Spray foam insulation is a polyurethane plastic foam that is installed in the attic to provide an internal barrier. The foam components are usually mixed onsite before being sprayed into the area. Spray foam insulation is often chosen over other types of insulation due to the fact that it is energy efficient, seals air leaks and can lower the temperatures in the attic. There are two main types of spray foam: open cell and closed cell. If there is interest in installing spray foam insulation, a Houston roofing contractor can assist with questions regarding the installation process and the type of spray foam insulation needed for a particular project.
Closed cell spray foam consists of gas bubbles that become trapped when the foam expands and cures during the installation process. These bubbles become locked into place and can increase the foam's insulating capacities. Open cell spray foam is very different. This foam does not capture gas bubbles during the installation. Instead, the gas escapes as the foam expands and cures. As such, the foam cells have small holes in their walls that allow the individual cells to lock together. The spaces are then filled with atmospheric air and have a porous consistency.
Because of their differences in structure, open cell and closed cell spray foam have different uses.
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For example, open cell spray foam is meant to be used strictly for interior projects. This type of spray foam also uses less resources and is made to be vapor permeable. Open cell also deadens sound, meaning that noise does not travel as easily. This type of insulation usually has an R value at 4.3 per one inch of material.
Closed cell spray foam, on the other hand, can be used in both interior and exterior projects. This insulation increases the building's structural integrity, essentially making the building stronger. Harmful vapors have a decreased transmission when closed cell spray foam is installed. Closed cell insulation usually has an R value of 6.0 per one inch of material. Keep in mind that this depends on the blowing agent that is used. If water is used, the R value may be closer to 5.
Regardless of what type of spray foam is needed for a particular insulation project, it should be noted that spray foam should only be installed by an expert roofer. If the spray foam is not mixed properly or if it is not applied correctly, the foam will not provide the amount of insulation the building needs.