Spray insulation comes in both open-cell and closed-cell varieties.
What Is Open-Cell Polyurethane Spray Foam?
Spray foam insulation is available in two major varieties for use in your home’s walls, ceilings, attic, and foundation. The lightest choice is open-cell polyurethane foam insulation, often known as half-pound foam. The density of the open-cell foam is insufficient to serve as a water, moisture, or vapor barrier. As a result, it can’t be utilized in places where there’ll be a lot of moisture or humidity (i.e., bathrooms, foundations, etc.). In dry locations such as walls and attics, open-cell polyurethane foam insulation, on the other hand, can prevent air leakage while still providing high-R value insulation.
What Is Closed-Cell Polyurethane Spray Foam?
Closed-cell polyurethane foam, often known as two-pound foam, is denser and provides air and moisture protection. Because of its capacity to repel moisture or vapor, this type of foam insulation is commonly utilized as a vapor barrier for foundations and other areas of your home.
Is One Type Spray Foam Insulation Best?
In certain regions of the house, both close and open polyurethane foam insulation can be efficient insulators. Closed-cell foam insulation, on the other hand, is preferred by most builders because of its slightly higher R-value and moisture barrier qualities. The average R-value of closed-cell foam insulation is roughly R-6 per inch.
Most other forms of insulation, such as fiberglass batts, cellulose insulation, and open-cell foam, have a lower R-value. Open-cell foam, on the other hand, has an R-value of only 3.5 per inch. Though other forms of insulation are equivalent, closed-cell polyurethane foam is unquestionably the best insulator.
This means that you may lower the amount of insulation in many homes without affecting energy efficiency or thermal performance. Of course, the additional insulating value and moisture barrier protection come at a greater price. The cost of closed-cell polyurethane foam insulation is typically double that of open-cell spray foam insulation. Prices, on the other hand, have been dropping in recent years.
Both open-cell and closed-cell polyurethane foams have a significant environmental impact.
What Are The Drawbacks of Spray Foam Insulation?
Though foam insulation reduces the amount of energy (and consequently carbon emissions) required to heat and cool your house, the blowing agents used in these products have a far larger global warming potential (GWP).
The high R-values of polyurethane foam are due to the microscopic bubbles or air pockets inside the material. The foam, on the other hand, requires the employment of a blowing agent during insulation to form these bubbles or air pockets.
What Is Global Warming Potential (GWP)?
Hydrofluorocarbons are the most prevalent blowing agents in polyurethane spray foams (HFCs). HFCs are potent greenhouse gases, according to research by the Climate & Clean Air Coalition. They can contribute hundreds or even thousands of times more to climate change per unit of mass than carbon dioxide (CO2). They also point out that replacing high-GWP HFCs with low-GWP alternatives might save 0.1°C of warming by 2050, according to research.
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