When it comes to Spray Foam Insulation vs Rigid Foam Insulation, notably Spray Foam Installation (SPF) is the choice of professionals. Sheet, block or rigid foam can be a competing alternative possessing some advantages.
If you are trying to make up your mind in regard to the type of insulating materials to use there are things you need to know before making an informed decision. Spray and rigid foam both have advantages and disadvantages which may influence your choice of product.
SPF is extremely easy to install in most situations when applied by suitably qualified professionals. SPF is superb at filling any gaps you may have in your walls. As a method of installing, this way appeals to many and provides excellent results when filling gaps, holes and cracks, immediately blocking cold air and moisture.
On the other hand, rigid foam is usually limited to installation on exposed walls. If you are installing insulation for the first time, this may not be a problem. But if insulation has already been installed with drywall, having to destroy most of it and install a new wall may not be worth the effort.
Unlike SPF there is no expansion with rigid foam. Therefore an error in measuring can lead to problems of cold draughts and moisture leaks. Remember the old saying “measure twice – cut once.
When it comes to thermal efficiency, SPF and rigid foam both have high r-values. Both will be able to keep you and your family warm during the cold winter months and cool in the summer. While both materials are comparable, a single gap or crack left exposed or unfilled by rigid foam can lead to a considerable energy loss. This of course means greater expenditure on fuel.
SPF will cost you more than insulating with a rigid foam installation. However, you may be able to justify the greater cost by not having to tear out and replace walls. Further, the extra cost may be justified by savings on energy bills as a result of a home which is more efficiently insulated and has considerably smaller energy bills.
Polystyrene is made by expanding beads and compressing them together. Foam boards are available for a multitude of applications and in a variety of densities. To make the boards, beads with a liquid (pentane) are blown into a container where they expand and are then injected under pressure into the mould which is board shaped.
Polystyrene foam installation is not difficult and simply requires the boards to be glued to the substrate. Different adhesives are required for different substrates. Boards must be fireproofed and this is achieved by covering with drywall or other appropriate material.
Both foam injection and foam board are capable of effectively insulating your home. As to which one should be used will depend on the installation area. Foam boards will degrade in sunlight and can chip and split and are not easily retro-fitted to existing walls.
SPF insulation will be difficult to apply for a non-professional. Foam is excellent to fill existing walls and for repairs but is unattractive unless applied by a trained operative. Use too much and you will spend considerable time trying to trim it. SPF is far more resistant to water than foam boards and is an excellent choice for basement jobs.