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Adding home insulation, especially blown-in insulation, is one of the best investments you can make. Such a home improvement project can potentially reduce your utility bills. And, may even get you a tax credit! So, if you’re being indecisive due to the upfront blown-in insulation cost, don’t be. You’ll probably recoup that money over time.
Installing blown-in insulation boosts your home’s capacity to retain heat or cold. Additionally, it helps neutralize the humidity inside.
In the case of blown-in insulation, the installer makes use of an industrial blower to spray foam or the loose-fill material (cellulose, fiberglass, etc.) into the space. No wonder, it’s a great option for enclosed existing walls, wall cavities, or unfinished attic floors which are otherwise hard to reach.
What is blown-in insulation?
Blown-in insulation, aka loose-fill, is an insulation type that involves spraying fiberglass or any other insulating material into a cavity. The process is a quick and efficient way of adding insulation to your home. In fact, it’s the fastest and most cost-efficient method of insulation.
When a new house is constructed, the builders add strips of fiberglass rolls or batts between the wall studs and ceiling joists but once the drywall is installed, there’s a need to fill in the gaps. This is where blown-in insulation plays an important role. It lets you fill the gaps without ripping down any walls or causing damage. The insulation expert simply blows in the insulation for coverage.
Is blown-in insulation worth it?
Yes, blown-in insulation may be an expensive home improvement project but it’s definitely worth the expenditure. It helps you with:
- Energy savings by retaining the heat or cold, especially through the attic, walls, and flooring. This also reduces the workload of your HVAC system — reducing your usual energy bills up to 25%.
- Qualities such as being fire retardant and pest control — through treatment with chemicals.
- Helps prevent rot and mold issues as blown-in insulation doesn’t absorb moisture.
How much does blown-in insulation cost?
When you need to add insulation to an attic, crawl space, or walls, the best option is blown-in insulation. The average cost of blown-in insulation is $1,665 (with an R-value of R-38 to R-49) Most homeowners can expect to spend $874 to $2,156.
Keep in mind that this amount does not include air sealing and ventilation. You’ll have to add $350 to $1,500 for that. Also, the type of space that needs to be insulated, its size, design, and accessibility will increase or decrease the insulation cost accordingly.
What is the blown-in insulation cost per square foot?
The pre-installation prices for blown-in insulation are $0.83 per square foot (cellulose insulation) and $0.91 per square foot (fiberglass insulation). You can expect to pay approximately $874 to $1,127 for 1,200 square feet of cellulose insulation. Fiberglass insulation for the same dimension will cost you between $950 and $1,244.
Average attic insulation cost
The attic insulation cost for a 1,200 square feet area is between $908 and $2,156 ($528 to $946 for materials and $380 to $1,210 for labor) and the insulation cost for a 1500 square feet attic is between $1,500 and $2,000. Keep in mind that an attic insulation installation takes about two to four days with two workers on board.
What are the insulation cost factors?
The total blown-in insulation cost depends on a number of factors such as:
- Size of the space. More square footage will require more insulation material and labor. Also, a complex task will take longer.
- Type of insulation material you’re using. For example, there’s a marked cost difference between cellulose and fiberglass vs. natural wool per square foot.
- R-value and the insulating capacity of the material. R-value is the material’s ability to slow the escaping heat. Higher R-value will mean better insulation and higher cost. The recommended R-values range from R25 to R60, depending on your climate and geographical location. For example, regions with cold climates need a higher R-value.
- Labor cost. A professional insulation installer will charge $37 to $65 per hour or $15 per bag of material. The project completion depends on the number of workers on board. Generally, it takes one worker approximately 25 minutes to blow a bag of insulation into space.
- The existing levels of insulation. Your current insulation will determine how many more inches you’ll need.
- The amount of air sealing required. Hard-to-reach places for filling up the air leaks with expanding foam or caulking will cost you more. For example, attic insulation with lots of ductwork, fans, and ceiling fixtures will be more expensive. And, if you have a furnace or water heater flue in your attic, that will require an insulation dam of at least 1 inch.
What are the types of blown-in insulation?
Cost: $950 to $1,244
Fiberglass insulation is made of tiny strands of glass. If your insulation installation is a DIY project, be careful before handling this material. Always use safety equipment and protect your eyes, lungs, and skin.
Cost: $874 to $1,127
Interestingly, cellulose insulation is made up of recycled newspaper. It’s treated with borate to make it fire resistant as well as insect, mice resistant. However, it’s not fireproof. If the cellulose insulation becomes wet due to burst pipes or water damage, it must be cleaned up only by a professional.
Rockwool and mineral wool insulation
Cost: $1,064 to $1,372
This type of fiber insulation is made by melting down basalt stone and mixing it with slag — the leftover material after making steel. It’s then spun into fibers and formed into rigid batts or boards, and sometimes in blown-in form.
Read more: Mineral wool insulation explained
Natural wool insulation
Cost: $5,700 to $7,350
This is the most eco-friendly insulation. The material is sustainable, biodegradable, and renewable. Moreover, wool insulation uses just 10% of the energy it takes to produce fiberglass insulation.
Is blown insulation cheaper than rolls?
When it comes to blown-in insulation vs. batts or rolls, the cost may be quite comparable. But, blown-in insulation is much more effective as it easily insulates even hard-to-reach areas.
Most importantly, you don’t have to remove the drywall to install the insulation. Blown-in insulation instead of fiberglass batts (rolls) is also a good idea as the process is more seamless and quicker. When the insulation is blown in, it densely packs the area — leaving no chance for air leaks.
What are the things to consider before installing blown-in insulation?
- Get at least three estimates for the insulation installation cost.
- Factor in an additional 7% to 15% to your home renovation cost estimate for the differences in home styles, patterns, square footage, and complexity of the task.
- The best time for installing insulation is late Fall or early winter as you get the best discounts.
- Hire a licensed and insured insulation contractor if you aren’t a skilled DIYer.
Read more: Types cost estimates project management
Blown-in insulation is a great way to lower your monthly utility bills and make your home more energy-efficient. Although you’ll have to pay the blown-in insulation cost, you’ll not regret the investment. It will surely pay off in the long run.