Is Spray Foam Insulation Worth It?
Fall is just kicking off in Minnesota, which means we’ve still got plenty of beautiful, temperate days to enjoy nature’s most colorful season. But once the leaves have all fallen, it won’t be long before we’re pulling out the big, comfy socks and cozy sweaters ahead of that first winter snow. If last winter found you snuggled up under several blankets trying to fight off the cold, your home may be due for some insulation updates.
In this post from Powers Premier Contracting in Minnesota, we’re looking into spray foam insulation including what it is and whether it’s worth it to invest in spray foam. To discuss insulation solutions for your Twin Cities home, give us a call today.
What is Spray Foam Insulation
If you spend any amount of time researching types of insulation, you’ll learn that there are several main types of insulation available for residential homes:
- Loose fill insulation: Loose fill insulation can be made from any number of products including rock wool, cellulose, and fiberglass, among others. Loose fill insulation can be combined with water and blown into a space to fit neatly into cavities, corners, and irregular spaces.
- Rigid insulation: Rigid insulation will sometimes be used in exterior walls underneath a home’s siding and is then covered with drywall or another finishing material.
- Blankets and batts: These are one of the more common insulation products and are typically found throughout attic spaces and floor joists. They’re usually made from rock wool or fiberglass.
A fourth type of insulation is spray foam insulation, which can be sprayed into exterior walls. The main benefit of spray foam is its ability to completely insulate difficult shapes and hard-to-reach spots, creating airtight sealing. Spray foam works especially well around light fixtures, electrical outlets, and similar spaces.
Spray foam insulation is typically available in either open cell or closed cell varieties. Open cell insulation can be less costly, but it is also less efficient and allows water vapor movement. Closed cell spray foam insulation is the best choice for energy-efficient insulation.
What’s in Spray Foam?
Spray foam is an incredible product that’s actually created by a reaction between two materials—typically polyol resin and isocyanate resin. Before application, these resins are contained in two different containers in liquid form.
When these materials combine as they are sprayed, a unique reaction occurs that causes their liquid volume to expand between 30 and 60 times their original volume. This quality makes them ideal for use as both a high R-value insulation and a packing material.
R-value is a term that refers to a product’s ability to resist heat flow. Products and materials with a higher R-value are highly effective at insulation, whereas lower R-value materials are less effective and allow a higher level of heat transfer.
Closed Cell Versus Open Cell Foam
The terms “closed cell” and “open cell” refer to a product’s cell structure and density. Open cell foams have a lower density, whereas higher density foams are described as closed cell spray foam. The highest R-value foam on the market is a 1.8-2 pound polyurethane foam.
The reason these foams are so effective is due to the highly thermal resistant, low-conductivity gas inside their cells. Due to this property, most closed cell spray foams have an R-value of around 3.4 to 6.7 per inch as compared to glass wool insulation, which has around 3 to 4 per inch.
There are three main types of heat transfer, and spray foam limits all three:
Heat conduction is the transfer of heat between solid objects. Since heat automatically transfers to colder areas, when the molecules of one object or substance interact with neighboring molecules, they transfer their heat energy. Spray foam helps to reduce conductive transfer of heat because of its loose molecular bonds.
Just like in your convection oven, convective transfer of heat refers to heat that’s transported by air or water. By creating an airtight seal, spray foam insulation stops convection from heating up your home.
Radiation simply refers to the transfer of heat via the electromagnetic spectrum through visible light, infrared heat, and other forms of heat radiation. Although radiant heat doesn’t require a medium, spray foam insulation can’t absorb radiant heat, which means it stays outside in the summer instead of heating your home’s interior.
Take Advantage of Spray Foam Insulation
Are you paying more than you should be on your monthly energy bills? It’s time to close up the gaps and keep heat inside your home during winter and outside where it belongs in the summer.
If you’re ready to take advantage of home energy savings and enjoy a more comfortable home this winter, call to connect with our exterior remodeling contractors at 612-710-7283 or contact us online for a free estimate. Give us a call today!