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PATH Case Study

Insulating the Attic Roofline for Comfort & Energy Savings


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[IMAGE: Because the insulation is blown in under the roof deck, the ductwork is supported by straps strung between pieces of 2x4 scrap, rather than hung down from the roof truss.]

"To spray Icynene along the attic roofline costs about $5,000 for this 2,000-square- foot home. But this money will be more than made up over time because insulating the attic roofline and installing the ductwork in conditioned space will reduce total energy cost by 20-30 percent. It will provide added protection against water infiltration from hurricanes as well."

"Spraying the roofline also gives you some additional useable storage in the attic that is only 10 degrees above air-conditioned temperatures in the living areas. This helps solve a storage problem since the high water table in coastal Florida prevents us from installing basements."


"Because we insulated below the roof deck, we didn't use vented soffits. After the last two years of hurricanes in Florida, we found out that a lot of wind-driven rain was getting in through the soffit areas. It also keeps the hot, humid air that we have in Florida in the summer from coming in contact with the ductwork or other cool parts of the building, which can cause condensation and then mold. Instead of having attic temperatures in the 130-degree range, the attic temperature will be in the 80-90 degree range."

"In addition, by installing the insulation in the roof early on, we're also keeping the temperature more stable inside while we're working, which makes a big difference in Florida."


"What we are doing is not rocket science," Black says. "People everywhere are doing this every day using easily available materials. Your standard mechanical contractor that you work with shouldn't have any problems adapting. He can basically do things just as he always has."

"Because overspray from the spray foam insulation tends to get everywhere, all the roof penetrations, electrical boxes, and any penetrations for exhaust fans need to be covered and sealed," Black says.

"A lot of times, people put a plastering and maybe a wire behind a roof penetration. The problem is that it gets buried in the foam insulation and then we have to dig around for the wire. Other times, somebody has forgotten to seal up a box. As the general contractor, I need to remember this and warn the subs. After the first time, you learn really fast."

"It's no problem convincing people to spend a little more money when it makes for a much more comfortable, energy-efficient home."

- Robert Black

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Content updated on 9/1/2006

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