Attics Better Stuffed With Insulation Than Stuff
Many homeowners make the mistake of adding plywood decking over the joists in home attics to create a convenient storage floor for all the stuff they can’t fit in their garages. This is a bad idea since the most cost effective way to insulate an attic is to cover the floor with insulation. If the floor is covered in plywood at the typical joist tops it’s just not possible, in most cases, to stuff enough insulation underneath to obtain the required depth and R-Value.
Sure, it looks like found space with all that open area above the ceilings just calling out to be used as a storage area for holiday decorations, old photographs and more (think of the Chevy Chase freezing cold in the attic scene from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation Movie.) Homeowners that do use their attic in this way would likely save money by blowing in cellulose insulation to the proper depth over the attic floor and renting a storage unit for their extra stuff in the attic.
One alternative, where attic overhead clearance allows, is to raise the height of the ceiling floor. Extensions can be fashioned on top of the existing ceiling joist where storage is desired to raise the attic decking to a height of 13 inches. Insulation can then be blow in under the decking to achieve the depth required for recommended R-Value. Adding the raised deck can be done as a DIY project (for homeowners with the proper skills) and their are also products available from home improvement stores, Amazon and other retailers. A qualified contractor can be hired as well. This offers the best of both worlds with improved attic insulation and additional storage space to save on both utility bills and long term storage costs.
Even in warmer climates, the savings from a properly insulated attic are substantial enough to override the convenience of having an attic double as a storage area. In fact, there is almost no quicker return on investment for a home energy efficiency improvement than adding or upgrading attic insulation. The savings realized are immediate and continue month in and month out regardless of the seasons.
Learn more about insulating a home attic with cellulose insulation.