When is the right time to use spray foam insulation? By using only a few cans of spray foam, you can reduce your energy costs within a short span of time. The purpose of spray foam insulation is to keep out insects, small rodents, and other pests that look to scurry their way into your home. Spray foam insulation seals the gaps in your home easily and quickly, so that energy can stop being wasted.
In this article, we will be covering, in detail, when you should use spray foam insulations. We will cover the positives and negatives of using spray foam insulation in your home.
How to Identify Cracks, Gaps, and Openings
We covered before that when you use spray foam insulation in your home, you’re going to want to use it in cracks, gaps, and openings. These openings are where pipes, wiring, and ducts penetrate the walls and the floors. You can find them around recessed lights, chimneys, vent stacks, windows, doors, and rim joists. In addition, you should also be checking your basement insulation and your crawl space insulation.
What Type of Foam Sealant Should You Use?
Once you have determined the openings in your home that need to be filled, you should also know the type of sealants that are on the market. Let’s go over them so you can determine which sealant is the best choice for you:
- General Foam Sealants: as you can guess from the name, the general foam sealants are the standard sealants to fill in gaps in walls, floors, around pipes, and ductwork.
- Window and Door Spray Foams: you will use this type of sealant to fill the gaps between the new window and the door frames and house framing. These kinds of sealants expand less than other sealants. This is to avoid pushing the window or the door frame out of alignment.
- Fire Block Sealants: use these kinds of sealants to fill the gaps between floors and around electrical cables. These kinds of sealants are typically required in building codes.
- Two-Component Spray Foam Insulation Kits: with this, you insulate the rim joists and any other large areas with the Two-Component Spray Foam Insulation Kits. This is meant for big jobs. It stops air infiltration and provides about an R-5 per inch. For perspective, products that have a higher R-value provide a greater insulation.
- Eco Spray Foam Insulation: For those who want to be conscious of the eco-system, this spray foam is made with plant-based products. This includes soy. This eco foam spray has less chemical off-gassing during the application process.
What To Do When Using Spray Foam Products
When you are using spray foam insulating products, make sure you are wearing rubber gloves. This is due to spray insulation being sticky. You also want to wear long-sleeved eye protection. Additionally, use appropriate insulation tools and accessories. This includes drop cloths and ladder protectors – when it is necessary.
When you buy an individual spray foam can, it typically comes with a straw-like applicator. You will simply attach the applicator to the can and pull the trigger on the can. The foam then expands as it cures. Do not try to fill the entire opening with only one bead. Then, once it dries, you can use a serrated knife to trim off any excess material. You then will finish by sanding and painting the foam.
If you are needing to fill a lot of openings, consider using a pro-style applicator gun. This will give you more control of the size of the bead and the flow of the spray gun.
Advantages and Disadvantages
Positives of Spray Foam Insulation
In this section, we are going to go through the positives of using an open-cell spray foam insulation. This is best suited for interior applications:
- The spray foam insulation allows for bi-directional drying
- This can accommodate long-term creep movement
- Spray foam insulation is significantly lower than other molding
- You can use spray foam in theater rooms due to it providing sound dampening qualities
Here let’s go through the positives of closed-cell insulation foam:
- Spray foam rejects bulk water, which can be incredibly helpful in fighting against floods
- You can apply foam at a very low temperature, even as low as five degrees Fahrenheit
- There’s a lower vapor permeance
- The bond is strong
The Negatives of Spray Foam Insulation
There are some disadvantages to using spray foam. For one, in the application process, there could be some issues. If you use too much or are not sure of what you’re doing, you risk damage to the area that you are using. This can not only cause water damage, as well as warping.
If there is too much spray foam then you run the risk of trapping too much heat in your home, which could make your utilities bill skyrocket. On the other hand, if you use too little, then you may still have cold air getting in which will chill the house and no one wants that.
Additionally, depending on how much foam you use and what kind of foam you use, you could see the foam disappearing and shrinking over time. You need to keep an eye on this as time goes on – which means you will have to reapply.
Also, keep in mind that if you are not wearing the correct protective gear while applying the foam, you run the risk of health problems. The fumes that come off could be completely dangerous and harmful to your respiratory system. This is why it is important to wear the proper protective gear.
Is Spray Foam Insulation Something You Should Use?
While spray foam can be used by yourself, if you are unsure of what to do, you may want to get an expert to lay the foam down so it is done well. There are advantages and disadvantages to spray foam and it’s really up to the person to use the proper gear, get the right foam, and speak with an expert – even at your local hardware store.
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