This guide to attic insulation costs we cover the usefulness, recommended levels, types and materials for attic insulation. Additionally, we provide a complete price and cost breakdown for attic insulation materials and installation costs. The average cost for attic insulation, including installation is between $2.00 – $3.25 per sq.ft. for attic roll insulation and between $1.30 – $2.15 per sq.ft for loose fill attic insulation. These costs will vary based on a few difference factors, which are discussed in more detail in this guide.
|Attic Insulation Costs|
|Expect to Pay||$1.20 – $1.95 per sq.ft.||$1.45 – $2.95 per sq.ft.||$2.30 – $3.35 per sq.ft.|
|Insulation Type||Roll||Roll / Loose Fill||Loose Fill|
|Value||R-50||R-50 / R-60||R-60|
|Ease of Access||Easy||Medium||Hard|
|DIY or Pro||DIY||Pro||Pro|
|Note: Prices above include supply of insulation and labor / tools for installation.|
Reasons to Insulate the Attic
There is no more important location to insulate than the attic of your home, or in the case of vaulted ceilings, the space immediately beneath the roof deck.
When warming your home during cool weather, the heat will rise. Without adequate attic or ceiling insulation, that heat will be quickly lost through the roof of your home.
In warm weather, insulation will prevent hot air from penetrating into your living space. Excess heat makes your home uncomfortable, and if you use air conditioning, it will cause the equipment to work harder and use more energy than it would with sufficient insulation.
In short, inadequate levels of insulation in the attic and ceiling are the primary reason for energy use and costs being higher than they should be. According to the US Department of Energy, the heating and cooling system accounts for 50% to 60% of energy use in most homes. That fact emphasizes the need for adequate insulation, especially in the attic and ceiling.
While there are no government-mandated insulation levels for attics, the US DOE does provide recommended levels. The recommendations differ for each climate zone of the country.
Zone 1: Hawaii, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands
- Recommendation: Install R-30 to R-49 in an uninsulated attic; Add R-25 to R-30 in attics where three to four inches already exist.
Zones 2 & 3: Florida and the Gulf Coast States, Texas, Georgia, the Carolinas, Arkansas, Southern Arizona, Southern California
- Recommendation: Install R-30 to R-60 in an uninsulated attic; Add R-25 to R-38 in attics where three to four inches already exist.
Zone 4: Mid-Atlantic States, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, Kansas, southern areas of Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nevada, coastal areas of northern California, Oregon and Washington
- Recommendation: Install R-38 to R-60 in an uninsulated attic; Add R-38 in attics where three to four inches already exist.
Zone 5 to 8: Everything north of Zone 4
- Recommendation: Install R-49 to R-60 in an uninsulated attic; Add R-38 to R-49 in attics where three to four inches already exist.
Foam spray insulation is used in attics to insulate around openings for pipes, vents, stacks, fans and chimneys. Rigid insulation can be used, though it isn’t the most cost-effective type for attic applications. It is used in vaulted ceilings at times to achieve the maximum R-value where getting insulation depth is an issue.
Roll insulation and loose fill insulation are the two most cost-effective products for insulating attics, and that is why they are the top two choices. As noted, foam rigid insulation is used in some vaulted ceiling applications, but it costs three to five times more per square foot than loose fill or rolls.
Here’s what you can expect when you receive estimates for attic insulation costs. The costs are given per square foot of material.
Roll Insulation Costs
Table 1: Prices shown for Roll Insulation, divided down into Material per Sq. Foot and Labor per Sq. Foot:
|Insulation Rating||Material per Sq. Foot||Labor per Sq. Foot|
|R-50||$1.30 to $2.00||$0.70 to $0.95|
|R-60||$1.60 to $2.40||$0.70 to $0.95|
Loose Fill Insulation Costs
Table 2: Prices shown for Roll Insulation, divided down into Material per Sq. Foot and Labor per Sq. Foot:
|Insulation Rating||Material per Sq. Foot||Labor per Sq. Foot|
|R-50||$0.65 to $1.00||$0.60 to $1.10|
|R-60||$0.80 to $1.10||$0.65 to $1.15|
For either roll or loose fill insulation, expect extra costs for additional materials and supplies of $25-$50 per 1,000 square feet of insulated space.
It’s worth noting that when loose fill insulation is properly installed, it offers better coverage because there are no gaps in the insulation as there will be when rolls of insulation are installed side by side and end to end. The insulated area will receive better coverage with loose fill.
Factors Affecting Attic Insulation Installation Costs
Overall, insulating the attic correctly can proove to be a costly exercise so it’s worth noting aspects which are likely to increase the costs associated with it. There are a few additional cost factors to keep in mind, these include:
- Size of the Attic – This is the most obvious! Attic insulation cost is figured out by square foot, therefore the larger your attic is the higher the cost is going to be.
- Location / Attic Shape – The attic shape is very much related to the location. If the attic is hard to get into due to a low ceiling high or difficult attic access then this will increase time and therefore labor costs, it may also affect the type of materials you can have. If the attic is a nice square shape then this won’t proove too troublesome for most installers, however an oddly shaped attic will again increase labor time and make the overall cost of the job more expensive.
- Type of Insulation – As the insulation pricing tables above show, attic roll insulation is cheaper than loose fill, however labor with loose fill is often a little higher due to the time needed to properly fill small attic gaps and spaces.
- Preparation – This includes removal of old insulation and disposal in line with relevant local codes and standards. If there are any cables to move or water pipes to lag then this will also add to the cost.
- DIY or Pro – DIY is obviously the cheapest option. Laying attic insulation, especially roll insulation, is not too much of a challenge, however to do it right and fill the gaps to prevent ongoing heat loss and drafts takes a pro. DIY will take far longer also.
In conclusion, attic insulation can be an effective and sensible way of saving money on heating bills in the winter and good news for the environment. However, costs can add up, so make sure you’re aware of what’s involved before you start.