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# R-30 vs. R-19/R13 Pricing

#1
04-29-01, 11:05 AM
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We are having our basement finished and our builder originally proposed R-30 insulation. When the insulation arrived, it was both R-13 and R-19 and we were told that we didn't really need R-30 in a basement in Georgia and we agreed. The question is, how much of a difference should we expect to get refunded due to this change. Our finished basement is about 4500 SF, walls and ceilings that will be insulated. He has told us that the difference will be approximately 10%, but we've checked around and been told that the markup from R-19 to R-30 is around 50% on average, whether you buy it from Home Depot or directly from an Insulation Company and have them install it. He has contracted an Insulation Company, so in our opinion,we are due the base difference in price between the types. Are we being scammed? We've not resolved this with him yet, but any help would be greatly appreciated.

Jim

#2
04-29-01, 10:11 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Arlington, WA
Posts: 9,238
There are several things going on here that you need to clarify. First, R-30 is an 8" insulation. The only place it could be used in a basement is probably in the basement ceiling. When you say that what showed up was both R-13 and R-19, I am led to believe that the R-13 is for some walls and the R-19 was used in the ceiling. You mentioned 4500 sq. ft. -- is that the amount of insulation that showed up, or the size of the basement ceiling? When you go to Home Depot (or wherever) to compare insulation prices, make sure you are comparing the COST PER SQAURE FOOT, not just that a bale of R-30 costs twice as many dollars as a bale of R-19.

The most obvious solution would be to figure out how many square feet of R-19 was used in place of what you originally agreed would be R-30 (and were charged for), and multiply that many square feet by the price difference (per sq. ft.) between R-19 and R-30. Use Home depot's price for just the insulation. (Forget the labor to install it. That will be the same with whichever insulation you have.) That is how much of a refund you would be entitled to.

#3
04-30-01, 06:14 AM
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R-30 vs. R-13/19 Pricing

To clarify, we're having all the walls and ceilings in our basement insulated, approximately 4500 Square Feet. And you are correct, the R-13 is for the walls and the R-19 for the ceilings. Our builder, who is having it installed by an Insulation Company, is telling us that the difference in price going from 30 down to 19/13 is only approximately 12%, when both Home Depot price per square foot and insulation companies that I've called have quoted me a difference ranging from 40-60%. It sounds to us like he is trying to pocket the difference. Since we're talking at least several hundred dollars here, we want to be completely sure we've not overlooked anything. My research has shown that the price per square foot ratio between R Values, closely mirrors the R-values themselves. So R-30 would be approximately 2.3 times more expensive than R-13
(30/13 = 2.3) and 1.6 times more expensive than R-19 (30/19 = 1.6)

Jim

#4
04-30-01, 10:54 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Arlington, WA
Posts: 9,238
Jim, the only thing I see that might explain this huge difference between the 40%-60% you are talking about and the 12% that the builder is talking about is the cost of having it installed. It's going to take the same number of man-hours to install R-19 as it would to install R-30. And the Insulation Company's price to your builder will have both the labor and their overhead figured into that price. The price for JUST the insulation that you are seeing at Home Depot is for just the insulation.

Ignore the wall insulation. That was figured for R-13, and that hasn't changed. Out of this 4500 sq. ft. of insulation, how much is R-13 (for the walls) and how much is R-19 (for the ceiling. I'm going to guess that about 1500 to 1800 sq. ft. is for the ceiling. I'm going to guess further that about 1/2 of the Insulation Company's bid is for material, and the other 1/2 is for labor and overhead.

If I gave you a bid of \$6,000 to do this job initially, and we change the ceiling from R-30 to R-19, 2/3 of my bid (the walls) isn't going to change. I am still charging you \$4,000 to insulate the walls. Of the remaining \$2,000 (the price I quoted to insulate the ceiling), 1/2 (about 1,000) is for my labor and overhead. That's not going to change. What's left is the \$1,000 I figured for using R-30. If we agree to cut that to an R-19 and that cuts my material costs by \$500, you will pay me \$500 less for the job (\$5,500 instead of my original bid of \$6,000). Obviously these are just hypothetical numbers, but I think they make the point.

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