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How Much Does Blown-in Insulation Cost To Install?

National Average Change Location | View National
$1,357
Typical Range
$873 - $1,889
Low End
$450
High End
$3,012

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Blown-in insulation is one of the most common ways to insulate the attic, crawl space or walls of a home. The average cost is about $1,357, with most homeowners spending between $873 and $1,889, but this is dependent on whether the work is done by the homeowner or by a professional. Most home improvement stores can supply rental blower units, but many homeowners find the option of a hired installer easier due to the large size of the job. Blown-in insulation increases the comfort of your home by neutralizing humidity and drafts and usually brings the largest return on investment.

On This Page:

  1. Blown-In Fiberglass Insulation Costs
  2. Blown-In Cellulose Cost
  3. Attic Insulation Costs
  4. Blown-In Wall/Floor Insulation Costs
  5. Reasons to Use Blown-In Insulation
  6. Blown-In Insulation Types & Advantages
  7. R-Values & Insulating Capacities

Blown-In Fiberglass Insulation Costs

Homeowners seeking to insulate their home with blown-in insulation will be pleasantly surprised by the efficiency and savings that come with completing this task. It increases the R-value of your home which substantially increases your energy efficiency, saving on the annual cost of heating and cooling. Blown-in fiberglass insulation isn't terribly expensive, especially with regard to how much efficiency it adds to your home. Add to that the benefit of large savings for those doing it themselves versus the cost of paying a professional and it's actually rather cost-effective. For an average weight bag of 28.5 lbs., at an average cost of $33 a bag, a breakdown of amounts, costs, and labor combined are as follows:

R-ValueBags Per 1,000 Sq. Ft.Material CostInstalled Thickness (Inches)Labor Hours
R-3015$49510.254
R-3820$660135
R-4423$75914.756
R-4926$85816.57
R-6032$1,056208

It is important to note that the labor hours may change depending on what sort of machinery and equipment are used to do the job and the R-value you seek. Those who rent a machine to blow in the insulation, for example, will have considerably less trouble than those who do not. Furthermore, those who seek a higher R-value will need to add more material to achieve a greater depth. This is especially true for those who live in much colder regions and want an R-value above 30 to garner maximum protection. While this type of blow-in insulation isn't difficult to install, a small learning curve should also be applied for labor hours. Those homeowners with prior installation experience will no doubt have less trouble installing this product than those with no previous experience, who might need some extra time to get a feel for how the process works.

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Blown-In Cellulose Cost

Blown-in cellulose is the most common alternative to fiberglass and is sometimes used in conjunction with fiberglass. Cellulose is popular because it is a more natural material that is usually made from recycled newspaper, cardboard or sometimes a combined mixture of each. Most cellulose is treated by a fire retardant called borate to increase its resistance to flame and to prevent house fires. Borate also makes it resistant to mold, mildew, and pests. For those looking for an eco-friendly insulation, cellulose is a more natural choice over man-made materials like fiberglass. Because of its green status, its recycled content and its benign impact on the environment as a whole, this type of blown-in insulation is more costly than its fiberglass counterpart. A 19 lb. package of blow-in cellulose, which covers approximately 40 square feet of space at the minimally recommended R-value, is around $28 - $30. Compare this to the table above where one package of blown-in fiberglass will cost you roughly the same, but cover nearly 150 square feet of space. That's nearly one fourth as much coverage for a comparable cost.

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Attic Insulation Costs

For minimum efficiency, an R-value of 30 is the recommended value for insulating your attic. An R-value of 30 will help your home achieve optimum thermal efficiency and reduce expenses related to heating and cooling your home. Insulating an attic with blow-in insulation is a fairly straightforward job. Because most attics are large, open spaces, the process doesn't require any unfamiliar techniques or methods that may require a professional. All you really need is your purchased insulation material, a machine to do the work, and perhaps a friend to help you. Therefore, when calculating costs and labor for 1000 square feet of attic space, the average homeowner should expect to pay:

  1. $500 - $1,000 for materials
  2. About $100 for equipment rental (which is sometimes offered for free with the purchase of a set amount of insulation)
  3. For a total of $600 - $1,200

To hire a professional, who will come with a team of installers that can complete the job in a few hours, expect to pay between $40 - $70 an hour for labor. To save on costs, it's best to read online reviews and request quotes from several contractors to find competitive prices and deals before committing outright.

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Walls/Floors Insulation Costs

Using blown-in insulation in walls and floors is more complex than insulating an attic. The installation requires a larger understanding of components inside your home's walls, where electrical wiring and outlets are located. This also requires the person doing the work to be handy, able to set aside a large chunk of time, and comfortable with drilling insertion holes in walls. Most experts advise homeowners to contact a professional to complete this job, especially if they are uncomfortable with the process or have no prior experience. Lining walls and floors with blown-in insulation is also different than insulating an attic in terms of maximum achievable R-value. The reason is that the space inside of a wall or floor is considerably smaller than the open space of an attic, so without any negative space, the wall is filled almost completely. This contributes to a lower R-value for walls and floors but doesn't lessen the importance of insulation.

R-ValueBags Per 1,000 Sq. Ft.Material CostInstalled Thickness (Inches)Labor Hours
R-1313$4293.520
R-1515$4953.523
R-2121$6935.527
R-2419$9575.530

If you are intent on doing it yourself, here's a breakdown of the expected cost for a 1,000-square-foot home. Cost varies, and is determined by what type of material you choose (fiberglass or cellulose):

  1. $450 - $1,000 for materials
  2. About $100 for machine rental, unless you can find an offer that includes unit rental with a set purchase price of insulation
  3. Totaling $550 - $1,075

Because the time it takes to insulate walls and floors is far greater than the time it takes to insulate an attic (several days versus several hours), hiring a professional is often advised. There is also a chance that a novice installer will make a mistake during installation, which may end up costing them more to repair. This fact alone might sway many into researching reputable installers instead of going it alone. For a cost analysis of hiring professionals, you can expect to pay roughly the same amount for materials as you would to do it yourself. However, because of how much work is involved with the process of installing insulation into floors and walls, the job can be costly. For labor costs expect to pay between $40 - $70 an hour. Because insulating walls and floors with blown-in insulation is more time-consuming and labor-intensive, the complete job will total between $1,200 and $1,800.

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Why Use Blown-In Insulation?

When deciding whether to invest in blown-in insulation versus another type, it's important to realize how efficient blown-in insulation is. Blown-in provides a seamless blanket over the boards of your attic. There's no way for air to get through it, as compared to batt insulation. It's also faster to install than batt or rolled insulation and costs less to install overall. One of the best advantages to installing this material is that it's considered renewable. You can either install cellulose -- made of recycled newspapers -- or fiberglass, which is considered rapidly renewable. Other advantages to this material include:

  • Added longevity for the roof and shingles. A well-ventilated roof that includes an adequate layer of blown insulation can create a conditioned space in the attic. This conditioned space reduces the strain of heat on the sheathing that causes shingles to fail earlier.
  • Decrease in energy bills. Blown-in insulation can fill the crevices and cavities of attic space in ways that batting cannot. This creates a tight fit for little air gaps in the roof and eaves of the home, which saves a great deal of money by reducing the energy an air conditioner or furnace has to expend to heat or cool the home.
  • Vapor retarder and moisture barrier. Blown-in insulation that is installed correctly can reduce moisture infiltration. Maintaining the R-value keeps the house as warm as possible in the winter and cool in the summer. Adding an attic fan also helps to mitigate moisture that may infiltrate a vapor retarder near the insulation.
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Blown-In Insulation Types & Advantages

Fiberglass

Fiberglass insulation is the most common residential insulation available on the market. Fiberglass is the least expensive blown-in insulation and offers the largest variety available. Blown-in fiberglass often comes in blocks that are blown through a machine into the floor joists of an attic or the interior walls. Fiberglass is usually used as a topper for existing cellulose insulation due to its additional fire-retardance. A tight fit in the stud wall cavity is necessary for the insulation to perform best. Blown-in fiberglass will need to be formed by code away from hot lights or other electrical equipment that produces heat.

Advantages of Fiberglass:

  • Less expensive
  • Increased design flexibility
  • Inert, therefore does not settle
  • Is not affected by moisture
  • Naturally noncombustible
  • Reduces sound pollution considerably

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Cellulose

Cellulose has a higher R-value than fiberglass per square inch. Cellulose is made of plant fibers and has some natural qualities that make it less hazardous for a homeowner to install. One small drawback of cellulose is the lack of an innate vapor retarder. Unlike natural rock wool and fiberglass, cellulose can become damaged if left wet for too long. It will require adequate additional insulation between joist spans, in addition to a vapor-retardant material on the insulated side facing the conditioned space. Cellulose is also available in natural fiber selections that allow for soundproofing and a reduced environmental impact.

Advantages of Cellulose:

  • Made from natural, recycled materials
  • Arguably the most energy-efficient of all blow-in insulation
  • Does not lose much R-value due to extreme cold
  • Resistant to airflow
  • Fire retardant thanks to additional borate
  • Non-corrosive to steel, copper and aluminum

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Rock Wool Fiber

Rock wool fiber is an environmentally friendly product that uses post-consumer recycled material and metals. It also has a naturally strong fire-retardant capacity, making it the most expensive blow-in insulation on the market. Despite the cost, the inorganic material adds exceptional soundproofing to the home in addition to its insulating capability. This type of insulation also contributes to repelling insects and rodents naturally. When building code requires additional fire protection, mineral wool blow-in fiber is installed in stud cavities. One of the unique qualities of mineral wool is its ability to be "blown" in without the use of a mechanical blower machine. The material can be crumpled by hand because it is a natural product. A drawback to this method is the fact that it can take considerably longer to install versus cellulose or fiberglass.

Advantages of Rock Wool Fiber:

  • Incredible acoustical control
  • Naturally repels pests
  • Noncombustible
  • Highly heat insulative
  • Moisture repellent
  • Sustainable and recyclable

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R-value and insulating capacity

The R-value of blown insulation is dependent on the density and insulating factors in the material. The higher the R-value, the more insulating capacity a material has. Most of the heat in a home or building escapes through the attic or roof sheathing. As a result, the densest form of blown-in insulation should be located in this portion of the house. Additional blow-in insulation in the walls gives further insulative qualities and can act as a fire retardant in older buildings. An R-value of at least 45 provides adequate insulation for building code adjustments.

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ERIC ROLAND More than 1 year ago
The information I received was extremely important and helpful I prefer the rock wool insulation because of it's ability to repel pest ,but definitely like a quote 
Thomas Decker 9 months ago
These prices are not accurate.  Foam contractors really only start at $2000 per project.  For smaller projects you can get people to do it for less but it is not the same thing.
Jerry Gwyn 9 months ago
Would like to know the cost to remove the old insulation
Angela Newell 10 months ago
Thank you 
Maria Ayub More than 1 year ago
I live in South Florida, my house is around 2,400. sq. ft. and had existing insulation of 3" all around except in the garage where there was none.The house faces SW so it is very hot in summer and the garage is exposed to direct sunlight.  It was a very physically challenging job because the roof is not pitched high and you have to be in your knees and then crawl as you got to the eaves of the roof. There was no way I would have gotten even half way done. I hired a contractor  and it was the best option. He was able to do the job in around six hours. I ended up using 18 bags total. There is the obstruction of a firewall that made it very inconvenient. I can feel the difference today already, the house is cooler by 6-7 degrees. Thank you Eric from BriteBlue in Dania Beach, Florida!!
Rod McIntyre More than 1 year ago
I am now more informed  about insulation, I need fiberglass and need a quote and availability of when my attic can be insulated.
danny avitt More than 1 year ago
have an attic that's not insulated, i would like to get it done in the  fall, when its cooler. blown in or rolled.
James Chandler 10 months ago
Blown. much easier.
Magdaline Williams More than 1 year ago
Thanks so much for all of the information on this subject! It has given me what I need when it comes to hiring for my home instulation jod.
Hal Garner More than 1 year ago
I Like the recycling feature of the cellulose material
Joe Lemons More than 1 year ago
I do not know much about blow in insulation, this would be in a post frame building that is on our farm and is dry walled and can be insulated at anytime, would like to get done before it gets hot, thank you. 

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