How much does it cost to insulate an attic?
One of the smartest areas to direct extra home improvement dollars is towards a comprehensive attic insulation project. For this discussion we will examine the costs and requirements for insulating (regardless of new-build or existing structure) the open attic space of an "average" home. According to the 2008 U.S. Census this is approximately 2,520 square feet, which assumes a two-story structure with a "footprint" of approximately 24'x50'. Attic insulation can easily be considered a "DIY" project, but a contractor might be necessary for the job when a homeowner opts for "blown" insulation rather than batting types.
For the attic insulation project, the typical costs include:
- According to the U.S. Department of Energy a weatherization and attic insulation project can cost between $400 and $1800 and higher. The resale value of this update is unavailable, but it is important to remember that utility companies and governmental agencies all offer rebates and programs which encourage and reward such improvements to the home. There are also the financial savings to consider on heating and cooling costs, which are the number one expense in most households.
- Generally, any attic insulation project is going to cost between $1.50 to $3.50 per square foot. This pricing structure assumes that installers charge an average of $70 per hour, and electricians between $65 to $85 per hour. Both types of contractors may be required where attic work is concerned.
- Main room:
- Finish ceilings and walls - Drywall 1 throughout would require 37 panels of 4'x8' for walls and ceiling at $9.80 each (plus screws, nails and finishing compound) for an approximate total of $500 plus approximately 24 hours of installation;
- Fiberglass 2 wall insulation with R-19 value will cost $1.80 per square foot (installed) at a cost of $1008. The ceiling insulation of R30 will be $2.25 per square foot and cost $1350 plus twelve hours of installation;
- 3-six-panel primed hardboard doors 3 - Average of $178 each for a total of $534plus twelve hours of installation; and
- A snap-together laminate flooring system - Average of $7 to $11 per square foot at 536 square feet for a cost of $5896 installed.
- Standard white toilet - Average cost is $270 plus two hours of installation;
- Vanity with cultured marble top - Average cost is $600 to $900, plus six hours to install and plumb;
- Resilient vinyl 4 flooring - Average of $25 to $35 per square yard, for a total of $156;
- Two-piece fiberglass 2 shower unit - Mid-range models run $700. Most jobs are completed in three hours for a $1000-$1200 total;
- A light/fan combination- Averages at $180 and one hour of installation; and
- A recessed medicine cabinet - Averages at $90 and three hours of installation.
- Bar area:
- 10 linear feet of raised-panel oak cabinets - Average of $117 to $140 per linear foot installed for a total of $1400;
- 10 linear feet of laminate countertops - Average of $20 per linear foot installed, for a total of $200;
- A stainless steel bar sink and faucet - Average price for is $320 to $880, and faucet set of $100 to $200, for an average total of $750;
- An under-counter refrigerator - Average of $400 to $600 (without delivery and without any rebates taken into consideration). Installation should be included.; and
- Vinyl 4 floor tile - Average of $25 to $35 per square yard, for a total of $775.
- Provide electrical wiring and lighting to code - This is going to depend upon the amount of work required, but electricians average from $65 to $85 per hour. This project might be priced on a per item basis, or the electrician might simply base it on the square footage.
- Provide plumbing to code - The average plumber is going to base their pricing on each individual element of the project. For example, the under-sink plumbing will tend to come in at an average cost of $45 to $65 per hour, plus materials.
Enhancement and improvement costs
- Insulation or upgrade of attic access door;
- Seal around chimney and framing with a high-temperature caulk 5 or furnace cement;
- Check for water leaks while having work done;
- Adding a radiant barrier in the attic if you live in a hot or warm climate; and
- Insulate and air seal knee walls behind which attic space is located.
Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet
Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
: Type of plasterboard, commonly used to build walls and ceilings, composed of gypsum that is layered between sheets of heavy paper
: Plastic that is reinforced with glass fibers. The fibers may be mixed randomly throughout the plastic, or come in the form of a flat sheet, or be woven into a fabric
3 Hardboard doors
: A door finished with a surface made of high-density fiberboard, an engineered wood product also called hardboard, and factory painted to look like wood. This term can also refer to a door with a solid hardboard core and wood veneer panels
: A synthetic plastic made from ethylene and chlorine. Vinyl has many applications in the construction industry and it is widely used in sidings, window frames, roofing and gutters, among others
: A chemical sealant used to fill in and seal gaps where two materials join, for example, the tub and tile, to create a watertight and airtight seal. The term "caulking" is also used to refer to the process of applying this type of sealant
Cost to insulate an attic varies greatly by region (and even by zipcode). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.