Spray foam insulation is a mixture of resin and chemicals, such as polyurethane and isocyanates. As the name suggests, this type of insulation is applied through a spraying method. As the insulation is sprayed onto a surface, it spreads to fill the entire area. Having been in business for over 40 years, we’ve had the opportunity to inspect countless attics and discuss insulation with numerous homeowners. At times, the working knowledge our insulation pros take for granted is not always understood by homeowners. Here are some of the most widely misunderstood facts about spray foam insulation.
Myth: Over time, the spray foam insulation will shrink.
Homeowners that believe this misnomer often know someone that’s had a rookie install spray foam insulation. When high quality spray foam insulation is applied in a proper manner, there should be no concern of the material shrinking. However, if the chemical components were not properly mixed, the temperature of the foam in the truck was incorrect or the humidity levels during installation were outside of the correct parameters, shrinking can ensue.
Myth: Spray foam insulation can’t be installed in the winter.
Although spray foam insulation has temperature provisions, it can be installed year-round. In instances where an attic’s air temperature is cooler than permissible, insulation contractors can bring in space heaters to bring the attic to the correct air temperature. Spraying foam insulation in too cold of temperatures means that it will not adhere to the wood as it should.
Myth: Spray foam insulation does a poor job because it is thinner than fiberglass batts.
This one makes us cringe because it couldn’t be any further from the truth. For fiberglass batt insulation to achieve the same R-value as spray foam insulation, much more is needed. If a pro doesn’t take the time to custom cut fiberglass insulation to accommodate electrical outlets, it’s likely that heat loss is taking place in an attic, as these penetrations cannot be covered.
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Myth: The scent of spray foam insulation is long-lasting.
Upon installation, spray foam insulation will have a pungent odor. This is part of the reason installers wear respirators and homeowners are required to leave overnight. However, once the spray foam cures, there should be no persistent odors.
Myth: Spray foam insulation is too expensive.
When compared with fiberglass batt insulation, spray foam insulation will have a steeper price tag. However, spray foam does a substantially better job at eliminating gaps that fiberglass is notorious for missing. This creates a more energy efficient home, which results in lower heating and cooling costs.