There’s a lot that makes a Florida home comfortable. They’re built to withstand category 5 hurricanes, have luxurious exterior and interior designs, and come with air conditioning. Many Florida homes are also built with a garage and paved driveways for parking. While very few Florida homes come with a basement, Florida homes can be built with attics to serve the same functions as a basement.
Whether building or renovating a home with an attic in South Florida, there is one question that often comes up: should the attic be insulated? There are good reasons why an attic in a Florida home should be insulated, beginning with the fact Florida has a hot and humid climate, especially in the summertime.
Florida Climate and R-Value
Without proper insulation, weather conditions from outside the attic can easily creep in and make it unbearably hot and humid on the inside, even in other parts of the house. During the brief wintertime in Florida, cold temperatures can also creep in and make the inside of the attic and home chilly. If the attic is used for storage or as another living space, good insulation can help protect items inside the attic safe from damage and can make being in the attic enjoyable for a human occupant. So, how should an attic be insulated in a Florida home?
Before anything else, it’s a good idea to know the R-value of the area of residence, which measures thermal resistance. This tells the contractor how much heat flow can be resisted by proper insulation. Since the state of Florida reaches temperatures as low as 70ºF and as high as 95ºF for most of the year, an R-value of 38 is preferred for ceilings throughout most of Florida. Since the tri-counties of Miami-Dade, Monroe, and Broward in South Florida are slightly cooler than in other parts of Florida an R-value of 30 is recommended for the ceiling area.
Materials for Attic Insulation in Florida
To keep Florida’s hot and humid temperatures outside the home, the best materials to use for attic insulation are durable materials that can seal every crack and hole in the attic. In Florida’s case, the best insulation material is spray foam due to its ability to create a thermal envelope. This is ideal for being able to trap the home’s indoor temperature and keeping Florida’s outdoor temperature outside, which will help save energy costs.
Another perk to spray foam is that it protects the attic against Florida’s humidity, which is perfect for keeping out moisture. This prevents mold and mildew from growing inside the attic, which helps protect items inside the attic from damage. As a bonus, this spray foam can also make the roof sturdier during hurricane season and minimize damage from heavy rain, winds and debris. A cheaper alternative to spray foam that is also effective for attic insulation in a Florida home is blow-in fiberglass as it is also effective at sealing tight spaces.