Which Insulation is Better: Spray Foam or Regular Insulation?

When it comes to insulation, spray foam offers the highest R-value per installed inch, making it a better insulator than other types. This means homeowners can save money on their heating and cooling bills. Closed-cell foam insulation has an R-value of 6 to 7 per inch of thickness, while fiberglass block insulation has an R-value of 3.1 to 3.4 per inch of thickness. Open-cell foam insulation is not as strong an insulator as its closed-cell counterpart, with almost half the R-value, but it is a cheaper alternative to closed-cell insulation.

Fiberglass insulation is significantly cheaper than spray foam insulation, but it is also less effective, especially in extreme cold. It is used in approximately 85% of American homes and businesses, making it the most traditional and common form of insulation. However, installing spray foam requires a professional, while fiberglass is easy to install yourself. Between the two, closed-cell spray foam is easily the best insulator, especially in attics where space is tight.

In addition, its moisture resistant qualities make it an ultra-resistant vapor barrier that is impervious to water damage. First, while it may cost a little more up front, aerosol foam, both open-cell and closed-cell, lasts longer and provides better insulation than fiberglass blocks. Aerosol foam can prevent cold air from passing through your home, while fiberglass can leak air that will contribute to higher or colder temperatures in your home depending on the climate. When it comes to water damage, some aerosol foams may even reject bulk water, while fiberglass can retain water and damage your home.

Closed cells maintain their shape when filled with gas, making them stronger under pressure and also creating better insulation. Thanks to its greater energy efficiency and the reduction of utility bills, the payback period to compensate for the higher cost of aerosol foam insulation is estimated to be between 5 and 7 years for colder climates. When deciding on insulation material for the home, it is useful to consider other aspects such as installation. Aerosol foam will stay in place and won't deposit, which can ensure continued performance with little fear of damage. On average, more than 30% of heating or air conditioning escapes when fiberglass insulation is installed.

If you decide to use spray foam insulation in your home or business, make sure your installer has the right experience and takes appropriate precautions before applying it to walls or ceilings. Cellulose insulation is another environmentally friendly option since it's made from approximately 80 percent recycled paper materials. When it comes to choosing insulation materials for your attic, perhaps the single consideration more important than the R value is the standalone value and understanding the costs of installing the insulation. Therefore, even if you are a DIY person, you should use a professional installer to set you up and in the long run avoid the unnecessary and high cost of fiberglass insulation.