FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q. What is Spray Foam?
A. Spray foam is a two-part system made using recycled petroleum products that are heated, pressured and mixed to create an effective air barrier and insulation system. It is applied as a liquid and expands within seconds up to 100 times to fill every nook and cranny. It is effective at insulating walls, floors and ceilings against air movement which helps keep conditioned air in and out door air out.
Q. What Are The Advantages of Spray Foam?
A. The main advantage of spray foam is in its amazing ability to air seal a home by being an effective approved air barrier. Reducing air flow also means that moisture-laden air cannot enter the home which can create condensation leading to conditions for mold and mildew to grow along with premature decay. Simply put, spray foam is effective at keeping conditioned air inside the home and unconditioned air outside the home. This means HVAC units will no longer have to work as hard to keep a house cool which can result in up to a 60% reduction in heating/cooling costs compared to a home insulated with Fiberglass. Indoor air quality will also improve by preventing pollen and other allergy causing pollutants from entering the home. Spray foam is also known for its ability to absorb sound and is commonly used in areas which high noise pollution.
Q. What is the Difference Between Open Cell and Closed Cell?
A. Open Cell Foam, also known as half pound foam, can range in density from 0.5 lbs per cubic foot to 1.2 pounds per cubic foot and have R-values ranging from 3.6/inch to 4.5/inch. Open Cell is also the least expensive of the spray foam options. Open cell expands over 100x its liquid size in a matter of seconds and excels at filling cavities and voids along with unusual framing. It is common for open cell to be installed in above-grade walls and roof rafters as it has the ability to allow water to pass through in the event of a roof leak. Open cell is also a good sound absorber and will create a quieter, more comfortable home than fiberglass or other batt products.
Closed Cell Foam, often referred to as two pound foam or medium density foam, can range in density from 1.8 lbs per cubic foot to 2.2 lbs per cubic foot and has R-values ranging from 6/inch to 7.4/inch. Closed cell has a Solstice gas trapped inside the closed cells which allow it to create its higher insulation value. Closed cell is best used when trying to maximize R-value in a shallow cavity and can also add up to 300% structural integrity to a building due to its high density and compression strength. Closed cell has a lower vapor permeability than open cell and qualifies as a class II vapor retarder when applied at greater than 1". It is a great product to use when the need for managing moisture is important such as for indoor pools, wine cellars, freezers, grow houses, etc.
Q. Are There Health Concerns with Spray Foam?
A. When installed by professionally trained technicians using a quality foam brand, spray foam is completely safe and non-toxic. Each of our spray foam technicians have years of spraying experience and have been certified by the SPFA in their Master Applicator Program. We source our materials from reputable, financially stable manufactures that warrant their products for the life of the building. The spray foam we use does not contain any formaldehyde, CFCs, or HCFCs. In fact, our foam has received the GreenGuard Gold Certifcation for Children & schools, highlighting its overall health and safety.
Additionally, we use state-of-the-art Graco equipment coupled with their InSite Software and Flow Meters to ensure the production of high-quality, safe foam. Our equipment contains fail-safes that shuts off the machine when a pressure imbalance is detected or another error has occurred.
Q. Will Spray Foam Breakdown or Settle Over Time?
A. No, spray foam will never break down or settle like other insulation such as cellulose or fiberglass. In fact, spray foam has a lifetime warranty and will stay in its form for the lifetime of the home. However, spray foam left exposed to UV light (sunlight) will begin to disintegrate over time. This is usually not a concern as spray foam is almost always installed inside a home and away from UV light.
Q. Will Spray Foam Increase the Humidity in My Attic?
A. On the contrary, applying spray foam in your attic roof rafters will significantly decrease the humidity in your attic. Unlike fiberglass and cellulose, spray foam is the only insulation that is a complete air barrier. It is effective at keeping the hot, humid outdoor air from entering your building and keeping the cool, conditioned air inside your building. By raising the thermal envelope to your roof and allowing your attic to become semi-conditioned space, your attic will be within 5-10 degrees of the rest of your home year-round. This helps make your home more comfortable, reduces wear-and-tear on your HVAC equipment and significantly reduces your energy bills. Instead of your attic getting to 100+ degrees Fahrenheit with fiberglass, your attic will now be a cool 80-90 degrees throughout the year which significantly helps reduce the risk of condensation on cold surfaces like ductwork and A/C grilles.
Q. Do I Need to Remove the Existing Insulation in my Attic Floor?
A. More often then not, yes. Because using spray foam in the attic roof rafters versus the attic floor raises the thermal envelope of the home, it is recommended to have an air exchange between your main house and your attic. Many homes in Florida already have many sources of air leakage between the attic and the main house including recessed lights, attic hatches, and duct grills. Many homes in Florida also have old, matted down or scattered insulation that allows a significant amount of air transfer between the attic and the main house. In these cases, removing the old insulation is not necessary at the time of install and can done at a later date. Our team pulls back the insulation at the perimeter of the home to ensure a complete install of your thermal envelope.
If the home is recently constructed and the insulation in the attic floor is in very good shape, we strongly suggest removing the existing insulation to allow air transfer between the attic and the main house. New insulation also has the ability to absorb the fumes from the spray foam application which can cause a mild odor issue, particularly to those with a keen sense of smell. Compass Insulation offers the service of removing and disposing of existing insulation.