Filed in Construction by on July 21, 2014

foam insulationAfter a hot summer day on the lake or a chilly snowmobile ride across it, coming back to your lakeside home should a comfortable, welcoming experience – cool in the summer and cozy in the winter. Choosing spray foam insulation guarantees a home that will be an air-conditioned oasis in the summer and hold the heat inside during the winter months.

Spray foam insulation starts as a liquid that is sprayed into place. Once it’s applied to a wood, metal or concrete surface, it expands into nooks and crannies, where it hardens into a foam material that prevents air from seeping into or out of a building.

There are two kinds of foam, open cell half-pound foam and closed cell two-pound foam. The open cell foam has half the R-value of closed cell. The foam used in the upper Midwest is generally a closed cell material that is dense, strong, waterproof, durable and reduces exterior noise.

Because 30 percent of energy loss in a home comes from outside air infiltrating through cracks and crevices, spray foam is  smart, long-lasting investment that will save money and energy while providing a comfortable environment – especially on the frozen tundra of a Minnesota winter.

“Spray foam insulation seals everything and provides a very high R-value in a minimum amount of space,” says Mike Messer, owner of Tri County Foam Insulation in Carlos. “The higher the R-value the better, and spray foam insulation provides double the R-value of a conventional insulation.”

Compared to conventional insulation, Messer says spray foam not only saves on heating and cooling costs, it also strengthens your structure. “If your structure has a lot of diagonals and triangles – like the gables of an A-frame home – spray foam expands into place and fits very well,” he says. ” With conventional insulation, you can cut all the insulation you want, but you’ll likely end up tucking excess or coming up short.”

Spray foam insulation can be easily applied during new construction and, Messer says, foam insulation as a replacement during a remodeling project is also doable. “As long as people are removing a layer – like putting up new Sheetrock or re-roofing – we can access the area with spray foam,” he says.

1_530c168beb504f7f151658e7370fc34bMesser says his long-time, experienced employees have worked on everything from vaulted ceilings to government buildings in the nation’s capital.

“The quality that you’ll get really depends on the person doing the work,” Messer says. If you’re considering using spray foam insulation, his advice is this: “If you’re shopping around, have the company sales person show you photos of projects they’ve done and ask them to provide references in your area. If it doesn’t look right, you’re probably not going to get what you pay for. If you know who you’re dealing with, you know what to expect.”

Closed cell spray foam also is often used during construction or remodels as a vapor barrier. The spray foam product helps keep water out. By eliminating water leakage or condensation, ultimately spray foam insulation helps prevent mold and mildew – which can cost a fortune to remove and repair – and improves indoor air quality. “If you have any moisture problems at all – in your basement or rims, for example – that’s a great place for spray foam to be used.” Messer says.

Spray foam insulation also fits into the “go green” trend that’s sweeping the home building and remodeling market. Messer says most spray foam insulation contains some petroleum, but it also has an environmentally friendly makeup.

Spray foam insulation can also be composed of sugar beet oil and soybean oil. Industry experts say orgainic-based insulation products can be particularly beneficial to people with chemical sensitivities or allergies.

With the promise of double the R-value, water resistance and its environmental qualities, an investment in spray foam insulation is well worth considering for your home.

by Amy Chaffins | Photo Source: Tri County Foam Insulation 

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