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California homeowners who are looking to get room additions and renovation will sooner or later come across the term ‘Title 24’, but what is it and how can it affect your plans?

In simple terms, Title 24 is the sum of energy regulations for commercial and residential properties in California. Its aim is to ensure all buildings are primed for optimal indoor air quality and energy efficiency.

Title 24, or otherwise known as ‘Title 24 Part 6 of California Code of Regulations’ is updated every 3 years by the CEC, or California Energy Commission and with the participation of stakeholders. It was founded in the 70s and updated constantly as per the mandate.

The changes are there to accommodate any recent tech advancements and environmental processes and how it pertains to the state’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas, energy use and improving outdoor and indoor air quality as well.

Title 24 Coverage

Have an upcoming renovation project and wondering if it’s covered by Title 24?

As per the regulation, all new construction is affected, from renovation of bathrooms, living rooms or kitchens to adding a new living space or extending part of the garage, for instance. With that in mind, all additions must pass the required statutes for it to be legal.

The CEC has divided the state of California into several climate zones, and each zone has its own set of requirements. The reason for this is that each zone has a unique local climate and may have a specific need or requirement, energy efficiency-wise. Contractors and architects can then tailor an energy package that’s best suited for that particular climate zone.

The attic has received a few special mention in regards to Title 24. According to the regulation, its ceiling and roof insulation must be ventilated and pass or exceed the R-value of the zone’s requirements.

Drilling down further, R-value is defined as the insulation material’s capability to resist heat flow. In layman’s terms, R-value equals a material’s ability to provide insulation. The higher the value, the better its insulative characteristics.

For new construction, the California Energy Commission has set a minimum R-value number that building owners and contractors must meet. It’s worthy to note that the R-30 rule must be followed first and superseded only by the R-38 standards depending on the site’s climate zone.

Title 24 has other rules for roofing and ceiling constructions. Notably, roofing constructions and ceilings with metal frames must have minimum U-factors of .031, and insulation that has zero frame penetration must have a minimum of R-30 and pass compliance testing. Acceptable levels are those that have a U-factor of .031 or less.

Insulation that’s to be added in renovations must meet standard performance methods and have a minimum R-30 in value. The mandatory minimum for prescriptive compliance is either R-38 or R-30 depending on the site’s local climate zone. A rafter roof that’s to be altered must meet compliance standards and have an R-value of 19.

Ceiling and Roof Installation

State code dictates that insulation in roofs and ceilings must touch the infiltration barrier. Most contractors will have the infiltration barrier installed in the drywall ceiling and recommend attic ventilation; if this is the case then the insulation may be correctly installed right on the ceiling.

Insulation for ceilings must cover the trusses’ bottom chords and extend to the outside walls. It shouldn’t block the attic’s eave vents and cause air flow concerns. Too much blockage can cause excessive moisture in the area, and water vapor may form on the roof’s underside. In effect, this can cause the insulation to be less effective and serious structural damage over time.

The solution contractors can follow is tapering the insulation as it approaches the eave, but they should make sure that the application is such that it covers the whole ceiling and meet the required value at the same time.

Contractors must also inject loose fill insulation evenly and check its levels in terms of depth and if it conforms to the R-value set by the local climate zones. Last but not the least, it must have met the minimum weight per square feet as specified by the manufacturer.

Wall Insulation

The application for wall insulation must be done evenly. For foil-based or Kraft material, the application must be as per the manufacturer’s instructions to prevent sagging and minimize air leaks. It’s worthy to note that the insulation must reach and extend down to the rim joist cavities at the same plane.

For vapor barriers, installation must be done on the framing’s conditioned side. Wall insulation inspection is more difficult than other types, especially when they’re behind shower or tub enclosures but nevertheless should be done to ensure local code compliance.

Floor Insulation

Certified contractors often check to make sure the insulation is in full contact with the sub-flooring to eliminate air pockets between the floor and insulation material. Most add support to prevent the material from quickly deteriorating, sagging or falling. Recommendations for support include hangers applied to the joists, netting and other means. If this is the case, then the contractor must have the hangers spaced at 18 inches maximum before installing the insulation.

Insulation hangers are wires with pointed ends and can be used to get into wood. Mesh and netting material may be stapled onto the joists’ underside. More importantly, the insulation must not cover the foundation vents.

Title 24 and The Attic Specialist

At the end of the day, Title 24 has well-meaning measures to ensure that buildings, whether commercial or residential will have energy-efficient protocols in place. Unnecessary energy consumption is reduced and everyone can benefit in the end.

Title 24 and The Attic Specialist

At the end of the day, Title 24 has well-meaning measures to ensure that buildings, whether commercial or residential will have energy-efficient protocols in place. Unnecessary energy consumption is reduced and everyone can benefit in the end.

At The Attic Specialist Inc., we make sure to comply with Title 24 and zone climate requirements where possible. We have licensed contractors who are all well-versed with Title 24 and its requirements for floor, ceiling and attic insulation installation. You get absolute peace of mind knowing all the materials we use meet or exceed R-value and bring optimal energy efficiency for your home or business.