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A Guide to Spray Foam & Foamed-in-Place Insulation Types

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A Guide to Spray Foam & Foamed-in-Place Insulation Types

What is spray foam insulation?

Spray foam insulation comes in many types. From cementitious, a magnesium oxide cement-based foamed-in-place insulation material with a texture most have to referred to as shaving cream-like, to spray polyurethane foam (SPF), which is what we here at Energy Shield are experts in, to tripolymer, a water-soluble foam that is injected into cavities.

Spray foams are dense, pollution-free insulators with an airtight, lightweight, and seamless application. Some types, like SPF, may also be waterproof. Spray foam is fluid-applied, typically with either a small handheld sprayer or a pressurized sprayer depending on the size of the project. It then expands and hardens on contact with the surface, and cures to form an airtight chemical bond. Everything sprayed or fluid-applied is a better insulator naturally.

Aside from strengthening your building, spray foam is low maintenance, stops other problems from arising, and reduces construction waste. Spray foam will not sink, sag, or settle, and does not wear down the structure. It is also safe for application over fireproofing materials. Over the last 35 years, it has undergone many tests to conform to the standards for non-combustibility, and it keeps passing.

With a spray foam insulation solution, the cold and heat from inside and outside will not expand and contract your roofing substrate and will keep the air-conditioned or heated air you pay for inside of your building. This also means that any wood in its surrounding vicinity will not rot, split, or warp. Oftentimes, certain spray foams are used in conjunction with a roof coating, such as our silicone roof coating solution, to form the primary protective roof covering.

Spray foam is incredibly strong with an R-Value greater than any other insulation type on the market. The R-Value is the measurement of insulation strength, or how much heat the insulation will let flow through it. Depending on the thickness of your wall structure and the foam density, our closed-cell SPF’s R-Values here at Energy Shield are between R-6 and R-6.5 per inch. In comparison, fiberglass batts and blankets have an R-Value of 3.0 to 4.0 per inch. In general, closed-cell spray foam is the superior insulation material for keeping the weather, water, air, and even the bugs and mold out.

Uses

The list of commercial and industrial spray foam applications is long. It is quite versatile and has many different applications, from commercial and industrial buildings (interior and exterior walls) to refrigerated trucks and vans to water storage tanks and duct work. Spray foam can be applied to any commercial or industrial construction material, such as concrete block, concrete, brick, steel, wood, laminates, and even exterior sheathing boards.

It can be used for virtually any insulation need, including digesters, freezers and coolers, conveyor tubes, separation insulation between heated and unheated areas of your building, and even coatings for below-grade pipes, vaults, and manholes.

Spray foam is an excellent option for acoustical insulation projects as well with its impeccable sound-insulating properties. Not only that, but it is mold, pest, and pollutant-resistant, making it a smart insulation choice for your project whether it involves your home, commercial or industrial building, or refrigerated truck or van.

spray foam insulation types

Energy & Cost-Saving Benefits

As cold or hot air enters a building, an equal amount is forced out, leading to air loss. Your HVAC system must work twice as hard to keep the temperature stable. Air loss is exactly how your hard-earned money is wasted. Spray foam insulation stops air loss and prevents leaks, production shutdowns, and equipment damage by creating a seamless barrier as well as filling any existing cracks, gaps, holes, and seams. In return, you get enormous cost savings just from keeping the air inside your building — right where it belongs.

Spray foam is proven to save up to 40% to 60% in annual energy costs. A 50,000 square foot industrial or office building will have energy costs around $67,000 per year. Once you have spray foam insulation installed, you can expect a savings of around $26,800 a year.

Even though spray foam insulation typically costs more than traditional insulation, the cost is mitigated by its benefits. Due to its high R-Values, it can virtually eliminate some of the other costs associated with constructing or maintaining a home or commercial building.

Spray Foam Insulation Densities

Spray foam insulation is available in low, medium, and high density types. At 0.5 pounds per cubic foot, low-density spray foam is an open-cell foam whereas medium and high-density spray foams at 2-3 pounds per cubic foot are both closed-cell foams. In general, the higher the density, the greater the R-Value; and the higher the R-Value, the greater the insulating power.

industrial insulation spray foam insulation types

Open-Cell vs. Closed-Cell Spray Foam Insulation Types

Open-cell spray foam cures into a soft and sponge-like state because its cells are, as the name implies, open and filled with air. Closed-cell spray foam cures into a hard and rigid state because its cells are closed and filled with gas. Typically, closed-cell spray foam costs a bit more than open-cell foam. Closed-cell spray foam has a higher R-Value per inch due to its level of density. At 3” of application, open-cell spray foam becomes an effective air barrier. At only 1” of application, closed-cell spray foam becomes an excellent air barrier and is extremely useful for sealing air leaks as well as adding structural strength.

Open-Cell

  • Low density: 0.5 lb. per cubic foot
  • Up to R-4 per inch
  • Soft & spongy – cells filled with air
  • Water permeable (should be used in conjunction with a vapor retardant)
  • Effective air barrier at 3” of application
  • Attics, ceilings, roofs, soundproofing, walls

Closed-Cell

  • Medium to high density: 2-3 lb. per cubic foot
  • Up to R-7 per inch
  • Hard & rigid – cells filled with gas
  • Moisture-resistant, Class II vapor retarder, FEMA Class 5 flood-resistant
  • Excellent air barrier at 1” of application
  • Basements, ceilings, crawlspaces, roofs, slabs, sound-dampening, walls

In Closing

The type of spray foam that you need will ultimately depend on your project and budget. The installation of spray foam requires permits as well as personal protective equipment, so it is extremely important to contact a professional to take on the job.

Commercial Roofing Detroit – 3 Reasons you need spray foam

By Informational, Spray Foam No Comments

You’re sitting at your desk, life is great.

Something drops right into your hot mug of coffee.

The ceiling tiles fall onto your desk and behind you.

Your commercial roof protects your building and the interior from the exterior elements and weather conditions. It’s one of the most critical parts of your building – keep it safe.

So what happens, why do flat roofs leak?

commercial flat roofing commercial roofing

Diag. 1 – The sun hits your dark-colored roof, and causes the roof the heat up. In the summer months, the cool air inside is reacting with the hot air entering through the seams and cracks, this causes moisture to build up. That moisture can eat through your roofing sub straight, and your ceiling.

Your commercial roof is exposed to very harsh elemental conditions. Heat, cold, water, snow, the sun, hail, and a myriad of other weather conditions. The number one reason roofs fail is the roofing material, followed by age. Other factors like weather conditions, and roof color, also have a large impact on the condition and longevity of your flat roof.

Some commercial roofing is placed on in sheets, and then mechanically fastened (staples, nails). Those mechanically fastened sheets now are attached to the roof with a hole. Wood and metal will contract and expand depending on the weather conditions. Over time the holes punched into your roofing sub-straight (base/surface) will widen (because they expand and contract with the weather).

This also happens at the seams. These small holes and seams that are getting bigger year after year are made worse by penetrating water and escaping air, it’s a compounding issue.

Water can destroy anything. It will make metal rust and corrode, and cause wood to warp, and decompose. If that water gets into your sub straight, it will slowly, but surely, eat away at your roofing surface, until it doesn’t. Which means, the water is on the floor now, not the roof.

Air is a significant expander and contributes to the expansion and contraction of your sub straight at those seams. It’s also the number 1 reason why your energy bills are so high – Have a read here on energy consumption and roof types.

Commercial roofing types that have seams and are mechanically fastened include some EPDM, PVC Membrane, TPO, Modified Bitumen, and Built-Up Roofing.

Commercial roofing types that have no seams are spray-on and include Spray Foam and Silicone. These are seamless, and airtight and offer the best protection.

How spray foam is the best option for new and restorative commercial roofing.

commercial flat roofing spray foam commercial roofing

The spray foam coats the entire roof, seamlessly, and can cover your current roof. And your conditioned air inside stays conditioned.

1. It’s Seamless & Nail-Free.

Yes, it’s seamless meaning there are seams to open and get wider. This prevents the entry of water under the material. As we mentioned before, most common commercial flat roofing types have seams, and a hole is punched into the roof to attach it. Being that spray foam is seamless, spray-applied, and will never need to be nailed down – it means there is 0 chance of elemental exposure to your roofing sub straight. The spray application also means that the flashing (think baseboard for your roof) is applied with the roofing surface. It’s one continual coating.

2. It’s air-tight.

Yes, it’s air-tight. Meaning that the air that contributes to larger holes, cracks, and seams is eliminated. Air can’t escape (except where engineered), and air can’t penetrate. This stops air from contributing to high energy bills, and widening gaps, and holes in your roof.

3. It’s an insulator.

Spray foam is a dense, pollution-free, polyurethane insulator. It has an R-Factor (measurement of insulation strength) that is greater than any other insulator. So you know what that means? Exactly, the heat and cold from inside and outside will not expand and contract your roofing sub straight. When it hardens, it also adds strength to your commercial flat roof and is nearly weightless.

4. It can be applied over your failing roof.

This is the best part. Spray-Foam can be fluid applied over your existing commercial roof, regardless of the material. It will immediately stop penetrating water and those pesky weather conditions, and insulate and protect your building for a lifetime.

Spray foam commercial flat roofing solutions offer the best protection and for the longest time. There is a caveat – finding the right contractor to install it. It needs to be applied evenly, and consistently across the entire roof – always find a professional to install your spray foam.

 

commercial roofing repair

Commercial Flat Roofing – 4 Reasons Spray Foam is King

By Informational, Spray Foam No Comments

You’re sitting at your desk, life is great.

Something drops right into your hot mug of coffee.

The ceiling tiles fall onto your desk and behind you.

 

Your roof protects your building and the interior from the exterior elements and weather conditions. It’s one of the most critical parts of your building – keep it safe.

So what happens, why do commercial flat roofing solutions fail and leak?

 

commercial flat roofing

Diag. 1 – The sun hits your dark-colored roof, and causes the roof the heat up. In the summer months, the cool air inside is reacting with the hot air entering through the seams and cracks, this causes moisture to build up. That moisture can eat through your roofing sub straight, and your ceiling.

Your Roof is exposed to very harsh elemental conditions. Heat, cold, water, snow, the sun, hail, and a myriad of other weather conditions. The number one reason roofs fail is the roofing material, followed by age. Other factors like weather conditions, and roof color, also have a large impact on the condition and longevity of your flat roof.

 

Some roofing is placed on in sheets, and then mechanically fastened (staples, nails). Those mechanically fastened sheets now are attached to the roof with a hole. Wood and metal will contract and expand depending on the weather conditions. Over time the holes punched into your roofing sub-straight (base/surface) will widen (because they expand and contract with the weather).

This also happens at the seams. These small holes and seams that are getting bigger year after year are made worse by penetrating water and escaping air, it’s a compounding issue.

 

Water can destroy anything. It will make metal rust and corrode, and cause wood to warp, and decompose. If that water gets into your sub straight, it will slowly, but surely, eat away at your roofing surface, until it doesn’t. Which means, the water is on the floor now, not the roof.

 

Air is a significant expander and contributes to the expansion and contraction of your sub straight at those seams. It’s also the number 1 reason why your energy bills are so high – Have a read here on energy consumption and roof types.

 

Roof types that have seams and are mechanically fastened include some EPDM, PVC Membrane, TPO, Modified Bitumen, and Built-Up Roofing.

 

Roof types that have no seams are spray-on and include Spray Foam and Silicone. These are seamless, and airtight and offer the best protection.

 

How spray foam is the best option for a new and restorative commercial flat roof.

commercial flat roofing spray foam

The spray foam coats the entire roof, seamlessly, and can cover your current roof. And your conditioned air inside stays conditioned.

1. It’s Seamless & Nail-Free.

Yes, it’s seamless meaning there are seams to open and get wider. This prevents the entry of water under the material. As we mentioned before, most common commercial flat roofing types have seams, and a hole is punched into the roof to attach it. Being that spray foam is seamless, spray-applied, and will never need to be nailed down – it means there is 0 chance of elemental exposure to your roofing sub straight. The spray application also means that the flashing (think baseboard for your roof) is applied with the roofing surface. It’s one continual coating.

 

2. It’s air-tight.

Yes, it’s air-tight. Meaning that the air that contributes to larger holes, cracks, and seams is eliminated. Air can’t escape (except where engineered), and air can’t penetrate. This stops air from contributing to high energy bills, and widening gaps, and holes in your roof.

 

3. It’s an insulator.

Spray foam is a dense, pollution-free, polyurethane insulator. It has an R-Factor (measurement of insulation strength) that is greater than any other insulator. So you know what that means? Exactly, the heat and cold from inside and outside will not expand and contract your roofing sub straight. When it hardens, it also adds strength to your commercial flat roof and is nearly weightless.

 

4. It can be applied over your failing roof.

This is the best part. Spray-Foam can be fluid applied over your existing roof, regardless of the material. It will immediately stop penetrating water and those pesky weather conditions, and insulate and protect your building for a lifetime.

Spray foam is one of the best commercial flat roofing solutions available because it’s seamless, fluid applied, an insulator, it’s airtight and it can be applied over your current failing roof. Comparison Open vs. Closed Cell Foam

Spray foam commercial flat roofing solutions offer the best protection and for the longest time. There is a caveat – finding the right contractor to install it. It needs to be applied evenly, and consistently across the entire roof – always find a professional to install your spray foam.

Check out our quick infographic on how you save energy and extend the life-time of your commercial flat roof.