Attic insulation research got ya down?
There are some things that can be confusing. Why are there so many insulation options? Why do some require routine maintenance and others don’t. More specific to this article, why is the cost of spray foam more than cellulose in the attic?
In a 1,500-square-foot house, the cost to insulate the attic flat with cellulose is between $275 and $1,887 depending on whether you choose blown-in cellulose or cellulose batts. To insulate an attic with spray foam, the cost ranges between $5,000 to $10,000.
We here at RetroFoam of Michigan get that cost question a lot and it’s legit. We know, cellulose is less expensive than spray foam, but there’s more to it than dollar signs.
Cost is a relative term when it comes to insulation. There is a whole lot more to it, and in our continued efforts to educate homeowners, we’re going to break down that cost and explain why it’s not always about the Benjamins.
Cost of Spray Foam Insulation vs Cellulose
There are several reasons why spray foam is more expensive in the attic when compared to cellulose.
First and foremost, it comes down to the cost of the material. Spray foam is a premium product compared to cellulose. In most cases, the insulation contractor is buying their product directly from the manufacturer. If you buy cellulose, you can hit up any home improvement store and pick up several bags.
Speaking of home improvement stores, if you’re placing the cellulose on your own, then you can rent the machinery you need when you pick up the product. At some of these stores, the rental is included, so it’s another cost you don’t have to worry about.
Since I mentioned the machinery, let’s dive into that.
The equipment used to spray foam in a home is much more expensive than the machinery you rent at the hardware store. In some cases, the spray foam contractor has all of their equipment custom-made.
Now how about that labor, because that’s another thing that comes into the cost. When you hire a professional to install your insulation, there’s the labor cost involved, but also you’re paying for the experience. Spraying foam in an attic is much more complicated than installing cellulose.
Installing spray foam insulation takes experience. Not anyone can do it and it is definitely not recommended as a DIY project. These crews don’t just spray the foam, there’s also prep work by removing and disposing of the old insulation and not leaving a mess.
Honestly, you’re not going to get a Cadillac for the price of a Chevy. Spray foam is a superior insulator when compared to cellulose in the attic. Even though this is the case, it comes down to what your expectations are, as well as your budget.
Choosing the Insulation That Meets Your Needs
Only you can decide which insulation is going to meet your needs and whether the overall cost is a factor.
One final thing to keep in mind when it comes to the cost of spray foam in your attic is the money you will save with the air seal it creates. We’ve had customers tell us that their energy savings due to the foam actually paid for itself in as little as five years.
This isn’t to sway your decision, but more to let you know that even though it is costly, the lifetime cost of spray foam is much less than you think. Cellulose will sag, shift, and settle over time which means you’ll need to regularly maintain it and eventually replace it.
You won’t have that worry with spray foam insulation in your attic, as it stays right where it is applied for the life of the house unless someone removes it.
If you’d like to learn a little more about spray foam, check out the Learning Center on our website.
About Amanda Ringler
Amanda previously has worked as a breaking news and crime reporter, TV news producer, and editor in Flint and Detroit. Throughout her career as a journalist, she has won several awards from The Society of Professional Journalists - Detroit Chapter and the Michigan Press Association. As part of the RetroFoam of Michigan family, Amanda uses her experience as a journalist to write content that will help educate homeowners on the benefits of foam insulation. When Amanda isn’t writing, she’s spending time with her husband and rescued huskies. She also loves knitting, making art, cooking, and hosting dinner and a movie night for friends and family.