Once you have decided to move forward with your home improvement project of having spray foam insulation professionally installed, the next step is to do your research on spray foam insulation companies in your area and get quotes. Getting things right for this step is so important. Not only will getting estimates from several contractors give you a realistic range of how much your project will cost, it will also give you a heads up of what to expect throughout the process, as most spray foam insulation contractors will want to discuss general timelines and how they will handle the logistics of the application process. Here are some key factors that you should keep in mind when getting a contractor’s quote on your home’s insulation installation.
Chances are you already know which part or parts of your home you want to insulate. It makes a big difference whether it is the attic, basement, crawlspace, walls, or whole house that you want improved. This is most likely the first question a contractor will have for you so that they can determine which type of spray foam insulation and application (i.e. open cell or closed cell, high or low pressure) would be best suited for your project. Each type varies the overall cost of the project, so it is crucial to determine which one is going to be applied in order to proceed with calculating your estimate.
A board foot is a unit of measurement of volume, usually in context of construction. The measurement of one board foot is 12 inches length by 12 inches width by 1 inch depth (12”x12”x1”). Cost per board foot, though variable from one company to the next in terms of price of materials, is always a key factor in calculating an estimate. If you can calculate the board footage of the space you are needing insulated, it will save you time right off the bat when getting a quote because this is one of the first questions a contractor will ask. Don’t worry if you can’t calculate this yourself though, because most contractors can easily do that for you as long as you know the basic measurements. Some companies even prefer to get the measurements themselves in order to provide the most accurate estimate.
You may not necessarily need to know the specific r-value you will need. Any contractor can determine your recommended insulation r-value based on your climate and area of the house you are having insulation installed. However, knowing the recommended r-value already will help you understand what information the contractors you speak to are using to calculate the most accurate quote, as well as weed out any vast inconsistencies. You can read our easy step by step guide to calculating your r-value for reference.
A professional contractor will always be concerned with r-value, but some may try to tell you a much higher r-value than is actually needed in order to increase the price of application. On the other hand, some may give artificially low recommended r-values in order to cut corners or seem more budget-friendly. The important thing to remember in terms of r-value is that if it is not up to what it needs to be, you will be missing out on the incredible energy-efficiency, long term savings, and other benefits of spray foam insulation.
If you hadn’t already estimated what your budget should be for the project, it is not a bad idea to use a cost estimation calculator before you even contact any contractors. This should give you a generalized idea of how much you should plan to expense for. A good example of a spray foam insulation cost calculator can be found here. These calculators shouldn’t take the place of comparing specified costs given to you by professionals. A calculator won’t take into consideration any variables that may be part of your project. Some of these variables include recommended r-value, budget restrictions, type of spray foam, and any specific conditions of your house that may affect application.
How to analyze the quotes that come back
Unless you are talking about completely different projects in completely different locations of your house, the estimates you receive from different companies shouldn’t vary greatly. Beware especially when it comes to significantly lower quotes. They may have left out an important factor and therefore not have given you the most accurate estimate, which could change drastically once the project is underway. Alternatively, they may be lowering their normal price in order the try to push old or lower quality materials out of their inventory.
A lower estimate is not always be a bad sign, either. Some of the best contractors may build rapport with you, get an idea of your budget restrictions and work to give you the most competitive rate in accordance with what is best for your home.
By the end of collecting quotes, not only should you have a good idea of which estimates are the most accurate and realistic, it should have also given you the prime opportunity to check the qualifications and certifications of each installer you spoke with. Your cost comparison along with getting to know more about the companies individually will set you on the right track to hire the best and most qualified contractor for your spray foam insulation project without any major surprises later!