WHAT IS (SPF) SPRAY-IN-PLACE POLYURETHANE FOAM
SPF is a plural component material that is comprised of two chemicals industry-wide known as “side A and B”. The main chemical ingredient in both sides are diisocyanates (monomeric and polymeric MDI and polyol resins). The “Side A” component is an isocyanate and the “Side B” component is a blended polyol also known as a resin. Polyol recipes are unique to each manufacturer by adding proprietary additives to a mixture of catalysts, foaming agents, blowing agents and surfactants. Our brand of SPF, “DEFEND-IT” perfectly compliments our line of Draft Defender spray machines. With the assistance of a Draft Defender proportioner machine, high pressure heated hoses and spray gun, the chemicals are heated to a temperature range of 100˚F-140˚F and then mixed and sprayed on to a array of surfaces. *Please note that you can not apply spray foam to an aluminum surface as it will not adhere. When the heated chemicals travel through the hoses and are mixed in the spray gun, this creates heat by an exothermic reaction and from the assistance of blowing agents, expands the foam that flows from the spray nozzle on to the surface being sprayed. HOW DOES AIR ESCAPE? (HEADING IN BOLD) On average, a standard 2500 sq. ft. home has more than half a mile of cracks and crevasses. These voids are found in doors, windows, plumbing penetrations, electrical outlets, gaps in drywall, wall plates and rim and framing joists. An average 8 mph wind could make the home lose up to 30% installed R-value. Air moves in and out of any structure through every hole, crack and seam. Even small voids in irregular framing can result in as much as a 25-40% loss in R-Value.
WHAT IS R-VALUE?
The term R-value is widely used in the insulation industry. It is the measure of thermal resistance, or the ability to prevent the transfer of heat through cracks, seams etc. in a structure. The higher the number, the harder that insulation is working at preventing heat from escaping. Obviously, the lower amount of heat or air conditioning that escapes, the lower your energy bills will be. Heat or cool transfer can literally drain a structure’s energy efficiency.
Heat moves via conduction, convection or radiation so the R-value addresses conduction which is the transfer of heat through different materials that make up the walls of the structure. Convection transfer happens when heat and moisture move through to outside when siding or wall structures are not air tight which can be solved by sealing the structure completely with spray foam insulation. Radiation is when heat moves from a hotter material such as a shingled roof which absorbs sunlights to a cooler area such as an attic.
While a higher R-value is paramount for providing an effective thermal barrier (preventing conduction), it does not address radiation or convection. Only by air tight sealing the structure, choosing a superior insulation and addressing radiant heat on a shingled roof can transform a structure so is has optimal energy efficiency.
SOME GREAT THINGS ABOUT SPRAY FOAM!
SPF is at least twice as insulating as the next best insulation. It is available in either open or closed cell in a variety of different densities. Depending on which formula is used and applied correctly, SPF has the capability to expand 35-150 times its original volume to ensure it finds and fills every void to completely seal a structure. It’s perm rating is relatively low at room temperature and it is structurally sound. Open cell foam creates a superior air barrier with sound reduction qualities while closed cell foam offers an additional water and vapor barrier. The molecules of spray foam move with difficulty while transferring heat from one side of the cell to another. Miniscule holes prevent the long chain molecules from moving and escaping which results in retaining the insulation value. It has an almost infinite lifespan and the Army Corp of Engineers notes that “it has no measureable degradation when properly placed and protected”. The only instance of breakdown (cross linking of molecules) is when SPF is directly exposed to UV light or sunshine. Its resilience is so great that even high powered solvents only poorly break it down. If a foam is sprayed in an area that has a direct contact with sunlight and it isn’t coated with a either gravel foam, acrylic, acrylic/latex, earth, elastomeric, urethane, silicone or metal the cells will self destruct at a rate of 1/4” per year. SPF increases structural strength while reducing air infiltration and enhances the thermal insulation capabilities of the structure which means it keeps unconditioned air from leaking in and conditioned air from leaking out. Basically, it keeps the heat in during the winter and out during the summer while maintaining a uniform temperature. It also minimizes the introduction and distribution of outdoor pollutants and microbes.
Popularity of the spray foam insulation industry has been growing at an exponential rate. It is more efficient and outperforms fiberglass insulation. While the initial spray foam application is a more costly investment to fiberglass insulation, its long term benefits far outweigh the additional costs even before factoring in savings received over time on heating and cooling bills. There are two types of spray foam insulation; open and closed cell foam. Both are more effective than traditional fiberglass insulation. Fiberglass does not completely stop the passage of air. Thirty percent of heat or air conditioning can escape fiberglass and when installed incorrectly, it can allow even more to escape via spaces and cracks. Spray foam fills all voids to prevent air from escaping. Open cell acts as an air barrier while closed cell acts as an air, moisture and vapor barrier. Spray foam is more efficient than fiberglass and has a higher R-value. Spray foam has sound barrier efficiency and closed cell can add 250% racking strength to walls and roofs when fiberglass only delivers a low sound barrier and no strength to structures. The lifespan of spray foam can reach 80 years compared to 15-20 years for fiberglass.