Home Insulation Cost Guides

Remodeling any part of your home is a great time to add insulation to walls, ceilings or the attic. Insulation provides a fantastic return on investment because it will immediately lower your utility bills for both heating and cooling. The additional money spent in home remodeling costs can be paid back in just a few years. In this Remodeling Cost Guide, you’ll discover what your options are for insulation, their pros and cons, and what your prices might be as well. Our goal is to help you evaluate your options and choose the one that meets your budget and your purposes.

Types of Home Insulation

There are quite a few types of insulation in use today. This guide covers the most common types used, which account for 90% of all insulation installation.

Fiberglass: This remains a popular insulation because it is affordable, effective and easy to install. It is made into batting for installing in walls and ceilings and in rolls for use in open attics. The R-Factor for 1” of fiberglass insulation is 3.0-4.5. It is available in several different widths to match standard spacing of studs and joists. On the downside, it can’t be added to walls without removing the drywall. Also, it must be fitted correctly because any gaps will reduce its insulating value. In cold climates, you will also need to install a moisture barrier since wet fiberglass doesn’t insulate as well.

Fiberglass insulation prices start at about $0.50 per square foot in standard 2”x4” construction.

Spray Foam: This insulation has excellent R-Value. Depending on the brand and quality, the R-Factor is 3.4-6.5 for 1” thick insulation. It can be installed in existing walls through a small hole inserted into the wall. It works well anywhere, and is ideal for small nooks and crannies that are hard to fill with fiber-type insulation. It won’t settle over time, either, as some loose types of insulation can do in walls, leaving a gap at the top. It is also popular for use as basement or crawl space insulation.

This insulation requires professional insulation, and the cost starts at about $2 per square foot in 2”x4” construction.

Rigid Foam: With an R-Value of 3.9 to 6.5 per 1” thickness, this insulation is very effective. It’s ideal for use on exterior walls and foundations, and in a basement or crawl space. Some homeowners use it in conjunction with other types of insulation – it’s very versatile. The concern about it is that it doesn’t fill small cavities well.

Rigid foam insulation is fairly affordable, starting at about $0.70 per square foot for 1” foam.

Blow-In Cellulose: This is usually made from recycled newspaper and other wood fiber that is treated to make it a good insulator. It can be installed in garages, attics and walls. The chemicals used to treat it are water and fire resistant.

This insulation can be installed professionally or with the use of rented equipment from a home improvement store. The cost when installed by a professional is about $1 per square foot in 2”x4” construction. That’s about $0.15 per square foot for every inch when used in attics. For example, a 4 inch layer would cost $0.60 per square foot.

DIY Installation of Insulation or Hire a Pro?

Fiberglass insulation is the easiest to install, though you should wear protective clothing and a dust mask. Rigid foam insulation and blown-in cellulose is a bit more challenging, but can be a DIY project for handy homeowners. The cost savings can be very good.

For fiberglass batting, you’ll need a staple gun and a cutting tool. For rigid foam, a cutting tool and construction glue is needed, along with a tape measure. To install blown-in insulation, you’ll have to rent the equipment required as well as have access to a water connection such as a hose. The cellulose insulation is mixed with water and blown into the cavity wet. It must be fully dry before covered with drywall.

If you would prefer to hire a professional to install your insulation, consider getting at least 3 written estimates, and you might also want to get prices for different types of insulation. This will help you decide which one is best for your home.

Having adequate insulation is the best way to keep your heating and cooling bills under control. It is a cost-effective way to save money throughout the year.

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