Polar Foam Frequently Asked Questions
1. Will I save money if I insulate with spray polyurethane foam?
2. Why the renewed interest in this type of insulation?
3. How does spray polyurethane foam compare with glass fiber batts and blown-in cellulose?
4. What are spray foam's air filtration and vapor barrier advantages?
5. What are the insulation's thermal advantages?
6. Will spray polyurethane foam absorb or entrap moisture?
7. How does SPF system seal my house?
8. Will spray polyurethane foam strengthen my house?
9. How does spray foam insulation affect a house's structural integrity?
10. What smells does spray polyurethane foam produce in my home?
11. Won't sealing my house lead to indoor air quality problems?
12. At what point in the construction of my house should spray polyurethane foam be applied?
13. How is foamed-in-place insulation made?
14. Can spray polyurethane foam be applied directly to electrical wiring? What about installed electrical devices like recessed lights?
15. Is spray polyurethane foam code approved?
16. How long does it take to install spray polyurethane foam?
17. Polar Foam Reference Codes
A: Yes! The installed cost of spray polyurethane foam is somewhat higher than glass fiber batts or blown-in cellulose. However, the higher initial cost is partially offset because you can leave off the house wrap and your heating and air conditioning equipment can be smaller.
You will save in your heating fuel and electric bills. Studies suggest that homes insulated with spray polyurethane foam use 20%-40% less energy than homes insulated with conventional insulation. Your savings may be greater or less depending on your life style, appliances, house site, number and size of windows, etc.
A: Recently, savvy homebuyers have become aware of the advantages, payback times, and investment value of home energy efficiency measures, especially those improving the efficiency of the building envelope. In addition, the spray foam industry has made major advances in the chemical composition and durability of the foam.
Moreover, improvements in spray foam application technology have decreased installation costs, bringing this type of insulation system within the reach of the residential homeowner.
A: Glass fiber batts will not stop air leakage (it might filter out some dirt and dust). Blown-in cellulose will slow down air leakage. Spray polyurethane foam will stop air leakage…….dead.
Glass fiber batts have an R-value of about 3.5 (1 inch thickness). Blown-in cellulose has and R-value of about 3 to 4 (1 inch thickness). Spray applied polyurethane foam has an R-value of 6.7 to 7 (1 inch thickness).
Glass fiber batts can sag over time; blown-in cellulose can settle over time; both situations leave sections uninsulated and you'll feel colder because of it. Spray polyurethane foam completely adheres to wood and sheathing and is rigid; the result is a permanent barrier to heat loss and air entry.
Spray polyurethane foam will add strength and rigidity to your house. Class fiber batts and blown-in cellulose will not.
A: It reduces air infiltration by conforming to cavity shape and sealing around wall features. In the presence of air leakage, fiberglass batt can act more as a filter than as an insulation. Since batt does not fully conform to all cavity shapes in corners and walls, especially at the top and bottom plates, cold spots may appear in these areas.
Air leakage can also occur around outlets, switches, and window and door trim. Spray foam insulation adheres and seals tightly in the cavity and reduces air leakages cause by irregularities in surfaces.
Spray foam resists moisture due to its closed sealablitity, and dries with minimum insulation value loss.
A: Spray foam insulation boasts high insulation value with the best R-value per inch of any readily available insulation. It allows for more insulation in a tighter space than conventional batt insulation, and performs well in controlling hot or cold temperatures. The spray foam is good at keeping heat out as well as in, giving homeowners a break on their air conditioning bills along with their heating bills.
Spray foam also reduces drafts by cutting convection looping. Temperature differences between the outside and inside walls cause warm air to rise and cold air to sink in the studs. This action initiates a convection current flowing up and down the walls, especially with fiber batt insulation. Spray foam insulation applied to the interior wall reduces the temperature difference of the air current activity.
Spray foam insulates hard-to-reach areas and provides a seamless layer of insulation.
A: Moist moisture problems in houses are due to moisture entry from air leakages. Because spray polyurethane foam provides such and excellent air barrier, this source of moisture is virtually eliminated. Other potential sources of moisture can be excluded with proper construction techniques and material.
A: SPF insulation is sprayed on as a liquid which reacts and expands in
place. This expansion action also seals all of the cracks and crevasses in your
wall's exterior sheathing. The result is that air can no longer slip in. Your
house will be less drafty and more comfortable.
A: Yes! SPF is rigid and structural. Your walls will be more resistant to winds and you'll notice less creaking and shaking when doors are slammed or when kids are romping around.
A: Spray foam insulation remains rigid and does not settle or sag. This means it adds structural strength to a house while adding very little weight.
Its solid nature provides soundproofing and insect resistance, and also seals cracks from unwanted gas and odor penetration.
A: A slight odor will be present during installation of spray polyurethane foam insulation. This will rapidly dissipate after the spraying operation stops. After that, the installed spray polyurethane foam will be odorless.
A: Your house does need to be ventilated. Many systems employ an "air exchanger" which is designed to pre-condition (either warm or cool) the incoming outside air with the outgoing exhaust air. In this manner, you can build an extremely energy efficient exterior shell using spray polyurethane foam while still providing controlled and energy efficient ventilation.
A: Normally spray polyurethane foam is installed at the same point in the construction cycle as other types of insulation. That is, it should be installed after the rough plumbing, electrical wiring, and heating and air conditioning ducts have been installed. If you decide to seal the entire exterior shell with spray foam, spray foam insulation may need to be applied in some areas before the ductwork is installed.
A: The installer fabricates the foam on-site according to the manufacturer's instructions. The application equipment and the foam's chemical components are brought to the home-building site, where framing, electrical, and plumbing are complete, and exterior siding encloses the home. A controlled reaction among the number of mixed chemicals, a blowing agent, and some other additives produces a wet foam mass.
Using a specially designed sprayer, the installer sprays or injects the mass unto or between wall surfaces. This mass forms into a hardened cellular plastic material. The exposed surfaces of the rigid foam resemble a hard, tan colored shaving cream.
A: Spray polyurethane foam can be applied directly to electrical wiring. Recessed lights or other fixtures may require a certain amount of air circulation around them for cooling purposes. In these cases, a box can be built around the fixture with gypsum wall board; then spray foam can be sprayed directly to the outside of the box.
A: Yes. Building codes provide for the use of spray polyurethane foam in the Foam Plastic section. This section of the code also describes the use of thermal barriers.
A: Quite quickly. A typical house can be fully insulated with spray polyurethane foam in a day or less. Large houses or houses with complex design features could take longer.
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