Ceiling Insulation Installation Costs and Values

ceiling-insulationThis guide to ceiling insulation covers the purpose and types plus the ceiling insulation costs, so you’ll have a clear idea what’s required for your home project. There’s an overlap in this guide with attic insulation since both are overhead types of insulation.

Jump to: Insulation Levels | Types | Costs

Reasons to Insulate the Ceiling

There is no more important location to insulate than the ceiling or attic. Department of Energy studies show that more than 50% of heat loss in most homes is through the roof, since heat rises.

In warm, sunny weather, the heat penetrating through the roof and attic walls will also push into living space. Without adequate ceiling insulation, your home will be less comfortable than it could be. You’ll be wasting energy and spending far more in utility costs than necessary.

Recommended Insulation Levels for Ceilings

The saying in the industry is that you can’t have too much insulation in the ceiling or attic. The DOE does provide recommendations for homeowners in different parts of the country. Here are the recommendations for ceilings and attics when there is unheated space above the insulation.

Zone 1: Hawaii, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands

  • Recommendation: Install R-30 to R-49 in an uninsulated attic; Add R-25 to R-30 in attics where three to four inches already exist.

Zones 2 & 3: Florida and the Gulf Coast States, Texas, Georgia, the Carolinas, Arkansas, Southern Arizona, Southern California

  • Recommendation:Install R-30 to R-60 in an uninsulated attic; Add R-25 to R-38 in attics where three to four inches already exist.

Zone 4: Mid-Atlantic States, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, Kansas, southern areas of Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nevada, coastal areas of northern California, Oregon and Washington

  • Recommendation: Install R-38 to R-60 in an uninsulated attic; Add R-38 in attics where three to four inches already exist.

Zone 5 to 8: Everything north of Zone 4

  • Recommendation: Install R-49 to R-60 in an uninsulated attic; Add R-38 to R-49 in attics where three to four inches already exist.

When there is heated space above the ceiling, insulation is not typically added. For example, few homeowners install insulation in the first-floor ceiling of a two-story home. However, there are times you want insulation in the ceiling. For example, if you have a separate heat source for the basement and want to keep heat rising out of a basement, ceiling insulation will help. Or, in a two-story duplex with separate tenants on each floor with separate heating systems, it makes sense to insulate the ceiling.

Types of Insulation Used in Ceilings

There are three main types of insulation used in attics and ceilings. They are roll insulation, loose fill cellulose insulation and spray foam insulation. For comprehensive information, see our guides on each of these types. You’ll note that there are sub-groups of each one. For example, roll insulation may be fiberglass or rock wool, a wool-like material formed from molten rock slag in the same was fiberglass insulation is spun from molten glass. These are ideal insulation materials for attics.

In a ceiling between floors, spray in foam insulation, rigid foam insulation and fiberglass batts are used most commonly. The batts should be faced, so that the flange on the face can be used to fasten the material to rafters.

Ceiling Insulation Costs and Comparisons

Let’s compare the costs of roll insulation, loose fill insulation, spray in insulation and rigid insulation. Batt insulation is about the same cost as roll insulation. This ceiling insulation cost comparison will provide useful information for talking with an insulation contractor about your options.

For the best prices where you live, get written estimates from multiple contractors who know that they are competing for the work.

Roll and Batt Insulation Costs

Table 1: Prices shown for Roll & Batt Insulation, divided down into Material per Sq. Foot and Labor per Sq. Foot:

Insulation RatingMaterial per Sq. FootLabor per Sq. Foot
R-13$0.30 to $0.40$0.60 to $0.90
R-19$0.50 to $0.75$0.60 to $0.95
R-21$0.55 to $0.85$0.65 to $0.95
R-30$0.80 to $1.10$0.65 to $0.95
R-38$1.00 to $1.55$0.70 to $0.95
R-50$1.30 to $2.00$0.70 to $0.95
R-60$1.60 to $2.40$0.70 to $0.95

Loose Fill Insulation Costs

Table 2: Prices shown for Loose Fill Insulation, divided down into Material per Sq. Foot and Labor per Sq. Foot:

Insulation RatingMaterial per Sq. FootLabor per Sq. Foot
R-19$0.40 to $0.65$0.60 to $1.10
R-38 $0.80 to $1.30$0.60 to $1.10
R-50$0.65 to $1.00$0.60 to $1.10
R-60 $0.80 to $1.10$0.65 to $1.15

Spray In Foam Insulation Costs

Table 3: Prices shown for Spray-in Foam Insulation, divided down into Material per Sq. Foot and Labor per Sq. Foot:

Insulation RatingMaterial per Sq. FootLabor per Sq. Foot
R-13$0.90 to $1.60$0.57 to $0.90
R-19$1.30 to $2.50 $0.75 to $1.00
R-21$1.40 to $2.70$0.75 to $1.10
R-38$2.60 to $5.00 $0.85 to $1.15
R-50$3.35 to $6.50$0.90 to $1.25
R-60 $3.85 to $7.35$0.90 to $1.40

Rigid Foam Insulation Costs

Table 4: Prices shown for Rigid Foam Insulation, divided down into Material per Sq. Foot and Labor per Sq. Foot:

Insulation RatingMaterial per Sq. FootLabor per Sq. Foot
R-13$0.75 to $0.90$0.90 to $1.25
R-19 $1.10 to $1.30 $0.90 to $1.30
R-21 $1.20 to $1.45$0.95 to $1.30

Rigid insulation is rarely used when a higher R-value is required.

There are additional costs for supplies for each of these insulation types. These supplies may include glue, fasteners or mastic tape depending on the type of insulation. The costs will average about $40 per 1,000 square feet.


Helpful Resources:

More helpful external resources for Ceiling Insulation can be found using the links we’ve provided below:

Get General Information on Ceiling Insulation

Find Tips from the US Department of Energy Guide on Insulating Ceilings and Attics