Expanding foam insulation is a method of applying a liquid resin that reacts with air to expand into its surroundings. The resin can be injected into small or large voids to fill the space with a solid foam. The resulting foam can seal gaps and cracks to prevent air from entering into your home. It can be sprayed onto larger areas to provide a thick layer of insulation for resistance to heat transfer.
There are many benefits to this form of insulation over traditional materials. These benefits include ease of installation and durability.
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Although the emphasis on saving home heating and cooling energy has been on attic insulation, exterior walls have a similar surface area that transmits energy.
Homes built prior to 1960 had no insulation or at best R-5. Between 1960 and 1980’s average R values increased to about R-11.
Insulating wall cavities that were empty or under-insulated will save energy. A 2″ x 4″ stud framed wall filled with expanding foam insulation will provide an insulating value of R-22.
Before insulating side walls you need to find out what is in there. Visual inspection through openings may reveal what is already in place, if anything, or an infrared thermal imaging will reveal heat loss in areas that are hidden or have varying insulating value.
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If you are looking at insulation for your home, there are more choices than blown cellulose and pink fiberglass. Expanding spray foam insulation is increasingly popular due to its many benefits.
Expanding spray foam insulation is made of polyurethane or acrylic latex. The foam has been used in refrigerators and water heaters for many years.
Liquid polyurethane is pressurized and released through spray nozzles. When the spray lands on surfaces it expands and foams up, then hardens to a aerated material. Traditional insulation such as cellulose wool or spun fiberglass leave gaps and voids when applied as ceiling and wall insulation. Expanding spray foam insulation fills out to all cracks and into seams even if they are hidden from view. The sealing ability can practically eliminate air flow and energy transfer.
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