Blown-in Insulation vs Spray Foam
Living in a cold area can sometimes become frustrating and tiring. Thanks to the insulation, we get to have our houses and workspaces cozier and warmer. Home insulation is of utmost importance when it comes to improving comfort and energy efficiency. It is due to these reasons, we as homeowners and/or building owners need to do our due diligence prior to picking the perfect choice.
The insulation marketplace is filled with a vast catalog of insulation methods from which we today are going to talk and compare the most popular ones. Blown-in Insulation vs Spray Foam Insulation. From their properties to their cost and everything in between, in this article, we will break down blown-in insulation and spray foam insulation. Read on...
Blown-in Insulation Overview
Blown-in insulation also referred to as loose-fill insulation, is the process that entails filling joist and/or stud cavities, or covering the floor of the attics with loose materials. Cellulose, Rockwool, and Loose-Fill Fiberglass are some of the most popular blown-in insulation materials that manage to deliver a suitable R-Value.
Spray Foam Insulation Overview
Spray foam or polyurethane foam is a sustainable insulation material that happens to be one of the industry-finest. Thanks to its high R-Value per inch of thickness, spray foam insulation has been the method of choice for many homeowners and insulation crews as well. The material does not deteriorate and it is capable of retaining its properties with the passing of time.
Blown-in Insulation or Spray Foam Insulation
R-Value is the industry standard for measuring the capability an insulation system has to block air leakages and thus, heat flow. Understandably, the higher the R-Value, the lower the energy bills will be. With that said, it is of utmost importance an insulation system to deliver the higher possible R-value. Blown-in insulation, depending on if it is Cellulose, Rockwool, or Loose-Fill Fiberglass, can provide an R-Value that ranges from R-2.3 up to R-4.3 per inch of thickness. On the other hand, spray foam insulation has an estimated R-Value that ranges from R-3.7 (open cell) up to R-6.7 (closed cell) per inch of thickness.
As mentioned above, spray foam insulation is considered a long-term energy-efficient practice as it has relatively high longevity. As a matter of fact, when installed by a professional insulation crew, spray foam insulation can last for approx. a century. And that will have little to no maintenance at all.
The same thing can not be said about cellulose and loose-fill fiberglass, which tend to sag or settle within the first 15 years. They also need continuous maintenance to retain their properties.
For the ones who have already used blown-in insulation on their properties, don’t lose sanity yet! If installed and maintained properly, you can enjoy the benefits of blown-in insulation for a quarter to half a century.
Unlike blown-in insulation that can lower your energy bills by 25%, with spray foam insulation in your building you can profit from a 40% decrease on your monthly energy bills. Spray foam has the ability to expand 30-60 times the volume when installed, therefore it can seal all gaps and cracks on your walls. It eventually creates an effective air barrier that prevents heat from getting out of your building (winter time) and vice versa (summer).
Furthermore, spray foam is capable of retaining its properties (R-Value included) while blown-in insulation (Cellulose, Mineral Wool, and Loose-Fill Fiberglass) is prone to deterioration, causing a reduction of the R-Value with the passing of time.
Average Cost of Blown-in Insulation VS. Spray Foam Insulation
The only downside (if we can call it like that) for spray foam, is its cost. It is not cost-prohibitive either, however, when compared to the blown-in insulation methods, spray foam insulation cost is relatively higher. To come to its defense, we can say that the initial investment will eventually pay for itself with the passing of time. Expect the average spray foam insulation cost to be approx. $3 per sq. ft and for blown-in insulation approx. $1.5 per sq. ft.
However, blown-in insulation materials tend to deteriorate, sag or settle within the first 10 to 20 years. Thus, paying less, in the beginning, will result in a total lack of success as you will have to spend more on maintenance, insulation removal, and energy bills will increase. The numbers are prone to changes as there are other factors that will determine the final price. For example, if you want to use closed cell foam (R-6.7) instead of open cell foam (R-3.7), you will have to pay more. Moreover, if you have previous deteriorated insulation that needs to be removed, most likely an insulation removal service fee will be added to the final quote. Not to forget about labor cost and the quantity of material being used to achieve a desired/required R-Value.
Blown-in Insulation vs Spray Foam Insulation - Comparison Table
Spray Foam Insulation
R-Value (per inch of thickness)
R-3.7 up to R-6.7
R-2.3 up to R-4.3
Cost (per square foot)
Approx. $3 per sq. ft
Approx. $1.5 per sq. ft
Energy bills decrease (in %)
Up to 40%
Up to 25%
From 80 up to 100 years
From 20 up to 50 years
Pest, rodent, and mold resistant
Deteriorates sags or settles
The bottom line: It is up to you as a homeowner to decide about the best insulation method that meets your home’s needs at the lowest cost. Energy consumption is an essential factor that is developing the human lifestyle. As such, taking advantage of insulation properties is equally essential towards creating energy-efficient living, working, and storage spaces.
Since 2008, EcoStar Insulation Company has been serving the Greater Toronto Area and the suburban communities with top-tier insulation services and products. Our team of professionals is here to help you with your insulation project. Whether it be a small or big project, slow season or peak season, we are here to help shape your idea into an energy-efficient solution. Contact us to get a free estimate today.Tags: