Spray Foam 101: Two Types of Spray Foam Insulation
Spray polyurethane foam (SPF) has many benefits over more traditional methods of insulation. However, there are two different types of SPF, both with their own advantages depending on their use. It’s important to understand how the two products work in order to make an informed decision for you and your family.
First…What is R-Value?
When discussing insulation, R-value means resistance to heat flow per inch of material. This can mean heat flowing into or out of a building through various means. The higher the R-value, the greater the insulating properties of the material. Proper insulation is extremely important to the energy efficiency of your home. Insulating needs depend on a variety of factors including climate, the type and size of the home, fuel use patterns and family size. It’s easy to spend more money on insulation than you’ll save on energy bills, simply by not calculating R-value properly. This is why it’s important to seek professional advice and installation.
2 types of Spray Foam
Not all spray foam behaves the same way. There are two different types of spray foam insulation: closed-cell and open-cell. They both carry advantages over the other in specific situations. However, they share some basic characteristics:
- Both are the result of a chemical reaction between isocyanate and polyol resin.
- When mixed, the two chemicals expand 30-60 times their liquid capacity, and harden to create a highly effective thermal barrier.
- Both conform to irregular surfaces and improve filtration of pollutants and allergens.
- Both offer higher R-values than traditional insulation methods.
Our experts have compiled a chart that lays out the defining characteristics of each type of spray foam, so you can make an educated decision about which will work best for your home.
Closed-Cell Spray Foam
- Has R-value of 5.1-6 per inch
- Dries extremely rigid, acts as air and vapour barrier
- Can be applied at low temperatures (down to 10 degrees Celsius)
- Almost zero water penetration, ideal for flood zones
- Adds wall strength and impact resistance
- Ideal for exterior use
Open-Cell Spray Foam
- R-value varies; approximately 3.8 per inch
- Can achieve higher R-value is not confined by space
- Dries semi-rigid with sponge-like appearance
- Expansion creates miniscule open cells within the foam containing CO2
- Ideal for interior use; cells create excellent sound reduction and prevent air leakage
- More accommodating to seasonal movement/long-term settling of home
- Hydrophobic material, not entirely waterproof
- Can be installed at lower cost
Whichever type of spray foam works best for your home, it pays to trust the professionals when it comes to application. Our experts undergo continuous training and certification, and bring over 40 years experience in the home renovation and construction industry to your project. Contact Complete Spray Foam today for a free quote, and discuss ways to immediately improve the energy efficiency of your home with spray foam insulation.