Attic Insulation Cost Guide & Contractor Quotes
Our Attic Insulation Cost Guide includes detailed information regarding the cost of insulating your attic as well as 4 free contractor quotes.
The attic, being the topmost part of your house, is arguably one the places where heat is lost when the weather is cold and gained during summer. From the basic knowledge of science, you might be aware that heat naturally transfers from a warmer zone to a colder one.
Much to our disadvantage, heat is always moving in the wrong direction. When it’s cold, the heat inside our homes, will naturally rise and move towards the attic through the ceiling, by the process of conduction and radiation or in some cases the heat could be lost through air leaks. During this time, your furnace or heating unit will be working to maximum to redeem the lost heat. You will obviously see the effects reflected on your high heating costs.
During summer, when it’s hot, the attic will naturally be overheated; and will constantly radiate heat inside the house. As a result, your A/C will run continuously to cool your house, and this will have a significant impact on your cooling bills.
To prevent losing or gaining excess heat in your home, you need to insulate the attic. Quality attic insulation will not only prevent heat loss, but it will also prevent loss of cool air during summer. In addition, with good insulation, you will be saving a considerable amount of money on your energy bills.
If your attic is unfinished and maybe you use the space for storage, you can insulate the attic floor. This way, you will you will be trapping the heat below the stairs especially in the areas or that are frequently in use. If your attic is finished, you should insulate above all the finished parts of the attic.
In some cases, your attic could be having insulation in place; but the problem might be that the insulation has been there for a long time. As a result, the attic might have compressed with time making it less effective than it used to be when it was newly installed. To achieve optimum performance, you should consider doing an upgrade and add new insulation to your attic.
Regardless of the climate conditions in your area, attic insulation is essential for your home. Good insulation, together with proper ventilation, plays a big role in stabilizing the temperature conditions inside your home. These two elements work together to ensure that your house is not too cold in winter; and, it’s not too hot during summer.
Since the attics are usually positioned at the top part of your house, they will be exposed to all sorts of weather conditions. As we have already established, the attic is the is the point where heat and cold are gained and lost. Therefore, it’s important for you as a homeowner to consider insulating your attic as a way of regulating the temperature conditions in your home.
What Are the Benefits of Insulating the Attic?
As a homeowner, you will constantly be looking for ways to improve and upgrade your home to make its conditions better. One of the wisest upgrades you can make for your home is attic insulation. Attic insulation might not add an aesthetic appeal to your home, but it’s evidently an important upgrade that eventually pays for itself in so many ways as time goes by.
Majority of homeowners know that they should consider adding or upgrading the attic insulation, some may not be aware of the benefits that come attic insulation. Most people choose to insulate their attics for different reasons some which include saving the energy costs. However, this is not the only benefit of attic insulation. Keep reading this guide to find out the multiple benefits of attic insulation and the reasons why it should be your topmost priority.
This is one of the top benefits attic insulation. When properly installed, attic insulation will significantly reduce heating and cooling costs in your home. This is as a result of reduced heat loss or retaining cool air when the temperatures are a bit high.
Most homeowners have reported saving almost 50% on their energy bills after installing attic insulation. Even though the amount of energy saving costs will also be dependent on other variables like the size of your house, the type of heating unit in your home, your area’s climate condition, among many others; most people still experience a significant cut on their energy bills.
A lot of homeowners have saved a lot of money due to attic insulation. In fact, this one type of upgrade that eventually pays for itself through the big percentage on energy savings. Attic insulation may actually seem like a small investment, but it will make a significant change in your home’s budget.
Properly installed attic insulation can increase the lifespan of your heating and cooling units saving on a great deal on replacement costs. This because, attic insulation will keep your house warm or cool and thus, your heating and cooling units will not have to overwork to maintain favorable temperatures.
Preserves The Environment
We are always looking for ways to preserve our environment. Monetary savings is not the only benefit of attic insulation. You will be happy to know that through attic insulation you will be part of the good course of preserving and protecting the environment. In fact, the Department of Energy ranks attic insulation as one of the most important projects when it comes to energy savings.
When you use less energy, there will be less requirement to produce more energy for consumption in most households. As a result, the energy plants will not require a lot of resources to produce energy, and this will reduce pollution from fuel, or in whichever form that harms the environment in one way or another.
By cutting on the percentage of energy we use will directly have a positive impact on the ecosystem around you. If done everywhere, it will positively affect the ecosystem of an entire country or region. Therefore, take the challenge and insulate your attic not just for financial savings, but to also be a part of the big movement of protecting and preserving your local ecosystem.
In this modern times, most people care about the state of the environment. If you are keen on your carbon footprints, it will be pretty easy to make a change no matter how small it seems to be by making your home energy efficient. A small project of insulating the attic will actually reduce the percentage of carbon output in your home and in the environment. You will find that, in a majority of homes, the heating and cooling units are responsible for a big percentage of carbon dioxide output. If you insulate your attic, the HVAC system will not have to work for an extended time which will, in turn, lower carbon dioxide output in the environment.
Extended Service of Your HVAC Systems
If you own a home that was probably built before 1980, it’s possible that your attic is under-insulated according to the modern energy efficiency standards. Just like any other aspect of your home, your attic will need an upgrade to improve its efficiency. If you have less effective attic insulation, your home’s cooling and heating system will be overloaded with its operation. As a result, your HVAC system might have a shorter lifespan necessitating a need for frequent replacements which as we know, do not come cheap.
One of the key benefits of a properly insulated attic is the expected longer lifespan of your furnaces and air conditioners. Well-Installed attic insulation will reduce the home’s heating, and cooling needs and your HVAC system will only operate for few hours to supplement your home’s temperature conditions. This way, your heating and cooling unit will experience less wear and tear leading to fewer repairs or replacements.
Makes The Attic More Functional
In most homes, you will find that the attic is only used for storage. This because of the unfavorable conditions up there in the attic. When it’s hot, the attic becomes extremely hot, and the weather is cold, it becomes uncomfortably cold making it inhabitable.
However, if you insulate the attic properly, you will regulate the temperatures and make it comfortable. You can turn it into an extra functional room like a bedroom which will evidently increase the value of your home. Proper attic insulation will not only regulate your home’s temperature, but it can also earn you a functional space on top of your house.
Improves The Quality of Air Indoors
Adding or upgrading the attic insulation can have a positive impact on the quality of air indoors. The HVAC system in your home is known to leave carbon footprint which as you know can be the cause of many health problems including respiratory infections. If you properly insulate the attic, you will use your HVAC system less frequently consequently reducing the number of harmful elements and carbon footprint in the air. In turn, you will have a healthy environment, both indoors and outdoors.
Prevents Moisture Issues and Damages
An improperly insulated attic is likely to be the cause of moisture problems in your home such as the formation of mold and ice dams. The heat rising from other parts of your home is likely to melt snow on top of your roof which will in turn form ice dams. The accumulation of moisture and the condensation process will not only lead to mold issues, but it will cause significant moisture damages especially on your roof.
If the attic lacks proper insulation and ventilation, the moist air that escapes to the attic mostly gets stuck inside and gradually leads to mold growth. Ice dams that are as a result of melting snow on your roof due to the rising heat can refreeze at the eaves trough and cause barriers leading to pools of water that eventually starts to get inside the soffit and finally inside your home. This situation can be disastrous as the moisture can cause significant damages and in the process wet the insulation in your home and make it less effective.
One way to avoid having moisture problems in your house is by insulating the attic. If you suspect that there are condensation and moisture formation in your attic, you need to consider upgrading the attic insulation and while at it, have your roof checked.
From the above points, you can see that attic insulation is quite essential. You will not only be making the living conditions of your home favorable, but you will also be saving a great deal in energy bills. Most importantly, you will be among the people who strive to make the world a better place by protecting and preserving our environment.
If your attic appears to be leaking energy significantly leading to increased energy bills, and causing numerous damages to other parts of your home, you need to consider upgrading or adding attic insulation. Attic insulation, whichever way you look at it, it’s definitely a smart decision that will increase the value of your home and make the attic a functional place. It is a wise investment that will recoup the amount spend through the reduced energy costs.
Indicators That Your Attic Needs Insulation
As a homeowner, you might be asking yourself about the indications that show that your attic needs insulation. If this is your dilemma, worry no more as this guide will outline for you the signs that you need to look out for to know if you need to add or upgrade your attic insulation.
Ice dams: if you notice a heavy build-up of ice dams along your home’s eavestrough know that you already have a moisture problem. Ice dams can cause havoc to your roof as they can damage wood, shingles and your entire roof altogether.
As we mentioned earlier, ice dams come about when heat rises from the inside of your home and escapes through the ceiling to your attic consequently melting the snow on the roof. As a result, the melting snow ends up forming ice dams along your home’s eaves. All these processes happen due to an inadequately insulated attic. If the formation of ice dams on your roof seems to be persistent, it’s time to assess your attic’s insulation and start budgeting for an upgrade.
Temperature variations: if you notice that some rooms or parts of your house are colder or warmer than others, it is likely that your attic is inadequately insulated; or, some parts are not properly insulated.
Draft spots: drafty areas in your home is an indication of unnecessary moisture getting into your home. If your house seems to be cold during winter or hot in summer, no matter your efforts of making the temperature conditions favorable, you need an upgrade of the attic insulation.
Damaged windows are usually the leading cause of drafts. However, if the cracks and crevices in the windows are well-sealed, the cause of drafts in your home could be an improperly insulated attic or in some cases a damp one. Such problematic attic insulation can cause drafts in some parts of your house.
High energy bills: if you realize that you are paying abnormally high energy bills compared to other homes within your vicinity which are roughly the same size as yours, you need to check your insulation. You should approach a professional to assess your attic insulation to determine if you need to upgrade it.
Attic Insulation Cost Factors
According to U.S Department of energy, a sufficiently insulated home and attic can save you around 10 to 50% of home’s energy costs. Investing in proper attic insulation will prevent heat loss, reduce your dependency on heating and cooling system and maintain a warmer environment during winter and cooler one during summer.
The national average cost of insulating a standardly sized attic of 1200 square ranges from $1300 to $2500 for fiberglass or blown-in insulation. Cost of materials required for a standard attic comes to about $500 to $1000, while the cost of renting equipment comes to around $100.
If you hire a professional installer, the installation will take few hours. Professionals charge $40 to $70 per hour to insulate the attic.
However, when looking at the cost of attic insulation, you need to be aware of factors that will influence the cost of installation.
Type of Attic Insulation Material
The type of attic insulation material you use will be the greatest determinant of the price you will pay for the entire installation. Ultimately, the choice of attic insulation will determine your energy bill savings in future and also influence how long it will last.
There are four common types of attic insulation material. They include:
- Blown-In Fiberglass Insulation
If you are planning to install blown-in fiberglass, you will be pleased to learn that it’s an effective option that will save you a great deal on energy bills. It comes with an above average R-value which significantly increases the energy efficiency in your home and, saves you a big percentage on your heating and cooling costs.
Blown-in fiberglass insulation is fairly affordable when you look at the savings and efficiency it comes with. If you are planning to do the installation through DIY, you will double the savings and make this option cost-effective and beneficial to you in future in regards to energy savings. A bag of 28.5lbs of blown-fiberglass costs about $35. If you are insulating an averagely sized attic of about 1000 sq.ft, your cost breakdown will look like the one in the table below.
|R-Value||Bags of Blown-in fiber needed per 1000 sq.ft.||Cost of materials per square foot||Time require to complete the installation-labor|
|R-15||15||$0.495 per square foot||4 hours|
|R-20||17||$0.555 per square foot||4-5hours|
|R-38||20-25||$0.60 per square foot||5-6hours|
|R-44||23||$0.76per square foot||6-7hours|
|R-49||26||$0.86 per square foot||7-8hours|
|R-60||32||$1.06 per square foot||8-9hours|
As you calculate your costs, you should note that the amount of labor time taken may vary from one project to another depending on the R-value for your insulation material and the type of equipment to be used. For example, if you are planning to DIY and you rent the machine used to blow in the insulation, you will spend less time on installation than the person who doesn’t have this particular machine.
In addition, the higher the R-value, the more insulation material to be used to achieve the right level of depth. This particularly applies to those who live in regions with a colder climate and need to achieve maximum protection from their attic insulation.
- Blown-In Cellulose
This is another common attic insulation material used by homeowners. Sometimes it’s used together with the fiberglass option. The reason why cellulose is popular it’s because it’s made from natural materials which are mostly recycled newspaper or cardboard or a combination of the two. For this reason, blown-in cellulose is perceived to be an environmentally friendly insulating option.
Another factor that makes blown-in cellulose insulation option common is because most celluloses materials are normally treated with borate; a fire retardant that raises the insulation resistant to fire which prevents house fires from spreading. Another advantage of borate is that it makes the insulation material resistant to mold, mildew even pests.
If you are looking for attic insulation material that is eco-friendly and fire-resistant, then blown-in cellulose should be your ideal choice. However, due to its green aspect because of the recycled material, blown-in cellulose insulation option is costlier than fiberglass. A package of blown-in cellulose of 19 lb with a minimal requirement of R-value and covers an area of about 40 square will cost approximately $28-$32. If you compare this price with the same package of blown-in fiberglass, you will notice the packages cost almost the same, but the fiberglass option covers almost 150square feet area.
One of the topmost advantages of blown-in insulation, both cellulose, and fiberglass, is that it can be applied through DIY. If you are a DIY enthusiast, you will need just a weekend to install the insulation. However, if you do not have experience with the application of the blown-in insulation, you will need a bit of training to grasp the basics of application.
DIY application of blown-in insulation will you cost about $500 eliminating the cost of professional labor. If you choose to hire a professional to do the application for blown-in insulation for you, the job will cost you about $1300 to $2000 for a standard attic of about 1200 square feet.
- Fiberglass Batts
Fiberglass batts are considered as one of the inexpensive attic insulation options. They are most suitable for areas where the walls are already open, and that’s why they are ideal for attics. They a designed in the form of big rolled batts of fiberglass made to fit in the average distance that is usually between studs. Once installed, fiberglass batts fill the voids and block air from escaping or penetrating through the exterior wall.
Fiberglass batts vary in thickness and color. When choosing, you should go for the thickness that will work best in your location and settle for the recommended R-value in your area. Fiberglass batts are pretty easy and quick to install. The installation of fiberglass batts can be an easy DIY task. All you need to do to accomplish the installation task is a utility knife, a putty knife, and a tape measure. You will need to install the batts filmy and tightly in place. When properly installed, fiberglass batts can increase the energy efficiency of your home by 20 to 30%.
Here is the average cost break down of fiberglass batts:
|R-value||Average cost per square feet
|R-11||$0.12-$0.17 per sq.ft.|
|R-13||$0.16-$0.20 per sq.ft.|
|R-19||$0.28-$0.35 per sq.ft.|
|R-25||$0.37-$0.46 per sq.ft.|
|R-30||$0.40-$0.47 per sq.ft.|
|R-38||$0.55-$1.15 per sq.ft.|
If you choose to DIY, with fiberglass batts of above R-30 value, for an area of around 500 square feet, expect to spend $150- $200. If you hire a professional for 500 square foot attic area, expect to spend about $320 to $590, a job that takes around 6 hours.
- Reflective/Radiant Barrier
This insulation option is mostly used in attics. It reduces heat gain during summer and insulates efficiently against cold during the cold season. Installation of radiant barriers reduces your heating and cooling bills and significantly increases your home’s R-value.
Reflective/radiant barriers unlike other forms of insulation do not work by slowing down heat flow. Instead, radiant or reflective barriers decrease radiant heat gain rather than slowing it down. The barriers are made of a reflective material whose role is to reflect radiant heat instead of absorbing it. However, unlike thermal insulation materials, radiant or reflective barriers normally don’t decrease heat conduction.
However, radiant or reflective insulation option usually works better in areas that have a warmer climate than a colder one. This type of attic insulation can achieve roughly 10 to 150 % energy cooling savings per home. If combined with other forms of attic insulation material, the savings will significantly be higher.
The cost of radiant or reflective barriers will depend on the brand and the type you opt to buy. But, the average cost of radiant or reflective barrier ranges from 15 to 35 cents. If you are planning to insulate attic area of about 500 square foot, you will spend an average cost of $180 to $330. If you hire a professional to install reflective or radiant barriers for attic area of 500 square foot, expect to spend $550 to $800.
Another cost factor when it comes to attic insulation is R-value. The R-value calculates insulation’s resistance to heat through the thickness and the density of the insulating material. It’s a measuring unit for thermal resistance. Typically, the higher the R-value, the higher the heat resistance meaning, the better the insulating qualities of the insulation material. Also, the thicker the insulating material, the higher the R-value.
When installing insulation, do not make the mistake of thinking that doubling R-value will give you a higher R-value. You need to have the right insulation thickness installed correctly to achieve a higher R-value. All types of attic insulation products are usually labeled with the R-value on their packaging.
Calculating the R-value is a complex process. The most important thing you need to know in relation to R-value its that its dependent on your location, the part the house you plan to insulate and the type of insulation material you plan to use. Generally, if you live in a region with a colder climate, you will need to insulate your attic with insulation products that have a higher R-value. On the other hand, if your location has a warmer climate, you should consider installing a less R-value insulation material to your attic.
If you are not sure about the right R-value for your area, you should look at the following R-values recommended by the Department of energy for unfinished attics.
- R-30- regions with hot climate
- R-38- regions with moderate climate
- R-49- regions with cold climate
Parts of The Attic to Be Insulated
While budgeting for attic insulation you need to factor in other parts of the attic that have to be insulated. Insulating the floor and the ceiling is not actually enough; there are other essential parts that require insulation to complete proper insulation.
When you look at most attics, you will notice that they have pipes passing through them. These pipes have warm water running through them. You need to insulate the pipes to keep the water warmer which is also a way of conserving energy. Secondly, the attic has wiring inlets and outlets, exhaust fans, rafters, chimney, walls and many other details which will also require insulation to seal the spaces and conserve energy.
If you use your attic mainly for storage decking, you need to make sure that you lay adequate insulation on the floor before you lay the storage decking. Other places to concentrate on when insulating the attic is any part or anything that allows air leaks like around the window, fans ducts, pipes, light fixtures, etc. The secret to insulating the attic is proper insulation. If some parts are left out during insulation, you might not achieve optimal energy savings as you had anticipated.
Finished and Unfinished Attics
Another factor that is likely to influence the cost attic insulation is whether the attic is finished or unfinished. Typically, insulating a finished attic is a bit challenging and more difficult than unfinished one. This is because when insulating a finished attic, you have to install the insulation under the flooring. The sheetrock also makes the insulation process difficult since you have to insulate behind it.
One of the easiest ways to insulate a finished attic is to apply blown-in insulation between the ceiling and the walls. With a blown-in option, you only need less tear out meaning you will you have minimal rebuilding after the insulation. In addition, blown in insulation can effectively reach and cover places such as the rafters and the wall joists.
On the other hand, insulating an unfinished attic gives you an opportunity to turn the space into a functional one. Since you do not have to tear any flooring or sheetrock, the process is quite straightforward. All that is needed is to lay the insulation in the floor space, on the ceiling, and between wall space. After laying the insulation, you will then proceed to cover it with wood and sheetrock, and you will have a finished space. While insulating an unfinished attic, you can do other additions like running heating and air conditioning ducts. This way you will have temperature-controlled space.
Other Additional Costs to Consider
Mold remediation – the attic is one of the places that are likely to have a mold problem especially if you have moisture issues in your home. Before insulating the attic, it would be necessary to seek for mold remediation services.
Mold remediation is a service that involves removal of mold. A professional will assess your home to see if there is a presence of mold and assess the severity of the problem. The professionals will then remove the mold, replace and repair structural materials that were damaged by the mold, and establish the source of the mold to stop a future attack. Mold remediation services will cost you an average cost ranging from $2000 to $6500.
The professionals might advise you on humidity repairs especially if you live in humid areas to control moisture in your home. This will involve installation of a dehumidifier in the attic to control and reduce moisture levels. Expect to spend an average cost of about $2000 to $6500 on the installation of a dehumidifier.
Soundproofing the attic – during insulation, you can choose to soundproof your attic to prevent noise from outside from reaching inside your home and noise from inside from reaching to the exterior of your home. Combining soundproofing with attic insulation can save you considerable costs on installation.
Expect to spend an average of $8000 to $12500on a 1000 square foot attic area on soundproofing.
Rebates and Expected Savings
Insulating your attic can earn you lots of incentives and rebates from the state and federal tax credits. In some states, you can get some discounts even up to 10% of the total cost of the insulation project.
Insulating the attic comes with lots of benefits the biggest being energy savings. In fact, according to the U.S Department of Energy, a properly insulated attic, and a home in general, can save you about 10 to 50% on your overall homes energy bills. From what we have already established in this guide, heat normally rises to the colder area which in our homes, it’s to the attic and the roof. If your attic is not insulated, the rising heat escapes through the roof leaving your home colder.
Insulating the attic will significantly prevent heat loss during winter and also stop the escape of cool air during summer. Your home will maintain favorable temperature conditions while at the same time saving you lots of money on energy costs.
Keep in mind that energy and natural gas prices keep rising from year to year and yet, you still need to keep your home warmer during the cold season or cool during summer. You might choose to keep the thermostat at the lowest setting and subject everyone to bulky clothing while indoors, or you can be smart and insulate your attic and keep your home warm and comfortable or cool when it’s hot.