There is More Than One Type of Foam Insulation
When most people hear foam insulation, they picture one of three things; big sheets of foam board, the canned stuff from the hardware store used to fill gaps, or people dressed in hazmat suits and air systems spraying large open sections of walls or ceilings. All those are, in fact, types of foam insulation, and there are more. There are different products because they each have different purposes. And even though they are all considered foam, they are not made with the same materials.
At RetroFoam of the Carolinas, we specialize in injection foam and spray foam. They are two very different products, but they can work together to make your home a healthier, more comfortable place to be.
Why Should I Use Foam Insulation?
Many people ask why they should use foam instead of traditional bat or blown insulation (fiberglass, rock wool, or cellulose). Think of standing in a cold wind in the wintertime wearing just a t-shirt. The icy air makes the biting wind seem to prick your skin with hundreds of tiny frozen needles. You are freezing. You have a choice between a loose-knit sweater or a windbreaker. You can only have one so which would you choose? Although the sweater seems thicker, the icy wind blows through it. The windbreaker is thinner, but it stops the wind. In reality, you want both a windbreaker (to stop air movement) over the sweater (the insulation).
This is the same thing you want for your home, both an air seal and insulation. Traditional insulation is like having only a sweater. Foam is the solution because it is both insulation and creates an air seal.
When to Use Spray Foam
Spray foam is the perfect solution to seal and insulate all at once for open spaces like attics, crawl spaces, and unfinished walls. It is an excellent choice for new construction as well as metal buildings and pole barns.
At RetroFoam of the Carolinas, we utilize a low-pressure, high-volume (LPHV) spray rig that is better for the environment and your home. Less power is required to run the spray system, enabling our installers to use a much smaller generator. The low-pressure spray foam application also allows for a reduction of up to 80% in over spray during the application process compared to high-pressure spray applications. That’s a lot less waste that saves everyone money.
Best of all, with the low-pressure static mix that occurs during the application of materials, atomization does not occur and, VOCs (volatile organic compounds) do not saturate the air, as they do during the application using high-pressure systems. Because of this, installers can wear PPE (personal protective equipment) that consists of organic vapor acid gas respirator cartridges. No fresh air pump is required during the application of high-pressure spray foam. And re-entry times are six times faster than traditional high-pressure spray foam at 4 hours for our LPHV foam versus 24 hours for typical high-pressure spray. It’s a great product, but it doesn’t solve every problem.
Can I Spray Foam Existing Walls?
Remember when I said different products have different purposes? Spray foam is great, but it has limitations. Let’s say your home was built 10, 20, even 50 years ago. You already have insulation, so you have a sweater. But, air movement through your walls is making your home less energy-efficient. Your home is also unable to regulate the temperature as well as it should.
You can’t use spray foam in existing walls unless you rip out your sheetrock and current insulation and start from scratch. That’s where Retrofoam injection foam comes in. If you already have the sweater and only need the windbreaker, RetroFoam is that air seal for existing walls. Being able to inject foam into the stud cavities of your walls, even with existing insulation, and filling every nook and cranny creates a seal that no other product can give you without having to do major renovations.
Why Use RetroFoam?
Retrofoam injection foam is different than spray foam. To start, they have completely different chemical makeups. Retrofoam is water-based mixed with a resin and a foaming agent. Spray foam is two liquid components (ISO and resin) mixed as they are sprayed. They also react in different ways. Spray foam adheres, expands, and becomes rigid very quickly. RetroFoam comes out the consistency of shaving cream and doesn’t expand further and takes longer to cure. Just as you can’t put spray foam into an existing wall without blowing out your sheetrock and tearing up your home, you can’t put injection foam into open spaces. Having the consistency of shaving cream, without the rigidity of the walls to hold it while it cures, Retrofoam would droop like a wedding cake outside in July.
But having Injection foam in your walls and spray foam in your attic and crawl space creates an air seal for the entire house, giving you a building envelope that is more energy-efficient and healthier as allergens can’t travel through the air seal.
Give us a call today, and let us help make your home better.