When it comes to insulating a home, choosing the right type of insulation can significantly impact both your initial costs and long-term savings. Two popular options are spray foam insulation and fiberglass insulation, each with its distinct advantages and cost considerations. In this article, we will compare the costs of spray foam insulation versus fiberglass insulation, taking into account installation, efficiency, longevity, and overall value for money.

Initial Costs

Spray Foam Insulation: Spray foam insulation generally has a higher upfront cost compared to fiberglass insulation. On average, homeowners can expect to pay between $1.50 to $4.90 per square foot for spray foam insulation. The wide range in cost is due to factors such as the type of spray foam (open-cell or closed-cell), the thickness of the application, and the complexity of the installation process. Closed-cell spray foam, which offers a higher R-value (thermal resistance) per inch, is more expensive than open-cell spray foam.

Fiberglass Insulation: Fiberglass insulation is more affordable initially, with costs ranging from $0.40 to $1.50 per square foot. This lower cost makes fiberglass a popular choice for budget-conscious homeowners. The price can vary based on the thickness of the fiberglass batts or rolls, the brand, and whether the installation is DIY or done by professionals.

Installation Process

Spray Foam Insulation: The installation of spray foam insulation requires professional expertise. Specialized equipment is used to spray the foam into walls, ceilings, and floors, where it expands and hardens to create an airtight seal. This process ensures comprehensive coverage and minimizes air leaks. However, the need for professional installation adds to the overall cost.

Fiberglass Insulation: Fiberglass insulation is easier to install, and many homeowners opt for a DIY approach to save on labor costs. The material comes in batts or rolls that can be cut to fit between studs, joists, and rafters. While professional installation is also available, the simplicity of the process often makes DIY installation a viable option, further reducing costs.

Efficiency and Energy Savings

Spray Foam Insulation: Spray foam insulation offers superior thermal performance due to its higher R-value per inch. Closed-cell spray foam can achieve an R-value of 6 to 7 per inch, while open-cell foam typically has an R-value of around 3.5 per inch. This high level of insulation efficiency translates to significant energy savings over time, as it effectively reduces heating and cooling costs by preventing air leakage and maintaining a consistent indoor temperature.

Fiberglass Insulation: Fiberglass insulation has a lower R-value per inch, generally ranging from 2.9 to 4.3, depending on the density and thickness. While it provides adequate insulation for many applications, it is not as effective as spray foam in preventing air leaks. Consequently, homes insulated with fiberglass may experience higher energy costs compared to those with spray foam insulation, especially in extreme weather conditions.

Longevity and Durability

Spray Foam Insulation: Spray foam insulation is highly durable and can last for the lifetime of the building if installed correctly. It is resistant to moisture, which helps prevent mold growth and structural damage. Additionally, spray foam does not settle or sag over time, ensuring consistent insulation performance.

Fiberglass Insulation: Fiberglass insulation is also durable but can be susceptible to moisture damage. If fiberglass becomes wet, it loses its insulating properties and can become a breeding ground for mold. Moreover, fiberglass can settle over time, leading to gaps in coverage and reduced efficiency. Regular maintenance and occasional replacement may be necessary to maintain optimal performance.

Environmental Impact

Spray Foam Insulation: Spray foam insulation is made from petrochemicals, and its production process can have a higher environmental impact compared to fiberglass. However, the energy savings achieved through its superior insulation capabilities can offset some of this impact over the long term. Additionally, some manufacturers are developing more environmentally friendly formulations with lower global warming potential (GWP).

Fiberglass Insulation: Fiberglass insulation is made from recycled glass and sand, making it a more environmentally friendly option in terms of raw materials. It also has a lower embodied energy compared to spray foam. However, the lower insulation efficiency of fiberglass means that homes may consume more energy for heating and cooling, potentially offsetting its initial environmental benefits.

Overall Value for Money

When comparing the overall value for money, it is essential to consider both the initial costs and the long-term benefits of each insulation type.

Spray Foam Insulation: Although spray foam insulation has a higher upfront cost, its superior insulation efficiency, durability, and energy savings make it a cost-effective choice in the long run. Homeowners can expect to recoup their investment through reduced energy bills and lower maintenance costs over time.

Fiberglass Insulation: Fiberglass insulation is a more affordable option initially, making it attractive for those with budget constraints. However, its lower efficiency and potential for moisture damage and settling mean that it may require more maintenance and higher energy expenditures over time. Despite this, fiberglass remains a viable option for many homeowners, particularly in mild climates or for smaller projects.


Choosing between spray foam insulation and fiberglass insulation involves weighing the initial costs against the long-term benefits. Spray foam insulation offers superior performance, durability, and energy savings, making it a valuable investment for many homeowners despite its higher upfront cost. On the other hand, fiberglass insulation provides a more affordable initial option, with adequate performance and lower installation complexity.

Ultimately, the best choice depends on your specific needs, budget, and climate considerations. By carefully evaluating the costs and benefits of each insulation type, you can make an informed decision that will provide comfort, energy savings, and value for years to come.