How much does attic insulation cost in 2021?

Want a warmer home and lower energy bills and wondering about attic insulation cost? Get the inside track.

Insulation types: all the materials from sheeps wool to rigid boards
(Image credit: Thermafleece)

Getting clued up about attic insulation costs will help boost your home’s energy efficiency – while you stay on budget. With 25 per cent of heat escaping through the roof of an uninsulated home, adding insulation in the attic is a great way to keep your home warmer and save money on energy bills. 

And it’s not just uninsulated homes that can benefit. Even if you have added attic insulation already, it’s worth topping it up to reach the level that’s recommended today so that you can get both cozier rooms and a reduction in energy bills. It's a home improvement project that can pay for itself many times over in its lifetime so it's a wise move to get your budget right for both materials as well as installation – especially if you’re calling in a professional.

How much does attic insulation cost?

Attic insulation costs will vary according to which material you use for the project and whether you install it as a do-it-yourself job, or call in a professional. Be mindful that if you do choose to install it yourself not all the different material options will be open to you: some require installation by a professional contractor.

Other factors will influence the attic insulation cost. As you’d expect the amount that’s needed is important. If your attic already has some insulation, you may simply be adding extra layers to attain the R-value recommended for the climate where you live.

However, old insulation may need to be removed if it’s in poor condition or was badly fitted and this brings additional removal costs, as well as adding to the amount of material you’ll need for the project.

Another influence on the insulation cost for attics is how accessible they are. If this is tricky, attic insulation cost can be greater.

The average attic costs between $1,500 and $3,500 to insulate, depending on the material you use, according to the online home services company HomeAdvisor.

For the DIY-er, two types of insulation are common – loose fill and batts. They both cost an average of $2 to $5 per square foot, according to HomeAdvisor. Other types of insulation – spray foam and structural panels – require the help of a professional and can cost as much as $7 per square foot, plus the cost for labor.

What are the costs of different attic insulation materials?

Much like all types of home insulation, attic insulation costs will vary according to the material used for the job, so how much will you pay according to the material you select? 

The least expensive material is likely to be blown-in insulation, while the most expensive are structural insulation panels. The latter are better used for new homes, however, as they are sizeable.

Blown-in fiberglass attic insulation costs $1 or less per square foot – due to the blown-in method the cost could be higher than $1 to maximum $4,’ says Seth Williams, co-founder and real estate broker at Ledge & Young Real Estate.

Blown-in cellulose attic insulation is less than $1 per square foot.

Rock wool attic insulation is $2 to $3 per square foot.

Spray foam attic insulation is $3 to $5 per square foot. (Open cell insulation will cost you less but there is no protection from moisture; closed cell offers a better vapor barrier but has comparatively high cost).

Batt attic insulation costs $2 to $4 per square foot.

Structural insulated panels cost $4 to $7 per square foot.’

How much does it cost to have new attic insulation installed?

Installing attic insulation can be a DIY job, in which case you’ll only need to budget for the materials themselves. ‘However, make sure you are familiar with the foundation of your attic and the wiring that is involved, as you do not want to make irreversible mistakes,’ cautions Leonard Ang, CEO, iPropertyManagement.

If you call in a professional, total attic insulation cost will, naturally, increase. ‘You should expect your hired team for attic insulation to ask you to pay $60 to $70 per hour or you can make a contract basis per square foot area which will be $1.50 to $3.50 per square foot,’ says Seth Williams.

‘If your hired team is trustworthy and reliable maybe you can lower the amount you are going to pay on negotiation.’

Your attic insulation costs might include those to remove old insulation – expect to pay from $1 to $2 per square foot. Replacement of insulation, meanwhile, might cost from $2 to $8 per square foot.

How much does it cost to insulate a 1,500 sq ft attic?

With average costs ranging from around $1 per sq ft to $5 per sq ft (excluding structural insulation panels as these are best for new installations) expect to pay from $1,500 to $7,500 to insulate a 1,500 sq ft attic.

How much does it cost to insulate a 2,000 sq ft attic?

With average costs ranging from around $1 per sq ft to $5 per sq ft (excluding structural insulation panels as these are best for new installations) expect to pay from $2,000 to $10,000 to insulate a 2,000 sq ft attic.

How much does it cost to insulate a 1,000 sq ft attic?

With average costs ranging from around $1 per sq ft to $5 per sq ft (excluding structural insulation panels as these are best for new installations) expect to pay from $1,000 to $5,000 to insulate a 1,000 sq ft attic.

Factor in additional costs

You may need to add other work to the cost of attic insulation. ‘If you need to hire an electrician to come in and make sure your wiring is out of the way, you’ll pay roughly $80 an hour,’ says Jen Stark, founder of Happy DIY Home.

Is adding insulation to an attic worth it?

You can get a good return on your investment with attic insulation. ‘Insulating an attic is an inexpensive way to save on utilities for a house,’ says Omer Reiner, licensed realtor and president of FL Cash Home Buyers. ‘Proper insulation can save 11 per cent total in utilities and up to $200 a year.’

Don’t count it out for warm or hot climates, either. It can still be a worthwhile investment. ‘During summer in Florida, we emphasize how much homeowners can save on air conditioning,’ he adds.

Sarah Warwick
Sarah Warwick

Sarah is a freelance journalist and editor writing for websites, national newspapers, and magazines. She’s spent most of her journalistic career specialising in homes – long enough to see fridges become smart, decorating fashions embrace both minimalism and maximalism, and interiors that blur the indoor/outdoor link become a must-have. She loves testing the latest home appliances, revealing the trends in furnishings and fittings for every room, and investigating the benefits, costs and practicalities of home improvement. It's no big surprise that she likes to put what she writes about into practice, and is a serial house revamper. For Realhomes.com, Sarah reviews coffee machines and vacuum cleaners, taking them through their paces at home to give us an honest, real life review and comparison of every model.

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