FAQ - Frequent Asked Questions
How much does Spray Foam Insulation cost compared to other insulation methods?
Spray Foam Insulation is considered to be more expensive than most conventional insulation however it cannot be compared to conventional insulation. When using the Spray Foam Insulation system it actually air seals the building and eliminates energy robbing air leakage and the associated problems with moisture mold and mildew and condensation problems inside the walls. When calculating the actual cost you need to consider the possible need to downsize HVAC systems, eliminate building wraps and eliminate a significant portion of the material and labor costs associated with an air-sealing approach.
What Is Spray Foam Insulation Made Of?
Spray Foam is an organic material developed from products of the petrochemical industry. It is a two component system that is sprayed like paint. The chemical constituents are similar to those used in the manufacturer of many products already in your home, such as upholstery foam and the foam used for pillows and mattresses---although the properties of the foam are different. Spray Foam is an environmentally friendly urethane in which the ozone-robbing CFC's have been replaced with air and water.
How Long Does Spray Foam Last? Does It Change Physically?
Aging is not an issue with Spray Foam. It is inert, and its physical and insulating properties are constant.
Does Spray Foam Insulation Have Building Code Approvals?
Yes! Foam has approval of all four major building codes in the United States and the Canadian building code. In fact, it is one of the most extensively tested insulation products ever. Concern in the 1970's over the excessive off-gassing of an early foam product called urea formaldehyde, and related concerns in subsequent years over the health effects of other insulating products, specifically asbestos and fiberglass, have resulted in some of the most thorough and sensitive emissions testing of a new building product to date. Based upon the results of this stringent testing, Spray Foam met the requirements of the building codes and subsequent re-certifications as required on a periodic basis.
What is the difference between open-cell and closed-cell foams?
Both open-cell and closed-cell foams stop the movement of air and slow down the transfer of heat. Closed-cell foams, on the other hand, have low vapor permeance due to their cell structure. These foams, depending on thickness, may be considered a vapor retarder but not a vapor barrier. In climate zones 6-8 a vapor retarder system may be required on the warm side of the insulation relative to the design of the wall or ceiling system. Closed-cell foams also have a high compressive strength which allows them to be used for exterior applications.
Open-cell foam should never be used for exterior applications. Open-cell foams are more cost effective per unit of R-value than closed-cell foams but do not provide the structural contribution to a building that closed-cell foams do.