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What is Spray Foam Insulation and How is it Beneficial?

 

Did you know that 40% of a building’s energy is lost through air infiltration? Instead of spending increasing amounts on electricity bills, it makes much more sense to pay greater attention to insulation, and the best form of insulation for your property is going to be Spray Foam Insulation.

What is Spray Foam Insulation?

This product is also sometimes referred to as “Foaming Insulation,” The materials come in two substantial containers, one drum contains Iso and the other Resin. The two materials are kept apart until it is time to apply the insulation. At that stage, the suitably qualified installer for foam will mix it and apply it using a warmed hose and a special gun that mixes the two streams to make the foam. In just a few seconds this foam will expand into the selected void into which it is being pumped.

Two Types of Spray Foam Insulation

There are two variants on Spray Foam home Insulation products. The first is called “Open- Cell”, and the second is called “Closed-Cell.”

Open Cell Insulation

Open Cell insulation is generally used for interior applications. A typical use would be for use in wall cavities. Roof cavities, attics, walls in your basement, and so on.

Open Cell insulation is permeable to water and assists with the management of moisture it has other benefits too:

· Does not attract mold

· It is a great product for dampening sound

· It has a lower per square foot cost

Closed-Cell Insulation

Closed Cell Insulation has the highest R-Value (I will explain that term in a moment). The R-Value is around 6.2. This product can be used in both interior and exterior applications. As well as its superior insulation qualities, because it rejects most water it is suitable for flood-resistant applications and is listed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as a flood resistant material. Other advantages of this type of insulation are:

· It can be applied when temperatures are much lower

· Increases the strength of the wall and its ability to deal with the impact

· Because it has a Higher R-Value, it fits better insulation into a confined space.

spray foam insulation benefits

Eight Benefits of Spray Foam Insulation

Cooling and Heating Benefits

Spray Foam Insulation can find its way into tiny cracks and as it does so it not only stops airflow through those cracks, it stops water seeping in as well. But the main benefit is that it stops heat and cold movements. If you live in a cold climate, this insulation will result in a sharp reduction in your heating bills, and if you live in a warm climate it should reduce your air conditioner use. Spray Foam insulation may cost more to install but it will recover that money in utility bill reductions.

Pollen & Allergens

Something not often mentioned is the fact that Spray Foam insulation, which blocks all those cracks, reduces the amount of pollen that finds its way into the house with the airflow.

Bug, Insect, and Small Rodent Protection

Seal all those small holes and cracks and a side effect is that you bar entry to small critters and insects that use them to enter the home. Many bugs find their way in through these tiny entrances in an uninsulated home.

Mold & Mildew

Both Open and Closed foam insulation assists in preventing the entry of moisture into the home. Closed foam insulation installations will have even less moisture entering. Less moisture means there is less chance of the build-up of mold or mildew, which can be serious health risks.

Stronger Walls

Once the foam has been set, it will actually strengthen the walls so that they will exceed the standards set by the building code. It is like pumping strong glue into your walls.

Longevity

Fiberglass insulation will sag and move over the years, and Styrofoam sheets will break in no time. They will need to be replaced. Spray Foam insulation will last much longer than other forms of insulation and the higher cost of installation will eventually be saved.

Green Solution

Spray Foam insulation reduces electricity use, reduces mold and mildew, lasts longer, and therefore uses fewer materials than alternative modes of insulation. It is by far the greenest solution to choose.

Noise Reduction

Not only are you going to have better temperature control, a reduction in mold and mildew, fewer bugs, but you will also have a house that is protected from extraneous noise. Spray Foam Insulation is very effective at reducing noise transmission in and out of the house.

Alternatives to Spray Foam Insulation

Spray Foam Insulation is not the only possible insulation that you can choose. It is always suggested that you consider all possible solutions before making a choice.

Foam Board

Foam board is best for walls that have yet to be finished, it’s inexpensive, and will reduce heat loss through various materials, including wood.

Blanket Batts & Rolls

Fiber rolls such as fiberglass, or plastic fibers. This can be installed as a project by the homeowner and is fairly cheap. The material is sized so it will fit between roof joists or wall studs.

Radiant Barrier

Radiant barriers (also known as reflective barriers) are not measured in R-Values as they work differently from other insulation. Insulation reduces heat loss in the home but radiant Barriers are used to reflect external heat and stop the house from becoming warm, in hot climates. This brings us on to how insulation works.

How Insulation Works

Most Insulation materials function by slowing conductive heat flow. It also will reduce convective heat flow. Radiant Barriers and other reflective insulation will work by the reduction of radiant heat gain. Insulation works by reducing the flow of heat into the house in warm climates or out of the house in cold climates.

R-Values

Earlier I promised to explain a bit more about R-Values. R-Value is a measure of how well a two-dimensional barrier resists the conductive movement of heat. The R-Value is a term used in the building industry for what is generally known as “Thermal Resistance.” The higher the R-Value the more effective insulation the material is. Here are some examples of the R-Value per-inch of insulation in common insulation materials:

Insulation Type: R-Value per Inch:

Loose Fiberglass 2.2 – 2.9

Fiberglass (batts) 2.9 – 3.8

Loose Cellulose 3.1 – 3.8

Loose Stone Wool 2.2 – 3.3

Stone Wool (batts) 3.3 – 4.2

Cotton (batts) 3.0 – 3.7

FOAMS

Cementitious 2.0 – 3.9

Polystyrene 3.6 – 4.3

Phenolic 4.4 – 8.2

Polyisocyanurate 5.6 – 8.0

Polyurethane 5.6 – 8.0

You can see from this chart that foams have the highest value and are therefore the most efficient insulators.

spray foam DIY

Using Canned Spray Foam Insulation

Applying some canned spray foam insulation is not so complex as insulating a whole wall or loft and can be tackled by the DIY enthusiast. It can be used to seal any holes, cracks, or gaps in your home. It is not a complex task and can save you a lot of money.

The most common place where there will be air leakage is where different materials meet. For example, between a door frame and a wall. Here are the top 10 Common places where heat loss can occur include the following:

1. Bricks, siding, stucco, and foundations

2. Where Pipes, wires, and conduits penetrate

3. Holes made during installation of Electric, gas, and air conditioners

4. Door frames and window frames

5. Baseboards

6. Electrical sockets

7. Cable TV and phone line entry points

8. Heat, dryer, and air vents

9. Where water pipes pass through walls, including outdoor water faucets

10.Around the attic hatch door

Tips for Using Spray Foam Insulation Cans

· When using Spray Foam Insulation cans or a spray foam insulation machine, make sure that before you start, that you read the instructions clearly. The spray is going to set very quickly and undoing errors can be difficult.

· Always wear safety goggles and gloves.

· Cover the surrounding areas with newspaper or a drop cloth.

· The sprays are usually flammable so ensure you keep them away from naked flames.

· Do a quick test of using the spray onto newspaper in the garage before using it. This helps judge flow rates.

· If you overfill an area, then you can use a serrated utility knife to carve off the excess once it has been set.

· Fill openings about 50% as it will double in size.

Types of Spray Foam Insulation

There are three common types of spray foam insulation material. Each has its own unique benefits and also slightly different methods of application:

High-Density Foam

High-density foam is 3lb per cubic foot and is a closed-cell foam. The R-Value typically starts at R-6.5. It is frequently used for exterior use, such as roofing.

Builders will often use High-Density spray foam when they need high R-Value and strength. High-density spray foam can extend the life of a roof and make a big difference to energy costs. It also serves to offer protection from high winds to the roof.

Medium Density Foam

Medium density foam is 2lb per cubic foot and is a closed-cell foam. The R-Value typically starts at R-5.7. Commonly used for Interior wall cavity fill.

This variant is applied as a low or high-pressure two-component spray foam. It can help keep buildings cool in hot climates or keep them warmer in cold climates. It is used as an interior wall cavity fill. It is used when there is a need for the maximum R-Value. It is not affected by rain that is wind-driven and can act as a vapor and water barrier.

Low-Density Foam

Low-density foam is 0.5lb per cubic foot and is an open-cell foam. The R-Value is going to start at about 3.6 and it is often used for Interior Cavity wall fill.

It is also commonly called “Open-cell foam” and is used to create constant insulation and air sealing barrier. The set foam is slightly more flexible than the other two variants. It is also very effective at absorbing sound.

Types of Rigid Foam Insulation

Another common type of foam insulation is Rigid Foam Sheets. This is supplied in sheets that are ready to use. There are three main options for the type of foam used in insulation:

Polyisocyanurate

Typically called Polyiso. This variant has the highest R-Value of all the rigid foams commonly used (R-6.5 to R-6.8). Typically, this type of foam will also come with its own reflective barrier on both sides, so that it can also serve as a radiant barrier. This has the bonus of giving a clean appearance.

Extruded Polystyrene

This type of rigid foam is normally blue or pink in color. This has an R-Value of R-5, and will not absorb water, coming with a smooth plastic surface.

Expanded Polystyrene

This is the cheapest type of rigid foam insulation and has a much lower R-value (R-3.8). It is also a much more fragile material and is easily damaged. However, if the area you plan to use does not have a lot of traffic then it can be adequate.

spray foam insulation

Why Choose Spray Foam?

Spray Foam forms a continuous insulation and barrier that seals the property from the airflow. It is used for both walls and roof insulation.

Gaps, holes, and air leaks are a major factor in heat loss from a building and they result in higher than necessary electricity bills. Almost half the electricity bill is the result of heating and cooling costs, depending on where you live. With Spray Foam insulation you can downsize your air conditioner by a third.

Spray Foam Insulation can provide a “cool roof effect” to any roof if topped with a reflective surface.

Spray foam roofs have a lifespan that should exceed thirty years and additionally strengthens the roof from damage caused by high winds. It has been demonstrated that roofs treated with Spray Foam suffer far less damage. This makes Spray Foam Insulation less of a cost and more of an investment

I hope that you have found this brief explanation of the benefits of spray foam insulation t be useful. It is a product that can really save you money.