Having your attic reinsulated is not like having tile installed in your foyer or carpet in your living room. You can watch the tile and carpet be installed and carefully study the final product for installation defects. Insulation is different.
Most consumers will never go up into their attic to make sure the job was done correctly. Even if they did, they may not be able to tell if the job was done thoroughly. This is why you should take a few minutes and educate yourself about the retrofit insulation process before you pay to have the work done.

Most homeowners don’t realize that a quality retrofit insulation job involves much more than simply blowing more insulation into an attic. The basic rules of thumb we share in this short article will help your make prudent choices when it comes to re-insulatiLoren-entering-attic-to-inspectng an attic with conventional insulation. Armed with just a little bit of quality information can help you make much more informed decisions regarding the purchase of retrofit attic insulation.

A quality attic inspection is critical to a quality retrofit job. All of the common attic insulation defects must be identified and the bid must address each issue. Most people don’t realize that 5% missing insulation can lead to a 54% drop in R-value. If your insulation contractor does not identify and repair all of the insulation defects in your attic, you will not get the full value of the insulation you paid for


At Advantage Home Performance our salesmen have actually performed retrofit work, so they know what to look for and how to execute a job. Our installers receive special training on how to insulate existing homes because they pose unique challenges.

Realizing that few consumers have access to clear information on how to shop for a quality retrofit insulation job, we created this guide to help you purchase retrofit insulation in an informed manner. If you follow the twelve steps listed below, the chances are much greater that you will get what you pay for with attic insulation and realize all the benefits from insulation installed correctly.

  • The insulation estimator must thoroughly inspect the attic before providing an estimate. If the estimator simply stands on a ladder and peers into the attic you are dealing with the wrong company. The whole attic must be physically inspected before a quote is written up.
  • Companies that provide quotes over the phone without inspecting the attic will miss kneewalls, chases and other issues. Quoting insulation jobs over the phone without inspecting the attic first is an insult to our profession. These companies are not serious about solving your utility and comfort issues, however they are all about driving their sales and may even come back and charge you extra for the issues that were missed.
  • The bid must provide more information than just R-value. A good quote will not only tell you the R-value, but also inches of material to be blown as well. It will address kneewalls, open chases, skylight wells, etc. A reputable company, if asked will tell you how many pounds of insulation they expect to blow.
  • Before reinsulating an attic, the lead installer must inspect the house for recessed can lights, chimneys, and combustion air inlets. In other words the installer must be trained and knowledgeable. Uninformed attic installers can unknowingly create health and safety issues.
  • The installers must be paid hourly and not on a piece rate or per bag basis. Piece rate is pay for the square foot of work performed. Quality and quantity are at odds with each other – it is impossible to have both in a retrofit situation. The reward should be for quality, thoroughness, and professionalism and not simply speed.
  • The installers must have proper equipment. A headlamp and measuring tape are required, so installers can see and measure what they are doing. This sounds obvious enough, but we’ve seen too many instances where companies send installers into attics without adequate lighting and a tape to measure what they have installed.
  • The installing contractor in the must define in writing the ways he will seal open chases and dropped soffits if any of these conditions exist.
  • The installing contractor must describe techniques to handle attic batts that are not in contact with sheet rock to prevent failure.
  • Hire a company that will install insulation with respect for duct work and wiring in the attic.
  • Hire a company that places a value on cleanliness. Blowing attic insulation can be a dusty job. If attic access is through a closet, all clothes must be covered with plastic to protect them. The contractor must leave the job in the condition he found it, i.e. vacuum rugs, replaced moved furniture, etc.
  • Hire a company that takes ownership of mistakes. Problems occasionally arise during the retrofit insulation process. We believe that the insulation contractor must be accountable for any damage to sheet rock or any other repairs.
  • Hire a company with a reputation for integrity. Chances are you will never go into your attic and thoroughly inspect their work. This is why company core values are essential to getting a quality job.

For homeowners who are genuinely committed to improving the efficiency of their attics and homes, we suggest that you read our article called Ideal Attic. This article advocates a comprehensive approach to solving your home comfort and efficiency problems. Our recommendation is to have an APS or SRP $99 energy audit performed on your home before you proceed with insulation. The audit, when done well, will provide you with great information that will help you make informed decisions.

If you are going to proceed with insulation without an audit, Advantage Home Performance will do a thorough job. We have a reputation as an honest company. Mike Uniacke, the owner of Advantage Home Performance wrote the article Cheating – The Insulation Industries Dirty Secret. He also was featured as an insulation expert and consumer advocate on a Dateline NBC expose on the insulation industry. See Our Guarantee as proof of our commitment to delivering great customer service and home performance work.

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