What is the purpose of insulation? Insulation saves on energy costs by controlling the circulation of heat. Heat is the transfer of thermal energy. When heat transfer occurs, it strives to reach a state of thermal equilibrium. This means, hot air travels into cool places and remains in that space until there is no longer a temperature difference. Using either foam spray or insulation of the traditional kind will help prevent hot air from escaping in the winter and from entering during the summer.
What is foam insulation? Traditional insulation contains fiberglass, a product of mixed minerals and chemicals combined with small glass fragments. This type of insulation is typically sold in pink or yellow rolls or sheets, but it may also come in a loose material that looks similar to cotton stuffing.
Spray foam insulation is a combination of isocyanates and polyols. When mixed at certain temperatures, these ingredients – which exist in a liquid state – react to create polyurethane. Polyurethane is used to manufacture many things, including skateboard wheels, strong adhesives, synthetic materials and even carpet underlay.
Cellulose insulation is ideal in helping to prevent certain insects from entering your home. This is because cellulose insulation is treated with boric acid, a well-known pest deterrent.
How does foam insulation work? To create spray insulation, liquid isocyanates and polyols are mixed under high pressure and sprayed through a hot hose. A very specific mixing process allows the two ingredients to react almost immediately, forming a foam substance that can be applied to any surface. Once it has been applied, the foam quickly expands and hardens into place. While the materials involved can be toxic during application, the risk of these toxins is significantly reduced after the foam has hardened. For this reason, it is best to hire a trained professional. It takes about 24 hours for foam insulation to harden completely. After this time, any residual odor should subside.
What is a foam insulation R-Value? R-Value measures the thermal resistance of a specific type of insulation. A material with stronger thermal resistance will be more effective at keeping heat inside during the winter and outside during the summer. There are two types of foam insulation: open-cell foam and closed-cell foam. Open-cell foam is lighter and less dense, but has a lower R-Value. Closed-cell foam is denser and has a higher R-Value.
What are the spray foam insulation pros and cons? Foam insulation can be directly applied to horizontal and vertical surfaces. Its ability to expand makes it more effective at filling even the smallest gaps or crevices. It can also be used as an air barrier. Because spray insulation is a synthetic material that hardens, it does not attract insects and rodents in the same way that traditional insulation can.
However, insects such as carpenter ants and termites have the ability to chew through spray foam insulation. This type of insulation may also require more expertise, which results in higher costs. Health risks may be increased if the ingredients are not mixed properly.
Perhaps you are considering using spray foam insulation in your home. Or maybe you are looking for the most comprehensive pest solution possible. Either way, for expert help, consider calling Terminix® – the pest management professionals that provide more than one option for keeping pests out.