(206) 295-5925

Insulation Cost – How Much per Square Foot for a House?

Insulation is the unsung hero of your home, quietly and invisibly protecting your property against the brutality of external cold during harsh winter months and keeping cool air locked in during the summer months.

Installing insulation effectively maintains a comfortable temperature, and without making a great job of it, your family’s comfort is heavily compromised.

The cost of insulation per square foot comes at a premium, especially if you are overhauling the entire home. However, the return on investment for good, professionally fitted insulation is often overlooked. Over time, good insulation easily pays for itself through the reduction of heating and cooling bills.

Key Points

  • Good insulation is essential: for maintaining comfortable temperatures and reducing heating and cooling costs.
  • Varied cost factors: Insulation prices vary based on material, area size, and labor.
  • Material choices: A wide range from affordable fiberglass to eco-friendly wood fiber, each offering distinct benefits.
  • Professional vs. DIY: Hiring professionals ensures quality but increases costs, whereas DIY may be cheaper but less reliable.
  • Insulation cost square foot price: for ‘average’ homes is $1.50 to $2.00

Insulation Cost – Most Important Factors to Consider

The majority of your expenses for insulation will stem from the type of insulation material you select, but it’s also important to account for factors like location, site preparation, and labor costs in your budget. Working out the cost of insulation per square foot is not a straightforward task – but it isn’t particularly complicated, either.

But how much does it cost to insulate a house, specifically? Through this article, we shall detail the various expenses involved in insulating your home, along with a few other important aspects you might wish to consider.

Insulation Fitting Costs

The average cost to install insulation is approximately $1,819, but this can vary widely, from as low as $488 to as high as $4,500, equating to around $0.29 to $6.74 per square foot for insulation – depending on several variables, of course.

Insulation Material Costs

The different types of insulation material will greatly influence the overall cost of the installation project, with prices ranging from around fifty cents to seven dollars per square foot, on average.

Fiberglass insulation, for example, usually falls on the more affordable side of things, while wood fiber insulation, on the other hand, is at the higher end of the spectrum. Below, we have put together the costs for various insulation materials. Please bear in mind that these figures are close approximations, give or take a cent or two.

Material Approximate Price (Square Foot)
Wood Fibre $4.25 – $6.25
Polystyrene $0.25 – $0.50
Rockwool $1.40 – $4
Cellulose $0.60 – $2.30
Fiberglass $0.30 – $1.50

Cellulose Insulation

The price for cellulose insulation usually ranges from $0.60 to $2.30 per square foot and is largely used in loose-fill or blown-in insulation. This particular type of insulation is usually more costly than batts or rolls due to the need for specialized equipment – not to mention the skilled fitters that are essential for installation.

As a result, hiring a professional for cellulose insulation (especially for the blown-in types) is highly advisable. With an R-value somewhere in the region of 3.5 per inch, loose cellulose is great for unfinished spaces like attic rafters.

Fiberglass Insulation

fiberglass insulation installation

Fiberglass batts insulation is usually priced somewhere around $0.30 and $1.50 per square foot, making it a popular choice for anyone on a budget. Occasionally (but not always), fiberglass is used for loose-fill insulation, which could cost a little more, in the region of $1 to $1.50 per square foot. Increased labor tips the cost over the edge in this case.

The R-value of fiberglass batts and rolls – which is typically around 2.5 – varies depending on the brand and thicknesses. This insulation is normally quite easy to install, fitting snugly between most wall studs and floor joists.

Polystyrene Insulation

The cost for polystyrene insulation falls between $0.25 and $0.50 per board foot. Generally speaking, apart from highly specialist varieties, there are two varieties of polystyrene:

  • Expanded Polystyrene (EPS): Costs about $0.25–$0.35 per board foot and has a lower thermal resistance.
  • Extruded Polystyrene (XPS): Ranges from $0.40–$0.50 per board foot with a higher thermal resistance.

Polystyrene insulation usually offers an R-value somewhere between 3.2 and 3.8 per inch and is a great alternative to batts and rolls for wall and floor insulation.

Rockwool Insulation

The price for Rockwool (otherwise known as mineral wool) insulation ranges from $1.40 to $4 per square foot and is composed of around 70% natural rock and 30% recycled materials. More effective and probably better quality (but costlier) than fiberglass, Rockwool does require professional insulation installation owing to its silica content. It offers an R-value of about 3.4 and is usually simpler to install between wall studs than its fiberglass roll counterparts.

Wood Fiber Insulation

Wood fiber insulation’s cost varies from $4.25 to $6.75 per square foot, with a higher price that reflects the material’s bulky weight and costly shipping expenses. Made from waste wood, this more sustainable option is suitable only for flat surfaces, making it quite limited in application. That said, wood fiber insulation boards have a credible R-value of up to 3.8 and are really efficient in both insulation and sound dampening.

Impact of Area Size on Insulation Cost

The area’s size requiring insulation is a major factor affecting the overall insulation cost. With insulation prices ranging from as little as $0.25 to upwards of $6 per square foot, the larger the area to be insulated, the more your total expense is obviously going to be. This cost directly relates not just to the chosen insulation material’s price but also to the square footage of the space you are insulating.

To help give you a better approximation, let’s take a look at some typical costs you might encounter based on the size of the room or area you plan to insulate. Keep in mind, however, that these are average estimates, and actual costs are likely going to vary depending on various factors like the type of insulation and local labor rates.

Cost of Insulation per Square Foot

Total Square Feet Total Area Cost
100 $40 – $200
500 $200 – $1000
1000 $400 – $2000
2000 $800 – $4000

Home Insulation Cost: Location

The cost of insulation in your home is obviously going to fluctuate depending on where you install it. Prices are going to be wildly different depending on the area being insulated. Garages often have the lowest insulation cost per square foot, while attics are typically the highest.

Here’s a more detailed (but still approximate) look at the costs associated with insulating different areas within your home.

Attic Insulation Expenses

Starting with the most expensive, insulating an attic usually costs anywhere from a single dollar to seven dollars per square foot, amounting to an average approximate total of $1,500 to $6,000. As is always the case, the cost depends entirely on the types of materials used and the size of your attic.

Attic insulation tends to be more expensive due to the need for greater levels of insulation than inside walls: heat rises, of course, and so nice thick layers are required to prevent heat from escaping upwards and outwards.

professional insulation installation

Basement Insulation Pricing

The average cost to insulate a basement ranges from $1.50 to $2.50 per square foot, which gives us an average total between $1,400 and $6,300. Be aware, however, that insulating a basement bathroom may increase the costs, adding another one to five dollars per square foot. That said, basements often (but not always) require less insulation than other parts of the house due to their subterranean nature offering natural insulation.

Garage Insulation Costs

Again, dealing with average property sizes here, insulating a garage usually costs between $0.50 and $1.25 per square foot, with the total overall project costs ranging from $1,500 to $8,000. Attached garages usually cost a little less to insulate as only the external walls need insulation. Unfinished garage walls contribute to lower costs, generally speaking. Insulating garage ceilings can cost one to four dollars per inch of board foot, while garage door insulation averages somewhere between $200 and $300.

Roof Insulation Prices

The cost for roof insulation is generally between $0.50 and $1.50 per square foot, totaling around $1,500 to $4,500 for the full project, although roof insulation differs from attic insulation as it is applied along rafters, joists, and soffit area ( not typically including the attic floor).

Wall Insulation Cost Factors

Insulating walls can cost between $1 and $4 per square foot, with overall costs varying based on the wall area of your home. Mineral wool and fiberglass batts – both of which are common for wall insulation – are priced at $1 to $1.50 per square foot.

Retrofitting insulation in existing walls without removing them can lead to higher costs, potentially requiring blown-in or spray foam insulation. New construction projects might be wise to employ a mix of rigid, reflective, and spray foam insulation, increasing the cost by around double.

Preparing the Site for Insulation

Often overlooked and under-considered, the preparation for insulation installation can affect your project’s overall cost – often surprisingly so – with potential expenses ranging from minimal to the best part of a thousand dollars, especially when it comes to drywall repairs post-installation. More specifically, spray foam insulation requires more thorough prep work compared to regular batt insulation, which usually requires far less setup demands.

Either way, the main preparation steps include:

  1. Protecting valuables, windows, doors, and important surfaces during spray foam application.
  2. Ensuring electrical wiring is secure, and walls are properly framed and enclosed before spray foam application to prevent overspray.
  3. Repairing any damaged areas in walls, attics, basements, and crawl spaces.
  4. Removing old and potentially moldy insulation (including mold remediation) and possibly engaging mold removal services.
  5. Accounting for cleanup costs, including the disposal of old insulation and debris.

Labor Costs for Insulation Installation

The complexity of the insulation project is going to influence the labor cost, so each case is going to be different. However, most insulation installers typically charge between $50 and $100 per hour, with various factors that can increase the overall labor expenses, including:

  • Installing insulation in challenging-to-access areas.
  • Handling multiple areas in need of insulation.
  • The necessity of removing pre-existing insulation.

Preparation is an important aspect of good insulation installation, and doing so efficiently, professionally, and diligently will be a vital part of ensuring your desired thermal protection in the home.

Insulation Installation Costs by Type

The various insulation types will dictate the cost to insulate a house, depending on which method you choose.

Spray Foam Insulation Pricing

Typically, spray foam insulation is priced between $1 to $2 per square foot. There are two categories of spray foam insulation: open-cell, priced at about $0.44 to $0.65 per board foot, and closed-cell, which ranges from $1 to $1.50 per board foot. This type of insulation is most effective for interior walls already finished with drywall.

Blown-in and Loose-Fill Insulation Pricing

On average, the cost for blown-in insulation ranges from $975 to $2,200. A DIY approach can reduce expenses; renting a blower is generally under $100 per day, and 25-pound bags of cellulose blown-in insulation typically cost around $15. Total DIY costs can be as low as $500. It’s possible to find reclaimed or recycled materials, but achieving optimal efficiency with blown-in insulation can be challenging without professional expertise.

Rolls of insulation

Batt and Roll Insulation Expenses

The price for fiberglass batt and roll insulation varies between $1,000 and $2,400, with an average per-square-foot cost of $0.30 to $1.50. For a 500-square-foot space, managing the installation yourself can result in spending about $150 to $700, making it a budget-friendly DIY option.

Cost of Rigid Insulation

The average price of rigid foam board insulation falls between $0.25 and $2 per board foot. In contrast, structural insulated panels (SIPs) are pricier, costing between $7 and $12 per square foot. Despite their higher cost, SIPs are highly efficient insulators with an impressive R-value of R8.

Radiant Barrier Insulation Costs

On average, radiant barrier insulation is priced at about $1,800 for the ‘typical’ home, or between ten cents and a dollar per square foot, with professional installation adding around $40 to $100 per hour to the total cost.

Unlike other forms of insulation, radiant barrier insulation reflects heat, making it a great choice for attic roofs. Oftentimes, this type of insulation is used in partnership with other insulation types, which can, of course, increase the overall cost.

Possible Additional Insulation Costs

Planning for insulation installation certainly isn’t limited to the above staples: you will need to factor in these potential extra expenses that could impact your overall investment. Let’s take a look.

Costs in New vs. Existing Buildings

Installing insulation in new builds is often more economical overall, usually costing about a dollar less per square foot compared to existing, older structures. The lower cost of new construction can be attributed to easier access to walls and ceilings, along with the absence of pre-existing insulation playing a big factor here.

Obviously, old insulation will not need to be ripped out, which results in fewer labor hours. However, new homes may use more advanced insulative materials for improved long-term productivity, which could increase the cost.

Removing Old Insulation

Upgrading typical home insulation usually costs somewhere between $1 and $2 per square foot – although that does not account for any disposal fees that may exist. Removing old insulation adds to the general overhead costs, with junk removal services costing a few hundred dollars or more, depending on the project size.

DIY Insulation Installation Costs

In most cases, professional installation is the norm for the majority of people, although installing insulation can be a DIY-friendly project if you have adequate DIY knowledge. Though it can get quite messy, with the right tools, safety gear, and the correct type of insulation, it can be done.

For specialized installations like blown-in attic insulation or vapor barrier installation, consulting a professional is highly advised due to the need for specific equipment and expertise. Given that DIY installations typically save about $0.40 per square foot in labor costs, the cost saving can be worth it – but you must ask yourself if the saving is enough to warrant a poor end result.

Material Costs for Insulation

Something else worth considering is that additional costs can develop from needing to air-seal your home before insulation, which can involve various materials, such as:

  • Vapor barrier: $0.30 to $0.50 per square foot
  • Caulk: around $7)
  • Expanding foam: approximately $7
  • Insulation: varies by type
  • Weatherstripping: about $8 for a 10-foot roll
  • Various essential Tools and Equipment

It doesn’t end there. Further extras soon add up, including:

  • Dust masks: $7 for a 5-pack
  • Flashlights: $10 to $350
  • Hammers: $10 to $40
  • Safety goggles or glasses: $5 to $25
  • Straight edge rulers: $20 to $30
  • Utility knives: $8 to $12

Professional Installation vs. DIY Costs

Hiring a professional insulation service can cost, on average, around $550 to $1000 more than tackling the project yourself, depending on the job size and insulation type and a whole host of other factors.

While professional insulation installation does represent an added expense, most people would argue it is a necessary expense owing to a guarantee of proper fit and maximum productivity – along with safety from any materials that could be harmful or irritating.

Insulation Cost – Wrap Up

So, how much does it cost to insulate a house? While several factors affect the cost of insulation, the average figure would be around $1800. Your costs are going to vary depending on the material, area size, and location within the home. From the cost-effectiveness of fiberglass to the eco-friendly attributes of wood fiber insulation, your specific choices will determine the total insulation costs.

How much is insulation per square foot, on average? Again, there are so many variables to take into account, but given averages, you are looking at somewhere in the region of $1.50 to $2.00 per square foot – but if you take advantage of our special offer for insulation installation, you will bring those averages down.

Envirosmart Solutions for Quality Insulation Installation

For the best quality insulation product – and many other energy efficiency services – choose Envirosmart Solution Inc. Our fully comprehensive approach, skilled team, and eco-friendly solutions have helped improve thousands of homes and businesses across the Puget Sound area over the years.

Trust us for quality, value, and a commitment to sustainability, and let’s make your space comfortable and efficient. Contact Envirosmart for a free quote today.

Envirosmart Solutions… the smart choice for your energy needs!

$300 OFF On Insulation Removal Services + $350 OFF On Any New Insulation Installation
Current Article score: 5/5 - (1 vote)

Why You Can Trust Envirosmart Solution Inc

  • Guarding Your Privacy: Your information stays strictly with us, never sold or shared, ensuring your privacy is always a top priority.
  • Unbiased Solutions: We focus on what's best for you, offering customized, impartial advice to meet your energy efficiency needs without pushing unnecessary services.
  • Transparent Operations: We operate openly, making our practices, pricing, and environmental commitments clear, so you understand our operations and values.
  • Reliable Expertise: Our content and recommendations come from experienced professionals, ensuring you receive knowledgeable and practical energy efficiency advice.

Get Your Free Quote Fast

Fill out this form and we will contact you within 24 hours.

Other Articles

About EnviroSmart Solution

Envirosmart Solution is your go-to energy efficiency partner in Kent, WA, serving over 60 cities in the Washington Puget Sound area.

  • Established in 2004, we’re a family-owned business committed to providing top-notch service.
  • Our one-stop-shop approach covers energy audits, insulation upgrades, air sealing, HVAC, and more.
  • Dedicated and skilled team ensuring quality work without compromise.
  • Eco-friendly commitment using sustainable materials and practices.
  • Local, community-driven business deeply invested in supporting local initiatives.
  • Licensed, bonded, and insured, adhering to local codes and standards.

Choose Envirosmart Solution for a more energy-efficient, sustainable, and comfortable living space. It’s smart to choose Envirosmart!