Spray Foam insulation is something I have been reading and learning a lot about lately as a great way to conserve energy in homes. It can be a confusing topic and there aren’t many spray foam reviews, so I thought I would try to cover the basics. Heating and cooling account for as much as 70 percent of a typical American’s home energy bill. Yet often that energy is wasted, seeping out through drafty attics and basements and through cracks in ceilings, walls and windows. Fortunately, proper insulation can make heating and cooling your home much more affordable.
Spray-foam insulation, such as Icynene, is becoming increasingly popular in green building projects, replacing fiberglass in renovations and new construction. Safe and nontoxic, spray foam meets LEED specifications because it expands to fill cracks—even in hard-to-insulate areas around electrical outlets and pipe conduits. Unlike such traditional materials as fiberglass or cellulose, spray-foam insulation virtually eliminates energy-wasting air leaks, erecting a barrier to noise, pollution, allergens and drafts. By reducing air leakage, Icynene also helps to minimize condensation within the walls and ceilings, retarding the growth of mold.
Although spray foam is slightly more expensive to install, Icynene is typically more economical than fiberglass over the long term—homeowners can cut energy bills by 30 percent. Homes insulated with spray foam are quieter, more comfortable and healthier places to live.
There are two types of spray-foam insulation. Polyicynene is an open-cell polyurethane product that sprays on like paint, then expands to 100 times its volume, filling the cavities between studs to make your home airtight. Polyicynene remains spongy and flexible, adjusting to any settling of the building, and delivers an R-value of 3.6 per inch. (R-value is a measure of insulation efficiency. The “R” stands for resistance to heat flow, so the higher the number the more effective the insulation.) Closed-cell foam insulation is a similar product that expands to 30 times its volume and dries hard. Because it is rigid, it can actually strengthen the walls of your house (no more creaking!). It delivers an R-value of about 6 per inch. In general, polyurethane delivers higher R-values than any other kind of insulation.
The leading producer of light-density foam insulation is Icynene, a company dedicated to the production of green insulation products for the construction industry. Icynene makes both an open-cell spray formula and a liquid fill formula, both under the Icynene brand name. LaPolla Industries, a company well-known for its acrylic roof coating, also produces Foam-Lok spray-foam wall insulation. Foam-Lok is available in both open-cell and closed-cell formulations. Another maker of spray-foam insulation is NCFI Polyurethanes, which is a major manufacturer of rigid and flexible polyurethanes for a wide range of applications, from taxidermy to bedding. NCFI manufactures spray-foam insulation for residential use under the brand names Sealite (open-cell) and InsulStar (closed-cell).
Like other forms of insulation, Icynene and other spray foams are best applied to new construction and renovations after plumbing and electrical work has been completed. Spray foam is difficult to add once buildings are complete and walls are sealed. However, attics and basements can be retrofitted with spray-foam insulation.
This is not a do-it-yourself project, no matter how often you watch “This Old House.” Applying spray-foam is a messy and complicated business, so be sure to hire a skilled installer (get two or three bids before you commit). In major cities—New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Houston, Phoenix, Philadelphia, Jacksonville, Indianapolis—more and more contractors are familiar with this safe, energy-efficient insulation alternative. Consult a local contractor for specific recommendations.
Massachusetts Spray Foam Insulation Providers
If you are looking for a Massachusetts spray foam insulation installer, please visit our new Bobby’s Best Contractor Concierge Service and submit a request.
Please Note: Our spray foam insulation reviews and Icynene insulation reviews are not to be copied or republished with express permission.