Why Spray Foam Insulation?
Spray polyurethane foam (SPF) is a spray-applied plastic that can form a continuous insulation and air sealing barrier on
walls, roofs, around corners and other surfaces. SPF insulation is known to resist heat transfer extremely well and offers a
highly effective solution in reducing unwanted air infiltration.
As much as 40% of a building’s energy is lost due to air infiltration. Gaps, holes and air leaks can make energy bills unnecessarily high. Spray foam performs as both insulation and an air barrier, closing gaps that let air escape and add dollars to monthly energy bills. As much as half of the energy used in a home goes to heating and cooling, according to EPA. Maintaining an optimal heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) system can make your home more energy efficient.
With spray foam, HVAC sizing can be reduced as much as 35%. Air leaks that can waste energy and drive up utility bills can be filled with spray foam. Some common spots for air leaks that can be sealed with spray foam include the area behind knee walls, attic hatches, wiring holes, plumbing vents, open soffits, recessed lights, furnace flue or duct chase ways, basement rim joists, windows, and doors. “Cool roofs” are designed to maintain a lower temperature than traditional roofs. They are light in color and reflect sunlight. Spray foam applied to the roof of a building can provide cool roof performance when topped with a protective, reflective coating. Spray foam roofs do not require metal fastening, eliminating the potential for thermal shorts or bridges that allow heat to enter.
Closed-Cell Spray Foam Can Improve Building Strength and Durability
Applying an SPF roofing system can improve a building’s strength. In fact, SPF roofs have effective lifespans that can exceed 30 years. SPF can help create a strong bond to protect the roof and can eliminate water seepage through weak spots. It can also be applied in a sloped manner to allow water to easily drain off the roof.
The bond that SPF forms can increase a building’s resistance to wind uplift. During periods of high wind, a building with a spray foam roof generally experiences less damage than a building without SPF. One prominent spray foam technical consultant notes that “when added to the inside of a structure, spray foam ‘glues’ the whole building together, enhancing overall wind and pressurization resistance.” SPF insulation adds strength and resilience.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has classified SPF insulation as highly resistant to floodwater damage, saying, “These materials can survive wetting and drying and may be successfully cleaned after a flood to render them free of most harmful pollutants.”
Why Spray Foam Insulation? Spray foam prevents moisture and condensation throughout the building, helping prevent mold and mildew. Applying closed-cell spray foam in the cavities of the walls increases the durability of the wall system because of its ability to conform and adhere to the surface upon which it is sprayed. A wall with spray foam insulation is better able to maintain its shape under duress than a wall assembly without spray foam.
Open Cell Spray Foam vs. Closed Cell Spray Foam
The two types of spray foam insulation are open cell and closed cell.
Open cell is a type of foam in which the tiny cells that comprise it are not completely closed. It is typically less expensive because it uses fewer chemicals. While it is not recommended for outdoor applications, it can provide insulation in 2×6 walls and attics and sound reduction in interior walls during new home construction or renovations.
Open cell spray foam will not shrink or settle and offers:
R-Values (a measure of thermal resistance) up to R-19 in 2 x 6 construction
A rapid expansion rate of 150 times its size in seconds
Great sound barrier properties
An impermeable air barrier
An ideal solution for large voids, 2 x 6 or larger cavities, roof decks and cathedrals.
Closed Cell Foam insulation is denser because the cells contain less air and are more compact. Because it is structural in nature, it can be used anywhere in the home—including garages andbasements—adding 300 to 400% more strength to the home and acting as a substantial barrier against mold- and mildew-causing moisture in finished basements.
Closed cell foam is ideal for masonry and 2 x 4 or 2 x 6 framing and metal buildings. It won’t shrink or settle and offers:
Higher R-Values, up to R-17 in 2 x 4 construction and R-28 in 2 x 6 construction
Increased racking strength (up to 330-400%)
An excellent vapor barrier at .1 Perm (minimum 2 inches).
Spray Foam and the Indoor Environment
SPF can make your home or workplace more comfortable in many ways. Spray foam helps minimize airborne sound transmission.
Sealing a building’s air leaks prevents drafts, creating a more comfortable indoor environment and providing better indoor
temperature control. Closed-cell spray foam acts as a barrier to water and vapor, helping to prevent condensation and water
intrusion. Sealing gaps with spray foam can provide a barrier against pollen, dust, and insects, which can be especially helpful in
households with allergy sufferers. Spray foam helps minimize airborne sound transmission.