How to Identify Attic Insulation

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Attic insulation is an important part of your home that prevents cold air from accessing the interior in the winter and stops hot air from accessing it in the summer. Insulation comes in a four basic forms, each of which has an "R" value rating indicating the level of protection it provides. Identifying the specific type of insulation in your attic space requires only a close inspection and comparison of the material.

Things You'll Need

  • Long sleeves and pants
  • Gloves
  • Safety glasses
  • Dust mask
  • Put on long sleeves, pants, gloves, safety glasses and a dust mask before entering the attic because some insulation materials irritate the skin and lungs.

  • Look at the attic wall and ceiling to see if it has a thick board on it that is made of foam material. If so, this is called foam board or rigid foam. These boards are covered with a thin layer of white plastic or a reflective silver foil.

  • Look at the floor of the attic in between the wooden boards to see if there is a pink or white material that is in a long strip. This is called insulation batting and is typically comprised of fiberglass material, although it can be made of wool or other fibers as well.

  • Pick up the material near the floor to see if it is in soft loose clumps rather than held together in a strip. If so, this is called loose-blown or loose-fill insulation and is comprised of the same materials as batting, as well as cellulose and sometimes newspaper.

  • Examine the walls and floors to see if they are covered in a solid foam material that has an uneven appearance, much like expanding foam from a can. This is called sprayed foam insulation.

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