How Does Spray Foam Compare to Other Types of Insulation?

The choice of an insulation system will impact the comfort and energy costs in Aurora homes and businesses for years to come. While spray foam is the most costly – up to two or even three times more than the price of other insulation materials – it does offer the most benefits – especially in terms of air quality and heating.

If you are unsure whether foam or a fiber-based product, such as fiberglass or cellulose, would be ideal for your home or office, here is a comparison.

R-Value

Fiberglass has an R-value of 2.2 (attic) or 3.20 (wall) and cellulose has an R-value of 3.21 (attic) or 3.70 (wall). In comparison, open cell spray foam insulation has an aged R-value of about 3.5 per inch and closed cell spray foam has an aged R-value of 6 to 7 per inch. Fiberglass and cellulose can lose their R-value over their lifetime; spray foam does not.

Fitting

Spray foam expands to fit in any space, no matter the dimensions, space, shape, etc. This is why it makes an excellent sealant for all of the small spaces and gaps throughout a building. In comparison, fiberglass batts are not a perfect fit when it comes to spaces between ceiling joists and wall studs. Even a small gap can reduce the energy performance and effective R-value.

Air Leakage Prevention

Fiberglass and cellulose do not stop air leakage through the ceiling and walls. Spray foam – particularly the close-cell type, DOES eliminate air leakage. This can save up to 40% in heating and air conditioning costs.

Attic Temperature

With spray foam, the insulation is provided from above the attic rather than below it. During warmer hours, the heat radiation from the ceiling down into the living spaces is decreased. With other types of insulation, the heat is stored within the attic air spaces during daylight, and radiates down into the living spaces. As a result, occupants tend to feel clammy and not as comfortable as they would with a spray foam insulated attic.

Structural Strength

Closed cell spray foam can significantly contribute to the strength of walls and a building’s roof, while fiberglass and cellulose do not. Also, cellulose is heavier and can even cause sagging if not installed properly. Spray foam does not have a significant weight, nor does it lie on top of the ceiling like other types of insulation do.

Mold Vulnerability

If moisture and dirt are carried into the air pockets of the insulation with outside air, breeding conditions for mildew, mold, and bacteria are created. Pressure differences between indoor and outdoor air can force such organisms into the living spaces. This is a problem with many types of insulation, except for spray foam, which provides a solid barrier. The solid barrier does not provide any conditions for bacteria or mold to grow.

Flammability

Fiberglass is potentially flammable due to the kraft paper on the batts. Cell spray foam, if not installed properly, can be very flammable. A barrier such as drywall may be required, unless the foam kit comes with a fire retardant.

Cost and Energy Efficiency

As mentioned above, spray foam cell is considerably more expensive. However, to make up for its high cost, it is also highly energy-efficient when installed in Aurora homes. As long as it is installed correctly, its energy efficiency pays for its initial cost. Contact Home Insulation for your homes spray foam insulation Aurora