What You Should Know About Spray Foam Insulation
An effectively insulated space can increase the value of your home, enhance comfort, prevent damage, and significantly decrease your energy bill. Among the many different types of insulation to choose from, spray foam insulation is one of the most effective. If you’re unfamiliar with what spray foam insulation is or interested in learning more about this advantageous insulating material, we’ve composed a comprehensive guide to supply you with all the information you need. From how the material is installed to the many benefits it offers, here’s what you should know about spray foam insulation.
What is spray foam insulation?
Let’s start with the basics. Before you get into the nitty-gritty of spray foam insulation, you need to understand exactly what it is first. Spray foam insulation isn’t your average insulation material. It’s composed of two separate chemicals: polyol resin and a form of isocyanate. When the two chemicals combine, they undergo a reaction that produces a foam that expands when sprayed onto a surface. This expansion helps the foam fit the shape of even the most hard-to-reach or strangely shaped areas.
After being sprayed, the spray foam rapidly hardens in a matter of seconds and forms an airtight seal. Upon hardening, the spray foam insulation will never lose its shape or R-value.
The two main types of spray foam insulation
There are two primary types of spray foam insulation: closed-cell spray foam insulation and open-cell spray foam insulation. Each type of insulation offers unique benefits, which we highlight below.
Closed-cell spray foam insulation
Aptly named, closed-cell insulation is composed of cells that are completely closed and pressed together to prevent air and moisture from infiltrating the foam. It has an extremely high density and cures into a hard substance after being sprayed.
Benefits of closed-cell spray foam insulation
- High R-value: Closed-cell spray foam insulation has one of the highest R-values of any insulation material. With an impressive R-value of 7 per inch, closed-cell spray foam insulation serves as a highly effective insulating agent.
- Long lifespan: Once installed, closed-cell spray foam insulation can act as a highly effective insulator for several decades without losing its shape or R-value over time.
- Water barrier: Open-cell insulation also blocks moisture from infiltrating a home and causing water damage or mold growth, but closed-cell insulation can also serve as a barrier against substantial amounts of water. As such, it will prevent damage to your home in the case of a flood or leak.
- Pest Barrier: Because pests don’t feed on this material, closed-cell spray insulation provides a secure barrier against these unwanted house guests.
- Increased structural sturdiness: Due to the rigid composition and high density of closed-cell spray foam insulation, it can enhance the sturdiness of the walls in your home and strengthen its structural integrity. As such, installing closed-cell spray foam insulation can help your house better resist damage caused by severe weather such as heavy snow or strong winds and rain.
Open-cell spray foam insulation
Open-cell spray foam insulation is composed of cells that aren’t completely encapsulated. Instead, they’re intentionally left open. Once sprayed, open-cell spray foam insulation cures into a softer, spongier state, and it has a lower density than closed-cell spray foam insulation.
- It expands significantly to fill cracks: Certain forms of open-cell spray foam insulation can expand up to 100 times their original sizes. As such, open-cell insulation is ideal for filling small cracks and hard-to-reach areas where air commonly escapes.
- Flexible: Open-cell spray foam insulation remains relatively soft and flexible even after it hardens, which can provide a tight and secure fit in hard-to-reach areas.
- Blocks noise: Open-cell spray foam insulation acts as a sound-absorbing material, and it’s one of the most effective types of insulation at reducing airborne and flanking (sound that travels inside walls, such as plumbing) noise.
Do you need a professional installation contractor for spray foam insulation?
To answer this question simply: yes. The process of installing spray foam insulation correctly is highly complex and requires specialized equipment—it’s much too difficult for even the savviest DIYer. If the insulation is installed improperly, dangerous chemical off-gassing can occur, which may lead to health problems such as respiratory issues, an increased risk of cancer, and eye, nose, and skin irritation. Plus, the poorly installed insulation won’t effectively insulate your home or prevent mold growth, which could lead to discomfort, inefficient energy usage, and damage to the home.
To decrease such risks, it’s important to hire a professional spray foam insulation contractor if you choose to install spray foam insulation in your home. Below, we’ll give you an idea of what to expect during the installation process.
Process of installing spray foam insulation
When completed by a professional contractor, the process of installing spray foam insulation is relatively quick. First, the contractor will start by giving you a detailed explanation of the project. Then, they’ll prepare the application site by increasing its ventilation and extinguishing any sources of ignition. After they have prepped the site, the contractor will put on the necessary protective gear and prepare the spray foam insulation, which is typically mixed and heated on-site.
Then, the contractor will use specialized equipment to spray the foam onto the desired areas. While they’re applying the foam, site access will be limited only to workers wearing the appropriate safety gear. Once the application process is complete, the contractor will properly clean the area and dispose of any unnecessary materials. After at least 24 hours have passed since the application, you can re-enter the application site unless you’ve been instructed otherwise.
If you’re interested in installing spray foam insulation in your home or commercial area, Paragon Protection is happy to help. We are known as the most trusted spray foam insulation company in the Chicago area, and our team of certified and experienced contractors are held to the highest professional standards. Whether the job is big or small, we will ensure your insulation is installed safely and effectively so that you can enjoy the many benefits that spray foam insulation has to offer for many years to come.
There’s no denying it—when it comes to installing spray foam insulation in Chicago, our team at Paragon Protection can’t be beat. To get a complimentary quote, contact us today.