Expanding Foam Insulation

Expanding foam insulation is undoubtedly the insulation of choice if you're building a home or adding to your existing home. Expanding spray foam polyurethane insulation is cheaper than installing foam boards. Another reason for the popularity of spray expanding foam insulation is that it molds itself and fills an area completely ensuring that it's completely insulated. Unlike traditional insulation materials like Owens Corning fiberglass batt, foam insulation will seal the tiniest seams and cracks.

If you are considering replacing insulation or choosing insulation for the first time you should familiarize yourself with R-values. R-values are a rating of the insulative properties of all insulations, including expanding foam insulation. According to the EERE Consumer's Guide the R-value "indicates an insulation's resistance to heat flow. The higher the R-value the greater the insulative effectiveness." R-values are based on the depth of insulation used. If you install multiple layers of insulation you will add together the R-values of the layers. Some polyurethane spray foams are rated R-7 per inch. This means 2 inches will give you an R-value of 14.

You will also want to keep in mind the climate where you live as well as the heating and cooling system in your home. These things will help dictate how much R-value you need to look for when using expanding foam insulation.

You can install your own expandable foam insulation in your home, however it can be a messy job and requires the proper clothing, breathing apparatus and safety procedures to be followed. Expandable foam insulation is a two-part product and the components are mixed together through the sprayer. There are some spray foam businesses that have equipment rental programs where you can rent sprayers. Some polyurethane expandable foam insulation kits come with disposable dispensing guns. You may find it is quicker and safer to hire a professional installer.

There are two different types of expandable foam insulation, open cell and closed cell. Polyurethane foam insulation is closed cell. Polyisocyanurate is an open cell urethane foam. The open foam has larger cell walls and air spaces throughout the material. Closed foam insulation is extremely dense because the air pockets are full of gas, which gives it a high R-value.

The area of your home will dictate whether you want an open-cell expandable foam insulation or a closed-cell expandable foam insulation. Closed-cell foam is definitely stronger and has reduced leakage of water or air vapors. This is fine in areas where you won't have a build up of water. You will want to make sure you use an open-cell SPF (sprayed in place polyurethane foam) in your attic so that water vapors can escape through your roof.