You don’t need to be a conservation specialist to understand foam insulation; more importantly you don’t need expert knowledge to install it. Whether sealing large areas, small areas, or openings in-between, understanding the types of DIY spray on insulation will go a long way towards raising the comfort level in your home.
R-Value and What it Means for Foam Insulation
Insulation material needs to resist heat to be effective: this is R-value. R value is measured based on the density, thickness, and type of material (spray foam) and it tells us if the material holds a high or low amount of thermal resistance. Both types of foam, closed and open cell, offer different R-values and benefits for insulation.
Closed cell foam
The cells in closed cell foam are packed tightly together, so it insulates better. Because the cells are packed so tightly, the foam also has a high resistance to heat and water – meaning that is boasts a high R-value. Though the R-value is high, over time that number can decrease.
Closed cell, or high expansion foam, better insulates large areas like attics, basements, and garages. FYI: A little goes a long way with high expansion DIY foam insulation – spray only 1″ of this to see it expand 30x.
Open cell foam
The cells in open cell, or low expansion spray foam are loosely packed, and the R-value is lower, but – installed in the right place – this is not a disadvantage for insulation. Open cell foam works as an air barrier, and unlike closed cell foam the R-value of open cell foam will not change over time.
Low expansion DIY spray on insulation expands by only 10% of the initial spray size, so it’s best used in small areas, like cracks and gaps in floors, walls, windows, etc.
It only takes a little information, the right type of foam, and the right amount to properly insulate your home.