Why is it that so many homes are insulating with messy, inefficient fiberglass insulation which does not perform as well as open and closed cell spray foam consistently time and time again?
The answer to this question will be revealed to us today.
And we’ll even compare the two main types of spray foam options so that you can make an informed decision on which type of spray foam is best suited for your insulation requirements.
What Happens If Your Home Isn’t Properly Insulated?
So I would like to ask, why is it that so many homes are under insulated? Do homeowners just not know the importance of re-insulating their homes or adding more insulation? That could be a factor.
A few tell-tale signs of poor insulation include:
It would be wise to hire a professional to inspect your home if you notice any of the above issues. There’s a good chance you simply need to re-insulate your home. There’s nothing better than having a nice, warm home free of cold spots, as well as lower utility bills.
The Advantages of Spray Insulation
Having an adequately insulated home can mean you spend significantly less on your heating and cooling bills in the winter and summer because it will keep you warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. Insulation is a cost-effective way to improve your home’s comfort as well as reduce the amount of energy you use on a daily basis.
On average, homeowners who insulate their homes will be able to reduce their heating and cooling costs by anywhere between 10-40%. That’s a lot of money! Other benefits include:
How Is Spray Foam Made?
As the name suggests, spray foam insulation is a two-component system consisting of polyurethane and, more specifically, polyurethane resin mixed with isocyanate and polyol resin to turn the polyurethane into foam. In this way, an insulating foam layer is created in your home’s structure when the material expands and hardens when it is combined and sprayed through the applicator. It fills all the tiny nooks and crannies in your home, making the structure airtight.
The History of Spray Foam Insulation
While the spray foam technology we’re familiar with was implemented widely in the 1980s, the technology behind this material has been around since at least the 1940s. Polyurethane was developed in Germany in the 1930s by chemist Otto Bayer, and is one of the oldest synthetic materials.
Polyurethane was used as home insulation starting in the 50s, and with the creation of the Blend meter, spray foam insulation began widespread use in homes and other applications at the beginning of the 60s.
Since then, spray foam insulation has become one of the most energy-efficient and affordable options for home insulation today. However, fiberglass remains one of the most popular types of insulation used today.
How does it work?
There are two types of spray foam insulation: open cell and closed cell. Both work differently, but they both aim to maintain the comfort of your home at the same time as reducing your energy bill. The spray foam system specifically works by spraying it directly into the interior walls of your home to fill even the smallest crevices to ensure that your home is adequately insulated.
Upon application of spray foam, it is pliable, but it quickly hardens within five to sixty minutes, creating an airtight seal, which is crucial for insulation purposes. As a result of its higher density and greater resistance to moisture than the open cell variety, closed cell spray foam is better suited for exterior applications and areas with higher humidity levels than the open cell variety.
It also has a higher thermal conductivity, meaning it’s less effective at preventing heat transfer, meaning it’s better suited for interior applications with a higher risk of moisture. Open cell spray foam is lighter and less dense, making it better suited for interior applications with a higher risk of moisture.
There are two types of spray foam: spray foam that creates an airtight seal and spray foam that prevents moisture from entering into the building, making both types useful insulation options.
How Is It Installed?
To install spray foam insulation, you need to first ensure good ventilation or get yourself a vented mask plus PPE and a few other materials, including:
Spray foam comes in a pressurized canister, to which a hose is attached along with a spray nozzle or gun mounted at the end. This nozzle or gun will blow out the foam, covering all the surface area that you need covered.
There must be no furniture, pets, plants, or anything else that may get in the way of the installer as they are installing insulation. The area where the insulation is being installed must be clear of any furniture, pets, plants, or any other object that may get in their way.
Once the installation is complete, you’ll have to wait 24-48 hours before returning furniture and other items back into the space once the foam has been completely dried.
What is the difference between open cell and closed cell foam insulation?
We will explore the differences between open cell foam insulation and closed cell foam insulation once you have a basic understanding of spray foam insulation. Despite each of the advantages (and drawbacks) that they each possess, one may be better suited for your needs than the other, so it is imperative that you weigh the pros and cons carefully.
The Difference Between Open Cell and Closed Cell Insulation
Depending on the material you use and the way it is packaged, the structure of the materials is what gives spray foam the name of either open or closed cell. Open cell spray foam is softer and more flexible than closed cell because it has more space between the cells—kind of like air bubbles or gaps.
While this type of spray foam can be more susceptible to absorbing moisture or water, it has the advantage of being simpler to work with and easier to fill spaces because it’s not as rigid as closed cell foam.
Closed cell spray foam is just the opposite, with no air or space in the cells. This rigidity is more robust, firmer, and even helps strengthen the integrity of the structure it’s insulating. That means if you insulate your attic with closed cell, the walls will be stronger and sturdier than that of open cell insulation.
Open cell spray foam pros
The various types of insulation all have their own advantages and disadvantages, but spray foam shares some of the benefits with fiberglass insulation and other types of insulation, including the fact that it creates an excellent air barrier for your home, lowers energy costs dramatically, and lasts much longer than fiberglass insulation. Therefore, it will ultimately boil down to a few factors.
Is your home to be code-compliant, and if it is, you may want to invest in closed-cell foam, which has a higher R-value of But then again, you may not be up to code, and in that case, you may want to invest in open-cell foam, which has a higher R-value of 7.
Open cell spray foam can get into all those nooks and crannies that closed cell simply cannot. It’s a great flexible option that gets into all those hard-to-reach spaces in your attic or walls?
Do you want a more secure structure and stronger walls? Then closed cell is your best option. Its immense density and hardening abilities can actually strengthen anything it’s installed within.
In terms of cost, open cell is much more affordable than closed cell, but it doesn’t have the same longevity or ability to insulate in extreme temperatures. This is why you should take both into account to decide which is the best investment for you.
Things to look out for when insulating your home
The most important thing is that no matter which type of spray foam insulation you choose, it has to be installed correctly. And choosing a contractor experienced in the proper techniques is vital to ensuring your home gets the energy savings and proper insulation it needs.
With a thorough whole-home assessment, our team will find a solution to bring you cost savings, financial incentives, and a more efficient home. After a thorough whole-home assessment, our team will find a solution to bring you cost savings, financial incentives, and a more efficient home.