(Pun totally intended, just in case you were wondering.) Just when you’ve finally decided to take the plunge and invest in spray foam insulation, you realize that there are two different types.
And, look at you…doing it so early! It’s a good thing because you still have time to do a little research before temperatures begin rising. What’s even better is that we’ve already done that research for you.
Here are the basics: There are two types of spray foams from which to choose: open cell and closed cell. Each type comes with its own benefits and drawbacks, so it’s important to make an informed decision. It’s possible that one or the other, or even both, will suit the needs of your home or business. Before we discuss what YOU need specifically, let’s look at some pros and cons of each.
OPEN CELL SPRAY FOAM
- R-Value 3.5-4.0 per inch
- Complete air barrier at 3.5 inches thick
- Not a moisture barrier
- Expands and contracts with building (like a sponge)
CLOSED CELL SPRAY FOAM
- R-Value 6.5-7.0 per inch
- Complete air barrier at 1.5 inches thick
- Moisture barrier
- Increases wall strength/adds structural integrity
These are only a few of the differences between the two. If you notice, the first bullet for each type is the R-Value. R-value is the ability to prevent the transfer of heat. The higher the number, the better the insulation works to prevent heat transfer.
You might be asking yourself, “But, how does heat transfer affect my home’s energy efficiency?” I’m glad you asked!
Let’s have a quick science lesson. Heat moves in three ways: conduction, convection, and radiation. Conduction is the transfer of heat. (This is what insulation minimizes.) Convection is when heat and moisture move. (This is minimized when insulation fills cracks. We will talk about that another time.) And finally, radiation is when heat flows from a hotter material to a cooler material (i.e. your roof to your attic, and your attic to the rest of your home).
So, this brings us full circle…right back to square one. Insulating and air sealing your attic before the temperatures rise is a vital step toward a more energy efficient home. Most contractors agree that roofs and ceilings, especially in older homes, are one of the leading energy loss points in a home. Unsealed attics are the primary entry and escape areas for both warm and cool air. As we discussed earlier this week, regulating your home’s temperature is undoubtedly your best bet at saving money on maintenance and utilities. Spray foam is a cost-effective way to achieve this goal. In addition to saving you money on your utility bill, you will save on maintenance costs on your air conditioner since it won’t have to run nearly as much. Most people experience as much as a 60 percent reduction in their summer utility bills. Still wondering whether open or closed cell spray foam is the right option for your home or business? Come back tomorrow when we’ll be discussing some example options based on customer needs.