US Department of Energy studies' show that the most common cause of increased energy expenses, up to as much as 40%, are caused by air escaping through the building envelope. The building envelope consists of all of the segments of a structure that are directly in contact with the elements. The fiberglass insulation commonly found in buildings leaves much to be desired in regard to air-sealing a building. Since it is only stapled into the wall and does not seal the stud and wall cavities from end to end, or top to bottom, air infiltration can easily pass through these gaps, making it far less efficient than SPF. SPF not only adheres to, but forms to both walls and floors to create a tight seal and insulating barrier that stops this air leakage. Also, other sources of infiltration, in the form of drafts, that enter through wall sockets, windows and doorways are now completely sealed. The foam is spray applied as a liquid and multiplies up to 100 times it's original size, forcing its' way into every crevice and crack to create the true air-sealant factor. SPF also possesses the highest R-value per inch than any other commercial material, (upwards of R-7.0, compared with Fiberglass at R-3.5) making your home more comfortable and less expensive to heat in the winter, and cool in the summer.
Buildings which have been properly insulated and are air-sealed can operate with a smaller HVAC unit since they now only need to supply for a much lower load due to the fact that the building is properly sealed. The lower expenses on the unit can offset the cost of the installation itself. Since SPF acts as an air barrier, it also helps to reduce moisture infiltration, which is a source of dangerous mold and mildew growth in the home, and can cause severe health problems to its occupants.
When dealing with the annoying, constant issues of sound-control whether from floor to floor, between you and your basement tenant, or room to room, as in multi-family units with adjoining party walls, open cell SPF can be an ideal solution.Sound penetrates In two common ways. Firstly, through minute openings, inherent in buildings usually associated with lighting fixtures, plumbing work, and even just the gaps between one beam and the next. Secondly, all noise travels through vibrations and sound waves. Open cell spray foams' cutting edge technology reduces both of these occurrences. It's highly absorbent make-up dampens all vibrations and minimizes sound transfer. Secondly, due to its' expanding nature, it forms to whatever it is has been applied, effectively sealing all of the various crevices and blocking noise transfer in a process called flanking. Typical wood stud construction using fiberglass insulation and 5/8" drywall on both sides has an STC rating of 27-34. A 100dB (decibel) theatre system would produce an overwhelming 70dB of sound in a typical wood stud construction room. But a wall insulated with open cell spray foam under the same sound conditions would produce a noise level of just 50dB, that's 75% quieter.
Spray Foam Insulation in the Attic (Non-Vented Attic Spaces)
The standard way of insulating an attic only along the top of a ceiling can create serious issues, due to a few main concerns. Firstly, solar heat penetration can bring the attic temperature as high as 130 degrees. In the winter, the temperature can drop to eextreme lows, similar to the outdoor levels. Not only do all of the ductwork and HVAC units situated in the attic strain to operate in oppressive heat and cold, depending on the season, it also creates a pocket of extremely hot or cold air that makes it harder to regulate temperatures below. This will drive the cost up significantly, having to compensate for all of that extra heated and cooled air.
By applying spray foam directly to the underside of the roof deck, it now insulates the attic space from the extreme heat that once radiated thorough the hot shingles sheathing and roof. The severe temperatures no longer exist in the attic. In short, the attic now becomes a "conditioned" space of the house that is just as comfortable as any other room in the home. A roof system insulated with spray foam reduces energy several ways. Energy loss from ducts located in the attic is essentially eliminated. The top of the building is much tighter resulting in less infiltration and exfiltration, so excess moisture isn't pulled into the attic. Infiltration through the ceiling is also reduced. In addition, the attic temperature is lower, which further reduces energy loads. The temperature is reduced by as much as 40F. Both conduction and convection heat transfer are proportional to a temperature difference, so that heat transfer will be reduced proportional to a drop in surface temperature.
In this application, considered the most effective, by most of the SPF industry, the foam is sprayed directly to the underside of the roof between the joists, down around the rim and into the soffit areas, on the gable wall ends, and effectively sealing off and insulating the entire attic space from any air infiltration.
The benefits of including the attic in the insulated space are:
- Reduced duct leakage and heat loss/gain from ducts
- Air sealing is easier in the roof than in the ceiling
- Less dust and loose insulation making their way down to the rest of your home
- Lower energy costs when the attic is sealed
A properly insulated basement can help to reduce energy costs and improve overall energy efficiency. Spray foam is probably the top insulation material for basements and damp areas. Closed cell spray foam is perfect for completely sealing an area, thus effectively protecting against the water vapor that tends to gravitate from your damp basement walls to your finished basement rooms. The benefits of spray foam are many, and include a great vapor barrier, easy insulation of pipes, wires and other utilities, all while providing an exceptional R-value