The Pros and Cons of Spray Foam Insulation
While spray foam insulation has been around since the 1950s, its only recently exploded in popularity as a residential building material. This is in part due to vast improvements made in the product.
In certain applications, like wall cavities and roof decks, it is the clear leader in efficacy and value. But it is not appropriate for every situation and there can be small drawbacks.
Spray foam is the catchall term for many products that have slightly different properties and applications. The largest is the difference between closed-cell and open-cell foam.
Closed-cell foam is more rigid and provides a higher insulation value than open-cell spray foam. It can add to the rigidity of your home, which is great, and is also impervious to water. Being impervious to water can be a good thing, but it can also hide roof leaks, which on older homes can be a concern.
This is where open cell spray foam comes in. It is less rigid than closed-cell foam, and is permeable to water so leaks can be detected in places like the roof deck. Both completely fill your wall cavities and provide excellent insulation value per inch. Spray foam also offers excellent noise dampening qualities.
The Pros of Spray Foam Insulation
The most effective insulation, inch for inch
To put it simply, spray foam is incredibly effective at keeping cold air and warm air where you want it. Inch for inch, it is the most effect of insulation types available today.
Spray foam provides won’t settle in vertical applications such as exterior walls the way cellulose insulation will. Fiberglass batts, which will only work under perfect conditions, is toxic. Spray foam provides a higher r-value as well.
Spray foam seals cracks and crevices
Unlike fiberglass insulation, spray foam fills the entirety of your wall, roof deck, or joist cavities, providing not just a barrier for the transfer of heat, but air exchange as well.
This is important particularly in older homes, where microscopic amounts of air infiltrate living areas and add up to significant energy loss over time. Spray foam will stop these leaks, unlike other types of insulation material.
Loose fill insulation options such as cellulose insulation settle in the cavities it is installed in, making it less effective at stopping unwanted heat transfer.
For this reason the proper spray foam insulation saves the most money per square foot.
Improves air quality and health
Because of its tight seal properties, spray foam insulation improves the air quality in your home and helps prevent health issues like asthma and allergies.
By creating an air barrier and allowing outside air, full of pollutants and allergens, into your home through specific channels that can be filtered.
The air sealing quality of spray foam greatly improves air quality in the home. For this same reason, as well as its anti-condensation properties, spray foam insulation also is a first line of defense against pollutants like mold and mildew.
Spray Foam Insulation is Long lasting
Spray foam insulation can last 80 years or more.
Our spray foam insulation even comes with a lifetime warranty meaning you’ll never have to worry about our insulation crumbling, losing its insulation value or any of the other maladies that can plague different types of insulation.
No need for a vapor barrier
Unlike fiberglass insulation, there is no need for a vapor air barrier, which are finicky, can tear and rip, and cause the insulation behind it to lose its insulation value. Spray foam prevents air leakages keeping conditioned air in as well reducing your energy costs.
The spray foam installation process means it can be retrofit for existing homes as well as new construction.
Because spray foam installation is installed as a liquid that quickly expands to fill any crevice it is applied to, it is a perfect choice to retrofit into existing homes. O
ur spray foam installation crew is able to apply the foam through a small hole in the wall, rather than taking the wall down to the studs for installation.
The Cons of Spray Foam Insulation
It is not appropriate for all applications
Spray foam generally works best in wall cavities, on roof decks, and in crawl spaces and basements.
There are some places, like sill plates, where other types of insulation are better.
In some attic insulation applications as well, cellulose insulation is preferred, because it can be laid deeper at less cost, where settling isn’t an issue in a horizontal application.
It has a higher up-front cost than other methods of insulation
Spray foam is not the cheapest form of insulation at the outset. However, it pays for itself more quickly than other types of insulation helping you lower your energy bills.
At PHS we offer factory direct pricing on our proprietary mixture to further reduce upfront cost for homeowners.
It is not a DIY solution
Spray foam insulation must be installed by a qualified installer, so homeowners generally do not do it themselves.
The Bottom Line on Spray Foam Insulation
Inch for inch and pound for pound, spray foam insulation is the best insulation on the market for all but a few specialized applications.
It’s higher r-value makes it the best choice of insulation products most of the time.
At PHS, we keep prices low, by offering factory direct pricing and custom insulation plans for each home.
Spray foam insulation pays for its self through home energy savings in a short period of time.
If you would like to know more about spray foam insulation, give us a call for a free home energy audit, and we can discover the best insulation plan for your home, your family and your budget.