How Much Does Attic Insulation Cost?

Kelly Weimert
Written by Kelly Weimert
Updated August 12, 2022
A professional insulating an attic at a house
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The typical cost to install attic insulation is $1,700 to $2,100

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Though it's not the most exciting home improvement project, installing attic insulation can seriously improve your household's quality of life, helping to keep you warm and cozy during frigid winters and cool and comfortable during sweltering summers. 

Proper insulation can also improve your indoor air quality and save you money on your energy bills, so it's a super important component of any home. Here, we break down everything you need to know about how much attic insulation costs, as well as answer common questions.

How Much Does Attic Insulation Cost?

It typically costs between $1,700 and $2,100 to insulate an attic, but the price can reach as high as $3,500 or go as low as $1,500, depending on a few different factors. For example, if you opt for structural insulated panels, you'll need to pay more than you would for blown-in or spray foam insulation. However, structural insulated panels are generally stronger and more energy-efficient than many alternatives.

How Much Does Attic Insulation Cost by Type?

The type of insulation you choose is the biggest factor affecting its overall cost.

6 types of attic insulation compared by costs, with loose-fill ranging from $2 to $5 per square foot

Blow-in Insulation

Blow-in insulation is composed of tiny bits of fiberglass, cellulose, or mineral wool fiber. A pro will use a blowing machine to blow the insulation into all of your attic's nooks and crannies. Opting for blow-in insulation saves you money since it's composed of the cheapest insulation materials and offers relatively short installation times. Generally, you can expect to pay $1 to $4 per square foot.

Spray Foam Insulation

Spray foam insulation sticks to virtually anything it touches, so it can be applied anywhere in a room, even in rooms with unusual or cramped layouts. There are two types of spray foam insulation: open-cell and closed-cell. Open-cell is the cheapest, but it doesn't do a great job of resisting moisture. Closed-cell costs a bit more, but it offers a better moisture barrier than open- cell. Typical spray foam insulation costs range from $2 to $5 per square foot, depending on the type you choose.

Batt Insulation

Consisting of long fiber rolls bound by paper or reflective foil backing, batt insulation is usually composed of fiberglass or cellulose, but it can even include old blue jeans. Unlike spray foam and blow-in insulation, which can fit into tight, awkward spaces, batt insulation should be reserved for large, standard-sized spaces since it doesn't fit well into cramped quarters. This type of insulation generally costs $2 to $4 per square foot.

Structural Insulated Panels

Structural insulated panels are among the priciest attic insulation types, but they also work the best. The panels are made of plywood or oriented strand board with stiff foam insulation attached. They're generally stronger and more energy-efficient than other insulation types. But because the panels are often large (usually "4" by "8" or bigger), they can be hard to retroactively fit into an attic post-construction, so they're better for newly constructed homes. These panels typically cost $4 to $7 per square foot.

Loose-Fill Insulation

Similar to blow-in insulation, loose-fill insulation is made of cellulose, fiberglass, or mineral wool, but it's laid into place rather than blown into place. It can conform to any space, so it's a great option no matter your attic's layout. It generally costs $2 to $5 per square foot to install loose-fill insulation.

Reflective Insulation

Usually made of aluminum foil, aluminized polyester, or another reflective material, reflective insulation reflects radiant heat to help maintain your home's desired temperature. It's less expensive than other common insulation types, but if you live in a cold climate, you'll likely need to combine it with another type of insulation to be effective during the winter. For that reason, reflective insulation is best used in warmer climates to keep a home cool. Prices commonly range from $0.50 to $1.50 per square foot.

How Much Does Attic Insulation Cost if You Install It Yourself vs. Hire a Pro?

Thermal insulation at a new house
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Professional insulators typically charge $55 to $85 per hour in addition to the cost of materials. Installing insulation yourself means you can avoid the labor costs associated with hiring a pro, so you only have to pay for the cost of the actual insulation. 

However, insulating your attic can be a complex—and even dangerous—job, so you'll want to take some time to research the steps and skills involved, which vary quite a bit based on factors like your attic and the type of insulation you choose. For instance, if you have a finished rather than an unfinished attic, then insulating it will be more difficult since you'll need to install the insulation behind existing walls and potentially underneath the floor. 

Additionally, some types of insulation require you to rent a machine, such as a blower in the case of blow-in insulation, which typically costs $30 to $60 per day to rent. There are also safety considerations to make. Insulation is composed of many tiny particles that can be dangerous if they get into your eyes or lungs, so you'll want to make sure you have proper protection, including goggles, gloves, and a dust mask rated for insulation. And while it's true that it's simpler to install insulation in an unfinished rather than finished attic, it can also be more dangerous, especially if there isn't a proper floor installed, leading to potential falls.

What Factors Influence Attic Insulation Costs?

Several key factors affect the cost of attic insulation.

Insulation Type

The type of insulation you choose is among the most significant factors affecting cost. Generally, blow-in insulation is the cheapest comprehensive insulation type, but spray foam and loose-fill insulation aren't much higher in price. However, not every type of insulation works for every attic. For instance, a lot of people love the strength and energy efficiency of structural insulated panels, but due to their relatively large standard sizes, they often can't be properly retrofitted, so they're better for new construction projects.

Air Sealing Costs

Air sealing involves removing all of your attic's insulation to find and resolve any air leaks. Many pro insulators air seal attics before installing new insulation, but this process can be costly, ranging from $250 to $750. Even though it's not cheap, it's often worth it since air sealing can prolong the lifespan of your insulation while helping to block out moisture and drafts.

Removal Costs

New insulation can sometimes be added right on top of old insulation, but only if the old insulation is similar to the new insulation and still in good condition. However, if the old insulation isn't in great shape, then you'll need to pay someone to remove it unless you remove it yourself. Hiring an insulator to remove it typically costs $1 to $1.50 per square foot, so you'll want to factor that price into your project budget, if needed.

FAQs About Attic Insulation Costs

Why Should I Insulate My Attic?

There are quite a few advantages to insulating your attic. Proper attic insulation can save you money on your monthly energy bills since it prevents interior and exterior air leaks and helps to maintain your interior temperature. Structural insulated panels are generally the most energy-efficient insulation type, but all insulation types can provide some energy savings if properly installed. Insulation also helps prevent water vapor from seeping into your walls, which can gradually damage your home over time. 

In addition to protecting your home, attic insulation can improve the air that you breathe. Outdoor pollutants, like mildew, mold, and dust, can easily enter a poorly insulated home. Proper insulation can help to keep these pollutants out, making for cleaner indoor air.

What Is the Best Type of Attic Insulation?

The best type of attic insulation is highly dependent on your needs, so there's no single right answer. For example, if you're building a house, then structural insulated panels are a worthy investment since they're easy to install during construction and they're the most energy-efficient type insulation. However, installing this type of insulation becomes much harder once your house is already built. 

Additionally, if you live in a very warm climate, then you can potentially save quite a bit of money by opting for reflective insulation, which is cheaper than comprehensive insulation but doesn't work well for cool climates. Blow-in, loose-fill, and spray foam insulation are all great options for the average attic since they're relatively affordable, work for all seasons, and can fit into nearly any type of space.

Do I Need To Air Seal My Attic Before Installing Insulation?

Air sealing isn't necessary to attic insulation, but it's incredibly helpful since it can help you identify and patch any existing air leaks. Failing to find these leaks before adding insulation can render your insulation largely ineffective, leading to higher energy bills and potentially costly repairs down the line, so air sealing is definitely a good investment.

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