How Much Does Blown-In Insulation Cost?

Candace Nelson
Written by Candace Nelson
Updated January 11, 2022
blown-in insulation in home attic
Photo: ungvar / Adobe Stock

The average cost of blown-in insulation is about $1,500

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The average cost of blown-in insulation (also called loose fill) is about $1,500, or a typical range between about $930 and $2,080. Blown-in insulation cost per square foot runs from $1 to $1.50. This is a home improvement project that could pay you back with savings on heating and cooling bills. Insulating the walls comes with the added benefit of dampening noise from clarinet lessons and work calls happening in the next room.

You’ve got your cozy fireplace, warm slippers, and hot tea, but for the ultimate comfort, check your insulation. Think of blown-in insulation like a soft layer of snow that settles evenly into the nooks and crannies between boards or around pipes to prevent leaks. Read on for wool, fiberglass, and cellulose insulation prices and benefits and choose what is best for your project.

How Much Does Blown-in Insulation Cost Per Square Foot?

Blown-in insulation runs from $1 to $1.50 per square foot. In colder climates, you might pay more because your home will need a higher R-value, or thicker insulation. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends homes in the warmer Southern United States have an R-value of 38 while those in the chillier Northern states need 49.

Find the R-value for the area you’re insulating. The Department of Energy recommends:

AreaR-Value
Floors and Crawl SpacesR-13-R-30
WallsR-13-R-23
Ceilings and AtticsR-30-R-60

Labor Cost of Blown-in Insulation

The cost to install blown-in insulation ranges from $40 to $70 per hour. Expect to pay toward the higher end if you have an older home, live in a cold climate, or need to work around outlets, wiring, and vents.

The cost to insulate an attic that is about 1,000 square feet with blown-in insulation runs from $600 to $1,200. Professionals will charge from $40 to $70 an hour in addition to the cost of materials. Find a blown-in insulation contractor near you.

If you choose to DIY, a blower machine rental is usually under $200. For a smaller job, you can skip the machine. Since insulation comes packed tightly, you’ll need to break it up. Dump it in a big container like an empty trash can and use a shovel to fluff it up. For a bigger space, though, save your arm muscles and rent the machine.

How Much Does Blown-in Wall Insulation Cost?

The average cost of blown-in insulation is $1,000 to $1,500 to insulate 1,000 square feet of wall space. You might want to hire a professional for this work, particularly if you need to work around obstacles like drywall, wiring, and outlets.

Blown-in Cellulose Insulation vs. Wool vs. Fiberglass Cost Breakdown

The material you choose will play a big part in determining the cost.

Average Cost of Blown-in Fiberglass Insulation

Fiberglass, which is made from small strands of glass, tends to be the least expensive insulation option. It runs from $500 to $1,060 to cover 1,000 square feet. Fiberglass has a high R-value, so it can insulate with a thinner layer, making it ideal for walls and tight spaces.

 Advantages of Fiberglass:

  • Reduces noise

  • Installs easily

  • Does not burn

  • Resists moisture

Disadvantages:

  • Dangerous to inhale, so wear a mask to install

  • Irritating to skin

  • Draws in rodents

  • Can trap allergens and dust

Average Cost of Rock Wool Fiber

Rock wool fiber, also called mineral wool, is $1.40 to $2.10 per square foot. It’s eco-friendly because it is a byproduct of steel production. It can be used in crawl spaces, attics, and walls. Common uses include installing it between floors for a firestop and between rooms as a way to reduce noise.

Advantages of rock wool fiber:

  • Reduces noise

  • Repels pests

  • Does not burn

  • Moisture resistant

  • Has a higher R-value than fiberglass and cellulose

Disadvantages:

How Much Does Spray Cellulose Insulation Cost?

At $1.20 per square foot, cellulose insulation tends to be the priciest insulation. It’s created using recycled materials like newspaper and cardboard. Cellulose insulation comes in a choice of damp-spray and dense-pack. It can be used in walls and the attic, and can be sprayed over existing insulation to add more insulation without a clean-up job. Skip cellulose in crawl spaces that tend to be damp.

Advantages of Cellulose:

  • Nontoxic

  • Repels rodents

  • Treated with fire retardants

Disadvantages:

  • Absorbs moisture

  • Settles, so you need to reinstall more frequently

  • Traps allergens

Wet Blown Cellulose Insulation Cost

Wet installations work best in attics for new construction when the walls are still open. It costs $0.60 to $1.80 per square foot to install. 

While it’s less expensive than dense pack, it can take more time to dry, so you need to wait a couple days before closing up the wall. It can also settle and leave gaps so installation is better left up to a pro.

Dense Pack Cellulose Cost

Dense pack cellulose is more expensive at $2.00 to $2.30 per square foot, installed. However, it’s a good choice to insulate an older home because it can be sprayed in with less disruption to the home’s original plaster or siding than wet spray.

You can typically install it yourself, which can help to cut down on costs. Dense pack doesn’t require time to dry, so you can hang your sheetrock immediately.

person adding cellulose insulation to floor of home
Photo: mironovm / Adobe Stock

FAQs

Should I DIY or hire a pro?

DIY installation is possible for open spaces without wires and vents to work around. To be safe, you might want to call in a pro if you need to fill walls, work around electricity, or if the project is beyond your comfort level.

Do energy savings justify the cost of insulation?

In addition to feeling warmer and cozier all winter long, the EPA estimates that homeowners can save an average of 15% on heating and cooling costs (or 11% of total energy costs) by sealing homes and adding insulation in attics, floors over crawl spaces, and basement rim joists.

How does blown-in insulation compare to rolls?

Blown-in insulation is easier to install and less expensive than rolls or batts. Batts require you to make precise cuts to fit around duct work, electrical, and joists. Blowing in insulation allows the pieces to settle in evenly around those elements and reduce hot and cold spots in your home.

What prep work do I need first?

Insulation settles over time and becomes less effective. The good news is that you can sometimes blow new insulation over the existing material. If you’re upgrading to cellulose insulation from fiberglass, you might want to remove the old material.

Be sure to:

  • Seal any leaks

  • Address any moisture issues

  • Avoid fiberglass insulation hazards and wear long sleeves and pants to avoid skin irritation

  • Cover any elements not rated for contact with insulation, such as lights and vents, to keep the loose insulation away

What is an R-Value?

A higher R-value indicates better insulating ability based on the density and insulating factors of the material. Rule of thumb: The colder your location, the higher R-value you need to keep your house comfortable. Insulation packages typically have a chart to help you determine how much to buy.

The highest R-value, or densest insulation goes in the attic because that’s where much of a home’s heat escapes. Plus, there’s generally enough space for a nice, thick layer up there.

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