How much does it cost to insulate a modern home?
According to the 2008 United States Census, the average home is approximately 2520 square feet in size. This home tends to be a two-story structure with a footprint 1 of roughly 24'x50'. When any discussion about insulating such a structure begins it is necessary to first understand that separate kinds of insulation will be used in walls and ceilings. This is particularly true where attic space is concerned. For the purpose of this discussion we will examine the costs of insulating the average home using a variety of materials.
This can be either a DIY or a professionally contracted project, and cost variations can help the homeowner determine which is the right course of action for their particular budget.
Generally, the typical home insulation costs include:
- The Attic - the costs for insulating an attic to "modern standards" will run between $1 and $1.50 per square foot, though the costs increase by 100% when the insulation is one of the blown varieties. Not only will the homeowner need to consider upgrading or improving insulation, but they will also have to take a look at the attic ventilation (which averages around $40 to $50 per venting unit) and air sealing around chimneys, knee walls, and all access ways too. For the project described, the DIY homeowner would pay roughly $1200 in materials while the contractor would charge around $2500 for the work;
- The Walls - insulating walls is a bit of a different matter and the United States Department of Energy recommends that the home have wall sheathing of an R5 value along with an R15 cavity insulation. The sheathing will average around $1.02 per square foot while the R15 cavity insulation costs roughly $.73 per square foot. This means that a total price of $1.75 per square foot is necessary for the purchase of the materials. When this work is taken on by a professional, it is necessary to understand that siding is going to be removed before sheathing is installed, and this increases costs quite significantly. The average carpenter will demand around $40 to $50 per hour for the work; and
- Energy audits or weatherization - long before any home insulation project begins the homeowner should contact their local utility company to request a home energy audit. This is usually something done free of charge but which also indicates areas of the home through which fuel dollars are escaping. Usually the audit is accompanied by a set of recommendations that include tips on weatherizing the home for both the heating and the cooling seasons and this should be used in conjunction with an insulation project.
Enhancement and improvement costs
- Rebates - while the homeowner is discussing their insulation project with a contractor (or simply making plans to tackle the work on their own) it is a good idea to consider as many energy efficient upgrades as possible. This is because there are a large number of rebates and financial incentives for the improvement of insulation, windows and doors and more.