WHY SPRAY FOAM
Spray polyurethane foam (SPF) is spray-applied plastic that can form a continuous insulation and air sealing barrier on walls, roofs, around corners and other surfaces. SPF insulation is known to resist heat transfer extremely well and offers a highly effective solution in reducing unwanted air infiltration
Some Benefits of Spray Foam Insulation
- Increases comfort
- Impedes entry of insects and pests where it is applied
- Minimizes air infiltration that can generate condensation and result in mold growth
- Seals small cracks to help insulate large areas, such as walls and roofs
- Resists settling due to its general stability
- Can qualify for utility rebates, tax credits and green certification
Spray Foam is an Energy-Efficient Solution
As much as 40% of a building energy is lost due to air infiltration. Gaps, holes and air leaks can make energy bills unnecessarily high. Spray foam performs as both insulation and an air barrier, closing gaps that let air escape and add dollars to monthly energy bills.
As much as half of the energy used in a home goes to heating and cooling, according to EPA1. Maintaining an optimal heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) system can make your home more energy efficient. With spray foam, HVAC sizing can be reduced as much as 35%
Air leaks that can waste energy and drive up utility bills can be filled with spray foam. Some common spots for air leaks that can be sealed with spray foam include the area behind kneewalls, attic hatches, wiring holes, plumbing vents, open soffits, recessed can lights, furnace flue or duct chaseways, basement rim joists, windows and doors.
Closed-Cell Spray Foam can Improve Building Strength and Durability
SPF insulation adds strength and resilience. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has classified SPF insulation as highly resistant to floodwater damage, saying “These materials can survive wetting and drying and may be successfully cleaned after a flood to render them free of most harmful pollutants.”
Spray foam prevents moisture and condensation throughout the building helping prevent mold and mildew. Applying closed-cell spray foam in the cavities of the walls increases durability of the wall system because of its ability to conform and adhere to the surface upon which it is sprayed. A wall with spray foam insulation is better able to maintain its shape under duress than a wall assembly without spray foam.
Spray Foam and the Indoor Environment
SPF can make your home or building more comfortable in many ways. Spray foam helps minimize airborne sound transmission. Sealing a building’s air leaks prevents drafts, creating a more comfortable indoor environment and providing better indoor temperature control. Closed-cell spray foam acts as a barrier to water and vapor, helping to prevent condensation and water intrusion. Sealing gaps with spray foam can provide a barrier against pollen, dust and insects, which can be especially helpful in households with allergy sufferers.
Prevent Ice Dams with Spray Foam Insulation
Ice damming is a seasonal problem affecting many Minnesota homes (and buildings) every winter. When ice damming is out of control, a number of problems can occur – so it’s vital to prevent ice dams. Ice damming can compromise the lifespan of roof materials, along with water intrusion inside the home. It can often present a physical danger when big icicles fall down from the eaves as well. Ice damming is a direct result of “differential” melting and freezing. When snow accumulates on the roof, it tends to melt in the upper areas where the temperature is warmer. (Direct result of conditioned air leaking in the attic space) The melting snow flows down to the lower areas of the roof, and begins to refreeze due to the colder temperature. The melting/freezing dynamic is cumulative – in other words, more and more ice builds up and the ice damming takes on greater proportion. Even with various short-term solutions, the source and cause of the ice dams must be addressed. While a building owner might implement a specific snow management solution, this is not a long-term remedy. The optimum solution is to prevent ice dams by changing the physical conditions of the attic and roof cavity. Essentially, higher-than-optimal attic temperatures must be reduced.
To prevent ice dams, it’s necessary to prevent roof snow from melting. This is accomplished by stopping heat transfer through the attic floor and roof cavity. When attic insulation is poorly installed or simply inadequate, it requires upgrading or replacement. And when air leakage is prevalent, the pathways through the ceiling, attic, and roof must be sealed effectively. These principles are the same for a residential home, a low-rise condo, or a commercial building. One of the biggest problems in addressing air leakage is creating a “perfect” air seal. Whether in the attic roof or the roof cavity, effective air sealing is problematic because of the complexity of shapes and contours throughout the space. In short, conventional insulating and sealing methods are not reliably effective. As such, efforts to prevent ice dams often come up short. While insulation contractors know that every home and building is different mechanically, there are still commonalities when it comes to air sealing. The bottom line is that a combination of air barrier and thermal insulation will effectively reduce the chance for ice dams to form. Few other combination approaches have proven to be as productive with long-term results.
Atticus Insulation recommends a spray foam application for the very best results. Spray foam creates a thick, impermeable envelope that both seals and insulates the space at one time. The beauty of spray foam is that the entire attic space is completely sealed and insulated – this includes every gap and opening; all beams, plumbing, and wiring; and all ductwork. The finished space is airtight, moisture proof, and insulated with higher R-Values than comparable products. Spray foam has become an increasingly popular choice of insulation for the attic. It’s an efficient air barrier and serves as an effective moisture barrier at the same time. Air movement and air moisture are reduced, and therefore the contributing factors to ice damming issues are addressed.
Spray Foam is an Investement in your Home or Building
Spray foam could help you save in the following ways:
- Improve efficiency and reduced air loss could lower energy bills
- Spray foam offers opportunities to lower maintenance cost on roofing systems
- Homeowners, builders and architects may be able to qualify for tax incentives, rebates, grants or certifications.