What Is Spray Foam Insulation And Why It’s So Awesome

What Is Spray Foam Insulation?

Spray Polyurethane Foam Insulation or Spray Foam Insulation as it is commonly referred to, has quickly become one of the favored insulation products for folks that want to maximize the energy efficiency of their homes and businesses.

So, what is spray foam insulation? Spray foam insulation is a form of polyurethane that has been custom formulated for insulation applications. Polyurethane was originally invented by Otto Bayer in 1937 and has since been adapted for use in everything from seat cushions to packaging material, to shoe soles. Polyurethane foam made its debut as a building insulation product in 1979.

Spray foam insulation is custom applied on-site using advanced equipment that mixes the two-part formula so it can be spray applied by a trained installer. The two-part mixture is composed of an isocyanate and polyol resin [both liquids]. When these two liquids are mixed, they initiate a chemical reaction that creates the polyurethane foam that can be sprayed into wall cavities, attics, under raised homes, and more.

When properly installed, spray foam insulation creates monolithic insulation that provides excellent thermal insulation and air-sealing qualities.

Spray Foam Insulation – Beyond R-Value

All insulation products are rated for their thermal insulation performance and given a grade called “R-Value.” R-value is the term given to thermal resistance to heat flow. The higher the R-value of an insulation product, the more effective the insulation properties. But, when comparing spray foam insulation to other insulation products, spray foam insulation’s performance goes way beyond R-Value.

Virtually all other insulation products available come in two types: batts/panels or loose/blow-in. Batts are basically the big rolls of fiberglass insulation that are cut to size and “friction fit” into place, and loose fiberglass or cellulose is blown into place. Both of these insulation types can provide good insulation qualities but fall short on overall performance as they often leave gaps where the insulation doesn’t reach, and they provide no air barrier qualities. Additionally, batt and blown-in insulation will break down over time, further reducing their overall insulation performance.

This is where spray foam insulation puts all other insulation products to shame. When properly applied, spray foam insulation creates a seamless, monolithic insulation application that also provides superior air sealing qualities. In a single application, you get a high R-Value, plus air sealing, plus a product that won’t break-down, shrink or settle over time. This is why spray foam insulation goes beyond R-Value.

Spray Foam Insulation – Types & Performance

Spray polyurethane foam insulation comes in three types: light density, medium density, and high density. High-density foam is primarily used in roofing and exterior applications, and not in typical residential or commercial insulation applications, so we won’t be covering it in this post.

Light-density foam is commonly referred to as Open Cell or Half  Pound Foam. Medium-density foam is commonly referred to as Closed Cell or Two Pound Foam. Both of these products provide excellent insulation qualities, as well as air barriers when installed to recommended depths.

Open Cell Foam

Open-cell, or half-pound foam is a semi-rigid material that commonly delivers an R-Value of about 3.8 per installed inch. Open-cell foam has a bit of a sponge-like quality when installed, and will provide an effective air barrier when installed to a depth of 5.5 inches.

Half-pound foam is typically installed in exterior walls and unvented attic applications and provides good sound insulation qualities as well.

Closed Cell Foam

Closed cell or two-pound foam is a rigid material that commonly delivers an R-Value of about 5.1 – 6 per installed inch. Closed-cell foam, when installed at a depth of 2 inches, provides an effective air, vapor, and water barrier in addition to its exceptional insulation performance.

Closed cell foam is typically installed where very high R-values are required, and it is the only insulation product recommended for installation under a raised home. Closed-cell foam can also be installed in combination with open-cell foam and even blown-in insulation products.

Spray Foam Insulation – Applications

Spray polyurethane foam insulation can be installed in a myriad of applications. The most common are new residential construction and renovation projects, as well as light commercial applications like cold storage warehouses, office buildings, and even livestock buildings.

In residential applications, open-cell foam can be installed in wall cavities and attics, and closed-cell foam can be installed in wall cavities, attics, under raised floors, and on HVAC equipment to insulate rigid duct work.

In commercial applications, open-cell foam is typically installed in wall cavities and closed-cell foam is installed in warehouses, cold storage buildings, or other applications where high R-Values per installed inch are required, or moisture and/or humidity play a factor.

When spray foam will be used in a residential application, either in new construction or renovations, it is very important that the HVAC contractor knows about it. Homes insulated with spray foam insulation typically need smaller cooling and heating systems due to the high performance of the insulation. It is highly recommended that you have a proper Manual J calculation performed to make sure your HVAC is properly sized.

Wrapping It Up

Choosing the right insulation for your new construction or renovation project is a key item for your energy efficiency, overall comfort, and indoor air quality. For folks that want the ultimate in insulation performance, spray foam insulation may very well be a perfect choice. 

Yes, spray foam insulation is more expensive than other insulation products, but the higher upfront price is offset on two levels: your short-term and long-term costs. Your short-term costs are reduced by not needing much less labor-intensive air sealing work to control air infiltration and smaller HVAC system size requirements. And your long-term costs are reduced through significantly lower cooling and heating bills.

The last item of note – Installing spray foam insulation is not something just anyone can do correctly or effectively. Installing spray foam insulation is an art form unto itself. With the rise in popularity of spray foam insulation, virtually anyone willing to invest in the equipment thinks they can install spray foam insulation. Here at Diversified, we are constantly called upon to fix the substandard spray foam insulation jobs by the “discount” spray foam companies in the gulf south, because we employ the most experienced spray foam installers in the region.

So, when you see a $0.99 per square foot deal out there, understand that it comes with a very high risk of a substandard installation job done by an inexperienced sprayer.

For more information about Spray Foam Insulation, and overall home performance,  contact us today – 504-273-7779 – [email protected].


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Tamika CarterTamika Carter
22:56 07 Jun 24
Late post but I'm finally getting to it but I just want to say that Niki Aguillard and her helper did a great job in securing my home. They really... took their time and extra time fixing problems in and around the attic. Then they both explained to me what they were doing step by step. Thank you both so much!read more
Michael PowersMichael Powers
15:51 04 Jun 24
Couldn’t be happier with the work they did on my home. It started with a consultation, where the individual was extremely knowledgeable and... professional, discussed overall energy optimization for my 1900s shotgun home and what would be the best bang for my buck given my specific home and problems. Really took a wholistic approach to energy efficiency rather than just giving 1 solution. After discussion and some quotes, we ultimately ended up with spray foam insulation in the attic and beneath the floors. I asked a lot of questions and all were answered quickly. The work was scheduled and completely relatively on time with minimal impact to my work schedule (much of it was able to be done without me being present). Upon initial inspection they were not happy with their own work (although i could not tell the difference) and redid a portion on their own dime. The commitment to quality work over getting it done quickly was something i was not used to seeing from contractors, and showed a great deal of ownership and pride in their work. Finally some minor damage was done as they completed and it was addressed quickly and at no cost to me. Overall highly recommend and the final product as exactly what i was looking for, as my home is much cooler and ready for a hot summer.read more
They came on time and was very professional and very knowledgeable about there job and did a outstanding job.I recommend them to everyone I... know.👍🏽👍🏽👍🏽read more
Wonderful people and a service that was completed with immediate results in the AC's ability to cool down. Niki, Ali, and Tron were kind and... explained everything they did as well as the before and after results.read more
Cindy CorenCindy Coren
21:14 22 Apr 24
Workers Niki and crew were professional and ŵorking
Mic StylezMic Stylez
21:06 22 Apr 24
Niki, Allen, & Tron were such a delight to meet. They were so informative, and particular in explaining to me different questions I had to help me... understand thoroughly. They did a wonderful job, and they cleaned up after themselves as well. If you’re looking for the BEST, I highly recommend that you go with Diversified Energy.read more
Romell SmithRomell Smith
17:31 16 Apr 24
They came in and did an awesome job. All smiles, made sure the work was being done effectively, explained everything and gave me a couple pointers.... My CFM50 Reduction was almost 2000. A massive drop in inefficiency. They even cleaned up everything behind themselvesread more
Missy BarardMissy Barard
02:09 04 Apr 24
I am highly recommending diversified energy to everyone that is looking for a dependable company with very knowledgeable, hard-working, kind... responsible, neat workers that take the time and finish Your home with a fine tooth comb. The praise goes to Niki and Alli/Natristan This company couldn’t have sent me two better workers I appreciate everything that you have done. I’ve already referred you to a coworker and she’ll be looking forward to working with you all as well. Niki and Alli You all are a five star duel. Best wishes in your career. The work and the communication that you all has given, Sure makes a customers life at ease. Your Boss should give ya’ll a raise for making the company standards and values stronger . Thanks again for everything.read more
Anthony AlmericoAnthony Almerico
20:19 21 Mar 24
Nikki and her crew did an excellent job attending to my home energy needs. From the beginning, Nikki was very communicative letting me know exactly... what time the crew would arrive. They were very attentive to details, and made sure to keep me informed of everything that was going on throughout their work. They were even so kind as to let me know I had a roof leak, 😔, and notified me of it's location. They were mindful of my home and made sure not to disturb anything and even offered to help vacuum the house when they were done! They were also very aware, and kind, to my pup while going in and out the house, as he likes to dart around. Nikki made sure my gate and front door were always closed! (For those that have pets home while workers are present know how important this is.) I have had quite a few groups of people work on my home over the years and I can tell when someone cares about their work and when someone doesn't. Nikki and her team really cared, and I felt like I got to know them during the time they were working on my home. What a great job! It was a wonderful, EASY experience to work with them!read more
Blake CulpepperBlake Culpepper
18:50 09 Jan 24
Jeff and his team were very informative and helped me to understand the way my AC and insulation were contributing to moisture issues I was having.... Through an educational approach, we addressed the most pressing issues and will re-evaluate progress over time. We added spray foam over a previous spray foam job that was inadequately done, corrected damaged duct work under my house with insulation, and replaced an oversized AC unit, all of which were contributing to excess moisture and wasted energy costs in my home.Jeff and team were also very friendly and professional, which was refreshing when I was being oversold and pressured by another company. I would certainly recommend Diversified Air to friends and family.read more
14:31 04 Nov 23
Diversified Energy did a great job at my home for weatherization. The crew was extremely professional and curious. I would highly recommend this... company.read more
Gary ClementsGary Clements
17:05 07 Oct 23
Diversified Energy, from its owner, Jeff Haag, to its team led by Nikki, were thorough, competent, professional, hard-working and cost-effective. We... had our attic ductwork sealed and then the entire attic floor insulated with blown-in cellulose fiber, covered completely by sheets of the cutting edge technology of QV Platinum PCM (Phase Change Material) [Diversified Energy is the sole provider of this technology in the metro area]. Our A/C system works less now, even with continuing heat. We recommend Diversified Energy for upgrading your home’s energy efficiency!!read more
Jason RiggsJason Riggs
11:26 05 Oct 23
Jeff Haag and Diversified Energy went above and beyond while consulting with my client about insulation and home efficiency. He is very... knowledgeable and has insulated multiple homes for me, always with good results. Very responsive too.read more
Gena McKenzieGena McKenzie
14:06 13 Sep 23
sandy andrepontsandy andrepont
16:04 31 May 23
Nikki and her team did a wonderful in my home. They sprayed insulation, sealed air ducts and attic and much more. Nikki explained everything that was... being done, very professional and respectful of me and my home. I highly recommend them!read more
Rudy LinhubRudy Linhub
15:20 15 May 23
When only the best customer service and installation will do. They foam insulated my attic and installed an American Standard heat pump. Quick, easy... and in budget. A rare business find.Thanks Jeff!read more
Jenna DuplechienJenna Duplechien
21:38 11 May 23
Niki Aguillard and her crew came out to my house and did a fantastic job! They texted me what time they would arrive and they were on time. They made... sure every crack was sealed in my house and even put door sliders on the doors to keep the air from flowing in. They completely insulated the attic. They were very friendly and kind overall did an amazing job I’m very pleased with how they went over and beyond to ease every concern I had and I really appreciate their hard work. Would definitely recommend Diversified Energy “Plug into Comfort”read more
Joel HenschenJoel Henschen
22:57 13 Mar 23
We had a great experience working with Diversified Energy. They were always willing to communicate and take care of any issue that popped up. One... of the best and most honest contractors I have dealt with. I will definitely use them again in the future. Thank you!read more
Dolores FryouxDolores Fryoux
21:37 28 Oct 22
Niki and Damon did a great job today!! They really answered All my questions and concerns. I am very happy with the whole process and highly... recommend this company.read more
Avis JamesAvis James
18:27 13 Oct 22
Nikki and her crew sealed in the attic, around doors and around plumbing pipes. Then they returned to add insulation. Very professional. Great job.
Rebecca WhitakerRebecca Whitaker
00:08 25 Sep 22
Blake came out and did an energy audit of my place of residence. He was very gracious and professional. He respected my request for him to remove his... shoes and was patient enough to answer my questions. Thank you, Blake!read more
Darrin ClarkDarrin Clark
18:10 27 Jul 22
Niki crew came and explained the job details and performed very professional and in a timely manner and I was satisfied with the whole process and... would recommend to anyone that is in need of the services they provideread more
Dave ODave O
15:55 16 Oct 21
First off these are some friendly and professional people! They came in to our home and had nothing but respect and explained things in a way that... was more family/friend based than technical. BIG shout out to Mike and Ryan for the amazing help and work! They tested the house and did all the checks as well as made sure we had stuff in place. They hooked us up with a great light package that should help our energy use as well as lighting needs. Everything is top notch and amazing customer service!read more
Summer CarterSummer Carter
20:31 18 Mar 19
I had such a great experience with Jack, Shamone, and Chad! They were extremely friendly and very professional! Jack explained what would take place... the morning of my appointment and answered all of my questions! They were all very understanding of my very noisy three year old as well! Thank you again you guys for such a pleasurable experience!read more

Diversified Energy is fully insured and licensed - State Licensing Board for Contractors - License number: 885628

Diversified Energy Is A Proud Member Of The Greater New Orleans Home Builders Association
Diversified Energy Is A BPI Certified Contractor
Diversified Energy Is A Proud Member Of The Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance
Diversified Energy Is Proud To Be An Energy Star Partner