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When Does Attic Insulation Need To Be Replaced?

Friday, February 12th by Shannon Brelsford


Unhealthy Attic

Attic Insulation, when well maintained, can last for decades. However, it's important to know the signs of failing insulation to be able to react accordingly.

Insulation, depending on the material used, can last for decades if properly cared for. Some insulation materials are composed of natural materials and will eventually degrade. Others are made from synthetic material and can last for nearly a century before needing replacement. 

Attic insulation is an integral part of the construction of any home. Insulation functions as a way to maintain comfortable living temperatures within a structure by trapping or blocking hot or cold air depending on the season. In the winter, attic insulation keeps the home warm, while in the summer, the insulation blocks out the heat and allows the AC to function effectively, keeping the house cool and comfortable. Due to the necessity of insulation in our daily lives, experts typically recommend that inspections are performed at least once a year. 

Common Lifespans of Different Attic Insulation

Depending upon the type of insulation that you choose for your attic space, the length of time that the material will last varies. There are insulation materials made from all sorts of components, both natural and synthetic. Natural materials will inevitably degrade faster than synthetics, and some high grade synthetic materials can last virtually indefinitely if well taken care of. 

  • Fiberglass Insulation--The actual lifespan of this commonly used attic insulation is from 80-100 years. However, due to its construction with natural materials, eventually the product will lose effectiveness. Fiberglass insulation typically needs to be replaced 15-20 years into it’s life, as it can easily become dirty, wet, moldy, and ineffective if there’s a roof leak or water damage of any kind. 

  • Cellulose Insulation--Made from recycled paper, this insulation does a spectacular job of keeping the house temperature controlled. With a lifespan that can last up to 30 years, it’s a green and effective choice. However, it’s rare that cellulose insulation will last it’s entire lifespan, and will likely have to be replaced in half the time. Being made of natural materials, the insulation is vulnerable to water, mold, mildew and pests. The fluffy nature of cellulose makes it an attractive nesting spot, and once pests find a home within the insulation, it must be replaced. 

  • Spray Foam Insulation--Spray foam is an expanding foam insulation. It’s pumped through a machine directly onto the space that needs insulation, rising and spreading rapidly to fill small holes and cracks. Composed of various types of polymers and types of polyurethane, it has the longest lifespan of home insulations. Once the insulation is applied to the walls, it can last virtually forever unless damaged. There are few things that can damage spray foam, but a house fire or punctures to the insulation will necessitate replacement. It will never rot or degrade, and the hardened exterior of the foam once it sets deters pests, so it won’t become infested with bugs or animals. 

Older Homes & Insulation: To Replace or Not To Replace

It’s common to find older homes retaining their original insulation. In the past, homeowners used whatever they could get their hands on as insulation, such as shoving newspaper, bottles, tins and old clothing into the walls and along the roofing in an attempt to block out the cold. When proper insulation materials were created, it was a great leap forward for indoor comfort, but it also meant that people didn’t think about their insulation as much anymore. There’s always something to worry about, after all. 

When buying a home, inspections should tell you whether or not it’s time to replace your insulation. There are a variety of factors that could influence this choice, such as: 

  • Age of the insulation material. 

  • Presence of moisture or an unresolved roof leak.

  • Presence of mold and mildew within the attic or on the insulation. 

  • Cleanliness of the insulation material. (Dust, Dirt, etc.)

  • Current R-value of the insulation material. (Calculated by thickness of the material.) 

A professional attic insulation contractor will be able to determine all of these factors for you with a simple insulation inspection. 

Finding an Attic Insulation Contractor 

Insulation Contractor

Reach out to an Attic Systems dealer in your local area for top of the line service and high-quality insulation materials!

If you’re looking for an attic insulation contractor, look no further than Attic Systems! With over a decade of experience and a network of highly skilled and specially trained insulation contractors across the country, Attic Systems is here for any insulation related need you may have. 

Reach out and get started on your free, no obligation estimate today!

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