Insulation Cost Breakdown
The bulk of your insulation expenses comes from the type of insulation material you choose, but you also need to factor in the location, site prep, and labor. Here’s a breakdown of these home insulation costs.
Your material choice plays a role in the price of your installation. You can pay anywhere from $0.40 and $6.75 per square foot for insulation on average. Fiberglass is the most budget-friendly material, while wood fiber comes in towards the higher end of the price range.
Here’s a quick peek at how much each material costs:
|Material||Cost per Square Foot|
|Fiberglass||$0.30 – $1.50|
|Cellulose||$0.60 – $2.30|
|Rockwool||$1.40 – $4|
|Polystyrene||$0.25 – $0.50|
|Wood fiber||$4.25 – $6.75|
The cost of fiberglass batt insulation ranges between $0.30 and $1.50 per square foot. In some instances, you can also use fiberglass for loose-fill insulation, which may fall at the higher end of this price range at $1 to $1.50 per square foot.
Cellulose insulation generally costs between $0.60 to $2.30 per square foot. This material is almost exclusively used in loose-fill or blown-in insulation. Cellulose tends to cost more than batts and rolls because it requires special equipment to blow it in place. For this reason, it's a good idea to work with a professional for blown-in insulation.
Rockwool—also known as mineral wool insulation—costs between $1.40 and $4 per square foot and contains approximately 70% natural rock and 30% recycled furnace slag.
While Rockwool is better at insulating than fiberglass, it also comes with a higher price tag. Rockwool also contains silica and requires a professional for safety precautions.
Polystyrene insulation costs between $0.25 and $0.50 per board foot. There are two types of polystyrene boards, which makes a slight difference in the price of your materials:
Expanded Polystyrene (EPS):
$0.25–$0.35 per board foot
Lower thermal resistance
Extruded Polystyrene (XPS):
$0.40–$0.50 per board foot
Higher thermal resistance
Wood fiber insulation costs between $4.25 and $6.75 per square foot. The higher price accounts for the sheer weight of the material and high shipping costs. Wood fiber comes from waste wood, making it another sustainable insulation option for homeowners wanting to choose responsibly-sourced materials. Keep in mind, however, that you can only use wood fiber insulation on flat surfaces.
Again, your material choice plays a role in the price of your installation. You can pay anywhere from $0.40 to $2 per square foot on average, although you could pay as little as $0.20 per square foot or as much as $12 per square foot for radiant insulation and structural insulated panels, respectively.
|Square footage||Area Cost|
|100||$40 – $200|
|500||$200 – $1,000|
|1,000||$400 – $2,000|
|2,000||$800 – $4,000|
Location in the Home
Where you plan on installing the insulation can make a difference in the price, with garages coming in at the lowest cost per square foot and attics coming in at the highest. Here’s a breakdown of how much it might cost to insulate each location in your home.
Attics cost between $1 and $7 per square foot or $1,500 to $6,000 in total. How much you pay will depend on which materials you use. The main reason attic insulation costs the most is because the majority of homes need twice the insulation in attics than in walls to prevent rising heat from creating a stack effect.
Insulating a basement costs between $1.50 and $2.50 per square foot on average or between $1,400 and $6,300. If you need to insulate a bathroom inside your basement, anticipate insulation costs to increase by an extra $1 to $5 per square foot. Your basement likely won’t need as much insulation as other parts of your home because it’s surrounded by earth, which serves as natural insulation.
The price to insulate a garage ranges from $0.50 to $1.25 per square foot or $1,500 to $8,000 per project. This price will be lower for attached garages, which only need insulation on walls facing the exterior of your home.
Some homeowners also like to insulate their garage ceilings, which costs between $1 to $3.89 per inch of each board foot. You can also insulate a garage door. This will cost between $200 and $300 on average.
Roof insulation costs between $0.50 and $1.50 per square foot on average or between $1,500 to $4,500 for the entire project. Unlike attic insulation, roof insulation tends to go along the rafters of your home’s attic, the joists, and in the soffit areas.
The price to install insulation in walls falls anywhere from $1 to $4 per square foot on average, with total project costs varying drastically depending on the area of your home’s walls. Mineral wool and fiberglass batting come in towards the bottom of that price range, at $1 to $1.50 per square foot.
New constructions might use a combination of rigid, reflective, and spray foam insulation, which increases the price to the higher end of the price range, between $3 and $4 per square foot.
Site prep can add to the cost of your project, but just how much you’ll spend depends greatly on the lengths you need to take to prepare the site. You could spend as little as nothing or as much as $900 for the cost to repair drywall.
Spray foam, in particular, needs extra prep work for proper installation, whereas batt insulation generally goes in without much preparation. Site prep consists of the following:
Cover all valuables, windows, doors, and important surfaces for spray foam installations.
Make sure the electrical wiring is properly installed and your walls are framed before installing spray foam to avoid overspray.
Repair any structures in your home, including walls, attics, basements, and crawl spaces.
Remove moldy insulation, conduct a mold test, and hire a mold removal company.
Plan for cleanup costs for removing old insulation and debris.
Most installers charge between $40 and $80 per hour to install insulation, so the more complex the project, the more it will cost. A few complexities that may increase the cost of labor include:
Your installer needs to install insulation in hard-to-reach areas.
You have multiple installation sites in need of insulation.
The installer needs to remove old insulation.
Cost to Install Insulation by Type
There are several types of insulation you can choose from, and each option comes with its own price.
Spray Foam Insulation Costs
The average spray foam cavity wall insulation costs are about $1 to $2 per square foot. There are two types of spray foam: open-cell, which can cost $0.44 to $0.65 per board foot, and closed-cell, ranging from $1 to $1.50 per board foot. Spray foam insulation works best if you're trying to insulate interior walls that are drywalled.
Blown-in and Loose-Fill Insulation Costs
Blown-in insulation costs between $975 and $2,200 on average. You can save money by DIYing installation. Renting a blower costs under $100 a day, and buying bags of 25-pounds of cellulose blown-in insulation at a home improvement store costs about $15.
The total cost for a DIY is about $500 or less. You may also be able to find reclaimed and recycled varieties.
Batt and Roll Insulation Costs
Fiberglass batt and roll insulation can cost from $1,000 to $2,400, with anaverage cost per square foot of between $0.30 to $1.50. If you have a 500-square-foot area, and you do the job yourself, you’re looking at spending about $150 to $700.
Fiberglass Insulation Costs
Fiberglass batt insulation material costs anywhere from $1,000 to $2,400 on average. Breaking this down further, you’ll pay between $0.30 and $1.50 per square foot. Add another $200 to $500 if you plan on hiring a professional for the installation.
Rigid Foam Board Insulation Costs
The average cost for rigid foam board insulation is between $0.25 and $2 per board foot. However, structural insulated panels (SIPs) can run between $7 and $12 per square foot, making these boards one of the most expensive insulation types. With a high R-value of R8, though, they’re also extremely effective insulators.
Radiant Insulation Costs
Radiant barrier insulation costs around $1,700 on average or between $0.10 and $0.95 per square foot. To have a pro install your radiant barrier, anticipate adding an additional $30 to $80 per hour.
Additional Costs to Consider
Before you press enter on your calculator, you might want to consider the following additional costs that could impact your total price for new insulation.
New vs. Existing Construction
New constructions are significantly more cost-friendly than existing homes, costing around $1 more per square foot. Adding insulation to a new construction costs less because the walls and ceilings are easier to access and install insulation, and you don’t have existing insulation to worry about.
Removal of Old Insulation
A home insulation upgrade cost falls between $1 and $2 per square foot on average. This doesn’t include disposal fees. Junk removal services add approximately $50 to $360 to your project, depending on the size of the job.
Cost to Install Insulation Yourself
Most installations are DIY-friendly. You’ll make a mess, but with the right tools, proper insulation, and enough time, you should be good to go. However, you may want to consult a pro for any blown-in roof or attic jobs, as they can require specialty equipment.
Installing insulation yourself will save you the labor cost to hire a pro, which can average about $0.40 cents per square foot. But you’ll need to measure the square footage and buy the proper insulation to reach your optimal R-value, and the tools to install it properly. For most DIY solutions, try fiberglass roll and batting or rigid foam boards.
DIY Cost Breakdown
Before you break out the insulation:
Make sure you have the best R-value for the job.
Buy/borrow all the tools and products needed to complete the job.
Get rid of any old material.
Check for rebates or credits available from the utility company in your area.
In addition to the insulation fees, you’ll also want to check if you need to air-seal areas of your home before you insulate. You can use a variety of materials, including expanding spray foam, caulk, and weatherstripping to seal your home.
Vapor barrier: $18
Expanding foam: $6
Insulation: Varies based on type
Weatherstripping: $4.50 (10-foot roll)
Tools and Equipment
You’ll save a lot of time if you have all of the tools and materials you need on hand before you start the job.
Dust mask: $13 (5-pack)
Safety goggles or glasses: $2–$20
Straightedge ruler: $20–$25
Utility knife: $7–$10
Cost to Hire a Pro to Install Insulation vs. DIY
The cost to hire an insulation company near you to install insulation can be hard to estimate with all the aforementioned cost factors, but you can expect to pay somewhere between $575 and $750 to hire a pro versus doing it yourself.