A Beginner’s Guide to Spray Foam Insulation
In this article, you will learn the fundamentals as well as advanced topics that concern spray foam insulation. Why do you need to know them? Well, it is good to learn more about the best insulation method on the market. Indeed, spray foam is a winning product. As part of your building, the material works towards achieving your building’s energy efficiency goals. Spray foam is considered by industry professionals to be the best solution that manages to deliver the highest insulation properties at the lowest cost.
Advantages of Spray Foam Insulation
A living, working, or storage space wouldn’t be considered fully completed without spray foam insulation. Spray foam not only helps by decreasing utility bills but by also creating a more comfortable living or working environment. As you may or may now know, by insulating your building you are one step closer to a healthier life. How does spray foam insulation increase living conditions? As we have mentioned throughout our articles, spray foam can:
- Decrease your utility bills by 40%
- Prevent mold from growing on your home walls
- Keep pests and rodents away
- Create an effective sound barrier
- Stop drafts and sporadic temperature fluctuations
These, among others, are the most important benefits of spray foam insulation. If you haven’t already insulated your building or it is time for a new insulation system, these benefits can help you make up your mind and take action.
How does Spray Foam Insulation work?
Spray foam or polyurethane foam is an insulation material widely used to seal cavities on walls, floors, attics and prevent air leakages. That's simple! The goal is to create an effective air barrier that can stop heat from getting out of the building in the winter, and the opposite in the summer days.
It can be installed on spaces around light fixtures and electrical outlets, and also on doors and windows perimeter. Spray foam can be sprayed in new construction, rim joists, crawl spaces, and attic insulation. The material can also be used in existing buildings, homes, pole barns, and commercial buildings.
When installed properly, spray foam insulation will last for as long as your building can. Unlike other conventional insulation materials like cellulose or fiberglass, spray foam does not compress, sag, or settle.
Spray Foam Insulation R-Value
In simple terms, R-Value is the measuring unit that indicates the efficiency of an insulation system. The higher the R-Value the better the insulation is doing its job. A high R-Value is based on the insulation material, its density, and its thickness.
Spray foam insulation R-Value, for example, has an R-6.5 per inch of thickness, followed by fiberglass with R-4.2 and cellulose R-3.7. The desired R-Value can be achieved by using the right amount of insulation and by properly installing it.
Spray Foam Insulation Types
Depending on the installation setting, spray foam insulation is categorized into two main types - Open Cell Spray Foam and Closed Cell Spray Foam. Open cell spray foam insulation is best used for interior applications like attics, basement walls, wall cavities, and crawl spaces.
On the other hand, closed cell spray foam insulation is commonly used in exterior applications due to its durability and rigid construction.
- Is cheaper than closed cell foam
- R-Value - R-3.5 per inch of thickness
- Density - 0.5 pounds per cubic foot
- Doesn’t attract mold
- Sound barrier properties
- Costs more than open cell foam
- R-Value - R-6.5 per inch of thickness
- Density - +1.75 pounds per cubic foot
- Can limit air leakages
- Highly durable and water-resistant
Spray Foam vs Cellulose vs Fiberglass Insulation
To better understand the supremacy of spray foam insulation, we took cellulose and fiberglass, two conventional insulation materials to set their properties, advantages, and disadvantages side by side with spray foam on the comparison table below.
Spray Foam Insulation
R-3.5 to R-6.5
R-3.1 to R-3.7
R-2.2 to R-4.2
Reduce of utility bills (%)
by 40 %
by 25 %
by 20 %
3 to 4 years
3 to 4 years
3 to 4 years
80 to 100 years
25 to 35 years
20 to 25 years
FAQ about Spray Foam Insulation
Do I need spray foam insulation?
If you are a building owner, the answer is yes. Insulation helps to keep your building warm in the winter and cool in the summer. By creating an airtight barrier, insulation materials increase the efficiency of your heating and cooling systems and eventually decrease your utility bills. In some countries like Canada and the US for example, insulation is mandatory. While in other countries, like Queensland and Victoria in Australia, building insulation is highly recommended.
Is spray foam insulation expensive?
Spray Foam Insulation is one of the few home upgrades that can last for decades and ensure a high ROI. The spray foam insulation cost depends on the type of insulation material, the amount of insulation that will be used, and the labor work. Additional services like existing insulation removal can add to the total.
What is spray foam insulation made of?
In order to come up with the highly energy-efficient material, isocyanate and polyol resin are combined into a foam. Today’s spray foam is made of a more convenient material called Polyurethane.
It is a polymer made of organic units and is the most commonly used material for spray foam.
How many years does spray foam insulation last?
If properly installed (which only professional insulation crews can) spray foam insulation can last for as long as your building can. The material does not deteriorate, sag or settle with the passing of time. With little or no maintenance at all, a spray foam insulation system can last for a century.
EcoStar Insulation company is proud to be serving the Greater Toronto Area and the suburban communities with top-notch insulation services and materials since 2008. Our box of services includes spray foam insulation among others, as one of the most efficient insulation methods on the market. Have an insulation project? Simply let us know when you are ready to get started! Our team of professionals will guide you from the consultation to the execution stage to help shape your idea into an energy-efficient home upgrade. Contact us to get a free estimate today.