Spray foam homes can use AeroBarrier to achieve tighter air sealing


Does Combining AeroBarrier and Spray Foam Make Sense?

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Does Combining AeroBarrier and Spray Foam Make Sense?

Part 1: Introduction and Background

Introduction to AeroBarrier and Spray Foam Insulation

AeroBarrier is an innovative air sealing technology that is designed to improve the energy efficiency of buildings. This technology works by sealing tiny gaps and cracks in a building's envelope, ensuring that conditioned air stays inside and unconditioned air stays out. On the other hand, Spray Foam Insulation is a popular insulation material that expands upon application, filling cavities, cracks, and gaps, ensuring optimal thermal insulation and reducing air leakage in the cavities where it is installed.

The Science Behind AeroBarrier and Spray Foam Insulation

AeroBarrier operates by releasing a mist of sealant particles into the air. As the particles move with the natural airflow of the building, they accumulate in the gaps and cracks, sealing them effectively. This process is monitored in real-time, ensuring that the desired level of air tightness is achieved.

On the other hand, Spray Foam Insulation is a combination of two materials, isocyanate and polyol resin. When mixed, these substances react and expand up to 60 times their liquid volume. This expansion allows the foam to fill cavities between floor joists, wall studs and roof rafters, providing an air-impermeable barrier. This unique property not only insulates but also reduces air leakage.

Benefits of Using AeroBarrier

  • Air sealing capabilities: AeroBarrier effectively seals all gaps and cracks, ensuring minimal air leakage. These cracks between framing members still exist unsealed in homes that use spray foam insulation only.
  • Durability and lifecycle: Once applied, AeroBarrier promises a long-lasting solution, with its effects lasting for years. It is very similar in chemistry to the acrylic caulk that all builders are familiar with.

Benefits of Using Spray Foam Insulation

  • Insulation properties: Spray foam offers superior thermal insulation compared to traditional materials, ensuring that buildings remain warm in winters and cool in summers.
  • Air-impermeable barrier creation: The foam expands to fill cavities, ensuring that no air can pass through, making it an excellent barrier against air leakage where applied.

Part 2: Understanding AeroBarrier and Spray Foam Insulation

When it comes to insulating and sealing homes, two prominent solutions stand out: AeroBarrier and Spray Foam Insulation. Both offer unique benefits and have distinct working mechanisms. Let's delve deeper into how each of these works and their respective advantages.

How AeroBarrier Works

AeroBarrier is a cutting-edge air sealing technology. As mentioned above, the process involves releasing a mist of sealant particles into the air. As these particles circulate, they are naturally drawn to air leaks in the building's envelope by the blower door fan applying positive pressure to the home. This real-time sealing process is monitored to ensure the desired level of air tightness is achieved. For a more detailed understanding, you can refer to our Comprehensive Guide AeroBarrier Applications and Benefits.

How Spray Foam Insulation Works

Spray Foam Insulation is a two-component mixture that combines liquid polyurethane and a foaming agent. When sprayed onto surfaces, these components react and expand, forming a dense foam that adheres to the area. As it expands, the foam fills gaps, cracks, and voids, providing an effective barrier against air infiltration and heat transfer. The foam hardens and cures within a short time, creating an insulating layer that helps maintain indoor temperatures and improve energy efficiency in buildings.

Is Using Both Overkill?

The combination of AeroBarrier and Spray Foam Insulation might seem like an overkill, but there are situations to consider:

Situations where both might be beneficial:

  • Larger homes tend to have more areas for potential leakage and are a good candidate for the additional air sealing measures of AeroBarrier.
  • Homes with more complex framing details often have a lot of wood-on-wood connections where spray foam is not applied. AeroBarrier finds these smaller holes and cracks that can be as large as 1/2" or more.
  • For anyone looking to reach very low ACH50 values, resulting in the tightest and most energy efficient homes, AeroBarrier is often the only viable solution.
  • There are a variety of construction methods and practice that make it hard for spray foam to be effective. Boxed corners, headers, stacked studs, shallow wall cavities and many other possible scenarios benefit greatly from better air sealing with AeroBarrier.
  • Simply put, AeroBarrier finds a way to reach any leak no matter the accessibility. If air can escape, then AeroBarrier can reach the leak path.

Situations where Spray Foam might suffice:

  • If you are only trying to achieve a 3-5 ACH50 number, it can be done without AeroBarrier. However, manual caulking and other air sealing measures are required. We would also encourage that you at least complete a blower door test prior to hanging drywall so that you can measure your air tightness before making it harder to control the airflow.
  • For simply designed homes with very few complex angles or framing details might, Spray Foam may be sufficient with the need for AeroBarrier. The key is that the framing connections are clean and tight. Also, manual air sealing with caulking, can foam, gaskets and other measures may be required.
  • Homes built with advanced framing techniques may also not drastically benefit from adding AeroBarrier to spray foam. These techniques allow better access for foam insulation and other manual air sealing measures.

Conclusion: Is AeroBarrier Worthwhile When Insulating with Spray Foam?

Upon thorough evaluation, it becomes evident that combining the strengths of both AeroBarrier and Spray Foam Insulation can offer homeowners and builders a superior insulation solution. Using both can be particularly beneficial for several reasons:

  • Comprehensive Coverage: While Spray Foam Insulation provides excellent thermal insulation and fills gaps, AeroBarrier specializes in sealing even the tiniest of air leaks. Together, they ensure a home or building is both well-insulated and airtight.
  • Enhanced Energy Efficiency: The combination ensures minimal air leakage and optimal thermal insulation, leading to significant energy savings. This not only reduces energy bills but also contributes to a more sustainable living environment.
  • Cost-Effective in the Long Run: While there might be initial costs involved in using both, the long-term savings in energy bills and the reduced need for HVAC usage can make the investment worthwhile.
  • Adaptability: Whether it's a larger or more complex home with multiple air leakage points or a simpler and smaller space. the dual application can be tailored to fit specific needs, ensuring optimal results.

In conclusion, while each of these solutions is effective on its own, their combined application can offer unparalleled benefits, making the decision to use both AeroBarrier and Spray Foam Insulation a highly worthwhile one for those seeking the pinnacle of insulation and air sealing solutions. Please Message Us if you would like a quote for your project.

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