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All About Spray Foam Insulation

Bill R. from Northern Michigan wrote:

Hi Itchy

What do you think of foam insulation?

I just bought a old house and guess what? There is no floor or attic insulation. I've heard of foam insulation but am not familiar with it. Have you ever used it?

There are spray foam insulation kits on the market for do it yourself home applications. Personally I've only used foam insulation in the rough framing stage of the home to seal air leaks in the home, such as around windows, doors and plumbing. I don't have any experience in actually filling wall cavities or insulating floors or attics with foam insulation. 

If you opt to do it yourself I would definitely read the directions carefully. Keep in mind this stuff expands. You would want to start off with a small amount to determine how much it will expand and then gradually increase it to the correct amount. If you overfill areas that are to be later covered with drywall you will need to trim it using a knife or saw.

Spray foam insulation has several advantages over traditional fiberglass insulation. Made from polyurethane it is foam bubbles used for insulating floors, walls and attics:

* Since it has the ability to fill all of the cracks and gaps in the coverage area you can get a better seal and this will help prevent insects from entering your home.

* Reduces the amount of winter cold air and hot summer air entering your home.

* This stuff adheres to almost any surface.

* Generally regarded as non-toxic and many spray foams have a lifetime guarantee.

But it also has disadvantages: 

* It is generally more costly than fiberglass insulation.

* Because it expands after applied it could potentially cause damage if not applied correctly.

* The application is more messy. As an example excess foam insulation will need to be trimmed from wall cavities to allow a flush surface for drywall applications.

But, overall I would give it a good rating. I can see where it would be much easier to use on areas such as under floors and cathedral ceilings as it adheres so well and there is no need to use supports to keep it in place. The newer spray foam products today also have a much better fire rating making it a safer product than it used to be years ago.

Related Tips and Advice:

How To Insulate A Cathedral Ceiling
How To Apply Wetspray Insulation
How To Insulate A Skylight

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