If you ask the average homeowner what they know about insulation options for the home most will demonstrate that they’ve heard of and perhaps even have some experience with rolled, foil-backed fiberglass insulation. Beyond that, though things tend to get a bit murky. Ask them about spray foam insulation and the few that know of it probably think it’s only used in commercial settings. All this is understandable to some degree. After all, most homes do have foil-backed fiberglass in their walls and ceilings. But if you’re a homeowner mulling over insulation options for your new or soon-to-be renovated home you owe it to yourself to read on and learn a bit about spray foam insulation.
What is it?
Spray foam insulation is a composite material that is mixed on site and then injected onto the bare walls, floor, and ceiling. Once it makes contact with the surface it begins to expand and this allows it to force itself into even the tiniest crevice. In that way, it forms an almost impenetrable barrier against cold air intrusion or warm air leakage. When a spray foam insulation company finishes with your home it will be effectively sealed against the forces of nature for years to come. And in a way that is far more effective than leaky, moisture sensitive fiberglass rolls.
How it Works
Filling the spaces between your wall, floor or ceiling joists with rolled insulation is certainly better than doing nothing but it doesn’t produce anything near the type of environmental seal that you get with spray foam. Even the best fiberglass insulation leaves gaps along the edges that allow for energy-wasting heat transfer. Spray foam, on the other hand, forces itself into every last nook and cranny of the wall and in this way virtually eliminates heat transfer. In fact, closed-cell spray foam insulation has nearly twice the R-value per inch of insulation as the next closest type and 3 times the R-value per inch of fiberglass. That’s the kind of difference that saves you real money.
An Effective Moisture Barrier
When tiny holes and cracks in your exterior walls are left unattended it’s more than heat that passes through them. Water, the most powerful and persistent force on earth, also passes into your walls either as droplets or in the form of water vapour. Once this happens your fiberglass insulation can be fatally compromised. That’s because fiberglass insulation compresses, sags and becomes useless when it gets wet. In fact, your fiberglass insulation could be virtually useless and wasting money for years without you even being aware of it. That will never happen with spray foam. Spray foam insulation effectively seals up even the tiniest crevice and it’s totally impermeable to water. Meaning water has no effect on its ability to insulate. As a result your home is both warmer and drier.
The fact that spray foam insulation creates an effective moisture barrier means your entire house is going to be drier. This is especially true in the basement, which is often times a breeding ground for mold and mildew. Since many types of mold can be dangerous anything you can do to make your home less hospitable to mold is a step in the right direction. Your health and the health of your loved ones will benefit from a warmer, drier basement.
But That’s Not All
Spray foam insulation is capable of lasting as long as your house. Certainly as long as you own the house. And should you decide to sell your home the spray foam will help increase its value and marketability. In addition, the fact that it insulates so well and lasts so long makes it the environmentally responsible choice as well. And of course, once you insulate your basement and attic with spray foam those areas can then be finished and turned into valuable living space.
Before you default to rolled fiberglass insulation talk to your local spray foam insulation contractor to learn more about many benefits of spray foam. He’ll be able to give you a good idea of just how much money you’ll save in the long term by installing this leading edge insulation material in your home today.