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What the Data Says: Fiberglass Insulation Costs

With current headlines reading similarly to “U.S. Roasts Under Brutal Heat Wave” or “Heat Wave Scorches Millions Across U.S.,” it’s easy to understand why fiberglass insulation is in high demand. Fiberglass insulation is a construction material used to reduce the transfer of heat, sound and electricity. This vital building component helps to lower energy costs, decrease greenhouse gas emissions, reduce noise pollution and increase safety.

The escalating prices of batt or blanket fiberglass insulation can pose a significant challenge to the profitability of building projects. Exacerbated by ongoing shortages and increased demands within the industry, fiberglass insulation costs have risen steadily throughout the past year despite short-term fluctuations. Since the second quarter of 2021, the cost for blanket fiberglass insulation has increased nearly 90%.

Fiberglass Insulation Costs
Graph shows the national average cost per square foot of fiberglass insulation, over five and a half years, detailed by quarterly cost.

Contributing Factors for Fluctuations in Fiberglass Insulation Costs

The surge in demand for insulation is attributed to several factors, including:

  • Energy Efficiency: Today’s families and businesses prioritize energy-efficient homes and buildings due to rising energy costs and environmental concerns. To achieve high-performance structures, builders must incorporate substantial amounts of insulation in outer walls, floors, ceilings, as well as pipe and duct insulation. Such insulation practices can lead to energy savings of up to 50% compared to structures without insulation.
  • Booming Home Building Market: Though the recently flourishing home building market seems to be cooling, home prices remain high. This has placed a strain on the availability of insulation, further exacerbating the supply shortage.
  • Government Policies Government regulations have heightened the demand for insulation. In 1965, building codes in the U.S. only required insulation in the walls of homes. The 2021 Residential International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) has increased the required R-values (a measurement of heat resistance) for insulation in attics, slabs and continuous insulation for walls compared to previous standards.
  • COVID-19 Impact: Like we have reported with other building materials, the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted insulation manufacturing and transportation, leading to delays, deficiencies and escalated costs during the construction process.

All of these things contribute to the increase in batt or blanket fiberglass insulation costs but there are still additional factors. Gordian’s data engineers track many different influencing factors, examining macro-economic conditions to better understand cost shifts.

Gordian regularly collects, validates and analyzes North American construction material, labor and equipment costs to enable our customers to create reliable project budgets, build estimates and validate price proposals. Thanks to the 30,000+ hours of research we devote to construction costs every year, we can examine the price of fiberglass insulation and tens of thousands of other line items from every corner of the U.S. and Canada.

Hear construction industry experts from Gordian and ConstructConnect discuss insights into the latest cost trends from RSMeans Data, current market conditions and the impact of those conditions on construction projects in an upcoming webinar.

The Effects of Rising Fiberglass Insulation Costs

A wide range of engineers, architects, estimators, contractors and facility owners depend on accurate construction cost data to plan new building construction and renovation projects. Looking at fiberglass insulation cost trend lines, these professionals should be on guard for more price increases in 2023. Building construction is the largest market for fiberglass insulation, which is the most common insulation used in both residential and commercial projects.

Anyone planning and estimating construction will want to keep a close eye on costs. Gordian’s RSMeans Data Online provides cloud-based access to the industry’s leading construction cost database and advanced features like square foot costs and predictive cost data to help you budget and estimate accurately. Automatic quarterly updates ensure you always have access to the most current data available for construction estimating.

We have been tracking price trends in recent quarters that will have an impact on the cost of construction for the foreseeable future. Many construction costs are leveling or falling, but as we can see with fiberglass insulation, that isn’t the case for all materials. We’ll continue to track these changes and more to keep you informed on what the data says.

About Gordian

Gordian is the leading provider of Building Intelligence™ Solutions, delivering unrivaled insights, robust technology and expert services to fuel customers’ success through all phases of the building lifecycle. Gordian created Job Order Contracting (JOC) and the industry-standard RSMeans Data. We empower organizations to optimize capital investments, improve project performance and minimize long-term operating expenses.