Explore this page to find answers to the most commonly asked questions we get. Our aim is to provide you as the consumer with the knowledge you need to make informed decisions about your choice of insulations!
R-Value was invented to measure fiberglass insulation. In the late ’50s, when insulation became code to be installed in our homes, fiberglass insulation was the only insulation available. In return, R-Value was established to measure the fiberglass resistance to heat flow.
In order to better explain why R-Value was established for fiberglass, we need to look at the definition of R-Value and the three heat transfers that happen on any building or structure.
The Three Types of Heat Transfer:
- Conductive-transfer of heat flow through any given material.
- Convection-air movement (EPA states 40% of monthly utility bills are contributed to air movement).
- Radiation – rays from the sun.
Fiberglass insulation only reduces one of the three heat transfers- conduction. It does not stop convection or radiation.
Spray foam insulation stops or controls all three of the heat transfers that occur on any building or structure. This is what makes spray foam insulation so effective by saving up to 50% on monthly utility bills, better indoor air quality as well as its ability to never shrink or settle.
With the open-cell vs. closed-cell issue, there are two major factors to understand and consider. The first is the nature of the foam. It is either open-cell foam, where the tiny cells of the foam are not completely closed. They are broken and air fills all of the “open” space inside the material. This makes the foam softer feeling than closed-cell foam.
Closed-cell foam differs in that all of its tiny foam cells are closed and packed together.
Density is measured by weighing one solid cubic foot of foam material
The advantages of closed-cell foam compared to open-cell foam include its strength, higher R-value, and its greater resistance to the leakage of air or water vapor. The disadvantage of the closed-cell foam is that it is denser, requires more material, and therefore, is more expensive. Even though it has a better R-value, typically the cost per R is still higher than open-cell foam. The choice of foam can also be based on the requirements for the other performance or application specific characteristics such as strength, vapor control, available space, location of installation, etc.
Both types of foam are commonly used in most building applications and the choice for which to use can depend on many of the factors discussed above. Some foams are inappropriate in specific applications. For example, you typically would not use open-cell foam below grade or in flotation applications where it could absorb water; this would neutralize its thermal performance because water is a poor insulator compared to air.
Closed cell spray foam is best used in ground floors, wine cellars, and masonry walls.
Open cell spray foam is best used on roofdecks, interior, and exterior walls.
We recommend closed cell spray foam on ground floor (crawl space) areas and multiple other applications to provide five full barriers of protection including: moisture, vapor, air, radiant, and as hurricane adhesive/ structural strength additive to your ground floor, outside decking, and other specialty applications.
- 2X6 walls are not required for higher R-value and energy savings.
- Spray foam is applied directly to the roof deck; therefore leaving the attic and area over garage usable for storage and/ or bonus rooms.
- The HVAC needs to be properly sized for spray foam and this reduces the cost of HVAC system by up to 30%.
- No ridge vents or venting soffits.
- Provides superior insulation for metal buildings and air port hangers vs. alternative insulation options.
- Using spray foam for both residential and commercial insulation uses eliminates other costly energy savings techniques and can help meet newest energy codes.
For maximum benefits in our humid climate, we recommend installing a dehumidifier with your system.
- Roof pitch
- Weatherization of windows and doors
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