Spray Foam Insulation vs Radiant Barrier

insulated with spray foam

What is spray foam insulation?

Every homeowner is always looking for ways to cut back on the utility expenses, and this often means adding insulation to the attic, walls, even under the house for pier-n-beam structures. Today, this process has been made easier with spray foam insulation, which has all but replaced the rolls of pink fiberglass insulation. 

Spray foam insulation does two things insulates and acts as an air barrier for ceiling cavities, floors, and walls. Including the slight spaces around electrical outlets, light fixtures, and where walls meet doors and windows.

Contractors like spray foam insulation because they can spray into open cavities of new constructions. For contractors working on an existing home, spray foam insulation allows them to insulate areas they previously couldn’t reach with rolled insulation. 

Unlike the conventional insulation, spray foam keeps its shape and fills in cracks, crevices, and gaps. It never becomes compressed, sags, or settles.

What is the R value of 2 inches of spray foam? 

Spray foam insulation has become one of the most popular types because of its high R-value per inch. It is better at reducing air leaks because it fills in the cracks and crevices and reduces conduction and convection thermal loss.

Available in open cell, a low density type of spray foam insulation that is vapor permeable. With a permeance grade of sixteen, it is used for ceilings, roofs, and walls in a three inch layer. Spray foam insulation is also available in a closed-cell that offers a  R-Value from6 .5 to 7 per inch, which is better than what cellulose, fiberglass, or open cell spray insulation foam can offer.  

How long does spray foam insulation last?

Spray foam insulation has a lifespan of eighty years. If you move into an existing house, unless the owner provided proof the last time the insulation was updated, you will do your self a favor by getting quotes from a contractor that knows  how to apply spray foam insulation. An update sooner than later may cost money you weren’t expecting to spend but will save you money in the long run with energy bills. 

Can I DIY spray foam insulation?

It is not recommended. Spray foam insulation needs to be installed correctly to provide the best results. It is not a weekend DIY project. Additional thought, having a licensed contractor install your spray foam insulation, you’ll have a warranty on the work should there be problems later. 

 What are the pros and cons of spray foam insulation?

The first benefit of spray foam insulation, which we’ve already mentioned, this product is an air barrier and insulates. When professional installed, it becomes a vapor barrier too. Here, we list the pros of spray foam insulation: 

  • virtually all air leakage is eliminated
  • heat loss is prevented by an air-tight seal 
  • makes your home more energy efficient
  • energy bills are lowered
  • works great in attics, floors, roofs, and walls
  • higher R-Value than other installs  
  • reduces moisture accumulation
  • acts as its own vapor barrier
  • seals up any awkward spaces 
  • effectively eradicates air drafts

The biggest con is the cost of the insulation, which is offset by the money you save in the long run with energy expenses. If you’re able to afford spray foam insulation, even if it means forgoing another upgrade you have planned for one year, it will be worthwhile over time.

Which is better: spray foam attic insulation vs radiant barrier?

Depends on where you live and what you’re looking to achieve. There is a case for both products when installing attic insulation. Radiant barrier sheathing is less expensive and will reflect the UV rays and heat to keep your attic cooler, which is a plus in the summer. However, spray foam insulation is better at providing a form of sound proofing, which is a plus if your home is near a busy roadway or close to an airport. 

closed cell insulation spray foam

Which is better: spray foam attic insulation vs fiberglass insulation?

As we mentioned earlier, spray foam insulation won’t lose its shape and begin to deplete, sag, or shrink.  The closed-cell type has a staggering R-value of up to 7.0.  Fiberglass insulation can weaken if not installed incorrectly, so paying for the highest R-value could be a waste of money. 

Is spray foam insulation worth it? Because it is the more expensive option, this is a popular question, and the answer is yes. You will get your ROI within the first year with lower utilities because your home will be cooler in the summer, warmer in the winter, thus your HVAC system won’t run as much.  This will also save you money because your HVAC system will have a longer lifespan. 

Another point in favor of spray foam insulation is the lack of landfill space it will take. It isn’t ever removed, after 80 years, it is only added to if needed.  Batt form of insulation is removed and trashed, ending up in the landfills over time because you cannot install new insulation over the old insulation. When you need spray foam insulation in Arlington, TX, call (817) 588-2050!