Sometimes you can hear an opinion that polyurethane foam is an expensive heat-insulation and insulation method. But let us consider all advantages and disadvantages: will this conclusion remain unchanged?.. Considering the net volume of heat-insulation material, closed-cell polyurethane foam actually cost more in comparison with other heat-insulation materials, such as mineral or glass wool, cellulose (ekowool), polystyrene or foam pellets, open-cell polyurethane foam or thermal foam.
Heat-insulation using polyurethane foam is expensive? – No, it is cost-efficient!
1. Polyurethane foam is the only material that will seal openings for air by 100 percent at your home. Studies have shown that a house loses up to 30-40 percent of heat due to lack of tightness near window openings, electrical switches and sockets, at the corners between roof and roof overlay, wall and foundation overlay! Other insulation materials do not provide complete tightness, seams between heat-insulation plates or mats remain, reaching structural joints and corners is difficult. Polyurethane foam forms a solid tight layer – no seams and joints, it adheres and encloses any cavities and protrusions so there are no problems involving tightness. Meanwhile you save heat and your bills.
2. If different types of wool are used for heat-insulation of walls, they need to be protected from moisture penetration from the inside particularly thoroughly. Both minor cracks in vapour insulation film which develop as a result of installation of electrical switches or sockets, drilling screws to the walls for suspended cabinets, or simply at wall junctures with floors or ceilings are suitable spots for your heat insulation material to absorb moisture. Fibrous insulation material accumulates moisture from the premises and then and deflates when evaporating it! There is more than one new settler who could “brag” about cold air coming from the outside through sockets after a couple years since housewarming. Closed-cell polyurethane foam does not absorb moisture and does not deflate, there are no changes in its volume, it does not form cold bridges. Consequently, this contributes to heat retention and lower heating bills.
3. People tend to do repairs at home every 7-12 years. How often do you tend to replace your the heat-insulation layer of the house? Fibrous insulation materials are destroyed by rodents and insects, the walls get damaged by tunnels and layers made by them thus reducing the thermal insulation layer by several times. Changing this situation can be very complicated so people tend to pay for the incurred heat loss and to change nothing. Closed-cell polyurethane foam does not get affected neither by moisture, nor by rodents or insects. Its durability is more than 30 years, i.e., even though the initial expenses are higher, later it pays off to a great extent in the form of low heating bills and no extra expenses for renovation and repair.
4. Closed-cell polyurethane foam is almost twice as warm (λ=0.020 – 0.023W/m·K) as traditional thermal insulation materials. This property is particularly useful for heat-insulation of premises when saving the useful space is a particularly relevant issue e.g., in case of ceilings in apartments on the top floors or just small area premises.
5. If finishing is not a relevant issue for you (e.g., in a garage, basement, or workshop), in this case you will not need any frames, fastening elements, or any additional tools. Moreover, closed-cell polyurethane foam will prevent moisture penetration, you will not need any additional hydro-insulation (in case of damp underground premises) or protection from formation of corrosion, in case of metal-containing premises).
6. If you have premises with a rough surface (rough overlay plates, boards, chipped bricks, etc.), there are no problems about that. Polyurethane foam will cover all rough spots, even though it would be a problem, if rigid heat-insulation materials were used – you would have to either make the rough spots smoother, or come to terms with losses incurred due to cavities between the surfaces being heat-insulated and the heat-insulation material.
So let us make estimates once again.
How much do you save by having an impermeable house? – 30 percent of heating bills.
How much do you save by not renovating your house? – even after 30 years your thermal insulation will remain just as impermeable and tight.
How much do you save by not putting your own efforts (or not paying handymen for the services)? By making the surfaces subject to thermal insulation smoother, by not installing hydro-insulation and vapour insulation? – evaluate the working hours of handymen (or your own) and the materials used.
Heat-insulation of basements, foundations
Polyurethane foam perfectly fits for insulation of foundations both from the outside and the inside. Not only it will ensure thermal insulation but it will also protect from moisture. Foam sprayed on the outside should be painted because it starts decaying from a longer exposure to UV, just like any other polyurethane foam.
Foam could be used for sealing developed cracks, cavities around various water supply, electricity, gas, communication inlets.
It is an ideal solution for old basements or underground garages with walls which tend to get damp, sustain mould growth and humidity and cold penetrates inside the building. You can also spray on the ceiling of a basement or an underground garage in this way improving thermal insulation of the premises above them.
Heat-insulation of walls
Small area (up to 50 m²) heat-insulation of walls is the most common area for application of polyurethane foam sets.
This is particularly relevant:
- In case of having a cold wall in an apartment or a house when heat-insulation of the wall from the outside is not an option
- When you want to save the useful space of the room (just a 5-cm layer will provide an additional 2.5 m²·K/W thermal resistance R)
- When it is relevant to provide heat-insulation of the most common spots for cold to enter – i.e. corners, joints between the wall and the ceiling (especially, if roof is above the ceiling), the wall and the floor (especially, if unheated premises are beneath the floor), around sockets, switches, or in case of cracks in the walls (structural strength of the wall is increased due to high density of the foam)
- When you want warranties that the insulation material will serve you just as long as your entire building (it does not decay, it does not absorb moisture, and there are no opportunities for deflating as in case of incorrectly installed or operated “breathing” fibrous materials which lose their previous volume and open leaky cavities by absorbing and evaporating vapour)
- When you want to carry out the work very promptly (we provide heat-insulation on a 50 m² area in less than 30 min.)
Heat-insulation of roof, attic, mansard
Cold ceiling is a common problem in apartments on the top floors when heat-insulation of the roof is not an option. In this case heat-insulation material can be applied only on the inside, reducing the height of the room. In such cases heat-insulation with polyurethane foam sets designed for areas up to 50 sq. m (depending thickness of the layer) could be useful.
- Twice thinner layer will be enough for you in order to achieve the desired heat insulation effect due to high thermal resistance of polyurethane foam (when thickness is 5 cm, R = 2.5 m²·K/W) in comparison to other insulation materials. This will enable using the ceiling height to a maximum level.
- The foam will cover rough overlay plates with high quality consequently improving the heat-insulation effect and joining seams in this way forming a monolithic hermetic heat-insulation layer.
- This is an ideal heat-insulation method for all roof structures, particularly complex structural units. The foam will hermetically adhere both to wood and metal, without leaving leaky cavities or cold bridges.
- In this way you will be able to insulate ventilation – air conditioning systems located beneath the roof in order to prevent condensation inside. The foam will insulate cavities around air ducts, chimneys, ventilation channels coming out of the roof.
- Use the foam to provide heat-insulation for roof overlay as well. Spray polyurethane foam along the entire perimeter of the roof and the overlay juncture as here the biggest challenges are faced in terms of leakage when using the conventional materials for heat-insulation. You can spray the entire overlay with a thin foam layer as in this way you will ensure a homogeneous and hermetic thermal coating and protection from vapour. The rest of the thermal resistance you need will be reached by spraying foam repeatedly until you reach the required thickness or by applying other heat-insulation materials.