How does spray foam insulation work?
Spray foam is sprayed on as a liquid which reacts and expands in place. Spray foam insulation expands up to 100 times to fill gaps — ensuring maximum insulation. Fiberglass and cellulose are extremely difficult to install perfectly — the spaces that are left add up to the size of a basketball in the average home — leaking enough air to fill two blimps each day!
How does spray foam compare with fiberglass and cellulose insulation?
Spray foam insulation is like a warm, windbreaker jacket — it stops the cold air from passing through. Fiberglass and cellulose insulation are like a wool sweater – if there’s any breeze, it doesn’t keep you warm. Even if they’re very thick to give an extremely high R-value, they’ll still let air leak out and increase your energy bill.
Initially, spray foam is more expensive than fiberglass and blown-in cellulose. However, it immediately and consistently reduces energy costs. That’s because spray foam is an air barrier and will block air leaks that traditional insulation will not.
Fiberglass in any form, such as blown-in or rolled, is not an air barrier. It will not stop air leakage that is commonly found around pipes and duct work. Spray foam completely adheres to the wood substrate and sheathing. It is a permanent barrier to heat loss and air entry. What’s more, fiberglass and blown-in cellulose have significantly lower R-values per inch.
In addition, fiberglass and cellulose products can sag, settle, and shift over time leaving sections in the wall cavity and attic un-insulated or under-insulated. Fiber insulations can hold moisture which can contribute to mold and mildew.
Will spray foam insulation help decrease my energy costs?
Yes. On average, the energy savings can exceed the installation price within three to four years. To get a customized estimate for your home, visit www.icynene.com/residential/applications/tools.
Do I need to worry about indoor air quality?
No, you do not. Spray foam actually contributes to improved indoor air quality. Unlike other insulators, spray foam does not have any loose fibers that can migrate throughout your home. Because it reduces air infiltration, spray foam reduces dust, allergens, mold and mildew. Spray foam provides a healthier, draft-free environment with no harmful emissions that can cause allergic reactions.
What is R-value?
R-value, sometimes referred to as “thermal resistance,” is a measurement of the insulation’s ability to resist heat flow. The higher the R-value, the better the thermal performance of the insulation. The R-value is based on test methods established by the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM).
What is the difference between Open-Cell and Closed-Cell spray foam?
Open-Cell spray foam is made up of tiny cells of foam that are not completely closed. The cells are broken and air fills all of the ‘open’ space inside of the material. The foam has a fluffy appearance. It is soft, similar to a foam sofa cushion.
Open-Cell spray foam is a very good insulator and excellent sound insulator.
Closed Cells spray foam is made up of cells are closed and packed tightly together. The closed cells are filled with an inert gas that helps the foam rise and expand to up to 30 times its original state.
Closed Cell spray foam is a greater insulator due to its denser properties. At one inch, closed cell foam qualifies as an air barrier. At two inches, it qualifies as a vapor barrier.
Does spray foam meet building codes?
Yes. Building codes in the United States are updated in a 3 year cycle. If you have questions about building codes related to insulating a home or business in your area, Kirby Slack, your local Icynene distributer, can help.
Is spray foam good for soundproofing?
Both Open-Cell and Closed-Cell spray foam are effective for reducing noise from outside sources by sealing cracks and gaps that allow sound to travel through the walls, floors and ceilings into the building. Of the two, Open-Cell spray foam has the best soundproofing capabilities for media rooms, music rooms, for separation between commercial and residential spaces, between floors in apartment buildings and condominiums, and home offices.
Does Spray foam contain formaldehyde or other toxic gasses?
Spray foams (such as Icynene LD-C-50) don’t contain formaldehyde, HCFCs, HFAs, or HFCs, and don’t give off harmful emissions once installed. Most fiberglass contains formaldehyde, and may emit formaldehyde fumes into your home.
Does spray foam shift or break down?
Spray foam stays in place – it doesn’t settle or sag, vertically or horizontally. It moves with the house as it settles. Spray foam insulation is completely solid when it sets, doesn’t produce any dust, and doesn’t let dust or other pollutants pass through to your home.
Fiberglass and cellulose settle and sag over time, leaving gaps that compromise insulation. Fiberglass and cellulose can be dusty and allow dust and other pollutants to enter the building.
Is spray foam insulation covered under warranty?
NGI uses Icynene products which are all covered by warranty for the life of the building. This warranty is transferable from one owner to the next, a great resale benefit. Check all your insulation alternatives – you probably won’t find such a comprehensive warranty from any other manufacturer.
Does spray foam absorb moisture?
Because the cells in two pound Closed-Cell spray foam are closed, properly applied Closed-Cell spray foam will not absorb water. That is why it is recommended for below grade applications, crawlspaces and attics. In fact, FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) has approved this type of spray foam insulation as a flood resistant insulation material for coastal homes.
How does spray foam insulation control moisture movement and condensation?
Most moisture problems in houses are due to moisture entry from air leakage introducing indoor air to outdoor air. This exchange causes condensation. Because Closed Cell spray foam is both an excellent air and vapor barrier, this source of moisture is virtually eliminated.
How is spray foam installed?
Spray foam is sprayed into the wall cavity in between the wooden studs with specialized equipment. The foam is sprayed on as a liquid, but within two to ten seconds, the liquid will turn to foam and expand filling every nook and cranny, sealing all gaps and permanently adhering to the stud cavity.
I am interested in using sustainable products. Is spray foam insulation “green?”
Yes. Traditional insulation only provides R-Value but spray foam insulation protects against air leakage. This means that homeowners can significantly reduce CO2 emissions and save up to 50% in energy costs related to heating and cooling. On average, the energy savings can exceed the installation price within three to four years. Plus, an energy-saving air seal helps keep airborne pollutants, allergens and moisture out ensuring a healthier and cleaner indoor air environment. Spray foam products work for the life of the building, eliminating the need for replacement or additional materials and waste.
Icynene spray foam insulation products have been evaluated and listed in the NAHB Research Center Green Approved products program.
Can rodents nest in spray foam insulation?
Spray foams do not provide a source of food for rodents or termites. They also don’t make for good nests. Fiberglass and cellulose can be torn apart by pests, and some even use them for nesting.