When and Where Foam Insulation Should Be Used?
August 24, 2015
Foam insulation (referred to as spray polyurethane foam by the professionals) is an insulation product that is installed with a spray-application. The foam insulation is applied initially in the form of a liquid, expanding many times over, and hardening into place as an insulating envelope. This envelope creates an airtight space and prevents the movement of air, as well as the accumulation of moisture. Foam insulation also provides the highest R-Value (insulating value) compared to other insulation products. It's an efficient insulator that keeps heated air or air-conditioned are inside a building, and prevents hot air or cold air from leaking in. Foam insulation is effective in every part of the home (or building), and provides energy efficiency wherever installed. Most homeowners don't realize it, but 30-50% of heating and cooling bills are due to air leakage and/or poor insulation - that's quite a bit of wasted energy and wasted money. But with foam insulation applied, energy consumption is reduced and energy savings are achieved. In fact, where a project budget will permit, foam insulation can be installed in walls and ceilings; attics and roofs; floors and crawl spaces; and especially in basements. And results are noticeable when heating and cooling the home throughout the year. The benefits of foam insulation far outweigh other insulation products. And although the cost of product and installation are somewhat higher, the longer-term savings on energy bills make the project cost worthwhile. With foam insulation the whole idea is to provide optimum thermal efficiency, and that means insulating any space where energy can be lost. Ideally, whether it's the attic or the basement, it's preferable to apply foam insulation from top to bottom, edge to edge. But where a project budget doesn't allow, the next best option is foam insulation combined with another insulation product (the professionals call this a "hybrid" approach).
Attics, roofs, and above the garage
Foam insulation ensures that these spaces are airtight and highly insulated. Energy loss is restricted during winter and summer, and energy bills are therefore reduced. Foam insulation envelops an entire space, and in an attic, everything is completely sealed, including all gaps and holes, and all hard-to-reach spaces.
Interior/exterior walls and ceilings
Walls (exterior and interior) are especially suited for foam insulation. In fact, inside a home, even the walls between rooms can be sprayed with foam insulation - it allows for added insulation, sound dampening, and additional comfort. In some cases, foam insulation also contributes to the structural strength of the walls.
Basement walls, floors, crawl spaces
While basement walls are usually insulated, basement floors are often overlooked. In the basement, foam insulation is ideal - a good application will restrict air movement, inhibit moisture from accumulating, and will provide superior R-Value. And if the floor can also be insulated with foam insulation, it's even better. With a professional installation, foam insulation will provide more benefits than any of the other products on the market. It's a quality approach with a premium product. And although it may not suit all budgets, the long-term energy savings, along with the short "pay down" period, make the investment worthwhile.