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Benefits of Polyurethane Spray Foam Insulation

Quick Introduction: Polyurethane Spray Foam Insulation

Polyurethane spray foam insulation is an alternative to traditional building insulation such as fiberglass. Spray foam insulation is created by combining a two-component mixture composed of isocyanate and (in our case) a soya based polyurethane resin. The two components come together at the tip of a guy, and forms an expanding foam that can be sprayed onto almost any material. Many residential, commercial, and industrial builders today are making spray foam insulation the first choice in insulation.

Benefits: Polyurethane Spray Foam Insulation

  1. Reduces Energy Consumption: Research shows that up to 40% of a buildings heat is lost due to a poor building envelope. Spray foam insulation seals tighter to surfaces like wood and concrete; seals tighter in difficult little nooks; and seals tighter around windows, doors, and vents.
  2. Thermal effectiveness (comfort): Spray foam insulation has a higher insulation value, or r-value. When combined with characteristics like air tight, it enables heating, ventilating and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems to perform more efficiently. In some instances, smaller heating / cooling units can be used because the efficiency of the building envelope doesn’t necessitate larger units.
  3. Air Tight: It would be easy to blow through traditional fiberglass insulation; but not so easy through spray foam insulation. When spray foam is applied, it is blown out, mixing at the tip of a pressurized nozzle, and adheres (or sticks) to the surface being applied. The combination of both a very low air permeability and a sealed application process, insure a much tighter building envelope.
  4. Vapor Permeance: Spray foam insulation (closed-cell, 2lb) is shown to provide sufficient vapor diffusion (@ 2″) to adhere to the standards set out in the National Building Code of Canada. This means that spray foam insulation is capable of  replacing both fiberglass insulation and the polyethylene vapor barrier.
  5. Durability: Tensile and compressive strength tests show that polyurethane sprayed as an insulation is tough stuff. In contrast to fiberglass insulation, spray foam insulation adds an element of structural integrity to  your building. In addition, spray foam is not susceptible to water damage and will last the life the building.
  6. Quality Assurance: Polyurethane spray foam insulation companies must have both certified contractors and installers. These programs are designed to make sure that application of the product, inspection of the work, and conduct of the company, are kept in line with the standards set out by the product manufacturer and industry organizations.
  7. Noise Reduction: Spray foam insulation results in a noticeably reduced amount of noise pollution between exterior walls; and is effective at combating noise pollution between certain rooms with in the building (eg. laundry room and media rooms).
  8. Air Quality: With the building envelope sealed tighter, less pollution and water can leek into the building. This means that air is filtered through intake / outtake points; and walls are less susceptible to mold and mildew growth.

Are you convinced that polyurethane spray foam insulation is a better product than traditional fiberglass? The American Chemistry Council indicates (Sept. 2012) that approximately 5% of the building and construction projects in 2010 within the US used pressurized polyurethane spray foam as the primary insulator. According to The Spray Foam Coalition (SFC), Canada’s usage of spray foam, despite economic downturn has increased steadily since 2008 and is growing at a faster rate than the North American markets overall; some figures show usages as high as 15-20%.

Is the trend likely to continue? As Canadian and British Columbia building codes continue to raise standards to meet with more energy efficient building requirements, traditional fiberglass insulation will not be able to meet the demand, and polyurethane spray foam insulation will be there to pick up the slack with ease.