Spray foam insulation refers to a variety of two-part chemicals that are mixed to provide a durable, highly insulating product that “fits” into many applications. Spray foam is also more expensive, somewhat toxic to install, and has unique properties when compared to other insulation products. Specifically, some types of spray foam seal out moisture vapor as well as air leakage, and some do not.
The difference between the two has a big impact on project costs, and on where spray foam should and should not be used. Using the wrong type of foam, or not understanding how the foam that is used affects the rest of the building, may cause serious building health and durability. We strongly encourage you to talk with us about a comprehensive energy audit prior to performing insulation work to avoid unexpected building science issues.
Spray foam can be useful in many applications, however it is distinctly not a “cure-all” for high insulation values wherever you want them. The insulating value of spray foam insulation products degrades over time, check out this great article. Spray foam is made from petroleum byproducts and has both high global warming potential, and high embodied energy content. Plus, if your goal is a high level of insulation, spray foam gets very expensive, very quickly when applied in significant thickness.
We use two different densities of polyurethane foams and tend to recommend spray foam as a last resort for many of our projects. In many cases, customers are often pleasantly surprised when we work with them or their architect to reduce the use of spray foam and still provide a comfortable and energy efficient outcome. While we are still getting our blog fully up and running, Wikipedia has a great article to help you learn more about this product here. We offer expert planning and installation for several types of spray foam products. Call us to discuss your project.