Insulation FAQ: What is Foam Insulation?

One of the most commonly asked questions we get is: what is foam insulation? There are many different types of insulation, and while foam might still be a relatively new method of insulating your home, it is certainly gaining popularity. In this article, we will be discussing what you need to know about foam insulation from its pros to its cons, where it should be used and more. 

What is Insulation?

Insulation is a building material used to keep heat (and also sound) in or out of your home. Insulation can work in plenty of different ways, but it most commonly uses materials that consist of millions of tiny pockets of air. This is because still air is an excellent insulator, and trapped pockets of air are what provide most types of insulation and their high thermal resistance. At the end of the day, insulation helps keep your home comfortable, lowers your energy bills and helps reduce your carbon footprint. 

What is Foam Insulation?

Foam insulation is also known as spray foam insulation, and as we mentioned it is a relatively new method of insulating your home. Foam insulation works best for issues like air leaks around windows, doors and foundations. Almost all spray foam insulation is made from polyurethane foam. Interesting fact: polyurethane foam is the same material that goes into soft products like couches and memory foam mattresses.

When properly applied, spray foam insulation provides excellent thermal insulation as it has an incredibly high R-value, which is the measurement of how well insulation works. Polyurethane foam is sprayed onto the affected area and then expands. When it expands, it forms an airtight seal and in some cases, this seal can also be moisture-tight. 

Spray foam can be used to insulate a new home, or added to an existing one. It is especially beneficial for small crevices and cracks along the perimeter of your home. Think about it like this: spray foam insulation seals your home in a way that makes it impenetrable from the outside elements. 

Where is the Best Place to Use Spray Foam Insulation?

Spray foam insulation works best in places like your walls, roof, attic and other foundations. It is especially good for sealing small cracks and crevices. When properly applied, spray foam should last the lifetime of your home. 

The Different Types of Foam Insulation

Spray foams are divided into two major categories:

  • Closed cell: Closed cell is a denser and more expensive type of foam insulation, with a 6 to 7 per inch R-value and is moisture tight. 
  • Open cell: Open cell insulation is less dense, with a 4 per inch R-value. 

Foam insulation comes in a few forms: 

  • Aerosol cans with one-part formulas. This type of insulation is ideal for DIY jobs like insulating your doorways.
  • Low pressure sprayers with two-part formulas. This insulation is ideal for smaller jobs.
  • Two-part kits that need to be applied with high-pressure sprayers: Best for bigger jobs.

Which Spray Foam Insulation Should You Choose?

Both open and closed-cell spray foam insulation is effective, yet most home improvement contractors opt for closed-cell foam insulation due to its higher R-value and moisture-stopping properties. While closed-cell foam does come at a premium cost upfront, you will recoup your investment over time through lower energy bills.

The Pros of Spray Foam Insulation

  • Energy efficient: Foam expands naturally after applying it, so it seals off the crevices fiberglass insulation cannot reach. This makes it one of the most energy-efficient types of insulation. 
  • Durable: Spray foam can last a lifetime if properly installed. 
  • Barrier to pests and mold: Spray foam insulation helps keep pests and mold at bay.

The Cons of Foam Insulation

  • Pricier: Because it is highly energy efficient and durable, it is one of the more expensive insulation options.
  • Hard to apply. Unless you are using an aerosol can for a small job, this is a job best left to professionals.

Speak with the WoW Insulation Team Today!

Ready to tackle your next home improvement project in time for Autumn? Now is the perfect time to get your home properly insulated before the cooler months arrive. Get in touch with the WoW team for an obligation-free quote today. 


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