Understanding Foam Insulation and R-value
In the construction industry, R-value (resistance value) is the measure of the length of time an object resists heat flow. The higher the number, the more energy efficiency is obtained.
According to the Department of Energy, sprayed foam or foam-in-place insulation is best, being twice as effective as conventional applications of glass fiber batts and blown-in cellulose per inch. And, because R-value is based on air movement and foam prevents all air movement, actual values are expected to be better than a rating of 6 per 1" thick versus 3 for conventional insulation.
Studies suggest polyurethane spray foam insulation lowers energy costs 20%-40%, depending on lifestyle, location, and building design. Benefits are gained with a minimum 2" application. The colder the winter, the higher the R-value needed.
Besides having one of the highest R-values in the industry, ArmorFoam™ polyurethane sprayed foam insulation outperforms conventional insulation because it:
- Minimizes chance of mold and mildew by forming a seamless air barrier that blocks moisture
- Prevents leaks when applied seamlessly
- Reduces noise better than others
- Adds protective strength to walls and roofs to defend against wind and water damage
- Stays put with no settling
- Insulates new structures and seals existing foundations, pipes, attic ceilings and walls, and the underside of flooring accessed from crawl spaces
- Applies more easily and tightly in irregularly shaped areas and around obstructions
These points make closed cell spray foam the choice for both residential and commercial construction. ArmorFoam’s ability to reinforce and reduce potential structural damage caused by earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, and severe straight winds is particularly effective for protecting metal and wood frame buildings.
Should More Insulation Be Added?
Sprayed foam insulation is the obvious choice for new buildings, but what about existing structures? The Department of Energy recommends doing a professional energy assessment. This would include:
- Which areas in the home or building are or aren’t properly insulated
- The type of insulation currently installed
- The R-value and thickness of the existing insulation
Increasing the thickness of insulation improves of the R-value. Spraying the foam insulation twice as thick gives twice the R-value. However, doubling then compressing traditional insulation does not achieve twice the R-value; this removes the trapped air they rely on for insulation. Therefore, space may restrict the ability to properly add traditional materials. Replacing traditional insulation with spray foam will double the efficiency rating in the same amount of space.
Another factor is how well the insulation is placed. Gaps between the studs or windows and insulation reduce the R factor. Higher insulating value is gained with spray foam by filling even the smallest cavities and crevices often overlooked with batts and loose fill.