place. If you use insulating lining, use a width that allows you to sew it to the sides of the beams. Try to stretch the material as much as possible, without gaps or folds. The insulation between the beams does not need to be covered. If the attic needs to be accessible, you can place side beams with sturdy frames on top of them.
Insulating your attic is a task that demands time and effort. Unless you are the do it yourself type, it is better to call for a professional. He will explain to you about the different materials in the market and their use. After all, he is a technician having the skills to do the job right. The final result in even case will be one of the best investements you can do in your residence.