Spray foam insulation is a popular option for many reasons. However, rigid foam insulation, a competing option, has many advantages of its own. If you are getting ready to make a final decision about what insulation material you should use, there are many things you should know beforehand. Spray foam and rigid foam both have their advantages and disadvantages, all of which may be important to your individual needs. To choose the absolute best insulation material, you will have to learn enough about both of these options to make an informed decision. What follows should give you everything you need to know about the various advantages and disadvantages of spray foam and rigid foam insulation.
Ease of Installation
Spray foam insulation is quite convenient to install in a variety of situations. With spray foam, you can simply fill any gaps you have in your walls by spraying into them. Installing insulation in this way has many advantages. Spray foam does an excellent job of expanding to fill any gaps and cracks, making it great at blocking air currents and moisture, both of which can cause serious problems. In addition, spray foam can be installed in large or small amounts easily, making it great for fixing problems with your current insulation.
In contrast, rigid foam can only be installed in an open, exposed wall. If you are installing insulation for the first time, this may not be a problem. However, if you have insulation and drywall installed already, having to destroy all of it, install insulation, and install a new wall may be more trouble than it is worth.
Additionally, because rigid foam does not expand, mistakes in insulation can cause much more serious problems. Rigid foam is more likely to lead to air and moisture leaks, and the chances of this happening go up significantly if the rigid foam is not installed perfectly.
Spray foam and rigid foam are both efficient methods of insulation. Both have high r-values, and are comparable in their ability to keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer. However, as previously mentioned, practical considerations may prevent rigid foam insulation from performing as well as spray foam insulation when actually used in real life. While the materials involved may be comparable, a single gap or crack that is left unfilled by rigid foam can lead to much greater energy consumption when heating and cooling your home.
Spray foam insulation is more expensive than rigid foam insulation. However, the extra costs may be offset in the short term by saving you the trouble and expense of tearing out and replacing your walls. In addition, you may make any lost money back on your energy bills by having a more efficiently heated and cooled home.
Once they are installed, both rigid and spray foam insulation have few special features, other than the ability of spray foam to better plug gaps. However, rigid foam does have one special advantage over spray foam. Rigid foam, due to its structure and its installation method, will help your walls become stronger than they were before it was installed.