Expandable spray foam insulation, also known as expandable polystyrene, is used for household insulation. It is available in cans for small jobs and as a hose kit for medium to large jobs. Professional installation is also available although this isn't cheap.
Expandable Foam insulation for large to mid-level jobs is applied with a gun reminiscent of a fire hose. When it is applied in this manner it is best used on concrete and to fill cavities in a finished wall. This product is also good for sealing tight areas in the roof such as between joists and rafters. When used in this way it can also cover the nails on rafters protecting the head. Another advantage of this type of insulation is its amazing sound proofing ability.
For smaller projects this is available in cans from any local home improvement store. Expandable foam insulation from a can is good for blocking areas that are too big to caulk (a larger than one half inch gap) and sealing the areas around windows, doors and pipes. Canned expandable foam insulation comes in many forms with softer formulas designed to go around doors and windows without possibly bowing and breaking the wood part of the frame or window. This should not be used to seal water leaks or other plumbing problems.
Closed cell expandable foam insulation is not porous which means that there is little to no moisture penetration which reduces the risk of mold. This also helps to reinforce the insulated surface. It also has a superior R value (the unit of measurement for thermal resistance used in the construction industry). A closed cell type tends to have an r value of five to eight per inch. R value can degrade slightly with age however this degradation will stop once an environmental equilibrium has been reached. The r value of stabilized expandable insulation foam remains very high; However most foams require protection from solvents and sunlight. Another plus of closed cell expandable insulation is a lack of waste. Closed cell foam rarely needs trimming, while open cell foam usually requires trimming and waste disposal.
When applying foam insulation it is important to always wear appropriate safety gear. Applying the insulating material without protective goggles or mask may temporarily impair ones vision for approximately two to five days. One should also always wear gloves. Also most expandable insulation foams are extremely flammable and require a thermal barrier with a fifteen minute fire rating. However Cementitious foam is fire proof.
Expandable foam insulation is clearly a good product to use for your home. It is cheap, easy to use and long lasting in most cases. It is also dense, which allows for very good insulation. If for some reason you have concerns, you can always speak with a home repair specialist who will be happy to teach you all about expandable foam insulation.