The Good & Bad About Foam Insulation


Insulation forms a barrier between a home's interior and exterior. During winter, insulation will keep cold air outside the home while trapping heat from your furnace indoors. During summer, insulation blocks hot air from entering your home, while keeping air conditioned air inside. Common types of insulation include cellulose, cotton, fiberglass, mineral wool and foam. Foam insulation is a popular choice when insulating homes in the U.S.

Added Protection

  • Once installed, foam insulation spreads and solidifies, providing walls, ceilings and floors with additional support. As a result, homes that are exposed to extreme conditions, such as the high-velocity winds associated with hurricanes and tornadoes, are less vulnerable to damage.

Environmental Burden

  • Foam insulation negatively impacts the environment. During foam insulation's production phase, natural gas and petroleum are extracted from the earth and sent to refineries where they are manufactured into insulation. After manufacturing, foam insulation is transported around the country to be used during the construction of homes and other buildings. These processes rely on fossil fuels that release dangerous compounds into the atmosphere, creating holes in the ozone layer and putting the health of human beings and the environment at risk.

Tighter Seal

  • During the installation process, foam insulation is sprayed into an empty wall cavity. The foam expands between wall studs and joists, reaching farther into tight spaces than other forms of insulation. As a result, foam insulation offers fewer air pockets and a higher R-value, providing increased resistance to cold air from outside. In the long run, homeowners may save money on energy costs. Furthermore, the tight seal created by foam insulation reduces the risk of mold and mildew growth, while providing little opportunity for rodents to infiltrate your home.

Risk of Bulges

  • Foam insulation may expand more than estimated. As a result, the wall may bulge outward, resulting in a curved appearance rather than a smooth and flat one. Not only is this an aesthetic problem, but it can become a structural one if drywall bursts or plaster breaks. Furthermore, any foam that seeps out of cracks can stain the walls or flooring. These stains can be difficult to remove.

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