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The Different Types of Polyurethane Insulation

polyurethane insulation

Polyurethane has a wide variety of applications ranging from cushioning in automobiles to construction materials. There are several different types of polyurethane insulation that can serve various purposes and needs. In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at a few types of polyurethane insulation and their uses.

Spray Polyurethane Foam

Spray foam is perhaps the best-known form of polyurethane insulation. The foam is composed of two chemical materials which expand to about 30 to 60 times their liquid volume when they are mixed. This makes them perfect to use when insulating irregularly shaped areas and hard to reach places.

There are two types of spray polyurethane foam: light-density open-cell spray foam and medium-density closed-cell spray foam. The open cell insulation is filled with air which gives it a spongy texture. It has a lower R-value of about 3.7 and has no vapor barrier properties. This means it can absorb moisture.  It is best used in interior walls where it provides not only insulation but also prevents air leakage and noise pollution.

The closed cell foam is filled with a gas and is a much more rigid material. With an approximate R-value of 6, it is a more expensive choice. It acts as both an air and vapor barrier if installed in a thickness of 2 inches or more.

Spray foam can be a good DIY project for small areas and there are kits available that even provide the required equipment. However, for larger projects, it’s best to call a professional installer.

Rigid Polyurethane Foam Boards

Rigid polyurethane foam boards can be used almost anywhere in your home. Their R-values, ranging from 4 to 6.5 per inch, are some of the highest for such thin material. As a result of the high insulating value, these boards are sometimes used in special applications such as attic hatches.

To add even more to their insulating properties, some boards are covered with a foil radiant barrier. This protects your home from radiant heat and can reduce your energy bill even further. On top of that, polyurethane boards are moisture resistant and do not facilitate vapor transmission. They also function without getting distorted in wide temperature ranges.

Structural Insulated Panels (SIPS)

SIPS are prefabricated panels of foam insulation sandwiched between two structural facing materials. These materials can include natural wood, gypsum, or oriented strand board (OSB). These panels are connected together to form the walls and roof of houses.  Used in place of traditional construction materials, they speed up the construction process and reduce the amount of material necessary for structural framing. They form a more airtight structure which creates a quieter environment and can increase your energy savings up to 14%.

Is Polyurethane Foam Insulation the Right Choice For You?

Polyurethane insulation is one of the most used types of insulation available and is a good choice for your home. However, if there are unusual factors to take into account and you’d like to know what your options are, you can contact us directly. We will help guide you through this decision based on the specifics of your particular project.





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