Is spray foam better than fiberglass insulation? Is it more expensive? Is it worth the cost?
In the construction industry, insulation is one of the vital aspects that engineers and builders are concerned about.
There are obvious benefits that can readily be attributed to insulation namely savings on energy bills, a warmer home, as well as reduced carbon footprint.
These are a few of several benefits derived.
Spray Foam Insulation Cost Vs Fiberglass
The aim of this article isn’t to dwell on the benefits of insulation for buildings. Rather, our objective is to make vital comparisons between certain insulation materials.
Two of the most popular ones we’ll be looking at are spray foam and fiberglass.
Here, you’ll find all the answers you need about which insulation material is the most reliable.
Points of Comparison
A comprehensive look at the differences and benefits of one insulation material over the other requires looking at definite points of comparison.
Key points of comparison include moisture resistance levels, R-value, ease of installation, longevity, energy efficiency, and combustibility.
Sound-proofing and cost-effectiveness are additional areas to be looked at.
Before we get into specifics, let’s first lay the groundwork for a better understanding of both insulation materials by providing “about” information on them.
In other words, it’s necessary to first provide an overview of what they’re about.
Spray Foam Insulation Overview
As the name suggests, spray foam insulation material is chemically composed or has a chemical formation. It’s mostly mixed on-site by contractors and applied around target areas.
Now, depending on expected outcomes, two variants of spray foam insulation can be used.
There’s the open-cell spray foam which has a flexible and soft appearance and texture due to incomplete enveloping of consisting cells.
On the other hand, is the closed-cell spray foam variant which is the opposite of the open-cell type. Here, the cells are entirely enveloped and tightly packed.
The resulting outcome is rigid, stable, and dense insulation that also helps moisture and air passage. This serves certain purposes and tends to cost more.
Fiberglass Insulation Overview
In the case of fiberglass insulation materials, this is designed from recycled glass amongst other raw materials and held together by adhesives.
Just like spray foam insulation, fiberglass insulation also has different variants which are determined by how it’s packed.
Variants include fiberglass loose-fill insulation, batt insulation, as well as roll insulation. These are meant to serve to vary insulating functions or needs.
A construction engineer knows exactly what insulation material is needed for your protection. You’re likely to get recommendations on the best type to use.
We won’t be getting into specifics on all fiberglass insulations variants. Rather, we’ll proceed to begin highlighting the differences that exist between spray foam and fiberglass insulation materials.
Spray Foam Vs Fiberglass Insulation
If you’ve followed from the beginning to this point, you’ll recall that we’ve mentioned certain points of comparisons which we planned to highlight as our discussion progressed.
These include moisture-resistant levels, R-value, ease of installation, longevity, and energy efficiency.
Others mentioned are combustibility, sound-proofing, and cost-effectiveness. This section discusses each of the points highlighted as follows;
Moisture Resistant Levels
Moisture problems are among the biggest issues homeowners deal with. To have such under control, it becomes necessary to ensure proper insulation.
Now, your preference for an insulation material will largely be influenced by relevant information regarding the comparative advantages of either (spray foam & fiberglass insulations).
When it comes to better moisture resistance, spray foam easily comes tops. However, this isn’t to say fiberglass insulations won’t perform well.
You’ll need to check every few years to see whether there are any signs of moisture penetration and damage to your home.
Do you know the R-value of spray foam vs fiberglass?
For readers who find this confusing, R-value is simply the measurement of an insulation material’s thermal resistance. A higher R-value score simply means the insulation material has greater resistance to the elements.
Spray foam insulation variants like the closed-cell tend to have higher R-value scores.
R-value scores for closed-cell spray foams can reach as high as 7.0. Fiberglass insulations on the other hand don’t measure up as much. Starting R-value scores for fiberglass insulations are 2.2.
Ease of Installation
Which type of insulation is easier to install between the two? Considering the amount of insulation work that needs to be done, fiberglass insulations are easily the favorite.
These do not require as much work as when applying spray foam insulations.
Here, batts of fiberglass only need to be unrolled and installed accordingly. It becomes even easier when there are fewer obstructions.
Longevity is an important aspect of construction work. Comparing the two insulation types, both will serve for significantly longer periods covering several decades.
However, fiberglass insulations have a slight advantage over spray foam as they can last as much as 100 years.
At best, spray foams can last 80 years. This is significantly high as well as it mostly serves the needs it was meant to.
One of the main reasons for insulating a home is to improve energy efficiency.
Using this point to compare, spray foam insulations tend to be much more effective than fiberglass in energy conservation or efficiency.
One of the areas homeowners are concerned about is the combustibility of levels of their insulation. Fiberglass tends to be more flammable due to the inclusion of certain raw materials in its make-up.
However, high combustibility rates do not apply to both insulation materials.
Another aspect of insulation we need to consider is soundproofing. Both spray foam and fiberglass insulations perform excellently when it comes to insulation.
They help keep out external noise to an appreciable level.
During construction work, one of the primary concerns of homeowners is how cost-effective the job is. Comparing the two insulation types, spray foam tends to be costlier than the use of fiberglass.
Improved Structural Strength
When insulating your home, you may be interested in knowing whether further structural reinforcements are added to your property.
Fiberglass adds none of that to your structure. However, only closed-cell spray foam improves the structural integrity of your home. This is mainly due to its rigidity.
Is spray foam insulation better than fiberglass?
Now you know the key differences between spray foam and fiberglass insulations. These points help you choose which material to use for your construction or renovation work.
It’s also important you ask for a professional recommendation from a structural engineer.