What To Look For In Spray Foam Insulation

Once you've decided on spray foam insulation for your project, you're ready to have it installed, right? Not yet. Unlike traditional fiberglass insulation, spray foam insulation varies greatly by manufacturer. One or two differences that seem small on the surface can actually make a big difference in your project for years to come.

When you're deciding on which spray foam insulation to use, here are a few important things to pay close attention to:

  • Eco-friendliness
    Getting "green" insulation isn't just good for the environment -- it's good for the quality of your indoor air. One sign of an eco-friendly insulation is the Greenguard Certification (www.greenguard.org), which guarantees that the product "meets stringent chemical emissions standards based on established criteria from key public health agencies".

    In addition, try and find spray foam insulation (such as the insulation offered by Coastal) that was made with environmentally friendly raw materials, such as recycled plastic, agricultural products, and soy.

  • Plenty of documentation
    The best manufacturers also open themselves up to third party testing. This gives consumers like you independent information about the lifespan and safety of their products.The results of that testing should be openly available online. To learn more, read our spray foam FAQs.

  • Open-cell or closed-cell?
    If you're confused by these terms, don't be -- they simply refer to the structure of the spray foam itself. When it's open-cell, the tiny cells inside the foam are broken, allowing air to fill the empty space inside the material. As a result, open-cell spray foam feels softer than closed-cell.

    As you can imagine, this makes a big difference in how the insulation should be used. For example, closed-cell foam at 1.2" thickness serves as a vapor barrier, which is the best choice for below grade, high moisture areas. Open-cell has higher Sound Transmission Class (STC) ratings, so it's better suited for acoustics. To learn more, read our spray foam FAQs.

  • Correct installation
    There's a lot that goes into a successful spray foam insulation: the foam must be heated to a certain temperature, the substrate temperature must be monitored, the work area must be clear of debris and safe, etc. When these guidelines are not followed to the letter, even a great spray foam product can give you subpar results.

    No matter what type of spray foam insulation you choose, it's important to have it installed by an expert who is familiar with the manufacturer's recommendations. A good installation contractor should have some kind of checkpoint process that they go through to ensure that no step is overlooked.

    For more information, read our free report, 5 Things You Need to Know About Spray Foam Insulation. You can download the PDF here.

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