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Polystyrene Insulation vs. Polyurethane

Trying to improve the comfort of your Visalia, California area home but also save money on heating and cooling? If so, you might be interested in the benefits of foam insulation. You have two main types to choose from: rigid foam (polystyrene) and spray foam (polyurethane).

These two materials sound similar, but they have their differences! Learn more about your options to help you make an informed decision.

Polystyrene Rigid Foam Insulation

Rigid foam is primarily installed in unfinished walls, roofs and foundations. The dense product provides a higher R-value than other types of insulation, allowing for excellent performance with very little thickness. Installing rigid foam reduces thermal bridging, raises the R-value of a wall or roof assembly, and greatly reduces air leaks.

There are two types of polystyrene rigid foam insulation:

  • Expanded polystyrene (EPS): With an R-value of 3.6 to 4.2 per inch, EPS is an effective way to insulate a home. It’s the less expensive option of the two and is most appropriate for above-grade applications.
  • Extruded polystyrene (XPS): An impressive rating of R-5 per inch combined with high compressive strength and water resistance makes XPS the perfect insulation for below-grade slabs and foundation walls.

Polyurethane Spray Foam Insulation

Spray foam is the best type of insulation for reducing air leaks. It foams in place, allowing you to fill every nook and cranny. This makes spray foam ideal for oddly shaped spaces and filling gaps around floor and wall penetrations. However, because spray foam must be mixed on site and applied while wearing special protective clothing, you must leave installation to the professionals.

There are two types of polyurethane spray foam insulation:

  • Open-cell polyurethane foam: Expect an R-rating of about 3.6 per inch. Open-cell foam is permeable to moisture but impermeable to air. This makes it ideal for insulating roof assemblies that need to dry inward.
  • Closed-cell polyurethane foam: At about R-6.5 per inch, closed-cell foam offers the best R-value per thickness of any insulation. It has a glue-like consistency, adding structural integrity to any wall or ceiling you apply it to. This option is pricier than open-cell foam, but because it provides better R-value per inch and also acts as a vapor retarder, it may be the better option for your situation.

Foam Insulation Contractors Serving Visalia, CA

Although polystyrene insulation (rigid foam) is often installed during new construction, there are sometimes exceptions for retrofit projects. For help choosing between polystyrene rigid foam and polyurethane spray foam, and then installing the insulation, contact Broken Drum Insulation of Visalia!

TESTIMONIALS

While adding insulation to help cut energy costs may seem to be a daunting project, the short-term investment has great long-term benefits.

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Residential Insulation

Our insulation team adds energy efficiency, comfort and value to new and existing homes.

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Commercial Insulation

Broken Drum Insulation of Visalia is a leading installer of commercial fiberglass, rigid board and rockwool insulation.

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Garage Doors

We offer comprehensive residential and commercial garage door services.

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Window Coverings

Our team provides professional window blind and shutter installation for your home or business.

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Insulation Removal

Broken Drum Insulation of Visalia provides home insulation removal services.

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