Older homes offer significant benefits—vintage architecture, affordable cost, and a rich history behind them. The one thing you may not love about your older home? The existing insulation.
Your home’s insulation is a vital aspect to proper temperature control and energy efficiency. If you’ve noticed that your attic space is particularly drafty in the cooler months, but feels like a sauna in the summer, it may be time to remove and replace the old insulation.
While this can sound intimidating, it’s actually a very routine part of home ownership.
Before jumping into this project, you probably want a general idea of what the bill is going to run you. Continue reading for a full breakdown of attic insulation removal costs.
How Does Insulation Removal Work?
In order to determine a cost estimate, it’s important to understand what this process entails. Though every home is going to have a unique situation, most insulation removals will follow these four steps:
- Preparation – Preparation is key to a successful removal and long-lasting replacement. The cost of your insulation removal is going to partially depend on how much prep work must be done before the job can even begin. The preparation procedures will correlate to how damaged or infested your current insulation is—since many older homes can have contamination and rodent infestations in these areas.
- Removal – Depending on the type of insulation you’re dealing with, such as fiberglass batt insulation, foam insulation, or batt insulation, the removal process can vary. For contaminated blown-in insulation, a vacuum device is used to carry the material out of your home in a safe, contained manner. This may be cheaper than the removal of batt insulation, which is rolled up by hand and taken away. Your cost of removal will ultimately depend on
- How much old attic insulation is currently in place
- Levels of the contaminated insulation, mold and moisture
- The amount of labor needed to get the job done
- Replacement – Once your old insulation is removed, it will need to be replaced as soon as possible. Pricing of the replacement process will depend on several factors:
- How much insulation is used
- The R-value of the materials
- Any rodent-proofing procedures needed
- Decontamination measures
- Clearing of debris from the area
The Bottom Line – The process of insulation removal can be complicated. Each step will have its own specifics that may affect the overall price. Time, tools, and level of contamination are the biggest factors to consider when determining cost.
The Relationship Between Price and R-Value
Replacement is a big part of insulation removal, and typically you’ll want everything done at once to keep your home properly temperature controlled. This means that you’ll have to take the type of insulation and its R-value into consideration when estimating your final cost.
If you’re not an expert on attic insulation, you may be wondering what exactly is R-value. The answer isn’t too complicated.
R-value is a unit used to measure insulation performance.
In the United States, different areas fall into R-value categories. Depending on the climate, each region is numbered 1-7 (1 being the warmest, 7 being the coldest). Once you know which category your home falls in, you can find the proper R-value needed to insulate your attic by using the chart below:
- Zone 1 – R-value should be between R30 and R49.
- Zone 2 – R-value should be between R30 and R60.
- Zone 3 – R-value should be between R30 and R60 (California is in this zone).
- Zone 4 – R-value should be between R38 and R60.
- Zone 5 – R-value should be between R49 and R60.
- Zone 6 – R-value should be between R49 and R60.
- Zone 7 – R-value should be between R49 and R60.
Finding your specific R-value is where things get a little complicated. Every type of insulation is going to come with a different R-value per inch of insulation.
With that in mind, the general metric used to determine R-value is: ft.°F. h/BTU.
The Bottom Line – Not too complicated, right? All you really need to understand is this: the higher the R-value, the better the insulation (and subsequently, the higher the cost).
How Do Types of Insulation Differ in Cost?
When it comes to pricing, the type of insulation you go with is going to make a difference. For a general idea, here’s the rundown on different forms of insulation, and how their costs coincide with quality.
- Batt and roll – This type of insulation is typically going to work best for the standard home. Batt and roll insulation is usually made of fiberglass, which is a flexible, sturdy, and easy to install material. Fiberglass batts and rolls fit nicely in the beams of unfinished walls and floors, making them the perfect choice for attics. The cost for installing batt insulation is higher as it is more involved.
- Blow-in or loose-fill – Blow-in or loose-fill insulation is commonly recommended for older homes. This is because old attics tend to have more obstructions and structural inconsistencies, which can make laying down batts and rolls difficult. Blow-in insulation requires specific machinery to fill in gaps, but is typically more affordable than batting insulation.
- Cellulose – This type of insulation is typically cheaper, but there’s a reason why. Cellulose is made from shredded newspaper, making it particularly dusty and hard to work with. While regular cellulose insulation is cheap, a densely-packed installation is going to cost more. This method is often done because cellulose tends to settle after installation, causing it to lose its original thickness and leave your home more vulnerable to outside temperatures. Cellulose also cannot be turned into batts or rolls, making it a more complicated installation process.
The Bottom Line – Every insulation material has a unique pricing and R-value. Fiberglass batts and rolls are typically a good, cost-effective option, though older homes may require blow-in due to their structure. Cellulose can be a cheaper alternative, but it’s likely to deteriorate faster and leave a bigger mess.
What Is The Average Price For Attic Insulation Removal?
Keeping variables in mind, there are some general ranges you can expect the final bill to fall between. Pricing will typically be broken up into these four categories:
- Square footage
- R-value of new insulation
- Type of materials and tools used
- Labor (hours worked and employees needed)
Your costs will most likely increase when labor and additional materials are tacked on, as well. Labor will typically cost a few hundred dollars, though the size of your attic and the number of workers needed can affect this number.
The Bottom Line – It’s important to keep in mind that these numbers are averages. Each attic is different and has its own unique situation. Getting a consultation is the best way to determine what insulation removal is going to cost you, since every job will be slightly different.
Attic Insulation Removal: The Main Takeaway
While averages can help you get an idea of cost, every insulation removal service is going to be different. Variables such as square footage, materials, and contamination can affect your total once the job is complete.
Removing old insulation may be pricey, but the benefits will save you money in the long run. Energy costs when heating and cooling your home will drop significantly if you have proper insulation, particularly in vulnerable areas like your attic. Old insulation can also pose health risks, due to rodent infestation and other contaminants that you may not be aware of.
It’s always best to schedule an inspection prior to making changes to your insulation. A professional will be able to determine exactly what work needs to be done to ensure your home is safe, clean, and protected from the elements.
Attic Construction: Here For All Your Insulation Needs
Here at Attic Construction, consistency is key. Since 2013, we have provided the Orange County and San Diego areas with quality attic services that are thorough, affordable, and professional.
Attic upkeep can be tricky, but hiring the right people is the best way to get the job done without breaking the bank. That’s where we come in.
- Attic Construction. The Importance of Attic Insulation Removal. https://atticconstruction.com/blog/the-importance-of-attic-insulation-removal/
- Home Depot. All About Insulation R-values. https://www.homedepot.com/c/ab/insulation-r-values/9ba683603be9fa5395fab9091a9131f
- Thumbtack. How Much Does Attic Insulation Cost? https://www.thumbtack.com/p/attic-insulation-cost
- Home Guide. 2021 Attic Insulation Cost. https://homeguide.com/costs/attic-insulation-cost
- Fixr. How Much Does it Cost to Insulate a Modern Home? https://www.fixr.com/costs/home-insulation
- Energy.gov Types of Insulation. https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/weatherize/insulation/types-insulation
- Home Advisor. How much Does Blown-in Insulation Cost? https://www.homeadvisor.com/cost/insulation/install-blown-in-insulation/
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Great work! Our attic went from totally disgusting to pristine. They are courteous and professional and clean up after themselves.
-Karen L. Santee, CA
Andrew was very informative and helpful during the whole process. Excellent communication and his team did a great job. He came on Sunday and the work was done and completed by Tuesday. Highly recommend to anyone who is looking for a fair prices and great service.
– Joey E. San Diego, CA