How Much Does It Cost to Insulate a Modern Home?

Average range: $3,000 - $7,000
Low
$2,000
Average Cost
$4,500
High
$30,000
(Insulating an existing 2,000 sq.ft. home with a mixture of batts and blown-in insulation)

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How Much Does It Cost to Insulate a Modern Home?

Average range: $3,000 - $7,000
Low
$2,000
Average Cost
$4,500
High
$30,000
(Insulating an existing 2,000 sq.ft. home with a mixture of batts and blown-in insulation)

Get free estimates from insulation contractors near you
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Reviewed by Isabel Maria Perez. Written by Fixr.com.

Thermal transfer is when heat travels through the walls of your home. On a hot day, thermal transfer comes from the outside, making your air conditioner work harder to keep your home cool. On a cold day, thermal transfer starts inside, and your produced heat exits through the walls and windows. To help prevent thermal transfer and make spaces more comfortable and energy-efficient, you need insulation.

Insulation is a material that stops thermal transfer. It can be applied on your home’s exterior beneath your siding, inside your exterior walls, inside your ceilings, and your attic, crawlspaces, and basement. The more insulation you have and the better the materials stop the thermal transfer, the more comfortable your home is, and the lower your energy bills are.

The insulation type, location, and house layout and type impact how much insulation you need and how much it costs. The national average cost for insulating a home is $3,000 to $7,000, with most people paying around $4,500 for a mixture of batts and blown-in insulation in an existing 2,000 sq.ft. home. This project’s low cost is $2,000 to completely insulate a new, 2,000 sq.ft. home using fiberglass batts. The high cost is $30,000 to fully insulate an existing 2,500 sq.ft. home with spray foam insulation.

Cost to Insulate a House

Home Insulation Costs
National average cost$4,500
Average range$3,000-$7,000
Minimum cost$2,000
Maximum cost$30,000


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Home Insulation Cost by Project Range

Low
$2,000
Fully insulating a new 2,000 sq.ft. home with fiberglass batts
Average Cost
$4,500
Insulating an existing 2,000 sq.ft. home with a mixture of batts and blown-in insulation
High
$30,000
Fully insulating an existing 2,500 sq.ft. home with spray foam insulation

Insulation Price by Type of Installation

There are two times you may want to add insulation. The first is in new construction. This is the easiest time to add insulation to the home because everything is open, the walls are not finished, and there is no siding on the exterior.

The second time is after the home is finished and you want to add insulation. Adding insulation to open spaces like attics or when you replace your siding has the same costs as insulation in new construction. However, your costs can be different if you choose to insulate the cavities in existing walls. These costs vary depending on the material and how accessible the spaces are.


Cost per Sq.Ft. to Install Insulation in New Construction Home or Existing Walls

Cost per Sq.Ft. to Install Insulation in New Construction Home or Existing Walls


Type of InstallationAverage Costs per Sq.Ft. (Installed)
New Construction$0.65 - $6.50
Existing Walls$1.75 - $7.50


New Construction Insulation Cost

The average cost to insulate a home during new construction ranges from $0.65 to $6.50 a square foot. Several types of insulation are good for new construction. The most common is to use batt insulation in the walls and ceilings and spray foam or loose-fill in open areas. You may also use some types of rigid insulation board on the exterior before it is sided. It is very common for new construction to use several types, but you can also choose one to keep costs down.

Cost of Adding Insulation to Existing Walls

The cost of adding insulation to existing walls is $1.75 to $7.50 a square foot. You can use blown-in or spray foam insulation to add insulation to existing walls without completely removing the drywall 1 and renovating the walls. Blown-in insulation is an easier and less expensive insulating method. In this case, wet-spray cellulose is blown in through small holes bored in the exterior. Spray foam is more difficult and expensive to install but may provide better results. You must cut several holes in the walls, and there are additional costs to make repairs when it is done.


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Cost to Insulate a House per Square Foot

Insulation can be installed in many areas, including inside walls, on your exterior walls, above your garage, in your attic, in your basement, and above your ceilings. There is a fairly wide range of costs for insulating a home. For example, you may choose to insulate just the wall cavities of your exterior walls. Depending on your home’s height, length, and width, your costs could vary tremendously. So, while your costs to insulate per square foot can range from $0.65 to $7.50, it is unlikely that you pay $650 to $7,500 for a 1,000 sq.ft. home. Your starting costs should be closer to $1,650, depending on the insulation type and where you put it. The high costs could be as much as $15,000 if you cover every open cavity in your home with spray foam insulation. Below are the average cost ranges for homes of different sizes. These costs can vary tremendously due to the many insulation types and installation methods.


Cost to Insulate a 1,000, 1,200, 1,500, 2,000, 3,000, or 4,000 Sq.Ft. House

Cost to Insulate a 1,000, 1,200, 1,500, 2,000, 3,000, or 4,000 Sq.Ft. House


House SizeAverage Costs (Installed)
1,000 sq.ft.$1,650 - $15,000
1,200 sq.ft.$1,980 - $16,500
1,500 sq.ft.$2,475 - $18,000
2,000 sq.ft.$3,300 - $25,000
3,000 sq.ft.$4,950 - $35,000
4,000 sq.ft.$6,600 - $45,000


Cost to Insulate a 1,000 Sq.Ft. House

The cost to completely insulate a 1,000 sq.ft. house ranges from $1,650 to $15,000 because many areas can be insulated, with many insulation types available. While this range is high, most people pay between $1,650 and $3,000. These costs are closer to the average when insulating attics, crawlspaces, and exterior walls with loose insulation. Costs can get much higher when you use exterior insulation beneath siding and spray foam inside cavities. Your costs are generally lower when using different types and when insulating during a larger remodel.

Cost to Insulate a 1,200 Sq.Ft. House

The cost to insulate a 1,200 sq.ft. home averages $1,980 to $16,500. These costs are for the full range of options when insulating a home of this size. Average costs for most homes are usually closer to $1,980 and $3,500. Expect costs closer to this range when insulating interior spaces with batts and loose-fill insulation. Costs increase when you insulate the home’s exterior and interior. Costs also become much higher when using spray foam insulation on interior cavities and open spaces throughout the home.

Cost to Insulate a 1,500 Sq.Ft. House

The average cost to insulate a 1,500 sq.ft. home is $2,475 to $18,000, which includes the full range of insulation methods. Most people find costs closer to $2,475 to $4,000. Costs typically fall in this range when insulating interior spaces with batts and loose-fill insulation. Your costs can be higher if you insulate the exterior or use spray foam insulation. Insulating during a remodel or renovation can also keep costs down.

Insulation Cost for a 2,000 Sq.Ft. House

The cost to insulate a 2,000 sq.ft. home averages $3,300 to $25,000. These costs range depending on where you insulate and what type you use. Most people spend between $3,300 and $7,000 on a home this size, including insulating the interior spaces with batts and blown-in insulation. Your costs can be higher if you insulate the exterior or use spray foam insulation on all interior cavities. Costs are lower if you add insulation during a remodel or higher if spaces are not accessible.

Cost to Insulate a 3,000 Sq.Ft. House

The cost to insulate a 3,000 sq.ft. home ranges from $4,950 to $35,000, depending on where you insulate and what type. Most people spend between $4,950 and $10,000 on a home this size. These costs include insulating all interior spaces with batts and blown-in insulation. Your costs can be much higher if you insulate the exterior or use spray foam for all interior cavities. Costs also vary depending on how accessible spaces are, with insulation added during a remodel costing the least.

Cost to Insulate a 4,000 Sq.Ft. House

The cost to insulate a 4,000 sq.ft. home is $6,600 to $45,000, depending on where you insulate and the insulation type. Most people pay between $6,600 and $15,000 for homes of this size. This includes insulating all interior spaces with a combination of batts and loose-fill insulation. If you insulate exterior walls or use spray foam insulation, costs can be closer to the high end. Costs also vary depending on how easy the spaces are to access. New construction and remodels are easier to access and less expensive.

House Insulation Cost by Type

There are many types of insulation to consider when installing insulation. It is important to understand that not every material can be used in all areas. Some are designed for specific purposes and areas only, while others can be used in many ways. Some can only be used in open spaces or new construction, while others are used in both. It is very common for people to use a mixture of two or more insulation types when insulating their homes. Below are the average costs for each type of insulation and information about how and when to use them.


Cost per Sq.Ft. to Install Batt, Blown-In, Foam Board, Spray Foam, or Rigid Board House Insulation

Cost per Sq.Ft. to Install Batt, Blown-In, Foam Board, Spray Foam, or Rigid Board House Insulation


Type of InsulationAverage Insulation Costs per Sq.Ft. (Installed)
Batt$0.65 - $2.00
Blown-In$1.65 - $3.80
Foam Board$2.40 - $3.75
Spray Foam$3.15 - $7.50
Rigid Board$5.75 - $15.00


Batt Insulation Cost

The cost of installing batt insulation is $0.65 to $2 a square foot. Batt insulation is the least expensive way to insulate a home. Batts are made of long rolls of material backed with paper or a metallic barrier. They can be installed between joists. This makes them a good choice for ceilings, attics, and walls. They cannot be added to existing walls without completely opening the walls. For this reason, they are most often installed in new construction, remodels, and open spaces.

Blown-In Insulation Cost

The cost of blown-in insulation averages $1.65 to $3.80 a square foot. Blown-in insulation can be made of fiberglass, cellulose, or rockwool. It is very easy to install and can be added to most areas. It can be blown into existing walls but is not added to vertical spaces during new construction because it tends to fly around. It can be added to open spaces like attic floors at any time. This is the most common way to add insulation to existing wall spaces, with costs starting at $1.75 a square foot.

Foam Board Insulation Cost

The average cost of foam board or rigid foam board insulation ranges from $2.40 to $3.75 a square foot installed. This material is designed for the exterior, beneath the siding. Some types can also insulate a basement floor or interior basement walls. If you are replacing your siding and want to get a tight building envelope, this is the material for the job. It seals tiny gaps in the home’s exterior where thermal transfer may occur. Use a vapor barrier 2 with this insulation because it causes condensation and mold and mildew growth.

Spray Foam Insulation Cost

The cost of spray foam insulation is $3.15 to $7.50 a square foot. Spray foam insulation comes in a few types. In general, this is liquid insulation sprayed into cavities and spaces like attic floors or the underside of roof decks. The foam expands on contact to fill the space. It can be used in existing walls but can be very costly compared to loose fill. However, it does a superior job of insulating when brought to the correct thicknesses.

Rigid Board Insulation Cost

The cost of rigid board insulation averages $5.75 to $15 a square foot. This material is like cork or wood fiberboard insulation. It is uncommon and cannot be used in many areas. It is usually added to ceilings, some areas of the attic, and some spaces in the basement that need an extra layer of insulation. These materials are not usually water-resistant and cannot be used outside. Use a rigid board to add an extra layer and sound control to an interior space.


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Housing Insulation Costs by Material

Many materials can insulate a home, but not every type can be used in all areas. Some are better for new construction, while others are better for adding insulation. Below are the most common insulating material types, the applications they are used for, and their average costs.


Cost per Sq.Ft. of House Insulation by Material: Fiberglass, Cellulose, Polystyrene, Blue Jean, Rockwool, Cork, Wood Fiber...

Cost per Sq.Ft. of House Insulation by Material: Fiberglass, Cellulose, Polystyrene, Blue Jean, Rockwool, Cork, Wood Fiber...


MaterialType of ApplicationAverage Costs per Sq.Ft. (Material Only)
FiberglassBatts and loose-fill$0.40 - $1.50
CelluloseLoose-fill$0.60 - $2.30
PolystyreneFoam board and spray foam$1 - $15
Blue JeanBatts$1.15 - $1.75
Rockwool (Mineral Wool)Batts and loose-fill$1.40 - $4
Sheep Wool (Real Wool)Batts$1.50 - $2.80
PolyisocyanurateFoam board$2 - $4.50
CorkRigid board$3 - $12
Wood FiberRigid board$4.25 - $6.75


Fiberglass Insulation Cost

The cost of fiberglass 3 insulation is $0.40 to $1.50 a square foot. This is one of the oldest and most popular insulation types. It comes in batts and loose-fill and can be used in most interior spaces. It is common to use the batts in wall cavities and between floors when installed in new construction. For existing homes, it is typically used in attics and basement ceilings. The loose fill cannot be used inside existing walls and is usually reserved for attics and crawl spaces.

Cellulose Insulation Price

The cost of cellulose insulation averages $0.60 to $2.30 a square foot. Cellulose is almost exclusively loose-fill. It comes in two forms - damp or wet spray and dense-pack. The damp material blows into existing wall cavities. It is dampened to stick and settle into the cavities. The dense-pack material is more commonly used in attics and crawl spaces.

Polystyrene Insulation Cost

Polystyrene insulation costs between $1 and $15 a square foot. This material can be made into rigid foam boards or spray foam insulation. It can be extruded or expanded foam, depending on how it is made. Most spray foam is expanded, while foam board may be either. The foam board covers the exterior to create a tight building envelope. The spray foam can fill wall cavities and the undersides of roof decks and attic floors.

Blue Jean Insulation Cost

The cost of blue jean insulation is $1.15 to $1.75 a square foot. Blue jean insulation is a type of cotton, most commonly made from recycled blue jeans. It comes in thick batts that are easy to use and install. It is more eco-friendly and comfortable to use than some other batts because it does not contain small glass particles. Blue jean insulation can make DIY installations easier. It can be used in attics, crawl spaces, and open cavities in walls and ceilings.

Rockwool Insulation Price

The cost of rockwool or mineral wool insulation averages $1.40 to $4 a square foot. Mineral wool is made of recycled furnace slag spun into fibers. It can be made into batts or loose fill. It insulates better than fiberglass, but it is more expensive. Most manufacturers use a high concentration of recycled material in their products. This can make it an eco-friendly option. Because it contains silica, it should only be installed by professionals who understand the risk and can take the necessary steps to contain the dust.

Sheep Wool Insulation Cost

The cost of sheep wool or real wool insulation is $1.50 to $2.80 a square foot. Sheep wool insulation is usually found in batts. This natural material does a superior job of insulating and is not impacted by moisture. It is easy to use for DIY installers and has no health risks or serious drawbacks. It is more expensive than most types of insulation. It is also not as readily available, so you may have a harder time finding a supplier for this material.

Polyisocyanurate Insulation Cost

The cost of polyisocyanurate insulation ranges from $2 to $4.50 a square foot. This material is a foam type used to make rigid foam boards. This older material does not get as much use as newer forms. While all insulation must be flame-retardant, this material may melt at high heat. It also does not insulate like other types of foam board insulation. For these reasons, it is not as common today as other types.

Cork Insulation Price

The cost of cork insulation is $3 to $12 a square foot. Cork is sometimes used to create rigid board insulation. It is often used in ceilings, interior walls, and other flat areas. It is a natural material and considered a more environmentally friendly option than some other types. However, it is generally thin and not designed to offer a high R-value. It is used more for supplementary types of insulation in certain areas that can support a rigid board.

Wood Fiber Insulation Cost

The cost of wood fiber insulation averages $4.25 to $6.75 a square foot. This is another material that can be made into rigid boards for insulation. The wood fibers are compressed to form large, heavy boards. They can insulate ceilings and interior walls. They need to be installed on flat surface areas only. They are also susceptible to moisture and should be used in interior spaces only. Like cork, it is usually used as a supplementary layer.

What Does R-Value Mean in Insulation?

R-value is defined as the capacity of an insulating material to resist heat flow through a certain material thickness. As Energy.gov states, the higher the R-value, the greater the insulating power and the greater the heat flow resistance.

Every insulating material has an R-value. Most are given their value at 1 inch of thickness. To gain the R-value needed to fully insulate a home, you often need much thicker amounts. Some types, such as foam board, come in set thicknesses. Others can be applied in varying thicknesses, such as spray foam or loose-fill. Batts often have several batt thicknesses, each with a total R-value. The following are the average R-value rates for different insulation types for 1 inch of material.


Average R-Value of Batt, Blown-In, Rigid Board, Foam Board, or Spray Foam Insulation

Average R-Value of Batt, Blown-In, Rigid Board, Foam Board, or Spray Foam Insulation


Type of InsulationAverage R-Value
Batt2.2 - 4.5
Blown-In2.5 - 4.3
Rigid Board (Cork, Wood Fiber)3.6 - 4.2
Foam Board3.6 - 6.5
Spray Foam3.8 - 7


Labor Cost to Install Insulation

Different insulation types require different installation methods. While fiberglass batts and fiberglass loose-fill have similar material costs, the installation costs can be different. Labor varies by region, where you install it, and how accessible the space is. Below are the average labor and total costs for most insulations.


Labor and Total Costs per Sq.Ft. to Install Batt, Blown-In, Rigid Board, Foam Board, or Spray Foam House Insulation

Labor and Total Costs per Sq.Ft. to Install Batt, Blown-In, Rigid Board, Foam Board, or Spray Foam House Insulation


Type of InsulationLabor CostsTotal Costs per Sq.Ft. (Installed)
Batt$0.25 - $0.80/sq.ft.$0.65 - $2.00
Blown-In$1.15 - $1.30/sq.ft.$1.65 - $3.80
Foam Board$1.40 - $2.50/sq.ft.$2.40 - $3.75
Spray Foam$50 - $100/hour$3.15 - $7.50
Rigid Board$1.50 - $2.50/sq.ft.$5.75 - $15


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Average Cost to Insulate a House by Location

For energy-efficiency purposes, a house must have proper insulation from the roof down to the foundation. Some homes are already partially insulated, while others lack insulation in several key areas, depending mostly on the age. Older homes tend to have less insulation than newer properties. Most areas can be insulated using different materials, but some materials are recommended more frequently than others, depending on whether this is new construction. Below are the average costs to insulate different areas based on their average sizes and the materials involved.


Cost to Insulate a House by Location: Pipe, Ceiling, Cathedral Ceiling, Crawl Space, Garage, Basement, Roof...

Cost to Insulate a House by Location: Pipe, Ceiling, Cathedral Ceiling, Crawl Space, Garage, Basement, Roof...


LocationAverage Costs (Installed)
Pipe$300 - $800
Ceiling$400 - $1,500
Home Attic$400 - $3,350
Exterior Wall$425 - $2,000
Cathedral Ceiling$500 - $2,000
Crawl Space$500 - $6,000
Garage$600 - $8,000
Basement$800 - $8,000
Room$800 - $8,000
Whole House$1,200 - $30,000
Roof$2,400 - $8,000
Pole Beam$6,000 - $20,000


Pipe Insulation Cost

The average cost of pipe insulation is $300 to $800, but many insulation companies have price minimums of between $1,500 and $2,000. For this reason, you may want to insulate your pipes as part of a larger project. Most pipes are insulated with foam. This is because pipes can have condensation on the exterior. This condensation can cause mold or mildew issues when paired with other insulation types. The pipes must be covered in a vapor barrier if you use other insulation.

Ceiling Insulation Cost

The cost to insulate a ceiling averages $400 to $1,500, assuming an average ceiling of 500 sq.ft. However, many insulation companies have minimums of $1,500 to $2,000, so if you have a small ceiling and are using less expensive insulation, you may want to insulate it as part of a larger project. Ceilings can be insulated using many materials. This includes batts, loose-fill, spray foam, and some rigid board insulations.

Home Attic Insulation Cost

The average cost to insulate an attic ranges from $400 to $3,350. This assumes an attic size of between 500 and 1,000 sq.ft. If you have a small attic, you may want to insulate it as part of a larger project because most insulation companies have minimums of $1,500 to $2,000. The attic is usually one of the greatest areas for heat loss in the home. The lower part of the home is warm because of the furnace. Since heat rises, the warm air goes to the attic and out the roof. The only way to prevent this is to insulate the attic. Attics can be insulated with spray foam, batt, or loose-fill insulation.

Outside Wall Insulation Cost

The cost to insulate an outside wall is $425 to $2,000, assuming an exterior wall of roughly 500 sq.ft. Many insulation companies have minimums of $1,500 to $2,000, so you may want to insulate it as part of a larger project if you have a small wall.

Depending on if the home is existing or new, the insulation types may differ. For an existing home, consider blown-in insulation. This provides significant air sealing and does not disturb the exterior. Many options like batts or spray foam insulation are available for a new home.

Insulating a Cathedral Ceiling Cost

The cost to insulate a cathedral ceiling averages $500 to $2,000 for a ceiling that is roughly 500 sq.ft. Many insulation companies have minimums of $1,500 to $2,000. When insulating a small ceiling, you may want to do so as part of a larger project. Insulating cathedral ceilings is important for ceiling areas to remain close to room temperature and allow for evenly distributed temperatures.

For ceilings, there must be space between the roof deck and ceiling for adequate installation. Batt insulation, typically foil-faced insulation, is often used for cathedral ceiling installations.

Crawl Space Insulation Cost

The average cost to insulate a crawl space is $500 to $6,000, assuming a crawl space of roughly 500 to 800 sq.ft. However, many insulation companies have minimums of $1,500 to $2,000. When insulating a small crawl space, you may want to include it as part of a larger insulation project. Crawl spaces are generally used around a finished third floor or attic space. They can be used for ducts, utilities, and storage. They are usually insulated with blown-in insulation but may be insulated with spray foam or batts.

Cost to Insulate a Garage

The average cost to insulate a garage ranges from $600 to $8,000. This assumes an average 2-car garage and may include insulating the ceiling, door, walls, or all available spaces. Most insulation companies have minimums of $1,500 to $2,000, so when insulating a portion of a garage or a small garage, you may want to include it as part of a larger insulation project. Garages are seldom insulated when first built. Many people insulate at least partly to reduce energy costs. Others insulate only when they finish the space or add living space above it.

Basement Insulation Cost

The cost to insulate a basement is $800 to $8,000 for a basement between 500 and 1,000 sq.ft. Most insulation companies charge minimums between $1,500 and $2,000. If you have a small basement, you may want to include it as part of a larger project. Properly insulating your basement can save money on heating and provide a comfortable temperature. Insulating a basement typically involves insulating the interior walls. Good choices of insulation for interior walls are batts, loose-fill, and foam board. These are all good choices as they provide moisture control because basements are a prime area for humidity and mold issues.

Cost to Insulate a Room

The average cost to insulate a room ranges from $800 to $8,000, assuming a room size of between 400 and 800 sq.ft. The spaces in the room to insulate may include the ceiling, one or more exterior walls, and possibly the space below. Most insulation companies have minimum charges of $1,500 to $2,000, so when insulating a small room or a part of a room, you may want to include this as part of a larger project. Rooms may be insulated with batts, loose-fill, or spray foam, depending on the area.

Whole House Insulation Cost

The cost to insulate a 2,000 sq.ft. house is $1,200 to $30,000, but costs can be lower for smaller homes or higher for larger homes. These costs reflect the least expensive and most expensive insulation types in their range. While most homes use a mix of materials with a cost range of $3,300 to $25,000, if you insulate every area with the minimum amount of fiberglass batts, your costs would be at the very low end. At the other end is insulating your entire home with the maximum amount of spray foam insulation. Many spaces can be insulated, including wall cavities, ceilings, basements, attics, and crawl spaces. Most homes use a combination of insulations, but you can use just one type. Costs can be much lower when insulating in new construction, and they may be higher for existing spaces, particularly if the spaces are hard to access.

Roof Insulation Cost

The average cost to insulate a roof is $2,400 to $8,000, assuming an average roof of 1,500 sq.ft. Roofs are typically insulated on the underside or roof deck inside the attic. Because of the location, materials are typically more limited. It is most common to insulate the roof deck with spray foam or foam board insulation. This is mostly due to how the roof slopes. Insulating this area can preserve and prolong your roof’s life because it no longer becomes superheated from the area below.

Pole Barn Insulation Cost

The cost to insulate a pole barn averages $6,000 to $20,000. Most pole barns are insulated with spray foam, but you can use foam board in some areas. Pole barns are typically not insulated when built. If you plan on making one a home, fully insulate it to make it comfortable and easier to heat and cool. Pole barns are usually insulated on the interior before finished walls are created. Due to how they are constructed, other insulating materials are generally not good for the space.

Insulation Removal and Replacement Cost

If you have existing insulation that is older or has begun to degrade, it may be time to replace it. Many insulation types last for decades, but some only last 20 to 30 years. So, homes built in the 1980s and 1990s may have been moderately insulated at the time but now need an update.

The average cost to remove insulation ranges from $1 to $3 a square foot, depending on the insulation type and where it is located. After this, the costs of the new insulation range from $0.60 to $7.50 a square foot, depending on the insulation type you choose and its location. This makes the cost of removing and replacing insulation between $1.60 and $10.50 a square foot.


Fiberglass Blown-In Insulation Being Installed in an Attic


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Insulation Materials Comparison

You can choose many insulation types for your home. Some can only be used in specific spaces, while others may be used anywhere. At times, you may find yourself comparing two or three materials to find the right fit. The comparisons below may help you see how the various materials stack up.

Insulation Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency is the number one consideration of insulation. It prevents thermal transfer, keeping your home more comfortable. Each insulation type has an R-value that can help you see how well it performs. Each value listed is for 1 inch of material, and you may use more material in various spaces.


Comparison of the Energy Efficiency of Insulation Materials: Fiberglass, Rockwool, Blue Jean, Cellulose, Sheep Wool, Wood Fiber, Cork...

Comparison of the Energy Efficiency of Insulation Materials: Fiberglass, Rockwool, Blue Jean, Cellulose, Sheep Wool, Wood Fiber, Cork...


InsulationEnergy Efficiency
Fiberglass2.9 - 4.3
Rockwool3 - 3.3
Blue Jean3 - 3.5
Cellulose3 - 3.7
Sheep Wool3.5 - 3.8
Wood Fiber3.6 - 3.8
Cork3.6 - 4.2
Polystyrene3.6 - 7
Polyisocyanurate4 - 6.5


Ease of Installation

Not all insulations are simple or easy to install. Some can be added DIY by homeowners, while others require skilled professionals. The following insulations are rated for their ease of installation, giving you a better understanding of which ones you may be able to DIY.


Insulation Material Comparison by Ease of Installation: Fiberglass, Sheep Wool, Blue Jean, Rockwool, Cellulose, Cork, Wood Fiber...

Insulation Material Comparison by Ease of Installation: Fiberglass, Sheep Wool, Blue Jean, Rockwool, Cellulose, Cork, Wood Fiber...


InsulationEase of Installation
FiberglassEasy to moderate
Sheep WoolEasy to moderate
Blue JeanEasy to moderate
RockwoolModerate
CelluloseModerate
CorkModerate to difficult
Wood FiberModerate to difficult
PolystyreneDifficult
PolyisocyanurateDifficult


Durability

All insulation degrades. Some are affected by moisture, others by rodent or pest activity, and many types can settle, shred, or become less effective with time. If your goal is to provide long-lasting insulation, you may have better results with some materials over others. The following breakdown gives you the average lifespan of each insulation type.


Comparison of the Lifespan of Insulation Materials: Cellulose, Blue Jean, Wood Fiber, Rockwool, Fiberglass, Cork, Sheep Wool...

Comparison of the Lifespan of Insulation Materials: Cellulose, Blue Jean, Wood Fiber, Rockwool, Fiberglass, Cork, Sheep Wool...


InsulationLifespan
Cellulose15 - 30 years
Blue Jean20 - 50 years
Wood Fiber20 - 100 years
Rockwool30 - 80 years
Fiberglass30 - 100 years
Cork50 - 70 years
Sheep Wool50 - 100 years
Polystyrene80 - 100 years
Polyisocyanurate80 - 100 years


Eco-Friendliness

All insulation can contribute to a more environmentally friendly home. This is because an adequately insulated home uses less energy than one that is not adequately insulated. However, some insulation can have other negative impacts on the environment, such as how and when they degrade, what they are made of, and which chemicals they may off-gas.


Comparison of the Environmental Impact of Insulation Materials: Sheep Wool Fiberglass, Blue Jean, Rockwool, Cellulose, Wood Fiber, Cork...

Comparison of the Environmental Impact of Insulation Materials: Sheep Wool Fiberglass, Blue Jean, Rockwool, Cellulose, Wood Fiber, Cork...


InsulationEnvironmental Impact
Sheep WoolVery low
FiberglassLow
Blue JeanLow
RockwoolLow to moderate
CelluloseLow to moderate
Wood FiberModerate
CorkModerate
PolyisocyanurateModerate to high
PolystyreneModerate to high


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Enhancement and Improvement Costs

Energy Audit Cost

If you are unsure of how much insulation your home has or where it benefits the most, an energy audit can help. Energy audits take a comprehensive look at the places where your home may be losing energy and provide a detailed report on how to correct them. This helps determine the correct places and amounts to insulate. The average cost of an energy audit is $145 to $420.

Tight Building Envelope

Adding insulation to the interior is a good first step in preventing thermal transfer. However, the most effective methods can be found in creating a tight building envelope or a continuous barrier around the exterior beneath your siding. This is done using insulating foam board and vapor barriers to create a tight exterior with no room for the air to travel. When having your siding replaced, consider adding insulation beneath it for better energy efficiency.

Home Air Sealing

Preventing thermal transfer is a good start at creating an energy-efficient home. The next step is to find and seal air gaps in your exterior. Air sealing prevents energy from escaping through small cracks or poorly fitted windows and doors. The average cost to air seal a home is $600 to $2,300.

Soundproofing

All insulation adds some soundproofing. To increase this, add acoustic-absorbing material to your internal walls and ceilings. The average cost of soundproofing is $1,000 to $2,500.

Mold Remediation

When removing old and moldy insulation or adding insulation to areas that may have been damp, treat for mold first. Mold remediation removes affected areas and prevents mold from returning, so you can safely insulate. The average cost of mold remediation is $1,500 to $3,500.

Weatherstripping

Weatherstripping is another good way to prevent air transfer in your home. It seals gaps around your windows and doors and helps prevent air leaks. The average cost of weatherstripping a home is $200 to $600.

Additional Considerations and Costs

  • Energy requirements. All new buildings, including new homes, must be built to stricter energy requirements. These include the amount of insulation and resulting R-values that must be achieved in each area. When building a new home, speak to your contractor about what requirements may be in your area.
  • Upgrades. Many energy upgrades can be done at the same time as adding insulation. These can achieve better energy efficiency, and some may be eligible for local or state rebates. Speak to your contractor for more information.
  • Climate. The climate in the area where you live impacts the amount of insulation you need. Very hot and cold climates need more insulation to achieve ideal energy efficiency than mild climates.
  • Alternative products. If you truly want to be as eco-friendly as possible when insulating your home, consider products with high levels of recycled materials or materials like sheep wool, which are 100% biodegradable.
  • Estimates. Always ensure you get at least three estimates when looking for a contractor. This helps get the best costs for the project.

FAQs

  • How much does it cost to remove old insulation?

The average cost to remove old insulation ranges from $1 to $3 per sq.ft. Costs are affected by the insulation type and how accessible it is to reach when removing.

  • How much does it cost to insulate a new house?

The cost to insulate a new home ranges from $2,000 to $20,000, depending on the material type and home size.

  • What is the cheapest way to insulate an old house?

The cheapest way to insulate an old home is a combination of materials. This includes blown-in cellulose into wall cavities and a mixture of blown-in and fiberglass batts in attics and crawl spaces.

  • Can you over insulate a house?

Not really. Most older homes have gaps, cracks, and thermal bridges or gaps in the insulation that can cause energy loss. Even newer homes may not be as insulated as they could be. The more insulation you add, the less thermal transfer you have, and the more comfortable your home stays with less energy.

  • Do I need to remove old insulation before installing new?

Not necessarily. It depends on the old insulation’s condition. It should be removed if it is shredding and falling apart, soaked with water, or moldy. If it has just settled or been disturbed and is not adequate for your needs, you can add more on top.

  • What is the best type of insulation for a home?

This depends on several factors, including the home’s age and where you are insulating. However, spray foam insulation has the best R-value per inch.

  • What is the most efficient way to insulate a house?

The easiest and most efficient way to insulate is with blown-in insulation. The second easiest and most efficient way is with batts.

Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
glossary term picture Sheetrock 1 Drywall: Type of plasterboard, commonly used to build walls and ceilings, composed of gypsum that is layered between sheets of heavy paper
2 Vapor barrier: A protective cover, commonly made of polyethylene, used for damp proofing walls and floors
glossary term picture Fiberglass 3 Fiberglass: 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

Cost to insulate a modern home varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

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The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources, including specialized publications and websites, cost studies, U.S. associations, reports from the U.S. government, contractors and subcontractors, material suppliers, material price services, and other vendor websites. For more information, read our Methodology and sources
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Cost to insulate a modern home varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources, including specialized publications and websites, cost studies, U.S. associations, reports from the U.S. government, contractors and subcontractors, material suppliers, material price services, and other vendor websites. For more information, read our Methodology and sources