The time has come to re-insulate your attic and walls . . . and you're not sure which product to choose! Twenty years ago or so, you would have just opted for fiberglass insulation, as that was the norm and the only popular choice. Today, however, you have more alternatives — one of which is the more expensive and heavily marketed spray foam. Should you spring for spray foam? Why is it so costly, and is it worth the higher price tag? Keep reading to find out.
Why Does Spray Foam Cost So Much?
There are two reasons why spray foam is more costly than fiberglass insulation. First, it is harder to make. The material has to be stored in two separate barrels — each of which contains a separate chemical component — until it is applied to your home. When the chemicals mix together, they create the dense, insulating foam you know as spray foam. Manufacturing two different components is more costly and time-consuming than making simple fiberglass insulation.
Spray foam also needs to be professionally applied. You can't just rent an applicator and do it yourself. The components must be very carefully mixed, and the insulation needs to be applied very precisely to ensure it cures properly. This takes time and expertise. You are paying not only for the technician to come out to your home, but also for the safety and application training they've had to undergo.
Is Spray Foam Worth the Cost?
In most cases, spray foam is worth the higher price tag. Here are a few reasons why.
Spray foam reduces your energy bills.
Spray foam has a higher R-value than fiberglass insulation. In other words, it will more effectively block heat from leaving your home. This leads to lower energy bills, especially in the winter. If you live in an area with really hot summers, you will also notice lower summer energy bills as the spray foam keeps your air conditioner from having to work as hard.
Spray foam protects your home from moisture damage.
Water can seep right into fiberglass insulation. The insulation holds onto the water, eventually developing mold. It can also trap moisture against other wooden surfaces, causing them to mold and rot! Spray foam, however, is basically impervious to moisture. It does not absorb moisture like the foam used to make sponges. Instead, it's a hard, dense foam — and moisture rolls right off its surface. You may pay more for spray foam, but you won't have to pay the water damage restoration company in a few years!
Spray foam seals surfaces.
Especially if you have an older home, there might be some gaps between the boards that make up your ceilings or walls. There may also be little gaps around your electrical cords or pipes. These gaps let air and water leak in. Sealing them with caulk can be time-consuming, and the caulk will peel away in time. Spray foam will fill and seal these crevices as soon as it is applied. This saves you time and effort.
Spray foam adds strength to walls and ceilings.
Since the foam adheres directly to the wall or ceiling boards, it makes them more structurally sound. This is definitely a benefit in older homes with aging boards that may be more prone to cracks and damage. Opting for spray foam may save you from having to replace or repair these boards later on.
Although the initial cost of spray foam may cause you to cringe, paying for this upgrade is generally worth it. To learn more, talk with an insulation technician in your area.