The Pros And Cons Of Spray Foam Insulation

by Claude Walters

It's important to properly insulate your house, as this can play a big role in limiting heating and cooling costs and result in potential cost savings over time. One relatively popular option for insulation in the United States is spray foam insulation. Before having spray foam insulation installed, however, it's a good idea to understand the pros and cons associated with it.

Pro: Very Good Insulator

Spray foam, especially closed cell spray foam, is a very efficient insulator with a high R-value. Open cell spray foam isn't quite as effective an insulator, but still does about as good of a job as fiberglass insulation. 

Pro: Provides an Air Barrier

Because the foam is sprayed into place, it can block any air leaks and provide an air barrier in the home. This makes it easier to maintain the proper temperature of the home, which is one of the main goals of insulation.

Pro: Can Be Easily Installed in Hard-to-Reach Locations

Some types of construction have hard-to-reach locations that can be difficult to insulate with fiberglass batts or other types of insulation. A spray-in option, such as spray foam or blown-in insulation, can remedy this issue and make it easier to properly insulate the home.

Con: Potential for Installation Errors

The main potential problem with spray foam insulation is that some installers aren't as familiar with the proper way to use it and install it improperly, making it less effective and potentially causing other problems as well. If the installer doesn't mix the components properly, it could result in the insulation pulling away from the wall and causing air to be able to pass through, or it could lead to an unpleasant smell that may not go away quickly. It's also possible to spray too little insulation or an uneven layer of insulation, which also compromises the ability of the spray foam to properly insulate the house.

Con: Need for a Water Vapor Barrier

When using open cell spray foam, a water vapor barrier is necessary as well as the application of the foam to protect your home. In the case of closed cell spray foam, this isn't necessary. In fact, it can be used even in areas where there are frequent hurricanes because it is highly water resistant

For the best results, get recommendations for spray foam installers from friends or family members who've had the procedure done. Try to get an agreement in place so that if it isn't properly installed, the person will come back and fix any areas where there are air leaks or the insulation is too thin. Contact a company like Specialty Insulation to get started.