Spray foam is "sprayed" directly onto wall and floor cavities as a liquid, which rapidly transforms into a thick, hard foam insulation. There are two categories of foam: half-pound open-cell foam and higher density two-pound closed-cell foam. The foam acts as a unique air and moisture barrier, the “Half-pound has certain uses like insulating interior walls, and it’s much more efficient than fibreglass batts, but it doesn’t compare to two-pound closed-cell. The "Two Pound closed Cell" does a better job of making the home airtight, better than any other types of insulation. It’s also resistant to mould growth, unlike fibreglass and cellulose, are not. The Cellulose and Fiberglass materials can trap unwanted moisture and organic material, and may eventually support mold growth.
Closed-cell foam is the highest-R-value insulation material available, at up to R6 per inch (the higher the R value of a material, the greater its resistance to the movement of heat). “Using thermal imaging cameras with a blower door, it’s not uncommon to see missing pieces of fibreglass or a two-inch gap between batts where heat can be lost,” says Gwendal Castellan, an independent certified energy advisor who works with City Green Solutions in Vancouver. “With well-installed foam that’s less likely to happen because it’s sprayed on.”
Spray foam takes up much less space than fibreglass or blown-in cellulose. Its thickness depends on where it’s applied, but typically it averages about three inches deep once installed. This give you 90% efficiency at 2 inches of closed cell, and 3-4 inches will keep condensation from occurring. Thats equal to 15 inces of blown cellulose!
With an energy-efficient furnace, you can see savings of up to 40 percent or more if your house is reinsulated with spray foam. That is a considerable cost savings for any family!
Are there any drawbacks?
Not all green Well-insulated homes are eco-friendly, but the insulation itself isn’t. Polyurethane spray foam products may contain soy, vegetable oil or recycled bottles but they are primarily made of oil or petroleum.
Do I have to cover the foam?
Since UV light degrades the foam, it always needs to be covered. To retrofit, plan to remove and replace drywall.
Is every room right for spray foam?
No, all foams are flammable! As such they require an ignition barrier if installed near a flame source, such as a furnace or water tank. Otherwise, closed-cell spray foam can be used anywhere. It’s especially effective in attics and the rim joist cavities in basements, where the floorboards rest on the foundation. Did you kow that attics have a high failure rate because warm air enters the attic and moisture mats down the fibreglass and reduces its R value from 40 to about 12! If you want to add fiberglass atop a two-inch barrier of closed-cell foam will operate at R50. But in reality, there is no need.
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