Expert Tips and Procedure on How to Estimate Insulation

Learn how much insulation you will need after you have read these great tips

Insulation is critical
••• J Rodriguez

Estimating insulation might not be that hard if you know some basic concepts and have the knowledge of how the insulation will be installed. I have listed here some of the steps and tips on how construction experts normally estimate the right amount of insulation.

Know Your Zone

The first step that you will need to go through is knowing the zone or the requirements of insulation. The U.S. Department of Energy has established specific guidelines on the required R-values depending on where the project is located. Zoning might vary from 1 to 7, so you might want to verify the zoning requirement and building codes regulations. Check the available map at the DOE webpage for specific requirements.

Determine the Insulation Type

The next step in this process is to select the type of insulation needed. Some of the most used types are:

  • Rolls
  • Batts
  • Faced
  • Unfaced

Measure the Room

To determine the amount of insulation needed, start by measuring the height and length of each of your room walls. Multiply the wall's length by the wall's height and don't forget to write down the spacing of the studs so you can then determine what type of the insulation will be purchased. You will need this as insulation normally comes in precut lengths or standard rolls designed to fit exactly into between studs. When this calculation, make sure windows and doors openings ARE NOT subtracted. These amounts will make up for odd cavities, nonstandard framing distances and even waste amounts.

Make sure that all rooms have been measured and that the stud cavity is the same for the entire house. Sometimes, due to modifications to structures, the depth might not be the same.

Calculate the Amount of Rolls

Now, that we have determined the amount of square foot required, we need to divide that amount by the square footage supplied in the package. Make sure to check as every manufacturer has its own dimension or size of insulation. That number will be the number of bundles needed to insulate the walls of your home. 

Insulation Software

Another way to properly calculate and estimate the amount of insulation needed is by using computer software. Some programs will allow you to integrate blueprint takeoff for larger projects, and even can be connected with QuickBooks. This software can be used to automate the process and reduce the guess when estimating insulation from construction drawings.

Insulation Estimation and Costs

Now, that you have determined how much insulation you need, is time to set a price or determine the cost to actually install the insulation. Depending on the amount of work a good number could be between $0.75 and @2.50 per square foot. This number will depend on the amount of R-value and the room configuration. A complete insulation work on a typical family home can cost up to $10,000 but the average cost from a contractor ranges between $3,000 and $6,000. If you are installing blow insulation can cost about $3.50 up to $5.00 per square foot.

Remember that all of the numbers will depend on the R-value being proposed, wall cavities, type of insulation and room configuration. These costs do not include the work for removing previously installed insulation.

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