How Much Does Blown-In Insulation Cost?

Nick Durante
by Nick Durante

Insulation is a critical part of every home, and it cannot be taken for granted. There are several options for what type of insulation you can get but blown-in is one of the most popular choices. Blown-in insulation leaves no room for air to escape and works fantastically, but what does it cost?

You can expect to pay $900-$3,000 in materials and labor for blown-in insulation. If you choose to install blown-in insulation yourself, it will cost roughly $1,300 for the material and blower rental. There is an additional cost for removing old insulation if need be, and that costs between $1 and $2 per square foot.

As you can see, there are many variables to how much blown-in insulation costs. If you know what to look for you, you can save big and get the most for your money. Follow along as we explore how much blown-in insulation costs.

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What Is Blown-In Insulation?

Blown-in insulation is a form of insulation that is literally blown into the space. Professionals or builder-owners use a blower machine to apply the insulation, and it leaves no gaps. One of the reasons it is so popular is that there is little room for error, and it is heat and flame resistant.

Compared to fiberglass batt insulation, blown-in insulation is over 20% more efficient. Loose-fill insulation is notable because it is resistant to moisture and rotting. Both of those issues are common problems and threats to insulation.

If you purchase high-quality blown-in insulation, it can last between 20 and 30 years. That is why it is important to hire a professional to ensure that it is installed the best it can be.

How Much Does Blown-In Insulation Cost?

Blown-in insulation costs between $900 and $3,000 often, but costs vary on many factors. Some builder-owners choose to install blown-in insulation on their own, and that saves thousands. However, it is common to hire out for blown-in insulation, and that can be pricey.

Sometimes, you are charged for blown-in insulation per square foot. Other times, you can be charged for blown-in insulation by the bag based on volume and R-value.

What Is R-Value?

The R-value of insulation refers to thermal resistance, and it is important. Insulation is no good if it is not heat and fire-resistant. Manufacturers apply an R-value to insulation, whether it be blown in or sprayed, based on density.

The higher the density, the higher the R-value. Different zones in the United States have different recommended R-values, and you can find them through the U.S Department Of Energy.

Blown-In Insulation Cost Per Square Foot

The cost of materials itself is low and blown-in insulation can cost $1.00-$2.50 per square foot. You can choose between three main varieties of blown-in insulation, such as:

  • Fiberglass
  • Wool
  • Cellulose

Cellulose is the most fire-resistant, and that is why it is so popular. Wool and fiberglass are also great insulation materials, and they are all close in price.

InsulationCost Per Square FeetCost Per 1,000 Square Feet

Wet Spray vs. Dense Pack Cellulose

There are two types of cellulose blown-in insulation to choose from: wet spray, and dense pack. Dense pack cellulose insulation is a great option, and it is best for exterior walls. You can also distinguish dense-pack cellulose from wet spray cellulose as it is up to $1.50 more per square foot.

Wet spray cellulose, on the other hand, is still great but less effective than dense-pack insulation. It is a combination of repurposed newspaper with a slew of chemicals mixed into it. It is combined with water and a binder that prevents settling and keeps it flame resistant.

Blown-In Insulation Cost Per Bag

It is common to buy blown-in insulation by the bag, and especially if you do it yourself. Some contractors simply charge by the square foot, but others have you buy the required number of bags beforehand. The following chart uses a 1,000 square foot space as an example.

Insulation BagsCost Of Material
21 R-21 Bags$650-$700
19 R-24 Bags$950-$1,000
15 R-15 Bags$450-$500
13 R-13 Bags$400-$500

Blown-In Insulation Labor Cost

Labor costs vary based on the space, amount of insulation, and the rate of your contractor. There are several possibilities when it comes to working time.

For example, 15 bags of R-15 insulation and 13 bags of R-13 insulation take less than 4 hours to install. Since it can cost $35-$70 to install blown insulation, that comes out to between $140 and $280 in labor.

All of the other options, however, can take up to 6 hours, and that adds up. It could cost as much as $210-$400 at least in labor for R-24 and R-21 bags. If you have a 1,000 square foot space, it will cost roughly $1,160 to $1,370 at least with labor and materials for blown-in insulation.

Cost To Install Blown-In Insulation

If you choose to hire someone to install your blown-in insulation, there are many costs. Some costs are not up to you and are dictated by local recommended R-values where you live. Either way, there are several costs that you can count on no matter where you live.

Blown-In Insulation Cost FactorsPrice
Insulation Per Square Foot$0.50-$2.50 (materials)
Insulation Per Bag$400-$1,000
Labor (4-6 hours)$210-$400
Supplies and Equipment$30-$60

Not all professionals even charge you for equipment, but some charge for the cost of the blower. Insulation is not quite as labor intensive as other home jobs but doing it yourself can still save you a fortune.

Removing Blown-In Insulation Cost

Before you can install blown-in insulation, you may need to have old insulation removed. You can choose to remove it yourself to save money from the contractor, or they can do it for you.

Contractors rarely charge more than $2 per square foot for removing insulation. However, if you have 1,000 square feet of insulation, that’s $2,000 you spent before the new insulation even went in. Even if you hire out for blown-in insulation, you could remove the old insulation yourself and save $500-$2,000 in labor and removal costs.

If you choose to remove the old insulation, be sure to wear eye, nose, and mouth protection. Breathing in loose insulation is almost as bad as breathing in asbestos.

DIY Blown-In Insulation Cost

If you choose to install blown-in insulation yourself, you can save thousands of dollars. You only have to pay for materials and the rental costs for the blower machine. You can rent an insulation blower for the day for $250 or less, and it is well worth it.

Safety is important, and proper eye protection and ventilators are required with blown-in insulation. If your space is 1,000 square feet, you could spend $1,300 for materials and the blower rental and complete the insulation in a day.

Choosing to do it yourself can save you as much as $2,200 on labor and installation.

Blown-In Insulation Machine Rental Cost

You need a machine if you want to get the most out of your loose-fill insulation. Luckily, you don’t need to buy a machine for yourself, and they can be rented.

BusinessModelRental Cost
MenardsKrendl Insulation Blower$25 (4 hours)
Home DepotAttiCat Insulation Blower$70 (4 hours) $100 (24 hours)
SutherlandsCellulose Insulation Blower$20 (4 hours)

As you can see, there is a wide span in cost for renting an insulation blower. Many local home improvement stores also rent blowers, and one near you may as well. The thing to keep in mind is that some businesses, like Home Depot, often require that you buy insulation as well.

However, that is not always the case, and it may be a good thing for you. Especially if you already planned on getting insulation there. If you have little to no experience with a blower, then 4 hours is not enough time, and a 24-hour rental is your best bet.

Related Questions

Is blown-in insulation safe to breathe?

If your blown-in insulation is fiberglass, then no, it is not safe to breathe. Fiberglass can easily be jostled and release small particles into the air. The problem with that is that it is all too easy to breathe those particles in, and it can cause serious respiratory problems if it is not covered.

Can blown insulation catch fire?

Blown-in insulation is flammable, but the least flammable option is cellulose. However, insulation of any kind is only fire-resistant is it is professionally installed. Fiberglass insulation is also notable because it is naturally resistant to fire.

Is blown-in insulation better than rolls?

No, and in fact, rolls are just barely better at keeping heat from going into your house than blown insulation is. The reason that rolls are so great is the same reason that blown-in insulation is so great. Rolls of insulation prevent air from escaping because it can fill spots that batts couldn’t, just like blown-in insulation.

How long does blown insulation last?

If your blown-in insulation is installed properly, it can last up to 30 years. Many builder-owners inspect the insulation in their home going into and coming out of the cold seasons. Of course, insulation is just as important when it is hot as it is cold but inspect it yearly to catch problems before it is too late.

Can you install blown-in insulation by hand?

Yes, in fact, you can install dense-pack loose-fill, blown-in insulation without a blower. It may not be as effective, but it can at the very least save you money on blower rental. However, extra safety precautions, such as hand and skin protection, is required if you install blown-in insulation by hand.

Do You Need Blown-In Insulatio Installation or Replacement?

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Summing It Up

It costs between $900 and $3,000 to install blown-in insulation. The cost can be vastly different based on the insulation of your choice, the rate of the professional, and how much space you have. Not only that, but you can save hundreds, and even thousands of dollars by installing it yourself.

If you install the blown-in insulation yourself, you can spend $1,300 or less for a 1,000 square foot space. Otherwise, professional installation is a great idea, and you should choose that if you have never worked with insulation before.

You can rent an insulation blower for $20-$70 in 4-hour increments, or simply hire a crew. When you pay for blown-in insulation, up to $400 of the cost comes from labor at least. Call around to several contractors to get the best deal on materials and labor.

Nick Durante
Nick Durante

Nick Durante is a professional writer with a primary focus on home improvement. When he is not writing about home improvement or taking on projects around the house, he likes to read and create art. He is always looking towards the newest trends in home improvement.

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