Foam Insulation, a Better Choice?

Foam Insulation, a Better Choice?

When I think of insulation, I immediately start to itch. That is because back when I last had a home insulated, the only real option was the huge rolls of pink fiberglass ­ and I am very, very allergic to them! The installation process was hot and messy and it was an experience that I would not want to repeat, to put it very mildly.

Recently, we built an extension on to our home, and used foam insulation in the new construction. What a different experience we had with the foam! We hired a contractor to apply the foam, though there were several do-it-yourself kits available.

What we learned about foam insulation is that it IS a rather messy process, since the foam is injected into an area and then expands to fill that area. Because of that, most contractors will suggest that you use it in new construction as opposed to trying to put it into existing structure. In new construction, though, it expands as it is injected and seals in to even the smallest nook and cranny, which gives a far better ‘seal’ than you would expect to get with roll insulation.

We also saved some money on the framing of the new addition, since we were able to use 2X4 studs instead of 2X6 studs on the exterior walls. This is because foam insulation is far denser than fiberglass (or cellulose) and therefore the R-value for foam insulation is much higher. What all that boils down to is simply that you do not need as much physical space for insulation if you use the foam.

Our contractor told us that foam insulation is becoming more and more popular in new construction all over the country. He did warn us that some plumbing and electrical contractors can have trouble working around foam that is injected in side walls, so it is important that the various contractors work together and know that foam is going to be used.

We are very happy with the effectiveness of the foam insulation in our new addition, and would certainly recommend it to anyone who has a building project planned. It is so nice to know that the insulation in this part of the house will never shift or settle, will never need replaced, and will remain free of moisture and effective for the life of the house.


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