This guide to roll insulation explains what it is and where it is most often used. We also cover roll insulation costs for material and labor.
About Roll Insulation
There are two types of roll insulation that are most common: fiberglass and stone wool. Fiberglass roll insulation is made from spun fiberglass. Rock wool insulation is also called mineral wool or stone wool. It is made from molten stone or slag spun into a material similar in consistency to sheep’s wool.
Real sheep’s wool is also used in roll insulation, but it is not as commonly chosen by homeowners. It is, however, growing in popularity because it is a green building material.
Roll insulation comes in various depths or thicknesses to produce various R-factors which is the insulation rating. See the roll insulation cost chart below for common R-value options.
You’ll find rolls in several standard widths including 16 and 24 inches to fit common framing dimensions such as wall studs 16 inches on center and ceiling joists 24 inches on center.
When using roll insulation, the material is rolled into the space being insulated and then cut to fit.
The most obvious value of roll insulation is to keep heat in or out of your home, depending on the season. During the heating season, roll insulation in the attic or ceiling of your home will prevent warm air being created by your heat source from escaping.
During warm weather, the insulation blocks heat from penetrating your home and causing it to be uncomfortably warm or forcing your air conditioning system to work extra hard to maintain the temperature you desire.
Roll insulation may be faced or unfaced. Faced insulation has a layer of material, typically either treated paper or foil that acts as a moisture and vapor retarder. The insulation is installed so that the facing is on the interior of the home. Its purpose is to helps prevent moisture created in the home from the laundry, cooking, showering and breathing from passing into the wood framing materials where it may cause mold or rot.
A second advantage of the facing is that it extends beyond the insulation to form a flange which can be used to fasten the insulation to studs or joists.
Faced roll insulation is often used in ceilings or use in attics where long runs of insulation are required. It can be used in unfinished walls too, though precut batts are chosen more often than rolls which need to be cut for each run.
Unfaced roll insulation is most often installed in attics. It may form the only layer of insulation or can be used to increase the R-value where a layer of insulation is already present.
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-19||$0.50 to $0.75||$0.60 to $0.95|
|R-21||$0.55 to $0.85||$0.65 to $0.95|
|R-30||$0.80 to $1.10||$0.65 to $0.95|
|R-38||$1.00 to $1.55||$0.70 to $0.95|
|R-50||$1.30 to $2.00||$0.70 to $0.95|
|R-60||$1.60 to $2.40||$0.70 to $0.95|
These roll insulation prices are for fiberglass insulation. Rock wool insulation costs will be approximately 50% higher, though it’s typically not available with an R-value higher than R-30.
The labor costs in these examples are based on 10-12 hours of labor.
The installer will require some additional materials such as fasteners and foam insulation in order to do the job properly. These additional costs typically amount to $25 to $60 per 1,000 square feet of insulation depending on the specifics of the job – specific price estimates will be required for your home to price accurately, so consider a set of free no-obligation insulation estimates.
The roll insulation costs we provided show a range. The more complex the job is, the higher the cost will be. For example, laying roll insulation over ceiling rafters is relatively easy compared with fastening it to trusses in a vaulted ceiling.
In addition, roll insulation installation costs are always higher in existing construction than in new construction because of the greater complexity of the project.
Learn about Insulation Options from the US Department of Energy
Check Out Contractor Costs for Roll Insulation