How Much Does It Cost to Insulate an Attic?

by Team eLocal
Man installing thermal insulation layer under the roof - using mineral wool panels

If your heating and cooling costs are sky-high, energy loss through your attic could be one of the biggest culprits.

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Without proper insulation, hot and cold air can escape and enter your home through the attic space, making your HVAC system less efficient, and leaving you uncomfortably hot or cold.

Average Attic Insulation Costs

Installing attic insulation costs $2,380 (CAD 3,210) on average, according to data from LawnStarter. However, the type of insulation you choose and various other factors could bring the costs as low as $800 (CAD 1,080) or as high as $7,460 (CAD 10,050).

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How Much Do Different Types of Attic Insulation Cost?

Alongside attic size, the type of attic insulation you choose has the greatest bearing on how much you should expect to spend. At the top end, installing structural insulation panels could cost as much as $7 (CAD 9) per square foot, not including insulation labor. However, the following insulation types are much less costly.

Blown-In Cellulose Attic Insulation

According to Bob Vila, installing blown-in cellulose insulation costs between 60 cents and $2.30 (CAD 0.80 and CAD 3.10) per square foot. The insulation itself is a fluffy material that reduces thermal transfer, and it's often used in its dry form to insulate attics in new-build homes.

While dry blown-in cellulose insulation is generally unsuitable for pre-existing structures, you can install wet cellulose insulation in an older home. Contractors install wet cellulose insulation by drilling openings into cavity walls and blowing the material inside with a specialized blower machine. Expect to pay toward the upper end of the price range for wet installation.

Blown-In Fiberglass Attic Insulation

Like cellulose insulation, contractors install blown-in fiberglass insulation by blowing it inside cavity walls and roof spaces. Blown-in fiberglass insulation is significantly cheaper than cellulose, costing between 50 cents and $1.10 (CAD 0.70 and CAD 1.50) per square foot.

Spray Foam Attic Insulation

Spray foam insulation is ideal for insulating attics because it can fill tiny gaps. It typically consists of liquid polyurethane applied professionally with a spraying machine. The sprayed-on liquid reacts with the air, causing it to expand rapidly.

Bob Vila says contractors calculate the cost of installing spray foam insulation per board foot. A board foot is a square foot (1 foot by 1 foot) that is 1 inch deep. So you could pay more per square foot depending on the application depth. The cheapest option is open-cell spray foam, costing between 44 and 65 cents (CAD 0.59 and CAD 0.88) per board foot. Closed-cell insulation is denser, providing increased moisture resistance. However, it's also more expensive, at around $1 to $1.50 (CAD 1.35 to CAD 2) per board foot.

Fiberglass Batt Attic Insulation

Fiberglass batt insulation comes in pre-cut pieces designed to fit between the attic floor and ceiling joists. According to HomeGuide, professionals typically charge between 80 cents and $2.60 (CAD 1.10 and CAD 3.50) per square foot to install fiberglass batt insulation, including the cost of materials.

Unlike spray foam and blown-in attic insulation, fiberglass batts are relatively straightforward to install yourself, costing as little as 10 cents (CAD 0.13) per square foot.

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How Much Does Labor Cost to Install Attic Insulation?

Contractors usually charge between 56 cents and $2.75 (CAD 0.75 and CAD 3.71) per square foot in labor fees for installing most types of attic insulation. However, spray foam is costlier because it can only be applied by a certified professional. Most spray foam installers charge by the hour, and you should expect to pay between $50 and $100 (CAD 70 and CAD 135) per hour on average.

What Factors Affect How Much Attic Insulation Costs?

Aside from the price differences between insulation types, various other factors can affect how much it costs to insulate an attic. Firstly, you could pay significantly more or less than the national average, depending on the cost of labor and living in your area.

As you might expect, insulating a large attic is much more expensive than insulating a small space. For instance, a small attic measuring 500 square feet would cost around $500 to $3,000 (CAD 675 to CAD 4,050) to insulate. At the other end of the spectrum, insulating a 1,500-square-foot attic could cost up to $9,000 (CAD 12,125).

Another factor to consider is the age of your home. Installing attic insulation in a new build is typically cheaper because the installer can apply the insulation material during the build. Meanwhile, you may encounter additional costs if you want to install insulation in a pre-existing home. Removing and disposing of old insulation adds an extra $1 to $2 (CAD 1.35 to CAD 2.70) per square foot, while having your attic professionally cleaned before installation costs between $100 and $300 (CAD 135 and CAD 405).

All CAD conversions are based on the exchange rate on the date of publication.

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