This guide to loose fill insulation describes this product and where it is used before giving loose fill insulation costs for material and installation.
Loose fill insulation is a very versatile material that can be used in locations that are difficult to reach with batts or rolls.
About Loose Fill Insulation
There are three types of loose fill insulation commonly used: fiberglass, cellulose and rock wool. This type of insulation is also known as blown-in insulation.
Rock wool insulation is formed from molten stone or slag spun into a material with the look and consistency of sheep’s wool. Fiberglass is molten glass spun into fibers and formed into clumps that resemble wool. Cellulose is typically made from recycled paper fiber. While fiberglass and rock wool naturally resist burning, fire-retarding chemicals must be added to cellulose to help prevent the spread of fires.
As the name implies, loose fill insulation isn’t in the form of rolls or batts. It is in the form of small clumps packaged in bags. It can be installed by hand but is usually loaded into a machine and blown into the space to be insulated. The R-value achieved is a factor of the depth of insulation is used in the location.
When cellulose blown-in insulation is used, it is often mixed with a small amount of water that causes the small pieces of insulation to adhere to one another. It can then be installed in vertical spaces such as unfinished wall cavities.
Blown-in insulation is installed to prevent warm air from escaping your home during the heating season. In warm weather, it helps prevent hot air from penetrating into your living space. Insulation will reduce the energy use and cost of running air conditioning.
As noted, the chief advantage of loose fill insulation is that it can be installed in locations hard to reach with other forms of insulation. A second major purpose for considering loose fill is the ease of installation using a blower. It gives the installer the ability to stand in one location or to walk on ceiling joists and dispense the insulation into a broad area.
Blown-in insulation is versatile. It is used in finished and unfinished space, new and existing construction. As we’ve indicated, blown-in insulation is most often used in areas where installing batts or roll insulation would be difficult or impossible. For example, it can be blown into attics that are hard to access.
Wet cellulose insulation can be blown into vertical spaces such as unfinished wall cavities after the wiring and plumbing have been completed. Drywall or other material may be installed once the insulation dries.
Loose fill insulation, usually dry fiberglass material, is also used in finished space such as vaulted ceilings or walls. A small-diameter hole is drilled in the drywall or other surface, and the insulation is blown into the cavity. In any location, this material can be used to increase the depth and R-value of existing insulation.
Currently, loose fill insulation is the most cost-effective type of insulation to install and, because it covers more consistently than batts or rolls, also the most energy efficient.
Table 1: Prices shown for Loose Fill Insulation, divided down into Material per Sq. Foot and Labor per Sq. Foot
|Insulation Rating||Material per Sq. Foot||Labor per Sq. Foot|
|R-13 (2×4 walls)||$0.25 to $0.35||$0.55 to $1.00|
|R-19 (2×6 walls)||$0.40 to $0.65||$0.60 to $1.10|
|R-50 (Ceilings)||$0.65 to $1.00||$0.60 to $1.10|
|R-60 (Ceilings)||$0.80 to $1.10||$0.65 to $1.15|
The loose fill insulation installation costs vary based on the area being insulated. Less labor is required when blowing the material into open spaces such as an attic. More labor is needed when holes must be drilled to fill cavities within walls and ceilings. Check for detailed breakdowns for your home with free local contractor estimates.
Materials and supplies required by the installer, including the cost of the blower, amount to $60 to $100 per 1,000 square yards.
Check Out Current Contractor Loose Fill Insulation Costs
Learn about Loose Fill Insulation from the US Department of Energy