Cost to insulate walls

21 Replies

My electrician discovered that the exterior walls in my newly purchased ranch home do not have insulation.  I am meeting with the contractor tomorrow to discuss options.  about how much should I expect to pay to insulate a 1200 sqft ranch, and what options might I have?

I'm thinking tear off drywall, and insulate, then re drywall,  or have it blown in.  anyone with experience with something like this?

You shouldn't have to tear down any walls unless you choose to do spray foam insulation - and that will cost you at least double of the alternatives (not to mention costs of hanging fresh drywall).

What I would do is find a company that does blown in insulation. They will cut a small hole at the top of each wall cavity and blow in the insulation using that hole. Then just a matter of patching the holes. 

Thanks @Steve Babiak , I was looking at blown in insulation, but can't find anything on the cost yet.

I will see what my contractor has to say,  but usually like to go into those conversations with a ballpark figure of what it should cost.  

You may plan to put vinyl siding with insulation if blow in insulation will be expensive any way Please keep us updated :))) it is interesting topic Attic insulation may solve part of this problem Walls may be not the main problem - may be invite energy efficiency expert and check with him - what are possible ways If you have old windows - it may be even bigger problem Check in basement of you have any - you could find some insulation opportunities there :)))

@Jane A. ,  This is an all brick ranch.  there is insulation in the attic,  and I am replacing the windows with double pane.  I used to live in an old house with no insulation,  and the walls got very cold in the winter, but that was a siding house.  Not sure how good of an insulator brick is.  I might get an energy audit, to see how much heat loss I get through the walls.

Before you simply decide on blown in insulation or bat insulation which requires drywall tear down and replacement plus finishing and paint I would consider what has been suggested, Consult with an energy expert. They will usually provide you with the best over all approach and method to properly insulate your house. 

As far as insulation only I would be thinking somewhere of a ball park figure of $2K to $3K

However every area can be different and of course the labor cost in your area may be significantly different from my area. I would think that a simply inquire to area insulation contractors will provide you the information you are looking for in order to have a ball park figure in mind before you bring anyone out to the house for a site evaluation. 

Where does a person find an energy expert?  I would think companies who specialize in insulation will be biased toward insulating the walls.

Tim Lindstrom I would love to help. I'm not sure if you've ever heard of xactimate but it's a program that nearly all GCs use to estimate repair costs. I just got certified in its use and could give you an estimate amount within 10% of what you are quoted. I would also like to see how close I get to what you get quoted at!
Originally posted by @Tim Lindstrom :

Where does a person find an energy expert?  I would think companies who specialize in insulation will be biased toward insulating the walls.

The local electric company probably does this service, or has some third party contractors who do. 

Energy audit is part of what you are seeking, to determine places where there is "leakage".

Wow!  Just got the quote from my contractor to pull off the drywall, insulate with fiberglass, and re-drywall.   $10,000.

I think that's an insane price.  this is a 1500 sqft home.  anybody have experience with something like this that can let me know if this is too high?  I was expecting $2,000 tops

lots of homes dont have the insulation in the walls. i think just 2 of our 21 have it and one is my personal house.

i'd not do it at all. 

@Tim Lindstrom -  Find a company that does spray foam insulation.  We had a company do ours when we were adding on to the house, and love it.  Of course the older portions of the home only had batting in the walls (and not the best at that) so we had another company come out and spray foam the original walls and crawl space walls.  They would remove a piece of siding, drill a hole through the wall and fill it with foam.  Cap the hole and reinstall the siding- done!  

We had the same company put blown in insulation in the attic of one of our rental homes, and had them quote doing spray foam for the walls as well.  The cost of JUST that was going to be $3500 for a 1700 square foot two story house to give you an idea of the cost.  This house has wood siding so they are just drilling, filling, and plugging.  Hope that helps. 


you can get a home assessment from Georgia power below and qualify for rebates from the utility for things to include insulation and home sealing along with the asessment fee:

There is also a free home energy audit available that might be worth considering if you don't want to shell out for an more detailed  assessment:

Start with that and see what they recommend. Their service line is 1-877-310-5607.

The Electric utility in almost every state offers a discounted home energy assessment and various rebates to seal or improve insulation in a home. worth checking out on the utility website to research more...

Originally posted by @Tim Lindstrom :

Wow!  Just got the quote from my contractor to pull off the drywall, insulate with fiberglass, and re-drywall.   $10,000.

I think that's an insane price.  this is a 1500 sqft home.  anybody have experience with something like this that can let me know if this is too high?  I was expecting $2,000 tops

 That's ridiculous. What year was the home built?

@Carlton Kohler

The house was built in 1968.  I told my contractor not to do the insulation.  I'm going to see how it fares over the winter, and if I get complaints, I will either have insulation blown in or look into spray foam.

I talked to a couple local investors,  and they said most of the older brick homes are not insulated, and they don't usually insulate them unless they have the walls already down to the studs for the rehab.

@George P.

 wow.  no insulation in Michigan?  I used to live in Wisconsin, and rented a house that didn't have insulation.  I moved after my lease was up.  The walls were freezing cold during the winter, and it cost a fortune to heat the place.

I think It might be ok here in Georgia though.  After talking to a couple local investors, I realized not having exterior walls insulated is not uncommon in older brick homes

Well what you got quoted on was to tear down and replace drywall and $10,000.00 is a good ball park figure for that kind of work. its allot of work and then you have to add painting on top of that. Having blown in insulation should be much more cost effective for you. 

My electrician who was replacing knob & tube wiring last year on a project, informed me of the same problem, not ignorable here up north!  Mine was a 2 story, about 1400sf.  In an effort to save $ (time for my contractor not setting up & moving scaffolding), he popped some siding off on 1st floor, drilled holes, blew in insulation & for 2nd story, since we were going to paint anyways, drilled holes inside & blew insulation all for $5000.  Not a pleasant surprise but still did well with the deal.  Looks like you've decided but thought I'd post anyways, may help others.  I'd get a couple estimates from those who specialize in insulating.

@Tim Lindstrom  I've done full rehabs on several 1950's and older houses.  Typically, I'll use batt insulation on any exterior walls that get exposed.  Otherwise, I won't insulate the walls.  They're fairly well insulated with the brick and sheetrock (or concrete) walls.  Upgrading with a ridge vent, double pane windows, attic insulation, crawlspace insulation are much higher priority for resale and efficiency in Georgia or Atlanta area.

I'd also guesstimate $3k - $4k whole house at most.  Blowing into the attic is very easy  -- $800 for 1400 sf or so.  $600  - $800 for the crawl.  You might get a GC markup for this.  These are direct cost estimates from insulation specialists.  

@Rick Baggenstoss

That's pretty much what my contractor told me.  He added ridge vents when he re-roofed, and blew in a little more insulation in the attic (My inspector said there was not sufficient insulation in the attic, but never mentioned the walls). I am also putting in double pane windows when they arrive.  This house had odd size windows that needed to be special ordered.  And the basement ceiling is already insulated with fiberglass batt.  So i'm feeling pretty good about it (opting not to spend an extra 10K helps that feeling too).

Costs must be a little different than in Michigan. Last week I had my walls filled with blown insulating giving me a R23 factor and blown insulation for my attic (20-22 inches deep - which equates to a R40+). It was all done for $4,400.  Granted it was new construction, but it's 3,100 sq ft., two story home.   However he could have poked holes in the drywall and filled it as well.   I  understand you have already made your decision however if you need to insulate in the future, I would definitely shop around.  

 As a sidenote, in order to insulate with batt insulation from Menards,  and do the blown insulation myself it would've cost $2700 just for materials. 

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