Home Improvement: Taking the Heat – Spray Foam VS Batt Insulation
Spray Foam VS Fiberglass Batt Insulation: Which Is Better?
Virtually every room addition and home remodeling project I have completed over the last 24 years has needed wall and ceiling insulation. I understand the trouble homeowners are faced with when making the decision of which type of insulation to use due to the long term consequences. While both types of insulation have their own unique pros and cons, this article will explain enough of the benefits and drawbacks of each type so you can decide for yourself which is best for your situation.
The Difference Between Price and Cost
Before getting into each type of insulation, it would be helpful to review the difference between price and cost. Price is the amount of money you need to take out of your pocket to initially buy a product. Cost is the amount of money you need to take out of your pocket over the lifetime of owning a product. If you are remodeling a bathroom and just need to insulate the ceiling, the low price option (fiberglass batts) makes the most sense. If you are adding 1000 s.f. of living space to your house, the low cost option (spray foam) probably makes the most sense if you have no intentions of moving.
Fiberglass Insulation Pros/Cons
The upside of fiberglass insulation is its low cost, availability in small quantities, and ease of installation by almost anyone. The downside is that it allows a lot of air movement because it does not seal tightly to itself or structural members, it gets installed above the ceiling still allowing the attic above it to get very hot in the summer, and it is not as efficient of an insulator on an inch by inch basis.
Spray Foam Insulation Pros/Cons
The upside of spray foam insulation is many: more efficient than fiberglass bath (inch per inch), near 100% air sealing, soffit and ridge vents are not needed, applied to the underside of the roof deck so attic is kept cool and a smaller size HVAC system can be used, and it won’t get stepped on and have its R-value reduced due to its application location. It’s downsides include it must be applied by an approved application company and set-up/minimum charges start at about $1,500.
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