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Comparing spray foam insulation to traditional cellulose insulation [Infographic]

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Comparing spray foam insulation to traditional cellulose insulation [Infographic]

Homeowners considering an investment into insulation ought to know all the facts before starting a renovation. For instance, which insulation material works best in conjunction with HVAC systems to help save the most on monthly heating or cooling costs. Let's compare the advantages of spray foam insulation to traditional cellulose insulation and find out.

What is spray foam insulation?
Spray foam insulation is a polyurethane insulation material for walls, attics, basements and crawl spaces, as well as all the other nooks and crannies where homes need a high-performance insulation solution. Once applied, it quickly expands and fills the space to offer insulating and air sealing value.

What is cellulose insulation?
Available in two types - dry blown or wet sprayed - cellulose insulation is usually comprised of chemically treated recycled newsprint fibers. The chemicals in dry blown cellulose can lead to corrosion when it comes in contact with moisture in areas where moisture can travel, such as walls or the attic. Any nails, screws or wood truss plates can become corroded and possibly lead to a weakened house frame. Over time, cellulose insulation can settle and performance can become compromised.

How well do they insulate?
Thanks to its cell structure, spray foam offers optimal thermal insulation, as well as seals against the movement of air, moisture and pollutants. Furthermore, spray foam stays in place once it is applied and offers consistent year-round performance even with seasonal expansion and contraction.

Because dry blown cellulose is dense, it is prone to settling. The settling can be caused by the home settling, vibrations from foot traffic in the home or gravity. Over time, its performance can be compromised. Additionally, it does not offer an air seal.

Will they improve home heating and cooling efficiency?
Saving on heating and air conditioning costs is easy with spray foam insulation, since it helps limit air leakage. As a result, your heating and cool equipment can work more efficiently since it does not have to work overtime to compensate for any air that escaped due to air leaks.

Settling of dry blown cellulose can lead to caps which can force HVAC systems to work more often and harder to heat or cool the home. Since dry blown cellulose is injected into the wall cavity via one-inch holes, any wires, screws or piping in the cavity can cause "hang-ups" of the cellulose, meaning the material does not necessarily completely fill the wall cavity for properly insulating value.

Are they tough enough?
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) identified closed cell spray foam as a flood resistant material, making it ideal for homes in flood-prone areas. 

Manufacturers of wet sprayed cellulose specify that the material requires 28 days for the wet cellulose to dry out. If it is covered by drywall prior to 28 days, it could lead to potential mold growth.

And the winner is...
Spray foam insulation is the ideal choice for insulating and air sealing your home for a comfortable home year-round.

Comparing spray foam insulation to traditional cellulose insulationComparing spray foam insulation to traditional cellulose insulation
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