Where are the most common problem areas with air leakage?
The percentage of air movement, either in or out, occurs in varying degrees through windows, doors, walls, ceiling, and floor. View this graphic to see percentages for each area of your building.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long has spray foam insulation been around?
Since the 60's, this insulation has built a solid performance record in commercial and industrial applications. Its insulating properties have made it ideal for building envelopes, refrigerator walls, tanks, and refrigerated tractor trailers.
Why the renewed interest in this type of insulation?
Savvy homebuyers have become aware of the advantages, payback times, and investment value of home energy efficiency measures, especially those improving the efficiency of the building envelope. In addition, the spray foam industry has made major advances in the chemical composition and durability of the foam. Improvements in spray foam application technology have decreased installation costs, bringing this type of insulation system within the reach of commercial and residential property owners.
How is foamed-in-place insulation made?
The foam is fabricated on-site with specialized application equipment. A controlled reaction among a number of mixed chemicals, a blowing agent, and other additives produces a wet foam mass. Using a specially designed sprayer, the installer sprays or injects the mass onto or between wall surfaces. This mass forms into a hardened cellular plastic material containing a low thermal conductivity gas. The exposed surfaces of the rigid foam resemble a hard, tan colored shaving cream.
What are this insulation's thermal advantages?
Spray foam insulation boasts high insulation value with the best R-value per inch of any readily available insulation. It allows for more insulation in a tighter space than conventional batt insulation. Spray foam is effective in controlling hot or cold temperatures, keeping heat out as well as in, providing relief in cooling and heating bills. Spray foam also reduces drafts by cutting convection looping. Temperature differences between the outside and inside walls cause warm air to rise and cold air to sink in the cavity between the studs. This action initiates a convection current flowing up and down the walls, especially with fiber batt insulation. Spray foam insulates hard-to-reach areas and provides a seamless layer of insulation.
What are spray foam's air filtration and vapor barrier advantages?
It reduces air infiltration by conforming to cavity shape and sealing around wall features. In the presence of air leakage, fiberglass batt can act more as a filter than as an insulation. Since batt does not fully conform to all cavity shapes in corners and walls, especially at the top and bottom plates, cold spots may appear in these areas. Air leakage can also occur around outlets, switches, and window and door trim. Spray foam insulation adheres and seals tightly in the cavity and reduces air leakage caused by irregularities in surfaces. Spray foam resists moisture, and dries with minimum insulation value loss.
How does spray foam insulation affect a house's structural integrity?
Spray foam insulation remains rigid and does not settle or sag. This means it adds structural strength to a house while adding very little weight. Its solid nature provides soundproofing and insect resistance, and also seals cracks from unwanted gas and odor penetration.
What about building codes and fire safety?
Spray foam insulation meets building code requirements and is accepted nationwide. It is code listed and contains no urea formaldehyde.
How thick should insulation be?
The specific thickness of insulation depends on local codes, personal preference, house location, and construction type. The spray foam thickness can be varied if necessary to complement other insulation in achieving the proper R-value.
How are best results achieved?
Experience and quality matters. The ultimate integrity and performance of the spray foam insulation system depends on the expertise of the installer. Proper structural design, specification review, material selection, and compatibility and positioning of structural components are all factors which an experienced installer will consider for each installation. The thickness of the sprayed foam, number of passes, temperature of substrate, and ambient temperature have a pronounced effect on all properties.