As a homeowner, there's nothing more stressful than paying high energy bills every month– knowing you're not thoroughly enjoying the comfort of your own home with uncomfortable rooms and drafts now and then. Usually, it's a sign that your home may need spray foam insulation. Perhaps it's the one project you've put on hold for many years– settling with an insufferable room instead that's scorching hot during summertime, and bitterly cold come winter.
Spray Foam Insulation Average Costs
Unfortunately, you can’t purchase most spray foams at your local Home Depot. They need to be bought directly from their manufacturer, so it’s best to be prepared to pay quite the amount for it. The average cost of a professional spray foam insulation for a 1,600 square foot home is about $3,115. According to the most recent data from Home Advisor, most homeowners typically spend somewhere around $1,284 to $3,741 for a more general estimated range.
Other key factors that may hike up Spray Foam insulation cost are the usage of special machinery when it comes to its installation and the particular area of your home to be insulated. Labor costs will also significantly affect the total cost of your home improvement project.
For your reference, here are some price range estimations for spray foam insulation in different areas of the house:
$6,250 - $12,500
$2,250 - $4,500
$5,000 - $10,000
$7,500 - $9,000
$5,000 - $10,000
With the numbers presented above, determining the average cost to insulate a space with spray foam boils down to the size and particular areas in the household to be insulated.
Pro tip: If you want to get your money's worth, get a quote from several professional spray foam insulation companies in your area. Doing so will help you determine how much the service will cost you on average. However, if you're still undecided to push through with this home improvement project– simply ask for a general cost estimate to gather ideas. It will help you decide, especially if you're in the early stages of the planning process.
What is Spray Foam Insulation?
Not only does it help save costs in energy reductions, but spray foam insulation also improves a home or a building’s condition. Many homeowners opt to have spray foam insulation to insulate their attics, crawlspace, wall, ceiling, basement, and roof. The process also helps seal any existing gaps and cracks. What’s not to love, right?
Customers can enjoy a comfortable, draft-free environment– without doing further harm to the environment. In fact, the Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance (SPFA) found out that spray foam insulation in residential units is energy-efficient and environment-friendly. In updating your home’s insulation, we strongly advise hiring the nearest contractor near you for professional assistance. There may be things you can do on your own, but it’s better to leave it to the professionals who have expert knowledge and necessary safety equipment.
Read on to know everything you need to keep in mind about spray foam insulation for your residence, including the running costs and other factors to consider.
Costs Per Scale: Open-cell Foam vs. Closed-cell Foam
Generally, there are two types of spray foam:
- 1Open-cell Spray Foam ($1.87 to $6 per square foot or $0.50 to $0.81 per board foot)
- 2Closed-cell Spray Foam ($1.87 to $6 per square foot or $1.2 to $1.8 per board foot)
For your reference, one board foot is equivalent to a one-inch-thick square foot. It is typically covered by one inch of spray foam insulation. Let's take a closer look at the difference between the two and their unique benefits to help you make the best decision for your needs.
Insulation with an open-cell foam is best used for applications inside the house, such as attics, wall cavities, basement walls, crawlspaces, and roof deck undersides. The open-cell structure of a soft, low-density foam insulation material improves moisture permeability. As a result, homeowners can enjoy better moisture management in their homes. However, it's best to keep in mind that it may not be suitable for all applications or climates.
Other benefits of open-cell foam insulation include:
Compared to a closed-cell foam, open-cell spray foam has a lower R-value per inch. It usually translates to lower total costs in general.
In contrast with open-cell foam, closed-cell spray foam has a higher R-value per inch and density. If you want to improve the durability of your home's existing structures, this material also boosts the strength of your old walls, ceilings, and roof. Its low water vapor permeability protects your home from moisture, primarily if you're situated in an area with high humidity. Closed-cell foam spray insulation may also be used for both exterior and interior applications.
Even the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other studies highlight the effectiveness of closed-cell spray as a flood-resistant material and prevent harsh wind forces and structural damage.
Here are some other advantages to expect in closed-cell foam insulation:
Refer to the table below for a more detailed comparison of the differences between a closed-cell and an open-cell spray foam material:
Closed Cell Foam
Open Cell Foam
Higher R-value (more than 6.0 per inch)
Lower R-value (around 3.5 per inch)
Air barrier at full wall thickness
High moisture barrier (low moisture permeability)
Low moisture barrier (high moisture permeability)
High strength and rigidity
Low strength and rigidity
Not advisable to have direct contact with water
May absorb sound
An indoor swimming pool will typically need a different spray foam type (water-resistant closed-cell foam) than a room inside an office building. It's best to do a thorough evaluation of the area to be insulated and consider your maximum budget for the project to make an informed decision on the best type of spray foam to fit your needs.
Factors Affecting Spray Foam Insulation Cost
The price ranges mentioned above only serve as a general estimate, based on the average pricing of local contractors in most states. Keep in mind that several other factors may drive your spray foam insulation cost higher or lower. Let's discuss the main factors that may affect the price of your spray foam insulation project.
One significant defining factor on cost is the total size of the area you want to be insulated with spray foam. Naturally, larger spaces will need more insulation material and more labor, causing a price surge. It is a stark contrast when insulating a smaller area with spray foam.
In insulating a large area, such as an attic's roof deck, expect to spend more than you would typically pay your contractor if covering smaller spaces such as the floor. Basically, the bigger the area, the more expensive the total costs will be.
Another determining factor in your spray foam insulation project is the foam thickness required in your chosen space. Since the amount of material required for your spray foam insulation varies on a case-to-case basis, this can either increase or decrease the overall installation costs. It can be 6 to 10 inches of open-cell spray foam on the roof or ceiling, while the walls can do with only 3 inches.
In contrast, closed-cell spray foam generally ranges from 4 to 5 inches on the ceiling and 2 to 3 inches on existing walls.
Location of the Property
If your house is situated in areas with constant temperature fluctuations, it's best to install thick insulation. You will benefit more from it than homes in mild climates.
However, since a thicker layer of spray foam insulation will need more material, expect the total costs to be higher.
In some cases, your house may need other necessary tasks for your spray foam insulation project. It includes fiberglass removal and membrane fitting, among many others. Before you push through with the project, consult with your local contractor to have a general assessment of your house. They can help you figure out the necessary tasks you need to do for your home innovation project.
Spray Foam Insulation Type
The kind of spray foam you'll use in your insulation project will also affect the project's total costs.
As discussed above, open-cell spray foam will cost $0.50 to $0.81 per board foot on average. In comparison, the price of closed-cell spray foam ranges from $1.2 to $1.8 per board foot.
Use of Professional and Special Machinery for Installation
One crucial thing to note in spray foam insulation is the necessary usage of special machinery for installation. The use of these professional machines can increase the total project cost. Insulation machinery for spray foam includes power generators, blowing wool machines, spray foam rigs, and spray foam equipment.
Some spray foam insulation manufacturers use water as a spraying agent, whereas others utilize chemicals. Spray foam material also varies in its maximum thickness needed to create an air barrier. It is one factor to note, given how the cost of your insulation project will only go upward with the more material you need.
To help you get started, here are some of the best spray foam insulation manufacturers: There's a lot to take into consideration, so let's take a deeper look at BASF Corporation (BASF Open Cell Foam), Demilec (Demilec Open Cell Foam), Johns Manville (Johns Manville Spray Corbond Foam,) and Icynene-Lapolla (FOAM-LOK 500 Open Cell.)
When it comes to insulating your home or building with spray foam, it's always advisable to consult a trained professional spray foam contractor for their assistance. Proper SPF insulation requires knowledgeable planning and training. Ideally, your local SPF contractor has experience and credentials when it comes to installing low-pressure two-component SPF and high-pressure, two-component SPF. You may check the Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance Membership Directory to browse for a professional contractor for starters.
They can give you advice on various factors in spray foam insulation, such as:
Time Needed to do the Job
Given how every building and home is unique, the total time it will take to install spray foam insulation may vary. Generally, it depends on the space to insulate and the degree of difficulty of the labor. Your contractor may adjust the price accordingly if some areas to be insulated prove to be more challenging than usual.
For your reference, here's an average estimate on how long the installation process will take on the different areas of the house:
Major Benefits of Spray Foam Insulation
So, why do many homeowners continue to choose spray foam for their insulation needs? Besides saving money from lowered energy bills, preventing air leaks, and increasing your household's energy efficiency– here are some other benefits of spray foam insulation for your home.
The Project Process of Installing Spray Foam Insulation
Are you curious to know what goes down in a spray foam insulation project? Let's discuss every step of the process below:
In a guide published by the Spray Foam Coalition of the American Chemistry Council (ACC), here are general preparation steps to consider before the actual application of spray foam insulation.
Now that you've prepared your home or building accordingly for the spray foam insulation process– let’s jump into the project process in detail. Most contractors will give you a last-minute briefing as they start with the insulation process. They will also increase the area's ventilation and make sure no flammable objects are left lying around. For spray foam insulation projects, protective gear and tools are considered must-haves. The material itself (spray foam) will generally be mixed and heated on the site.
At this stage of the project, your contractor will use special equipment to spray the foam onto the intended areas. During foam application, it's crucial to limit area entry only to workers with the necessary safety gear. Once the spray foam application is completed, your contractor will clean up the area back to its original state and dispose of any waste. Generally, it's best to access the room or area at least 24 hours after the project completion.
Note that you can expect the process to be quick and easy when you leave the process to an experienced professional contractor.
Common Misconceptions about Spray Foam Insulation
In this section, let's debunk some of the most common misconceptions regarding spray foam insulation. It's always advisable to get accurate information about spray foam insulation products (Related: Is Spray Foam Insulation Safe?).
Important Considerations for Your Project
Here are some considerations to be mindful of throughout your spray foam insulation project.
New Building Codes
Depending on your state, some localities may change their codes to mandate improved energy efficiency. With that in mind, spray foam insulation can lend a hand in meeting strict building and energy codes.
As discussed above, spray foam is a great air seal. Air barriers serve as a crucial part of many building codes and standards. They also refine the efficiency of several mechanical systems, equating to additional savings on your end with lower HVAC requirements. Some areas also entice landowners with rebates, tax credits, or other incentives to use the green SPF material in their building design.
For the record, odors are considerably common and natural during the SPF application. Existing odor problems in the area, such as carpets with mold or mildew, old insulation, or wet ducts, may be accentuated by the tighter building envelope from the application of Spray Foam. But once the insulation project is done, any foul odors dissipate after ventilating the spray area. If you're dealing with lingering odors, keep in mind that it may be because of several sources.
Aside from spray foam materials, other possible sources of peculiar odors include:
The discoloration of your SPF material may be because of the colorants added by manufacturers to their formulations.
Unless the material is dyed or pigmented (for many reasons), the SPF color appears to have a tan or beige shade. Constant exposure to UV radiation or sunlight may darken the color of your spray foam to a hue of orange or rust coloration.
Hiring a Local Contractor
It's best to consult a professional for your spray foam insulation needs. Professional installers are trained to apply the foam correctly, which may be challenging even for a handy homeowner to DIY. When misapplied, expanding foam may put more pressure on your home structure. If you don't want to risk damaging your house, better leave it to the pros.
Some harmful fumes (which are dangerous to be breathed in) may also occur during the installation. With that in mind, professionals have the necessary PPE for the work. They can also point out problems you aren't even aware of and the measures to solve or prevent them from happening again.
Post-Application Visual Inspection
The Spray Foam Coalition of the American Chemistry Council (ACC) advises homeowners to conduct a visual inspection shortly after the spray foam insulation project is completed. Doing so will help oversee the following aspects:
Spray Foam Insulation Common Issues to Avoid
Homeowners with various concerns about what could go wrong in a spray foam insulation project need to be aware of these common pitfalls:
Pros and Cons of Hiring a Spray Foam Insulation Contractor
Meticulous repairs and home improvement projects are best handled by a professional with the right expertise and skills. Spray foam insulation is one project that professionals must ideally spearhead.
Let's discuss the advantages and drawbacks when it comes to spray foam insulation.
Benefits of Hiring a Professional for Spray Foam Insulation
Drawbacks of Hiring a Professional for Spray Foam Insulation
Pricing and Installation Cost Checklist
Now that you've decided to push through with your spray foam insulation project, here's a helpful checklist to help you get more bang for your buck:
Spray Foam Insulation: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How does spray foam insulation work?
Simply put, spray foam insulation works as a barrier and insulator that helps conserve your energy at home and prevents heat loss by sealing all the gaps and cracks, allowing no air and water to leak. It is a chemical mixture that, when applied– expands and covers a large amount of area, preventing leaking from coming in and out. Aside from its primary use, it also comes with other benefits such as noise reduction, mold prevention, and increased durability of your walls.
Where is spray foam insulation installed?
Spray foam insulation may come in pricey, so you should know which specific areas to install if you want to avoid the extra potential cost. Make your home more comfortable while saving energy at the same time. Spray foam insulation is better installed on areas prone to air leaks, such as crawl spaces, walls, and basement rim joists.
Is spray foam insulation safe to have inside the home?
Yes, spray foam is a safe insulating method for your home. The process follows specific guidelines to ensure that the insulation is installed safely. Wearing personal protective equipment and fans for proper ventilation is required to prevent the inhalation of small particles. Ignition barrier paints are installed over the foam to avoid fire hazards. Once installed, some contractors may not allow you to stay inside the house for 12 to 24 hours, as the foam sets in place.
How long does it take for a typical spray foam insulation job?
With the help of a professional contractor, a large spray foam insulation project may take half a day, while a small area can take between 2 to 3 hours. Factors like preparation work, total space, and clean-up time can affect the length of installation time. In some cases, the house may not be ready for use for at least 24 hours after the installation.
Does spray foam insulation affect energy cost?
When air leaks out of your house, it causes your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) to work around the clock and consume more energy. The air sealing properties of spray foam insulation will help you save energy by covering all the gaps where the air may escape. You can expect a decrease in your monthly electricity bills– all thanks to spray foam insulation.
Will spray foam insulation keep pests out of the home?
Thanks to the spray foam insulation, insects and other pests will never have an easy way inside your home again. Pests can't break through or slip in, keeping your house clean and comfortable with its durability.
Does Spray Foam Insulation Improve My Home’s Performance?
This type of insulation will, without a doubt, boost your home’s performance in a variety of aspects. Say goodbye to your high energy consumption because the spray foam insulation will help contain your heat or cooling system within your space. It will reduce the energy costs per month. Beyond energy efficiency, it also helps your home become more presentable and cleaner by preventing pests from going in and molds from growing. Additional features (such as soundproofing) can also minimize any unpleasant noise.
Over the last 30 years, spray foam has been a popular insulation material for many homeowners and professional contractors. SPF insulation is highly durable, energy-efficient, and makes your home more comfortable (warm in the cold winter and cool in the hot summer).
Every homeowner deserves a beautiful, cozy living space. If you're still settling for uncomfortable homes and paying high electricity bills for no good reason– it might be the right time to consider an SPF insulation. Remember, a comfortable home makes a good home! Consider it a good investment for your beloved house in the long run.