Things to Know About Spray Foam Insulation

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Did you know that poor insulation is the main cause of deterioration of a house? This leads to mold growth and adds to the increase in your bills. So, without proper insulation, your home will stop feeling efficient and comfortable for you. This can be the case even if you are using a reliable roofing system. Therefore, improving your home’s insulation is the best way to reduce your carbon footprint. You can save money on your energy bills. So the best way to solve this problem is to use spray foam insulation. Here you will find all the details of spray foam insulation.

What is spray foam insulation?

Spray foam insulation, also known as spray polyurethane foam (SPF), is becoming a popular insulation alternative. Fiberglass and other “battery types” of insulation are the primary option for home insulation. Installation may be difficult for some homes as some areas will be difficult to reach.

Spray foam insulation was developed in the 1940s during World War II by the United States military. They used high efficiency insulation for airplanes. Then three decades later, in the 1940s, this insulation alternative was used in homes. But it is only in recent years that spray foam insulation has become popular in many homes as it has become cost effective.

Most forms of spray foam insulation are created from polyurethane foam. It is the same material that is present in soft furniture like sofas, memory foam mattresses and chairs. If properly applied to an area, spray foam insulation provides excellent thermal insulation for homes. This is because it has a high R-value and this is how insulation capacity is measured.

spray insulation

You can apply the spray foam insulation as it can be easily applied in hard to reach places. For example, you can use it in the corners of the attic or low crawl spaces. This insulation alternative will also help you minimize air infiltration by sealing cracks and corners.

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What types of spray foam are available?

Spray foam insulation is available in open cell and closed cell varieties.

1. Open cell polyurethane spray foam

There are two types of spray foam insulation for the walls, ceilings, attic and foundation of the house. Also, open cell polyurethane foam insulation is known as half pound foam. This is a good option for some users as it is a lighter option.

Open cell foam is not dense to act as a water, moisture or vapor barrier. So you can’t use it in areas where moisture and steam are prevalent. But with the open-cell polyurethane foam insulation, you’ll be able to limit air leakage while providing high R-value insulation in dry areas.

2. Closed cell polyurethane spray foam

Closed-cell spray polyurethane foam, also known as two-pound foam, is denser than open-cell spray polyurethane foam. It provides protection against air and moisture. It can prevent moisture and vapor and is used as insulation for foundations. So if areas of your home need a vapor barrier, you can use closed cell polyurethane foam.

Which spray foam insulation is best?

Open cell and closed cell polyurethane foam insulation is an effective insulator for different areas of your home. But most users prefer closed cell foam insulation due to its higher R-value and moisture barrier properties.

Closed cell insulation has an average R-value of R-6 per inch. But the R-value is higher in other types of insulation such as fiberglass batts, cellulose insulation and more. Compared to this open cell foam, the R-value is 3.5 per inch. Closed cell polyurethane foam is therefore the best insulator. This means that you can reduce the thickness of the insulation without neglecting the energy efficiency and the thermal performance of the house. You will find the extra insulating value providing additional protection as a moisture barrier. But it comes at a high price.

Closed cell polyurethane foam insulation costs more than open cell spray foam insulation. But in recent years, the price is falling. Yet, the major drawback of open-cell and closed-cell polyurethane foams is their environmental footprint.

What are the disadvantages of spray foam insulation?

Although foam insulation can reduce the amount of energy used, hence carbon emissions, the blowing agents it contains can harm the environment. The tiny bubbles or pockets of air in the polyurethane give the foam its high R-values. To create these air bubbles or pockets, the foam requires the use of a blowing agent at the time of insulation.

Thus, the blowing agents used in spray foam insulation are hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). These are considered greenhouse gases and are more potent than carbon dioxide (CO2).

What are the best spray foam insulation brands?

Many companies are starting to talk about the high global warming potential of agents used in spray foam products that can reduce the global warming potential. Therefore, the gradual transition to low GWP foam products is important now. This is why many brands offer low GWP spray foam insulation.

1. Elastochem Extreme Insulthan

One of the leading brands of spray foam insulation is Elastochem’s Insulthane Extreme. It comes with a GWP of 1 which is the same as carbon dioxide and it offers a 99.9% reduction compared to other alternatives.

2. Handifoam

The HandiFoam High Density comes with an impressive R-value of 6.5 per inch. It decreases the GWP of the product.

3. Gaco

Gaco Spray Foam Insulation is a high performance closed cell foam insulation. It uses a low GWP blowing agent and contains polyols from naturally renewable oils.

Where can you use spray foam insulation?

Spray foam insulation can be used in walls, roofs, attics and foundations. But you should use the closed cell polyurethane spray in areas where moisture or steam is a problem. But to insulate a foundation, closed cell insulation is good.

After applying the spray foam, it will last up to 80 years. You can invest in expensive closed cell foam insulation for improved durability against moisture and steam prone areas.


These are the things you need to know about spray foam insulation. Knowing this will help you choose the best foam spray for the job.

Also read: What are the pros and cons of painting yourself vs hiring a painter?

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