Spray in foam is not a radiant barrier

Foam is insulation. It is not a radiant barrier.

I just got asked about foam again. Foam is an insulator. It does not block radiant energy. I consider foam, whether Icynene or Polyurethane, to be a kind of hyper-insulation. it has an R value usually double or more of fiberglass or cellulose. It insulates better, but you pay for that benefit in cost. Its not just double the cost for double the insulation. It's more like 3-5 times the cost for double the insulation. In small spaces and older homes where space is a premium, it is worth its weight in gold. In a larger home that has lots of attic space, foam can't compete with the blow-in insulation on price. When you have the space, foam isn't cost competitive in the least. Most newer homes are sealed rather well, so the argument of stopping air infiltration doesn't hold its weight either.

Spray-in foam insulation is a way to seal your home, and provide a superior level of insulation. If you have money to burn, then go for it. If you want to get the best bang for your buck, try using foam in place where you either can't get to or don't have the space to throw in bucketfulls of cellulose.

Radiant barriers reflect radiant heat. Insulation absorbs heat slower than the surrounding objects. The slower the heat gets through the insulation, the better the R value. insulation never stops or reflects heat, it just slows it down.

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2 comments to Spray in foam is not a radiant barrier

  • I agree and like the way you spoke about different insulation products. As the insulation industry and weatherization techniques have evolved, multiple products are being used depending on the various applications. Not one product is correct for everything as we used to do.

  • Absolutely! Knowing what product to use and when and where to use it is HUGE. I’m a proponent of getting the best bang for the buck. There are so many products out there that it really pays to educate yourself.

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