Spray Foam Insulation Houston is a great way to cut home energy bills by stopping air leaks. It also creates a barrier between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, saving you money year-round.
However, improper spray foam installation can lead to rotted framing and toxic mold. This is why hiring qualified professionals for the job is so important.
Most homeowners know that insulation can help keep their home at a comfortable temperature while reducing heating and cooling costs. However, many don’t know that spray foam can also create a tight seal to prevent air leaks, which are common in homes with traditional insulation materials. Air leaks account for around 30 percent of a homeowner’s energy bill, and creating an air seal can reduce those costs significantly.
The reason that spray foam creates an air seal is that it can fill in nooks and crannies that traditional insulation can’t. Standard insulation is composed of either cotton, fiberglass, or polystyrene. Each of these materials has its advantages, but none can create an air seal in the same way that spray foam can.
Aside from reducing your energy bills, an air seal can also reduce contaminants and allergens in your home. Gaps in your insulation can let in dust, pollen, mold, and other pollutants that can be hard on your respiratory system. Spray and injection foam can create an air seal that can maintain a stable temperature in your home, keeping those contaminants out and helping you breathe easier.
Closed-cell and open-cell spray foam are both made with polyurethane, but they have different properties. The closed-cell foam is denser, with high-density cells filled with a gas to help it expand, while the open-cell foam has lower density with a spongy texture. The low density of the open-cell insulation allows it to fill a wider range of spaces.
Open-cell and closed-cell foam are effective at sealing gaps, but there may be better choices for some applications. The type of foam that is best for your project will depend on the area where it will be installed and how long you want to stay in your house while it is insulating.
Open-cell foam is great for open walls in older homes or new construction projects. It can also be applied to small gaps where studs meet, in areas that are irregularly shaped, or where obstructions are present. Closed-cell spray foam can be used in similar situations, but it is less versatile than open-cell insulation.
When it comes to insulating your home, moisture is one of the main concerns that most homeowners have. Insulation spray foam addresses the issue of moisture by not only acting as thermal insulation and as an air and vapor barrier. This helps to limit water vapor diffusion into the home and is also a requirement by most building codes for homes in certain climate zones.
When spray foam is installed, two liquids are combined during a chemical reaction to create polyurethane insulation and an effective moisture barrier. Unlike fibrous insulation products such as cellulose and fiberglass, spray foam does not soak up moisture. This is important because if moisture penetrates a home, it can affect the integrity of the home’s structure and cause mold and wood rot problems.
In addition, vapor barriers also help to prevent heat loss by slowing the movement of water vapor into or out of the home. This is particularly beneficial in areas that experience extreme temperatures and can lead to the need for a whole-home heating and cooling system.
While closed-cell spray foam is the best option for a homeowner concerned about moisture and vapor, open-cell spray foam can also serve as an effective vapor barrier if a vapor retarder is placed on top of it. Some open-cell spray foam products also include a small percentage of non-toxic, plant-based oils such as soy and vegetable to make the product more environmentally friendly.
Ultimately, homeowners should consult with professional insulation installers to determine which type of spray foam is the best choice for their home. Closed-cell spray foam is the more expensive option but is physically stronger, provides a higher R-value, and offers an air and vapor barrier in one. However, open-cell spray foam is a cost-effective and effective alternative to traditional batt insulation. It can be used in basement rim joists, crawl spaces, attics, knee walls, and bonus rooms. The key to any successful spray foam installation is proper preparation of the area to be insulated. This includes cleaning the surface to be sprayed and protecting surfaces that should not come in contact with the spray foam, such as windows and flooring.
When spray foam is sprayed into the open cavities of walls, attics, crawl spaces, and rim joists, it fills all the nooks and crannies, making an airtight seal that prevents hot and cold air from moving through the thermal envelope and creating costly energy leaks. Air infiltration is responsible for up to 30% of the energy consumed by homes and commercial buildings. It also causes moisture problems, reduces HVAC system efficiency, and allows pests and pollutants to enter the building.
The high R-value of insulation spray foam stops heat from escaping the home and helps to keep the internal temperatures stable. This reduces the workload of your heating and cooling systems, allowing them to operate at more optimal levels, which can significantly lower your energy bills.
Spray foam insulation is a great sound barrier as it effectively blocks outside noises from entering your house. The dense nature of the insulation also makes it an excellent thermal insulator.
Spray foam comprises two liquids that combine through a chemical reaction to form polyurethane. The chemicals used to make this happen are toxic and dangerous. The main ingredient is isocyanate, which is derived from the highly poisonous chemical methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI). MDI releases a disturbing concoction of toxic fumes that contain carcinogens, bio-accumulative toxicants, and endocrine disruptors. The other liquid that forms the spray foam is a water-based blowing agent, typically having a few percentage points of GMO soy or plant-based oil for greenwashing PR purposes.
In addition to the air quality issues from spray foam, the toxins in the blowing agents also contribute to climate change. However, the new HFO blowing agents used in some spray foam insulation have a much lower Global Warming Potential (GWP) than the traditional MDI-based ones.
Another benefit of insulating your house with spray foam is improving indoor air quality. The tight seal created by the foam prevents drafts and keeps out insects, rodents, and dust mites. It also means that your HVAC filters won’t get clogged up with as many particles of debris, reducing the time and energy they have to spend working harder to maintain a comfortable temperature in your home.
Spray foam insulation is a long-lasting material that will not degrade over time like other types of insulation. It is created from 2 liquid components that chemically react to expand and harden into a protective barrier along your walls and ceilings. This durable material is a great way to add energy efficiency to your home, reducing heating and cooling costs. Spray foam insulation also helps to prevent moisture from penetrating your walls and causing mold and other damage. It will even help to block out noise from outside and other rooms in your home.
This type of insulation is a green building material and can be used in homes that wish to meet energy codes or net-zero energy construction standards. It is a very effective insulator that is more efficient than fiberglass or cellulose, providing an R-value of between 3.2 and 6.5 per inch. It is sprayed directly onto roof tiles, concrete slabs, wall cavities, or holes drilled into walls.
Polyurethane foam is available in open or closed-cell varieties. The difference is in the makeup of the foam; open-cell SPF has a loose structure, which allows air to flow through it and increase its density. Closed-cell foam has cells that are closed off from air and moisture, which creates a much denser and more rigid insulating material.
The type of SPF to use is determined by application and energy efficiency requirements. Closed-cell SPF offers a higher R-value, as well as a stronger and more water-resistant material than open-cell foam. It is also a very cost-effective solution, as it reduces the material needed to achieve your required energy efficiency levels.
Choosing the right spray foam insulation contractor is very important, as it is best applied by professionals who have extensive experience in the field. They know how to mix the chemicals properly to ensure a smooth and even application that will not sag or expand too much when it hardens. They will also learn how to apply the SPF in layers to avoid voids or weak spots that could allow moisture and pests to enter the home.