Foam insulation is made up of a polymer (such as polyurethane or modified urethane) and a highly reactive foaming agent. The two components are kept separate until they reach the nozzle of the spraying machine when they quickly react creating a substance that can expand up to 100 times its original size. |
The foam is sprayed either directly onto the surface or through holes (in the case of retro-fitting) and expands to fill even the smallest nooks and crannies making an air-tight seal and thus eliminating the escape of air, energy, and money.
There are two types of spray foam insulators: open-cell (isocyanurate) and closed-cell (polyurethane). Open-cell types allow for the infiltration of vapor, while the closed-cell provides superior insulation and serves as a vapor barrier.
Each type has its advantages in different situations. Review the following advantages and disadvantages to see if this material is right for you.
Advantages of spray insulators: • They have higher R-values per inch than traditional batted fiberglass. R-value is the measurement of thermal resistance used in the construction industry today. The higher the number a material is, the more effectively it insulates. • It blocks air flow by making a tight seal around wires, electrical boxes, and in all tight spaces. • It can serve as a vapor barrier when a closed-cell variety is used. • It acts as a sound dampener as well. • It can be used to retrofit a home for thermal efficiency. • When retrofitting, it is the cleanest (no dust) and most effective option. • It can actually improve the structural stability of the building. • It can be used in places where traditional materials cannot such as between rafters and joints. • When the house expands and contracts the material does the same, always providing that air-tight seal. • It can be applied in small quantities. • It does not shrink, loose shape, or biodegrade. • Some kinds are fireproof.
Disadvantages of Spray Foam Insulators: • Installation is difficult and requires special equipment. A small area may be attempted by a novice, but most jobs ought to be handled by a certified installer. They have the experience and the ability to the wall cavity without too much over-spray. • Because a professional installer is needed, this material can be expensive. The installed cost generally ranges from $1.25 to $2.25 per square foot, depending on wall thickness and type of foam. This cost is typically higher than the price of traditional materials. • When burned, they release toxic fumes • Some use HCFCs, which are believed to deplete the ozone layer. • It is made from fossil fuels. • It contains hazardous chemicals which can become a danger to humans and the environment during transportation and installation. • Installation can be dangerous and visual blindness can occur without the proper eye protection. • In some cases it may be difficult to retrofit a home with because of the chemicals used.
Now it is becoming increasingly popular to insulate your home with spray foam insulation. However installing this type of insulation is not that easy, and should be left to professionals.
Spray foam insulation is a safe alternative to other insulation materials. To safely install this energy-efficient, noise–reducing, and versatile material in your home, get a spray foam insulation kit at www.apexfoam.com.
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