One of the most pressing problems when designing a house is insulation. It is a crucial component that prevents our home from becoming too cold or too hot, and it enables us to maintain comfortable temperatures.
The importance of insulation extends over the long term. This helps us save energy and money on heating or cooling, although the initial cost can be a bit higher if we really want efficient insulation.
Nowadays the main question is the type of insulation we choose. There are different types of insulation, and each has its advantages and disadvantages. But even these minor differences can be overcome by knowing the specifications of the insulation and how it works.
Spray foam and fiber optics seem to dominate the discussions. When choosing between the two, you need to know the differences between spray foam insulation and fiber. What are the advantages and disadvantages of each and what are the long-term effects of both on you? There is also the question of how well it fits your overall house design.
In this article we compare the spray foam insulation with that of glass fiber and make your decision easier.
Via spray foam insulation
First, let’s dip our toes in the spray foam insulation water.
We can safely say that it is a relatively new form of insulation, at least compared to fiber. The main component of the spray foam is usually a polymer; Polyurethane is the most common. The foam works in such a way that it tends to expand 40-120 times its original size after application, depending on the type of foam.
Then this foam hardens and hardens over time and forms a solid. It fills the air gaps and pockets that are hardly accessible where the foam shines.
Main types of spray foam insulation
We essentially know two main types of spray foam insulation: closed-cell and open-cell.
Closed cell insulation
Closed cell insulation is the most common type of spray foam. It is a little more expensive than open-celled, but also more thorough. It completely fills the air pockets and gaps and lets little or no air flow into your home. It gives structural stability to your home or office. This makes it a great choice for areas with high winds and other hazards.
Open cell insulation
The other common type of isolation is open cell isolation. This is a little budget-friendly, but you don’t get the structural stability that you get with closed-cell insulation. There is still some air between the air pockets, but the insulation keeps the heat or cold away. This option is considered when no additional structural stability is required.
Fiber insulation information
Fiberglass is a more traditional type of material that is used for insulation. These extremely fine glass fibers are used to keep the heat in the house. They trap air bubbles, which creates an insulating effect and keeps the heat indoors and the cold outdoors.
Types of fiber insulation
There are two types of fiberglass insulation: fiberglass ceilings and loose fillings.
Blankets are ideal for use in relatively easily accessible areas such as attics. This is usually the case with new buildings, although not necessarily. However, you need some skills as they have to be tailored to the holes. They are more common than loose fill.
These are sold in different densities. They have different R values; This value determines the density and is between 3.2 and 3.8 per inch. The higher R values are those of 4.3 per inch or even higher.
Spray foam insulation against glass fiber
And now to the meat and potatoes of the article – the comparison between spray foam insulation and fiberglass.
This factor depends very much on the quality of the installation and the type of insulation used. Spray foam insulation can usually be said to have the highest R-value – between 3.6 and 3.8. But what makes it particularly effective is the fact that it covers almost everything, since it covers even the tightest areas.
On the other hand, the glass fiber insulation also offers a satisfactory level of thermal protection. Batts and loose fill can deliver R values of up to 4.3. However, the problem occurs if the insulation is not installed properly or inaccurately. This means that the insulation loses efficiency over time and has to be refilled.
As already mentioned, closed-cell spray foam usually costs a little more, but in many cases it is also the most effective form. It costs about $ 1 to $ 1.50 per board foot, while the open-cell spray foam costs between $ 0.45 and $ 0.80 per board foot.
On the other hand, fiber optics can also be expensive if we opt for a higher fiber optic quality. Standard fiber costs between $ 0.50 and $ 1 per square foot of wall, while higher density bats typically cost $ 1 or more per square foot.
If we compare closed spray foam, which costs about $ 1.30 to $ 3.50 per square foot, with fiberglass, we see that spray foam is slightly more expensive, or at least the closed-cell one.
The quality of the seal and the air barrier
The closed-cell spray foam glows here. It covers almost everything between the wall and your house, preventing heat transfer. It is the highest quality and most reliable tool, reduces the likelihood of mold and increases energy efficiency.
Glass fiber, on the other hand, can be a little trickier. While it can be very effective, it also has to be installed properly and professionally, which incurs additional costs. A DIY approach can be tempting, but it can cost in the long run.
The fiberglass insulation lasts up to a few years, especially when buying high quality fiberglass. However, you need to be aware that the fiber will deteriorate after some time, which means that you will have to replace it after some time. And of course these are additional costs.
On the other hand, spray foam can last a lifetime for a person. Some types of foam can last up to 80 years. So you see that foam is a permanent solution. You may have to pay more in advance, but you get both quality and durability.
Barrier to moisture
Spray foam can contain a vapor barrier depending on the type of insulation and quality of the installation. It is best to consult a professional and properly install it to install a moisture barrier.
On the other hand, fiberglass does not provide a vapor barrier and has to be installed separately. This is a big problem, especially for installers who have no experience.
Sound and allergy considerations
If you are looking for an option that protects you from heat and cold, but also from noise pollution and allergy protection, spray foam is the better choice. While protecting you from the heat and cold, it can be a sound barrier, although it’s not as effective as special sound barriers. It also blocks allergens like pollen.
Glass fiber, on the other hand, has a significantly lower soundproofing capacity than spray foam. It will block some of it, but not as much as the open-cell spray foam.
Both glass fiber and spray foam can be flammable. Spray foam often needs intumescent paint to protect it from fire.
Final thoughts on spray foam insulation against glass fiber
When we complete this article, we assume that the final decision is up to you. If you’re looking for a slightly more effective solution that lasts longer, spray foam is the better option.
If you want to save some money, consider fiber optics. But you know that it won’t last forever and is not as effective as closed-cell spray foam.
If you’ve enjoyed reading this article on spray foam insulation versus fiber, you should read this too: