Cost of Insulating a House in Toronto in 2024

This blog explores various insulation types, including spray foam, fiberglass, and mineral wool, analyzing their costs for both materials and labor. We’ll discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each option, providing real examples and current market prices.

Most houses in Toronto are situated on lots that are either 50 feet or 25 feet wide. A typical house would be 20 feet wide by 50 feet long, offering approximately 1000 square feet per floor, totaling two floors above grade. Additionally, the basement is usually the same size as the main floor. Based on this, we’re going to calculate the average price per square foot for insulation.

I have been a drywall contractor in Toronto since 1999 and have worked on approximately 1000 houses, most of which are similar to the ones I’m describing now. I do not work on subdivisions or houses outside the GTA, where the sizes are larger and the work quality does not need to be as high as in Toronto with custom-built houses. In Toronto, due to space limitations, builders typically try to maximize interior space, adhering to the principle that every inch counts.

New Construction House Insulation

Let’s discuss two types of construction: renovations and new builds, which adhere to different parts of the Ontario Building Code—Part 9 for renovations and Part 11 for new builds. According to the Ontario Building Code, every new foundation wall below grade must have R-10 continuous insulation (CI) and R-12 mineral wool or fiberglass batt insulation with a vapor barrier. The R-10 CI, often 2 inches thick and made of Rigid Foam Insulation, creates an envelope for the basement exterior walls to prevent moisture from penetrating the living space, while R-12 provides additional warmth. The vapor barrier must be installed on the warm side of the insulation.

Let’s discuss the cost of insulation and the types that can be used to achieve the required R-value. On average, 2-inch rigid foam insulation with an R-10 value costs approximately $3 per square foot at Home Depot. 

Additionally, installers will charge about $1 to fasten it to the wall. After insulating, the framer constructs the exterior walls with 2x4s, leaving a half-inch gap from the wall. Once all the rough-in work, such as electrical, HVAC, and plumbing, is completed, the installation of mineral wool or fiberglass insulation begins. Since the cavity of the 2×4 is 3.5 inches, it can accommodate either R-12 or R-14 insulation at most. Fiberglass, while cost-effective and easy to install, may not last as long as other insulation types like mineral wool or spray foam. Its low density can lead to sagging due to its weight, creating gaps at the top of the studs that allow airflow directly from the exterior to the drywall, resulting in significant heat loss in winter and the opposite in summer.

Regarding mineral wool, it’s important not to confuse it with the brand name Rockwool, as many companies produce similar mineral wool insulation. For fiberglass insulation, the market price in 2024 is approximately $0.90 per square foot.

and for mineral wool with an R-14 value, it would be around $1.50 per square foot on average.

For the installation of these materials, including the vapor barrier, you would typically pay between $0.70 and $0.80 per square foot.

Additionally, the vapor barrier duct tape and acoustical sealant required around the perimeter of the walls will incur extra costs. With this in mind, if we’re paying around $4 per square foot for Rigid Foam Insulation and between $1.70 and $2.30 per square foot for batt insulation types, the average cost for insulating basement exterior walls is between $5.70 and $6.30 per square foot. Considering the space occupied, adding 2 inches of rigid insulation plus a half-inch air gap between the insulation and the 2×4 studs totals 6 inches from the exterior wall. In summary, that’s 6 inches and $5.70 to $6.30.

Another significant factor is the construction time. Considering the minimum cost of a house at $1 million, with an average of $2 million, and with a 7% interest rate plus an average down payment of 20 or 30%, the mortgage could range from $5,000 to $10,000 a month. This equates to an average daily maintenance cost of approximately $250.

Let’s say we insulate with rigid insulation and fiberglass; each type will take about two days to install. This means four days for walls that are 50 feet long on each side and 20 feet wide, totaling 140 linear feet times a 9-foot ceiling height, equating to 1,260 square feet at $5.70 per square foot, totaling $7,183. Adding in 4 days of mortgage costs at $1,000 brings us to a total of $8,182 to insulate a basement with fiberglass or $8,938 with mineral wool.

Spray Foam Insulation

We also have spray foam insulation available on the market. Spray foam comes in two types: 2LB, which is closed-cell, and 1/2LB which is open-cell. I’ll focus on closed-cell for now. Closed-cell foam prevents air, moisture, or water from penetrating, eliminating the need for a vapor barrier post-installation. A key benefit is that achieving the same R-value only requires 3.5 inches of space, saving 2.5 inches on each side of the basement walls and increasing square footage in the living area. Additionally, this insulation is made directly at the job site.

Thus, it creates an airtight envelope, expanding behind the studs to cover the entire basement walls, providing both continuous insulation and a vapor barrier simultaneously. Spray foam insulation is particularly effective in sealing beam pockets, unlike batt insulation, which often leaves gaps that allow cold air to penetrate floor cavities, leading to colder floors. The expansion of spray foam fills every crevice, achieving an airtight seal unmatched by batt insulation, which is compromised by an improperly sealed vapor barrier. This superior sealing capability significantly boosts energy efficiency and keeps floor temperatures warmer. Based on my extensive experience in construction, I consider this type of insulation to be the best. In my opinion, beam pockets cannot be insulated properly without foam.

The cost for Spray Foam insulation in Toronto averages $5.25 for R20, and installation takes just one day. Multiplying this rate across an area of 140 linear feet by 9 feet totals $6,615, plus one day off your mortgage, bringing the total to less than $7,000. This means the insulation cost would be lower, and spray foam saves approximately 35 square feet of living space, significantly enhancing the house’s insulation compared to batt insulation.

A commonly mentioned drawback of spray foam is the challenge of running wires through walls, given the difficulty of cutting through high-density foam. On the other hand, fiberglass insulation requires cutting and patching the vapor barrier, a more time-consuming process. However, the need to run new wires in a new house is infrequent. Personally, I strongly advocate for spray foam insulation, although the final decision should align with your individual preferences.

Above-Grade Insulation

Shifting our focus to the above-grade levels of the house, specifically the exterior walls of the first and second floors, we encounter a different scenario. All framing above grade is structural, necessitating the use of 2×6 studs. When filling the cavity to the back wall, the choice between batt insulation and spray foam arises. Honestly, with a full 6-inch cavity filled with either fiberglass or mineral wool plus a vapor barrier, the difference isn’t significant. However, I’d lean towards recommending mineral wool for its longevity; it doesn’t degrade over time. But for those seeking an airtight environment, spray foam stands out as the superior option. Although I haven’t personally verified, I’ve heard that using spray foam could potentially lower your energy bill by about 40%, and the furnace required might be smaller, offering significant long-term savings and efficiency.

The Ontario Building Code mandates R-22 insulation values for areas above grade. For such specifications, the cost of fiberglass insulation, including labor and materials, averages around $3 per square foot, while mineral wool comes to about $4 per square foot. Installation costs for both materials range between $0.70 and $0.80 per square foot. This brings the total cost to approximately $1.40 per square foot for fiberglass and $2.25 per square foot for mineral wool.

Let’s summarize the costs for insulating a two-story house with 140 linear feet of perimeter walls (50x20x2) and 20 feet high (9 feet per floor plus 1 foot of rim joist), totaling 2,800 sq ft of wall area. For R22 fiberglass insulation, the cost breaks down as follows: $0.70 for labor, $1.40 for fiberglass, and an additional $0.20 for the vapor barrier, caulking, and tack tape for all seams and joints, totaling $2.30 per sq ft. This brings the total cost to approximately $6,440 for fiberglass insulation. For mineral wool, the costs are $0.80 for labor, $2.25 for mineral wool, plus $0.20 for additional materials, totaling $3.25 per sq ft, which equates to $9,100 for mineral wool batt insulation. Choosing spray foam insulation would cost $6 per sq ft for R22, amounting to about $16,800 for 2,800 sq ft.

Installation of batt insulation and the vapor barrier will take a few days. While it may not be as airtight as spray foam, it will still pass inspection, and many builders opt for this method to meet the Ontario Building Code’s minimum requirements. Ultimately, all these methods comply with code requirements, leaving the choice of insulation up to you.

Roof Insulation

Regarding roof insulation, it’s important to remember that heat rises, making the roof a critical area for preventing heat loss. Properly insulating the roof is somewhat simpler than other areas. For non-vented flat or sloped roofs, it’s essential to use 5 1/2 inches of closed-cell foam with an R-31 value to ensure adequate insulation.

The average cost for spray foam insulation is $8.25 per square foot, leading to a total of $8,250 for a 1,000 square foot area. Modern homes, often featuring flat roofs, large windows, and contemporary exterior materials, are visually appealing and typically command a premium, selling for about 10% more than traditional homes. However, constructing with spray foam is more costly compared to using blown insulation. For example, R-60 blown-in attic insulation averages around $2.80 per square foot. This equates to approximately $2,000 for blown-in fiberglass, plus an additional $800 for the vapor barrier and baffles, covering both labor and materials for vented attic insulation.

House Insulation Costs

Adhering to the Ontario Building Code’s minimum requirements for new construction, the cost breakdown for house insulation is as follows:

  • Using rigid foam for basement walls, R12 fiberglass batt insulation for the basement, R22 fiberglass batts for above-grade walls, and blown attic insulation totals approximately $15,000.
  • Opting for mineral wool insulation for both below and above grade, in combination with rigid foam for the basement and blown-in attic insulation, amounts to $22,000.
  • For comprehensive coverage with spray foam insulation applied below and above grade and on the flat roof, the total is estimated at $32,000, based on previous calculations.

These figures provide a general guide to the potential costs associated with different insulation strategies to meet the Ontario Building Code standards.

Renovations and Fully Gutted Houses Insulation

Having covered new construction, let’s turn our attention to renovations. In these cases, the city mandates that insulation must meet or surpass existing standards. Often, in a fully gutted house, you’ll encounter old 2x4s with minimal to no insulation, offering you a blank slate for insulation choices. For 2×4 walls, contractors typically opt for R-12 or R-14 fiberglass insulation, priced at about $2.30 per square foot. While fiberglass is perceived as cost-effective, the reality is that the combined expenses of labor, materials, and installation time are higher and less efficient compared to spray foam.

For instance, if we calculate based on 140 linear feet of perimeter walls times 30, equating to three floors, the cost for fiberglass insulation would be around $10,000 and require 3-4 days to install (adding approximately $1,000 for carrying costs). In contrast, applying 2 inches of closed-cell spray foam with the same R-value can seal the house airtight in just one day, totaling around $12,600. This demonstrates that spray foam insulation, with a 2-inch thickness, is competitively priced when compared to batt insulation. Furthermore, choosing mineral wool would entail even higher costs than spray foam. Therefore, for renovations, expect to spend about $11,000 for fiberglass insulated walls and $12,600 for spray foam insulated walls, for both below and above grade areas.

These calculations are approximate, and obviously, every house is different, leading to variations in the numbers for each project. However, as an insulation contractor with 24 years of experience, I can say that simply measuring the house and ordering the exact amount of materials is not enough. You’ll need to account for waste, as each product has a different waste percentage. Shipping materials into the house incurs extra costs. If you have leftover materials, returning them will also take time and, of course, money. Installing insulation correctly and ensuring everything is done properly is challenging, even for me after many years, as I continue to learn daily. Hiring separate trades for each insulation type, especially now when the market is down and every bricklayer, electrician, and plumber is willing to do insulation or drywall, is not straightforward. Unless you have an experienced insulation crew, I wouldn’t recommend doing it yourself or hiring an unprofessional or unreliable crew, which can be even worse. This isn’t a sales pitch to convince you to buy from us; we haven’t had a day off. My goal with this blog is to educate you on the correct insulation procedures. Insulation companies typically request drawings from the builder or homeowner and then price the job based on square footage. In my experience, 90% of these jobs go unchecked by homeowners, with only the inspector providing oversight after installation. I’ve often seen installers cutting the back of the insulation to fit wires, a practice inspectors frequently miss, leading to R-values that are less than half of the required standard. Attic insulation is rarely checked for thickness, and it’s common for installers to take shortcuts. Spray foam technicians might adjust pressure settings, compromising the material’s density, among many more tricks from unreliable workers. Sadly, I receive daily calls to correct someone else’s poor workmanship, often more than requests for new construction. The market is saturated with low-quality labor, which is disheartening and calls for caution in this industry. I want you to know that I’ve found the best tradespeople over the years, and I personally guarantee that all jobs are done to the highest standards. I check every job’s quality and rarely need to ask our crew to redo anything because they know the correct way to do their work.

In conclusion, choosing the right insulation, whether spray foam or batt, is vital for your home’s energy efficiency and comfort. My experiences have shown me the importance of proper installation, regardless of the material. Look beyond the initial costs and consider long-term benefits such as efficiency and durability. A well-insulated home doesn’t just save on energy bills; it also improves living comfort.

Thank you for reading. I hope this blog assists you in making more informed decisions for your projects. Here’s to smarter, more sustainable building.

John, Owner at Royal Insulation and Drywall.

Spray Foam Insulation: Does It Have Any Pros And Cons?

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The pros and cons of spray foam insulation materials are quite wide-ranging. We’ll take a few moments to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of spray foam insulation. I will cause a surprise here and say that the pros (there are many) vastly outweigh the cons (there are a few, but they aren’t significant).

How does spray foam insulation compare to other types of insulation? We have compiled a couple of lists that should assist you in answering this question.

Pros of Spray Foam Insulation

  • Our qualified, fast-working and skilled insulation installation teams are able to make your project easy to execute.
  • Our foam products do not contain blowing agents, such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) or hydro chlorofluorocarbons (HCFC) that are harmful to humans.
  • During the foam setting process, no off-gassing is produced after the foam has set. During the insulation process, air sealing is applied to each square foot of your office, which makes it a superior insulation choice.
  • The savings in energy over time far exceed the costs of installing the system at the beginning.
  • There’s a good chance that you will not dread getting those energy bills during extreme weather months because spray foam can reduce them by as much as 50%.
  • In addition to increasing the value of your home, spray foam insulation is also a great way to increase energy efficiency.
  • Foam insulation, unlike traditional fiberglass insulation, is somewhat synthetic and hardens along with the cure process, which means it’s less likely to attract insects (or rodents, as noted above) than more traditional insulation.

Cons of Spray Foam Insulation

  • The foam isn’t designed to act as a barrier to prevent rodents from getting in, despite the fact that (as previously mentioned) rodents aren’t attracted to intuit is necessary to ventilate the building during the curing period (curing is the process by which foam sets) associated with foam installation.
  • In order to achieve a proper cure of the foam (i.e., setting), some off-gassing is produced during the installation process.
  • Foam spray insulation typically costs more than fiberglass insulation or other types of insulation, regardless of the size or shape of the building.
  • There has been some evidence (mostly anecdotal) that termites and carpenter ants are able to chew the plastic insulation found in spray foam and take residence inside of it. The most effective way to keep pests away is by regularly conducting pest control, as well as undertaking pest abatement procedures.

The Working Principle of Spray Foam Insulation

There is a somewhat technical description that goes something like this: Insulation works by slowing down (mostly) conductive heat flow and (to a lesser extent) convective heat flow.

According to the U.S, According to the Department of Energy, heat conducts through materials as it moves through the spoon handle to reach your hand when it is placed in a hot cup of coffee. “Convection occurs when heat moves through liquids and gases, which is way cooler, denser air sinks and lighter, warmer air rises.”

A cooler area receives heat from a warmer one. Basically, the hot air is slowly moving toward the cooler air where there is a temperature difference until it evens out.

Is this a problem for you or your office? Heat escapes from the body when it is cold outside, meanwhile, when it is very hot outside and very cool inside, the warmth from outside tries to get in.

This heat transfer (or flow) is prevented or slowed down by thermal insulation.

As we move on to examine the DOE for further guidance regarding this subject, it may be suggested that heating systems need to be installed to replace the heat that is lost in the winter, and cooling systems need to remove the heat that is gained in the summer. If you properly insulate, this will reduce the rate of heat transport, as you will be providing an effective barrier against its flow.”

With better insulation, your heating and air conditioning systems can work less and this means less work for them. If they spend less time working for you, then you spend less money!

Royal Spray Foam

As a leading insulation company, we’ve designed a system that prevents energy waste.

When we spray foam insulation into wall spaces, crawl spaces, ceilings, etc., it expands as it comes into contact with liquid components.

As a result of the expansion process, gaps are sealed, an air barrier is formed, and the structure is sealed and kept insulated. Furthermore, it can prevent moisture from getting inside, which can prevent mildew and mold from growing.

A layer of insulation resulting from this process is rated as class 1 hour fire-resistant. Other insulation types contain formaldehyde, and spray foam insulation contains no formaldehyde and is not a food source or a nesting material for rodents.

Contact Royal Spray Foam

We provide exceptional service and quality applications at Royal Spray Foam. Spray foam can also provide sound control and fire protection to buildings in addition to the energy savings inherent in the materials we apply.

The spray foam also works well with a wide variety of building materials. Spray foam can prevent condensation in metal buildings and on metal roofs, as well as manage the climate inside the building.

I just touched on a few of spray foam insulation’s many benefits – pros, if you will. Regardless of what the cons are, the pros outweigh and outnumber them.

Spray on foam insulation is applied by the experts at Spray-On Foam & Coatings to protect your property, equipment, and belongings. Just as we were when we opened our doors, our business has been family-owned and operated since 1995.

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions or concerns. It would be a pleasure to speak with you, and we’re here to help! 647-560-8099

Top 7 Benefits Of Spray Foam Insulation

The benefits of spray foam insulation surpass those of other methods of insulate your house. Spray foam has come a long way since it was first introduced in the 1980s, when it was introduced as an insulation option. The following are 7 main advantages of spray foam insulation that you should consider before installing it in your home or office.

Moisture Is Determined By It

Your home is at risk of bacteria and rot when water seeps through openings around pipes and vents. In other words, you risk having costly damage to your home. Spray foam retains its properties even after getting wet; unlike conventional insulation, which must be replaced after becoming wet. Furthermore, spray foam easily penetrates even tiniest cracks and crevices, so water gets less chance to enter your home.

Advanced Comfort

It can prevent temperature fluctuations inside a building, a big perk if you’re not partial to drafts. By keeping the temperature constant in the home or office, a consistent climate is achieved. In other words, spray foam insulation provides an air-tight seal, so it keeps your home warm, dry, and comfortable while it shields it from the elements. Spray foam adheres to every surface, unlike other insulation options that do not.

Improves The Quality Of Inside Air

A major advantage of spray foam is it can minimize dust, mold, mildew, pollen, and other indoor allergens. Whether you believe it or not, these allergens don’t enter your home or office through open doors and windows — instead, they enter through your walls. Besides pest waste, spray foam does not attract insects or rodents because it is not an ideal food source or nest. Consider spray foam insulation if you want to reduce allergy symptoms, asthma symptoms, and chemical sensitivities. There is no formaldehyde released, so it is a non-toxic decision that makes people feel good. It releases no harmful contaminants, like formaldehyde, into the air in your home or office.

The Installation Is Easy

There’s no reason why installing insulation should be complicated, and spray foam is popular (in large part) because it’s easy to apply. Even if you need insulation in a hard-to-reach area, such as a crawl space, spray foam is easy to install any time of year. Using a spray foam gun, a team of professionals will apply the material to your planned area in a non-intrusive manner. It will be ready to use within a day, since the insulation dries quickly.

They Last Longer

In contrast, spray foam, which is composed of powerful chemical products, will perform as expected for many years to come. There are only two materials in it: polyurethane and isocyanate. Spray foam will never lose its shape because these two materials expand and harden when they react.

Despite extreme temperatures, spray foam doesn’t sag or move over time once it cures. Heat resistance is one of the benefits of spray foam, which has a high R-value. You will be able to relax knowing you will not need to upgrade or replace spray foam for several years at a time when you choose spray foam installation.

Provides Buildings With Additional Strength

As a spray-applied plastic with strong adhesive properties, spray foam is incredibly dense. Building materials are glued together, so spray foam provides more structural strength to a home or commercial property. By adding a layer of insulation, you are protecting your home from humidity and wind, and in one step, you are creating a stronger structure. You might want to consider spray foam as an insulation option if you want durable insulation.

The Sound Is Reduced

Spray foam insulation allows you to block out road traffic noise and neighboring rooms’ sounds. Sound from outside won’t travel inside due to spray foam filling cracks and crevices. Insulation absorbs sound waves and soundproofs your walls, so you’ll have a quieter home or office once installed. Spray foam will provide you with privacy from the outside.

If you are looking to upgrade your home with insulation, spray foam should be at the top of your list. Royal Insulation is a professional company that can help. Not only do we install spray foam but also provide other premium services such as drywall repair, painting among others and more.

If there was ever a time for homeowners to consider giving their homes an energy-efficient makeover, now would definitely be it! With rising oil prices expected to continue over the long term this isn’t just good news for us; it’s great news for everyone in Canada who has been suffering from cold winters caused by high heating bills since last fall.

For a full list of premium services that Drywallaid provides, kindly visit the portofolio page, fill out the form here, or simply call 416-639-2445 to ask any questions you have about an upcoming project or to get a FREE estimate!

Drywall Contractors: What To Look For in Drywall Companies (Toronto)

There are certain considerations to make whether you are searching for drywall contractors in Toronto, Mississauga, or Vancouver. Every situation has its own set of rules, so being aware of them before drywall installation begins is a good idea.

To achieve favorable results, it is important to hire the right drywall installation company. A drywall contractor should offer free estimates and a range of product options:

Drywall Contractors Competitive Prices

It is important to hire drywall contractors in Toronto who offer competitive prices, but this is an often-forgotten aspect of the job. Getting an upfront, honest, detailed estimate from a drywall company is always the best choice. They have a strong understanding of your budget and timeline, and are customer-focused. As well as offering monthly payments, they also provide free estimates. When a company charges competitive prices, it functions at a high level of professionalism.

Licenses & Insurances

Always ask about licenses and insurance when interviewing drywall companies in Toronto. Contractors who are not certified, or who are not officially educated, are generally worse. Hiring a professional installer is essential for a successful installation.

Gambling with risky decisions is not likely to be an option for such projects. You have to look at other criteria to determine if the contractors are truly reliable before hiring. Unlicensed contractors still do an excellent job, but you have to check other factors first.


You may be surprised to find that some unlicensed contractors do an amazing job. Licenses are easy to overlook, but insurance should always be a part of the deal. It can be very difficult for a homeowner to get out of trouble if a company is not insured. Essentially, this means paying for an injured contractor and for defective products that are delivered. You should always look for adequate insurance when dealing with drywall contractors in Toronto.

Experience Range of Drywall Companies

Nobody disputes that experience is a necessary ingredient for success in anything, from riding a bike to editing in Photoshop. New contractors will never be able to do the job as quickly or as well as more experienced ones. A wealth of experience also indicates that their services are in high demand. Putting out bad word about a person can cause them to be never hired again.

Respect For Details

Paying attention to the details is the key to completing a successful drywall installation. The drywall has been left unfinished in some cases. Ask about the process your contractors follow to avoid this.

It’s a sign of true commitment if they talk about drywall taping, solving one of your concerns, and explaining the process. You should avoid hiring a drywall company that is not interested in your home.

Drywall Contractors’ Communication Skills

When looking at nonverbal and verbal signals, it is easy to determine whether someone is thorough, dedicated, and enthusiastic about their job. Every drywall contractor should practice open communication and be willing to answer questions.

A free quote can help you decide whether someone will be beneficial to you. In addition, you should be able to reach them at any time and they should address your concerns properly.

The Products Variety

A variety of drywall products are available to Toronto’s modern drywall contractors. The new company should be able to access eco-friendly products, moisture-resistant products, and fire-rated products. They should be able to provide you with all kinds of solutions regarding your particular situation when you call them. With a variety of products, the company can tailor its services to your needs.

For a full list of premium services that Drywallaid provides, kindly visit the portofolio page, fill out the form here, or simply call 416-639-2445 to ask any questions you have about an upcoming project or to get a FREE estimate!