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Pros & Cons of Spray Foam Insulation

December 17, 2017

High-performance insulation – the benefit of spray foam insulation

Spray foam insulation is considered by professionals to be a high-performance product. Today, it’s being used in both new construction and home retrofits, with equal success. The primary benefit of spray foam insulation is performance – both in the short term and in the long term.

Another important benefit of spray foam insulation is the flexibility to install anywhere – it has become the “product-of-choice” for attics, basements, and exterior walls. When compared with other insulation products, nothing comes close to the versatility and performance of spray foam.

Spray foam insulation is truly multi-purpose - it seals airtight; provides very high R-Value; and adds structural strength where installed. For homeowners who are focused on improving home energy efficiency, spray foam insulation is the best option, and with long-term energy savings.

The “pros” of installing spray foam insulation

The benefit of spray foam insulation is that it does more than just insulate. With a professional install, spray foam provides an air barrier, vapour barrier, and insulation barrier all at one time.

The result is the ultimate in energy efficiency, allowing the HVAC system (heat, cool, ventilate) to operate much more efficiently, and use far less natural gas and electricity from season to season.

  • air leakage is virtually eliminated
  • an air-tight seal prevents heat loss
  • home energy efficiency is assured
  • seasonal energy bills are lowered
  • ideal for attics, roofs, walls, floors
  • higher R-Value than other installs  
  • moisture accumulation is reduced
  • no need to install a vapour barrier
  • all awkward spaces are sealed up
  • air drafts are effectively eradicated

The benefit of spray foam insulation is best appreciated in the long run. Because the home is far better insulated, the much improved energy efficiency reduces demand for winter heating and summer cooling. Year after year, the utility savings actually “pay off” the original investment.

The “cons” of installing spray foam insulation

While spray foam insulation offers superior performance when compared with other options, it’s considered a premium product and installation. As such, the upfront cost and investment may be beyond the budget of some homeowners. All things considered, spray foam insulation is industry competitive, but for some, it may be necessary to consider other products and/or installations.

Cellulose Insulation

Cellulose insulation is a popular install in residential applications. It’s available in a number of compositions and provides satisfactory thermal protection. The finished install is resistant to mold, pests, and fire – and therefore an ideal option for the attic and roof cavity. The project cost is attractive for many homeowners, which accounts for the popularity. However, there’s still a need to install some form of air barrier/vapour barrier in order to ensure fuller airtightness.

Fibreglass Insulation

Fibreglass insulation is fabricated from glass fibre and is commonly installed as batts or loose fill.

Providing satisfactory insulation capacity, fibreglass insulation is an affordable option for attics and basements. While this product might be regarded as a DIY install, the professional approach is much preferred. Here again, whether in the attic or basement, proper air sealing and moisture control must be ensured for maximum energy efficiency (additional installation is required).

Recognizing the benefit of spray foam insulation is about long-term thinking - the “payback” is a few short years, and the original investment is made worthwhile with the annual utility savings.

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