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"We have a 1962 Brick Colonial with basically no insulation, gas bills have been outrageous. We found on Angie's List, gave them a call," the gentleman did a drive by without us being there, quoted us a price and exactly what that would entail, I told him we would give him a call back and make an appointment, which we did, I made one for a Monday after lunch, he told me he couldn't give me an exact time they would call as soon as they were finished with previous job. They called right after 12pm and said they would be there by 1pm they were 10 min. early, they came to the door with their gear own, hose at the door ready to work. Very well mannered, professional and they were done within 20-30min, cleaned up after themselves and left. Awesome! I hightly recommend and would definitely use them again, if we found ourselves in need.

-Angelia W.

"They arrived punctually, performed the service completely to my satisfaction. Just a note, this is the second time I have employed them (first time for blown in" ). My experience of their workin both instances has been that they are thorough, careful, respectful, punctual, and responsive to my needs.

-Martha B.

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Local Articles in Birmingham

Icicles hanging from roof

How to Prevent Ice Dams From Forming on Your Roof

Do you have icicles on your eaves and gutters, or ice collecting on your roof? Proper attic insulation can help keep frozen precipitation from building up.

spray foam insulation

High heating and cooling bills could mean your home lacks adequate insulation. Be sure to check the amount in your attic and crawlspace.

Attic inspection

Roofing experts say many attics are insufficiently ventilated which can damage your roof and require expensive repairs.

foundation installation

Insulating the outside of your foundation can help lower energy bills and keep your house warmer in winter.

Radiant barrier in attic

HVAC systems work more efficiently with the addition of a reflective barrier as part of your attic insulation.

Angie's Answers


Google and read about it. Some people swear by it, though their comments sound suspiciously like they were all written by the same person. Some call it a rip off - expecially people paying $6000-8000 for what would normally be a $1,000 range job.

I would not call it an outright fraud as they are providing a product that has some potential merit in the right application, but from a technical standpoint it sounds suspicious. They claim a 1/4 mat with doiuble sided foil facing is R-16 insulation. This at least is deceptive - they appear to be saying its radiant heat reflective properties give the equivalent of R-16 insulation, because there is NO WAY 1/4" foam is going to yield R-16 in an ASTM test for insulation, which is a thermal conductivity test. Would be lucky to get R-2 or so as an insulator, so this is basically a radiant barrier. Competing products from national brandname manufacturers list R value of 3.8-4.2 for one inch mats, so the equivalent for this 1/4" mat would be expected to be in the R1 range.

Properly installed, with ventilation on BOTH sides, it can be slightly effective in reducing radiant heat loss from the house, and more effective in reflecting heat in the attic from coming down into the house. However, from a thermodynamic and vapor control standpoint, they are trouble unless their integration into the house envelope is designed VERY carefully. Short explanation:

1) for keeping heat in the house, if they are installed above the attic floor insulation they can slightly limit air loss through the ceiling, and reflect radiant heat back down, resulting in warmer insulation, hence a warmer ceiling - but not as marked an improvement as added insulation would give.

2) for keeping attic heat from getting into the ceiling, they do reflect back a good portion of the radiant heat coming from the roof sheathing. This reduces the attic floor insulation surface temperature, so can reduce air conditioning cost. it does increase teh temperature in the attic, which can be very bad for support timbers and the roof sheathing.

3) the worst thing about how this type of foil radiant barrier is used is that, unless it has free air space on both sides, it acts as a vapor barrier. In the typicall application as a blanket over attic floor insulation, it traps any moisture coming up from the house, and can cause mildew and rot, especially in climates where the outdoor temperature gets quite cold.

4) the attic fans are generally a last resort measure - the normal house does much better, at no energy cost, using ridge vents with adequate eave openings to provide ventilation and cooling in the attic.

5) their effectiveness in winter heat diminshes rapidly with time - tests of attic radiant barriers show they lose about half their effectvieness within 5 years, because even a light dust coating greatly reduces their ability to reflect radiant heat, and greatly increases the absorption of heat from the hot air above them.

6) pay attention to cost - from what I see, their installed cost is many times the cost of normal insualtion or radiant barrier placement.

I would say, in summary, buyer beware, and I would be inherently leery of a product being sold the same way timeshares and "secret" moneymaking schemes are.


A couple of comments about what Jim said:

1) Regarding type of insulation, in cold winter environments: Cellulose and fiberglass are actually about comparable in R value when installed - blown in cellulose runs from 3.2-3.8 R value, fiberglass batt 2.9-4.3 R value depending on manufacturer and whether hig-density or low density, high-efficiency or standard, according to official Department of Energy publications. Measured values in attic test cases, in areas with a true winter, after 10 years showed a decrease from 3.4 (in the test case) down to 2.1 for cellulose, and 3.5 to 3.3 for fiberglass batt, due to packing or matting. In an attic environment, there WILL be condensation or frost on the insulation at some point during the year (assuming an area with true winters) and in highly insulated houses commonly for a substantial time period each winter. Fiberglass packs down slightly from that weight but mostly rebounds, cellulose packs down and mats and does not substantially recover, so over the years cellulose loses 1/3 to close to 1/2 its insulation value, fiberglass about 10%.

2) a note on radiation barriers attached to the bottom of the rafters - there are a lot of installers and homeowners making two major mistakes with this product that can cause major trouble: First, be sure to terminate it short of the eave openings. I have seen cases where it was carried all the way out to the fascia board, thereby blocking all airflow on the underside of the roof. Even carrying it all the way to the eaves along the bottom of the rafters will block off ventilation to the main attic area. You have to leave the air space between the rafters open to full airflow from the soffit/eave area ot the ridge vent. Second, do NOT run it continuous from eave to eave across the full width of the attic - leave a gap about a foot wide under the ridge vents so warm and moist air in the attic can vent through the ridge vent. Closing the ridge vent area off with the radiant barrier effectively puts a vapor barrier around the main attic area, causing retention of the moisture which WILL accumulate there, promoting mold.


Obviously this is not a timely response to the initial question. However, for those who may be reading these answers at a later time, a couple of added thoughts:

1) the radiant barrier being discussed is basically heavy-duty metal foil or metallized surface on a plastic sheet, intended to reflect RADIATED heat (infrared radiation - think heat light, or heat you can feel at a distance radiated from a fireplace), the same way a mirror reflects light. Radiated heat is how a standard oven broils and how steam and hot water baseboard heat predominately work.

2) you generally should do NOT place a radiant barrier over the insulation that lies between and over the joists in a normal attic, especially in a region where the attic temperature can frequently reach condensation temperature (below about 45-50 degrees) - it may reflect back some of the house heat that is coming up from the house, but by destroying most of the temperature gradient from the house to the attic air destroys much of the driving force that moves moisture to the attic air and subsequent venting. Between that greater heat and the fact the barrier is also a moisture barrier, that makes a perfect condition for mold and rot in your insulation and attic wood, and has become quite an issue in energy upgraded homes because of retrofits that cut off airflow outside the insulation, but do not cut off the moisture source leaking thorough from the house. The proper and ONLY place for a vapor barrier in a normal attic insulation system is on the pressurized and normal warm, humid side of the insulation zone - directly above the ceiling drywall in the top floor, fastened to the UNDERSIDE of the ceiling joists or trusses, NOT anywhere above that. Perforated barriers are supposed to reduce this tendency, but the perforation area percentage is so small that typically they still act as a vapor varrier, just not a totally effective one.

3) radiant barriers reflect radiated heat ewith up to 99% efficiency but have basically zero resistance to CONDUCTION (body to body heat transfer at points of contact - think heat transfer from your warm hand to a frozen cold drink can, or hot pavement heat transfer to the bottom of your feet) - so there needs to be an air gap between the radiant barrier and the hot item passing the heat to it, otherwise the heat will just pass through it by conduction. Therefore, applying it directly to the sheathing (above or below) or manufacturing it directly on the surface of the sheathing defeats its purpose, even though this is commonly done.

4) there is a lot of discussion, particularly in the professional design community, about attic radiant heat barrier effectiveness and problems. Because they are being installed on the bottom of the sheathing or underside of roof joists, they act as a heat trap for the energy being conducted through the roof which would normally radiate into the attic air or be transferred by CONVECTION (fluid flow heat transfer) to the attic air, and be vented through roof vents, ridge vents, gable vents, etc. By trapping that heat, they are causing the underside of the shingles and particularly the felt and sheathing to get a lot hotter than they otherside would, essentially changing it from a system where the shingle top surface might reach 120-180 F and the inside surface of the sheathing about 80-140F in the summer, to making the entire roof system equal to the outside surface temperature. This causes more rapid shingle deterioration and cracking, and makes the felt or plastic moisture barrier under the shingles brittle and subject to failure.

Also, any moisture above the radiant barrier (from roof leaks or humid air coming into the area) is prevented from evaporating by the attic airflow which would normally remove it, so it starts acting like a steamer. I have seen both wood and metal lofts and attics become a major mold farm in months because of this effect, and a couple of roofs which started sagging due to rotted sheathing within 2 years of reroofing with tightly adhered radiant barrier. Some radiant barriers are vapor-permeable to reduce the moisture issue, many are not, but few actually are effective in letting moisture freely escape.

Having seen these products in use, and having analyzed and specified building products for use from the Middle East to the Arctic for decades, and having a Masters in Arctic Engineering (a degree predominately in energy conservation and heat flow), my personal opinion is that these radiant barriers will be banned by code within 10-15 years for unheated (so-called "cold" roofs) roofs, because they just do not use the principles of thermodynamics correctly. For more info on this issue Google the following search phrase  - moisture trapping by radiant attic barriers       and read the government (not the manufacturer) literature on the issue.

5) Unfortunately, the right way to handle this issue is to put the radiant surface on the OUTSIDE of the house - by using reflective materials on the roofing material. This is already done with flat roofs, house trailers, and industrial structures by spraying with alumiunum paint, and a few brands offer reflective aggregate shingles that are slightly more reflective and radiant than normal shingles. People obviously do not like this reflective surface from an aesthetic standpoint, though with solar cells coming into more general use this may soon be more widely adopted. The idea should be to keep the solar energy from penetrating into the building envelope at all, not try to re-reflect it away after it has penetrated throguh the roof system.

The sprayed-in foam has a couple of issues you need to be aware of:

6) it needs to be the low-pressure expanding type mixed for use around window frames, as fully expanding foam can bow joists or trusses and pop drywall ceilings free as it expands, and non-expanding foam actually shrinks as it cures, leaving gaps for air and heat flow alongside the ceiling joists.

7) being closed-cell it is essentially impervious to moisture, so the vapor barrier on the house side has to be EXCELLENT (incuding sealingof all penetrations), or it will trap household moisture escaping into the attic and promote mold and rot in the ceiling drywall and joists.

8) it tends to bleed chemical fumes into the house for a long period of time (can be noticeable for years), which may be objectionable to some people from an odor or environmental standpoint, and especially should be considered if any residents have severe allergy issues or respiratory problems.

9) I emphatically recommend AGAINST use of sprayed-in foam between ceiling joists or truss members in any area that can have cold attic air that could cause moisture condensation in the insulation, though this is probably not a significant problem where you live, assuming your Dallas is the city in Texas. For essentially year-around air-conditioned homes in hot climates, the problem can actually be condensation of attic air moisture on and in the colder ceiling surface insulation and on cold attic runs of air conditioned air, so attic ventilation becomes a critical issue to remove the moisture before it condenses.

In summary, having seen an awful lot of attic moisture and thermal problems, my personal recommendation would be to ensure excellent sealing of the house from the attic, use normal UNFACED fiberglass insulation, and instead of a radiant barrier ensure adequate full-attic ventilation. If you decide to got with a radiant barrier, then I would recommend a perforated one, sloping up towards the sides a foot or two and stopping a foot or so clear at the sides so moist air under it can escape to the roof joist spaces and be vented from the attic. I have seen this done several times with a fine nylon net strung above the insulation in the attic, supporting the barrier, resulting in something very similar to the double-roof system used in bedouin tents, where airflow between the two layers keep the hot air away from the living space.

Steve made a good point.  Also, while it isn't required to remove the old insulation you can check the ductwork, wiring, etc. with the old stuff removed,  You can also spray foam around all openings and holes in wall top plates to better seal your home as Steve was pointing out.  My concern is the potential for mold spores you mentioned in your question.  If you suspect there are any get a good company in to remove the old and clean the attic.  Another concern is asbestos.  Your home is old enough you could have it in there and that's worse than mold if released into the air.

Todd Shell
Todd's Home Services

A moisture barrier has to be on the warm side ie towards the heated side.  Most people would not install a moisture barrier in your situation.  (They also sell a paint that you can use on your interior ceiling? as a moisture barrier).  Rather most homeowners would hire an insulation contractor to blow a cap over the existing insulation bringing it up to your areas reccomended levels,,Your power company can tell you the level, I would guess R 40.  What you use is up to your wallet, the best is a spray foam that can be applied to the ceiling or over the whole shebang.  Being a bit of a miser I would trot on down to my local big box store and buy a truckload of cellulose and get a free blower for I and a friend to self insulte.  Big box= Menards, Lowes etc.  Cellulose= ground up paper treated with boron for insect control and fireproofing.  It has a high R value and will stop moving air loss from the home. Before you cap current mostly emply attic is ideal time to take sealant to any openings in the attic floor,  like pocket doors, canister lights electircal wires and close off the air leaks from inside.  If foaming skip this.  Hot air rises so you save yourself a ton air sealing the home.

An attic radiant barrier is also a possiblity see my blog for nifty results on it.

Jim Casper Old Energy Conservation Guru

ps moving existing insulation use a plastic rake


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Insulation reviews in Birmingham


top came out last week to look at the job and give me a price. he was prompt, courteous and professional.he gave me a recommendation of what needed to be done and gave me a fair price for the job. the men showedup at 8:00am as scheduled. they took just over an hour to do the job. they cleaned up after the job was completed.everything ...More was completed professionally and as promised. they have been in business since 1949, and do things the right way.
- brett S.

We hired this company to install R38 cellulose insulation and provide overall insulation for our attic space. The workers arrived on time and finished the work within a few hours. They were friendly and polite and did their job reasonably well. However, after they left, we checked the work and noticed that they did not install the correct amount of ...More insulation. R38 is 10-11 inches of loose insulation. The measurements showed only 8 inches of insulation which qualifies as R30. We contacted the company and told them of the problem. They checked their records and agreed that they did not install the correct amount. They admitted that there must have been a mistake or miscommunication with the installers and promised to send the workers to finish the job. The initial job was performed on 8/12/2009 and we have called back repeatedly each month to get a status for when the job will be finished. Each time, they give us excuses and empty promises to finish the job. As of today's date 2/11/2010, it will have been 5 months since they performed the initial attic insulation and have yet to finish the job. They promised to come a week ago to finish, yet they never called back to setup an appointment. We have contacted a family attorney in hopes that this can be resolved soon.
- Andrea L.

Not only is in residential estimates/sales helpful, knowledgeable, and professional, his ethics are beyond reproach. Their prices are not the lowest, but you will never have a problem with Standard H&A. I give them 5-stars for customer satisfaction.
- Marty M.

House had several hot spots and cold spots. Had system totally inspected from top to bottom. He closed several dampers and rerouted air from the main line. Suggested that we add insulation in attic and add an attic fan. He was confident we could improve the cooling situation with just these fixes rather than major work.
- Thomas M.

showed up to make the estimate, surveyed the attic and gave me an estimate for R-30. I called back to schedule the installation and asked to bump that up to R-38. (It was less than $100 more, so just do it.) The service guys showed up promptly on time, laid down plastic sheeting to protect the carpet from the blow tube and got ...More to it. Less than an hour later, it was all done, and they were gone. Everyone was very courteous and professional.
- Duane P.

Got the name from a neighbor, who is himself a high-end flooring contractor who'd used these people to insulate his reconstructed house. They've been in business since 1949. , the salesman, has been with them for many years. Clearly knew what he was talking about, no pressure. At the time of the service, the people ...More doing the job were exceptionally careful to avoid damage to the house. Came when they said they would, did what they said they'd do, and the result was as expected. Price was fair...not the lowest, not the highest. Have recommended to my wife's employer...would unquestionably use them again were there ever need.
- Josie R.

Very nice, friendly, and focused on doing the job right. They arrived on time and got right to work. They ran a hose from the truck into the house which kept the house free of debris. What little mess was made they cleaned up before they left. Overall project time from start to finish was about an hour. I'm very pleased with their service and would ...More definitely hire them again.
- Brian B.

If there was anything I wanted done differently they were happy to do it for me. They stuck to their price that was estimated. They came when they said they would. So courteous and cleaned up well after themselves. I have had them back so many times so I believe the price was between $5000 to $10,000. They've done so much work for me over the past year.

Insulation Contractors in Birmingham

Companies below are listed in alphabetical order. To view top rated service providers along with reviews and ratings, Join Angie's List Now!

A & A Construction &Roofing

5608 ave k

Adams Carpentry & Home Inspection

Alford Avenue

Alabama Accent and Remodeling

1718 21st Ave

Alabama Energy Pros

9326 Tingle Cutoff Road

Alcaino's Remodeling

641 11th Street N.W.



All Trades Inc.

5885 snowville brent rd

Alltrade Remodel and Maintenance

1325 Falcon Drive

American Home Shield

889 Ridge Lake Blvd

American HomeCrafter Inc.

4249 4th Ave S Apt D1

ANDY OnCall Birmingham

3 Belcher Dr.

Attic Insulation Company Inc

4340 Powell Ave S

Authentic Restoration

3510 Vann Rd


1911 27th Ave S


3629 River Ridge Rd

Birmingham Income Properties

5330 Stadium Trace Parkway Suite 100

Blair Remodeling

2674 Valleydale Rd



C & F Drywall Inc.

P.O. Box 332


4501 1ST AVE N

Case Design/Remodeling

4220 Cahaba Heights Court

Construction & Management Solutions, LLC

115 Walter Davis Dr Ste B

Contoured Design

2430 County Road 1422

Cool Breeze

1689 Savannah Park

DGA Roofing Inc

14350 Mundy Dr

Durante Home Exteriors

2512 Commerce Sq W.

Eco Three

1500 1st Ave

Ecological Insulation

3910 Cox Rd

EES Energy Consulting

5821 W. Sam Houston Parkway N #400

Empire Construction of LA, LLC

2969 Pelham Pkwy

EZ Roof & EZ Restoration

2677B Valleydale Road

Fair-N-Square Contractin

2003 Blackjack Rd

Gale Insulation & Specialties

3112 Morgan Rd

Grayson Construction

1401 Montgomery Hwy

JMS Heating & Cooling

18589 US Highway 31

Lowes in Fultondale

1335 Walker Chapel Rd


2455 1ST AVE S



Nap & Grit Finish Company

609 10th Court South

Norrell Service Experts

2524 Commerce Sq W

North Alabama Builders

311 CR 1387

PCE Pest & Property

PO Box 383201



Pinnacle Contracting LLC

100 Hillsedge South

Precision Heating & Air

6632 Warrior River Rd

Prestige Roofing Company

1871 Slaughter Road



Pro Energy Consultants

1512 Bellview Cir

Ralph Bidwell ( Handyman )

1301 Meadow Ln



Sensigreen, LLC

2707 Columbus Parkway

Sentry Heating, Air, Plumbing & Generators

2490 Rocky Ridge Rd

Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning

2524 Commerce Square W


130 Inverness Plz

Sharp Remodeling Birmingham

4691 Trussville Clay Road



Smart Energy Solutions

302 Court of Elm

Soundrite-Acoustics, Inc.

209 S. Stephanie Street

Southern Renovations & Construction, LLC

5235 Pinson Valley Parkway

Southern Strong Roofing

6500 River Place Blvd., Austin, TX 78730......&...

Standard Heating & Air Conditioning

528 8th Street South



StoneCrest Home Builders

1747 Russet Woods Lane

StoneMark Construction

4581 Deer Creek Trail

Straight Mountain Construction & Repaird

pleasant grove road
Pleasant Grove

Streamline Home Services

PO Box 43662



Supreme Service Company

4022 University Ave

Terminix - Trussville

7415 Gadsden Hwy

Tint Pro

3229 veterans cir

TLK Construction

2139 Cheshire Dr


1678 Montgomery Hwy

Trinity Contractors, Inc.

561 Simmons Dr.

Triple B Construction

755 County Road 15

Ultimate Gutter Guard Birmingham

3564 Lorna Ridge Dr.



Walden Home Improvements

412 8th Ave
Pleasant Grove


12637 S 265 W Suite 100

Weather Guard Lifetime Metal Roofing

1861 Alton Rd


PO Box 405

Yellowhammer Roofing Inc - Birmingham

112 W Tarrant Dr

Zen Windows Of Alabama

46569 U.S. HWY 280

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