Standard fiberglass insulation is something that has been a part of the American home for generations. Insulation not only increases the value of your home when selling it, it also saves you tons of money in energy costs when installed correctly. The three major places where insulation needs to be to get maximum benefit from it are the attic, walls and crawl spaces.
As you might have noticed from the last item on the list, there are places in your home that can be very difficult to access, making the installation of traditional insulation very difficult. Spray foam installation solves most of the problems. It is able to seal those major areas of the home as well as spaces around wall outlets and light fixtures, both which can cause your energy bills to rise both in summer and winter. The key to successful insulation is to eliminate as much air flow in the house and get complete control of the air that does circulate.
One of the biggest advantages of spray foam is its ability to fill the spaces without losing its ability to shape itself to the specific space being insulated. Traditional insulation will likely sag or compress over time, requiring replacement and extra money. An additional advantage is that it can be a do it yourself job or you can hire professionals to come into your home and evaluate your insulation needs.
From a technical view, what pray foam insulation does is expand to fill the space – up to 100 times its original size. No crack or crevice will be left as an open space, so it does the complete job and requires less effort and time. When it comes to types of spray foam, there is the closed cell version and the open cell version. The closed cell version is much denser, preventing weather and temperature changes from affecting it over time. You will probably want to use both types when insulating your house.
If you have existing insulation in your home and want to replace it with spray foam, you probably want to hire a professional contractor to do the job. The first step in the process will be to remove all the previously installed insulation, giving a clean area from which to install the spray foam. The next day, the crew will return to your home to run a hose into the main areas that require insulation, allowing it 24 hours to completely dry. The smaller spaces of the home such as electrical outlets and other behind the wall fixtures can be taken care of by the professionals or you can make it a do it yourself job.
As for the cost, the unfortunate answer is, it depends. Earlier we mentioned the two types of spray foam insulations (open and closed) and there is definitely a difference in the cost. Closed cell insulation will cost you twice as much per board foot than open. A board foot is the size of a piece of wood that is 12 x 12 x 1 inches. It is a volume measurement, so basically you will want to know the length, height, and width of the spaces you are going to insulate. This is true whether you decide to do it yourself or hire a contractor.
The average cost in numbers is $0.44 to $0.65 per board foot for the open cell type and $1 to $1.50 per board foot for the closed cell. An average homeowner can expect to pay about $2299 for a professionally installation.
All this information is essential to understanding spray foam installation, but it is equally important to know it is not something that will always work as an alternative to the traditional fiberglass insulation. It is recommended you evaluate the size of the job before deciding to go ahead with spray foam on a large section of the home. For example, if you spray foam a 12 foot section of a space behind an exterior wall and choose the cheaper open cell type, you may find it doesn’t quite do the job. That will mean you will have to have the job redone, costing you more money. As perfect a solution as it may sound, spray foam insulation does have its limitations, and often talking with a professional contractor is the best way to approach solving your insulation needs.
Written by Garrett Parker
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