The energy-saving benefits of having a well-insulated attic are common knowledge today, but did you know that sufficient attic insulation can also help extend the life of your roof? Learning what happens when the attic isn’t insulated can help you understand how having adequate insulation can protect and preserve your roof and the structural components that support it.
Basics of How Insulation Works
You might think that insulation simply keeps your home warmer, but what insulation actually does is restrict the natural flow of heat energy from a warmer to a cooler space. Without insulation in place to block that flow, heat from your living areas will transfer right through your home’s building components, like the ceiling drywall and wood framing members, and end up in your attic.
What Occurs in a Warm, Poorly-Insulated Attic
In addition to the heat that moves by conduction, you can also lose heat up into the attic through any unsealed gaps and cracks and around the access hatch, because warm air naturally rises. All this heat ends up at the attic’s highest point – the peak of the roof – and then migrates out through your roof decking and shingles.
Lack of Insulation Allows Harmful Ice Dam Formation
As rising warmth transfers through your roof, it melts the bottom layer of any accumulated snow that’s sitting up by the peak. The runoff trickles down to the outer, overhanging eaves that are always cooler. Here, the water refreezes into ice, which builds up with each thaw/freeze cycle. Once an ice dam forms, additional runoff lifts the shingle edges and backs up underneath where it expands as it refreezes. Over time, this can cause serious shingle deterioration, decking and rafter decay, as well as water leaks in your attic and exterior walls.
Insulating Effectively is the Way to Prevent Ice Dams and Damage
According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), homes in Michigan should insulate the attic floor with R-49 to R-60 for the greatest benefit. Blown-in cellulose insulation, like AttiCat® from Owens Corning, is a good choice because when it’s properly installed, the material fills in small or difficult-to reach areas. Plus, the insulation expands and doesn’t settle so it retains its R-value to provide a long-lasting insulating effect.
To learn more about how installing AttiCat® blown-in attic insulation can safeguard the roof on your Ann Arbor home, contact us today at Victors Roofing.