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How Much Does Spray Foam Insulation Cost?

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Spray foam insulation is an alternative to traditional fiberglass insulation during construction or planning for construction. This expandable, foam substance can easily be sprayed into existing wall cavities during construction or onto a roof.

Cost Of Spray Foam Insulation

Spray foam is available in two different types: open-cell spray foam which is usually $0.44 to $0.65 per board foot and closed-cell spray foam which is about $1 to $1.50 per board foot. The average cost to have spray foam professionally installed is about $2,314. This number can vary depending on whether the home being insulated is newly constructed. However, finished homes are not a good candidate for spray foam insulation but great for weatherization or an energy audit.  

On This Page:

  1. Where to Use Spray Foam Insulation
  2. Types of Spray Foam Insulation
  3. DIY Spray Foam Insulation Kits
  4. R-Value and Thermal Resistance
  5. Difference in Cost for New vs. Existing Homes
  6. Benefits and Disadvantages

Where to Use Spray Foam Insulation

Spray foam insulation, when properly installed is both an air barrier and when closed cell foam is used at the proper depth a vapor barrier!  Before hiring any contractor you should establish the brand of foam being used and verify that with the named manufacture.  Please ask for ESR reports and MSDS sheets on any foam being installed in your home. A couple areas where you might consider spray foam insulation include:

  • Crawl Space/Basement: Spray foam seals pipes, plumbing, cracks, sills and framing.
  • HVAC: Spray foam insulation optimizes the performance of your heating and cooling system when installed around the pipes, condensers, floor registers and ductwork. Reductions in extremely hot or cold climates can often offset upfront costs of buildings or additions with foam.

Exterior uses for spray on insulation include:

  • Where the siding & foundation meet
  • Electrical & gas penetrations
  • Wall joints in the garage ceiling
  • Around exterior faucets and vents
  • Stone wall repair
  • Water feature fillers
  • Securing block walls in the landscape

Choose open-cell or closed-cell spray insulation based on the purpose and placement of the insulation and the recommendation of the insulation contractor.

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Types of Spray Foam Insulation

Open-Cell Foam

Open-cell is also known as half-pound foam. It has an R-Value of 3.5-3.6 per inch, and its density is bout 0.5 pounds per cubic food. Low-density foams like these are made partially from raw biological materials Carbon dioxide or water is also used in the makeup. Open-cell uses far less material than closed-cell, but its R-Value is lower. Also, open cell requires a vapor retarder (like gypsum wallboard) and is riskier when used for roof sheathing. It's not highly recommended that you use open-cell insulation if you live in a cold climate unless you have that extra barrier. You should also compare how much money you spend versus how effective the open-cell insulation is wherever it's installed.

Closed-Cell Foam

Closed-cell (aka two-pound foam) is denser than open-cell at about 2 pounds per cubic foot. Its R-Value is between 6-6.5 per inch. As a result, this kind of foam is much more expensive than its counterpart. The reason closed-cell doesn't need a vapor retarder is because it already has one. It's permeance is 0.8 perm, which means it can handle cold climates without the use of an additional board or drywall. Closed-cell uses hydroflurocarbons (HFCs) as part of its makeup. However, this material has been known to have a high global warming effect. If you want a green insulation solution, this is not the material to use. A way to avoid this and still use closed-cell is by installing it alongside fiberglass batts.

Need pricing info on spray foam insulation? Contact a pro today.

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DIY Foam Insulation Kits

If you choose to install foam insulation on your own, you can choose from various brands including:

  • GREAT Stuff (PRO)
  • Touch 'n Foam
  • Handi-Foam
  • Touch N Seal
  • Tiger Foam
  • FomoFoam
  • Foam It Green

The average price to cover 200 square feet with a foam insulation kit will run between $300 and $600 (about two to three kits). Inside these kits is something called Icynene, a foam made from two liquids that are heated and pushed through a gun on the can. When Icynene is released, it expands up to 100 times its size as it hits the surface area you're covering. These can contain a lot of gasses, making its installation a dangerous process. Even low-pressure sprayers can be harmful to homeowners' health.

In addition, it's difficult for an inexperienced installer to evenly spread the insulation foam over a surface. Miissing spots can leave holes and gaps for cold air to get through. Proceed with this project yourself only if you're doing a small insulation project -- such as installing foam in a crawl space or around your plumbing. Leave larger projects like the attic, basement or garage to the professional insulation contractors. Insulation professionals have the tools, equipment and background knowledge necessary. Moreover, they know how to accurately price insulation, whereas you could inaccurately budget for a DIY project and end up paying significantly more. Don't take the medical, physical or financial risks that come with pursuing this as a DIY project unless you're absolutely certain you have the skills.

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R-Value -- Thermal Resistance

R-Value should be part of your decision when installing spray foam or another type of insulation. However, measuring insulation by R-Value alone is not the best method. Because heat loss/gain can occur in many ways, there are six total mechanisms to determine insulation's effectiveness by. These include:

  • Conduction
  • Convection
  • Radiation
  • Air infiltration
  • Air intrusion
  • Moisture accumulation

Spray polyurethan foam does effectly prevent all six of these heat transfer methods from occurring. These should be the mechanisms by which you judge insulation, in addition to their R-Value. If you're uncertain about installing spray foam insulation, Energy Star has a map that recommends levels of insulation by R-value and cost-effectiveness in the United States.

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Difference in Cost for New or Existing Homes

There is a significant price difference when it comes to using foam insulation to insulate a new versus older home. Spraying insulation inside a newly constructed home is easier because the installation company can ensure the insulation will work effectively and design it for optimum defense against sound, heat transfer and utility costs. Installing spray foam in older homes that contain existing insulation can cost additional time and money -- it is not usually recommended as compared to weatherization or an energy aduit.

Contact an insulation professional for a quote today.

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Benefits and Disadvantages of Spray Foam Insulation

Spray foam insulation helps lower utility costs because it blocks heat and cold from the outdoors. Recent studies by the U.S. Department of Energy state that around 40 percent of all energy is lost through poor insulation. Spray foam insulation is able to insulate homes at least 50 percent more than traditional insulation products. Spray foam insulation can also provide protection against moisture, which otherwise leads to the unwanted development of mold and mildew. And it can also be used for noise reduction as well. In fact, spray foam is good for homes and buildings in which outdoor noise can be a distraction.

The drawback to spray foam insulation is it's been known to cause certain health issues such irritation of the eye and the gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts. Direct contact can cause inflammation to the skin, and some individuals have been known to break out in a rash on the arms, chest and neck area. Spray foam insulation has also been linked to a few cases of hypersensitivity pneumonitis. This condition can cause:

  • Dry cough
  • Chest tightness
  • Fever
  • Muscle aches
  • Headaches

Most quality spray foam manufacturers have addressed problems associated with isocyanates, so the side effects are far less common than they used to be. If you have any hesitation, ask the insulation contractor for their thoughts on the spray foam before it's put in.

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Anthony Tesar More than 1 year ago
My project was a 2 part one.  First the guest house was to be used for an elderly couple with some health issues.  The idea of using chemicals which can be harmful to the respiratory track has made me change my mind about proceeding. The guest house was single story with a low attic height and 600 square feet and the main house (part 2)  is 2,800 sq feet. After reading the comments below, I would like a quote from someone that uses a soy product that is non toxic. .  
Tom Couture More than 1 year ago
Sorry, I feel I can no longer expect to use spray foam because of my health. I have severe COPD and do not wish to take the risk to my lungs.
paula mcneal More than 1 year ago
does it affect the people inside the house if it is done under a house that is built off the ground or does it just affect the ones installing it
MICHAEL ROSIN More than 1 year ago
The major health problem is with installation, but some individuals can be super sensitive to isocyanate vapors ever after installation and final foam cure.
John A. Hancock More than 1 year ago
Tom, You might try looking to see if there is a contractor that uses a Soybean based closed or open cell foam in your area. This IS harder to find but many folks are much happier with this type of non-VOC product
John BRONIEK More than 1 year ago
To clarify, Icynene is a manufacturer of spray foam insulation high pressure systems and does not manufacturer spray foam kits.  Icynene is not inside spray foam kits as is noted in article, although the company is often associated with open cell spray foam insulation.
John Broniek
Senior Engineer, Icynene Corp
Robert Pimentel More than 1 year ago
good info
Wayne Connelly More than 1 year ago
This gave me enough information to speak intelligently with a contractor....thanks
max zuniga More than 1 year ago
how good is this spray foam for foot steps from a second floor above?
Betty Tatman More than 1 year ago
after reading the following replies, I wish to with draw my request. My husband passed away with lung problems and I do not wish to take this chance.  thanks so much for all you advise.
Anthony Tesar More than 1 year ago
I also want a contractor that supplies closed cell Soy product foam insulation. closed cell products are almost 70% more efficient. 
sherree jones More than 1 year ago
what companies in my area, has open cell soybean based spray foam insulation? My family has different health issue.
Lee McClinton More than 1 year ago
What is the difference in R values of closed cell and open cell insulation, which is the better product for an existing home.
MICHAEL ROSIN More than 1 year ago
Closed foam is better is usually not applied to existing structure due to pressure build up causing possible expansion of the existing walls. 
Robert Ziegler More than 1 year ago
What is the best insulation method for a garage 

Josh Santillan More than 1 year ago
Keep in mind that one board foot is only one inch of foam. Walls typically have three inches to 3.5 inches of foam where as a roof will have a minimum of 5.5 inches of open cell and 1 to 2 inches of closed cell. The price on close cell is off by .20 on average on this page

Ken Saltz More than 1 year ago
When they speak to some of the issues of using spray foam insulation do they have to remove all existing insulation to spray in foam or can they spray in without removing some?
Andrew Lewis More than 1 year ago
Yes all insulation must come out. To protect the homes envelope. Not removing old insulation could lead to moisture problems and doors and windows being hard to open. 
frederic lompa More than 1 year ago
does spray foam need to be covered in all circumstances by sheetrock or similar fire resistant material when used on interior walls and ceilings?
Tim Stratton More than 1 year ago
Yes it does, except in a farm application such as poultry houses.

MICHAEL ROSIN More than 1 year ago

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