People engaged in the building industry know the importance of proper insulation to conserve heat or cold and reduce energy costs. Through the years more and more studies have been done and rules written on this subject.
Currently the Federal Government has enacted an R-value Rule. This rule requires insulation manufacturers, new home sellers, retailers and professional installers to provide R-value information to inform consumers regarding the insulation’s ability to reduce energy costs by restricting the heat flow. This has brought about the development of insulation that is able to assure, a home or business, protection regarding the outside weather.
Currently there are a number of different types of insulation materials to be considered. However, the ones to be discussed in this article include:
- Fiberglass and Mineral Wool (Rock Wool, Slag Wool) Batts
- Fiberglass and Mineral Wool Loose Fill
- Cellulose (recycled paper products)
The following estimates are for basic work by installation professionals using mid-grade materials. Higher costs can easily be incurred when project supervision, premium materials, master craftsmen and so forth are added in. The best results are achieved when air sealing (materials such as interior gypsum board installed to block air from moving) is done prior to insulation.
Batt installation prices include the cost of the batting, basic labor, materials and supplies. This adds up to $474.84 to $834.38 or $0.95-$1.67 per foot. This does not include air barriers.
Fiberglass and mineral wool batt rolls have been found to work very well although loose-fill is more effective in some locations. Loose-fill Fiberglass is molten glass that is spun or blown into fibers and must be applied using an insulation-blowing machine.
Fiberglass loose fill insulation costs approximately 31 cents per cubic foot. Wool loose fill insulation costs approximately $1.00 to $1.50 per square foot.
SPRAY FOAM INSULATION
Spray foam is popular because it forms its own air shield, protects against moisture, reduces utility bills and works very well as a noise reducer. Foam insulation contains certain gasses and should only be installed by a professional as special equipment and knowledge is required to do it properly.
Open-cell spray foam insulation has an R-Value of 3.5-3.6 per inch. It uses less material than closed-cell foam and usually runs from $0.44 to $0.65 per board foot.
Closed-cell foam is denser than open-cell foam and does not need a vapor barrier. This makes it more expensive than open-cell at an estimated cost of $1.00 to $2.00 per board feet. It is stated that spray foam will provide 50 percent more insulation than a traditional insulation batting.
Blown-in cellulose is considered better than fiberglass for insulation. Loose-fill is approximately $1 to $1.20 per square foot. Cellulose batting costs $1.63 to $2.52 per square foot.
The above figures are simply an estimate as insulation costs vary according to a number of things. This includes the type of insulation, R factor, the difficulty of application (a home being built is easier to insulate than one already occupied), the part of the country where the work is to be done, testing for hazardous materials, modifying existing framing general contractor overhead, the company engaged to apply the material and the workmen involved.
The U.S. Department of Energy reports that poorly insulated building lose around 40 percent of energy. When considering the cost to install insulation in your home or business it will pay to check with an Energy Star® map which recommends R-value insulation levels for various areas of the United States.