Advantages And Disadvantages Of Spray Foam Insulation

  • Canglow
  • July 25, 2016
  • Spray Foam Insulation

Spray foam is an incredible insulation material that is applied to cracks and crevices on concrete slabs. Upon application, the liquid spray expands instantly to fill in every nook and cranny, creating a water-resistant and airtight seal that can reduce the energy used to heat or cool your home. Entry doors and windows are installed using foam.

Spray foam insulation offers a myriad of benefits compared to alternative insulation products such as Fiberglass and cellulose. These merits have increased its popularity for a wide range of applications, but there are also some limitations to using this product. Here is a look at both:

Advantages of spray foam insulation

Effective insulation for walls and house ceilings resulting in energy savings

Spray foam insulation eliminates the need for soft/ridge vents, plus it reduces the size of HVAC that you need, as well as associated expenses. In fact, it is not unusual for buildings with foam to achieve a 50 percent reduction in heating/cooling needs compared to similar buildings with Fibreglass.

No harm to your health

Spray foam is known to retain its R-value even in extreme weather conditions, which means that it does not breakdown into toxic dust like Fiberglass. It is safe to use for chemically and environmentally sensitive individuals, plus it does not bear a cancer warning label.

Greater comfort

Spray foam is known to absorb sound from inside and outside the building. Additionally, cold, damp, and drafty spots will be eliminated, resulting in a quiet, serene indoor setting even in the harshest weather. Foam is even used to install complex types of windows, such as awning windows, casement windows, vinyl windows etc.

Eco-friendly

Spray foam not only reduces your home’s energy consumption but also uses soy-based polyols and recycled plastics, reducing your carbon footprint.

Disadvantages of spray foam

High cost

Spray foam costs significantly more than conventional insulation products. For instance, it can be two-to-three times as costly as installing cellulose or loose-fill fibreglass insulation. However, it can offer a more affordable way to set up high-performance homes and adhere to the strict energy codes.

It is not thick enough, which leads to overuse

There are two types of spray foam insulation: open and closed cell. Closed cell is usually not thick enough compared to open cell because of its greater R-value per inch, which requires that installers spray two inches in walls and three inches in roof lines to meet the standards.

Open cell foam fills the cavity completely, making it easy to notice when you have sprayed enough. Closed cell foam, on the other hand, does not fill the cavity, requiring you to spot check in multiple places to avoid shorting. You should pay attention to this when installing the front entry doors.

Interference with insulation

The space between soffit and ridge vents provides regular ventilation in the attic. However, spraying foam between the rafters provides a tight seal that does not necessarily reduce moisture damage.

Moisture damage

As with the previous point, sealing the spaces in the attic rafters will trap any moisture that leaks through the roof shingles. This can cause the rafters and roof sheathing to rot, compromising the safety of the building.

Final note

Spray foam insulation is beneficial for many people, but it is important to consider its limitations and consult with a professional to ensure that your particular sealing need will be fulfilled.

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