Spray Foam Insulation vs Batt Insulation | 5 Key Insulation Comparisons

When you make the decision to have your house or property insulated, it can be overwhelming as to exactly what insulation you want. The market today offers a variety of insulants ranging from spray foam insulation to fibreglass batts, Celotex loft roll, glass sheep’s wool and a lot more. Therefore, before embarking on your home insulation journey, it may be wise to first ask yourself a variety of questions and set standards that you want your insulation to meet. For example, are you looking for an insulation that is easy to install for by yourself, or are you open to hire a professional? Are you insulating to save money on energy bills, for thermal insulation, soundproofing or other reasons? What area of your home or property do you wish to insulate? Are you looking for an environmentally friendly insulation? These are just a few questions that may be good to consider as you approach your insulation inquest. To help you decide on the right type of insulation for you, we have laid out a comparison of spray foam insulation vs batt insulation.

The Pros & Cons of Spray Foam Insulation and Batt Insulation

1) Thermal Insulation

If one of the reasons you are enquiring about insulation is to increase the thermal properties of your home, then this is what you need to know. When considering home insulation, you want to watch out for terms such as ‘R-Value’, the R-Value is the indicator of thermal performance for the type of insulation in question, the higher the better.

When comparing spray foam and batt insulation in terms of thermal properties, spray foam is the winner. Spray foam insulation offers one of the highest R-Value per cm (or per inch). This foam insulant can be provided in two forms, open-cell foam and closed-cell foam, the closed-cell foam variant can offer one of the highest R-Values on the market today, with an impressive value of up to 7 per inch. Using closed-cell spray foam for your insulation will definitely provide a high performing thermal insulation for your property.

In comparison, insulation batts can offer a satisfactory level of thermal insulation, with R-Values up to 4.3 per inch. However, it is important to note that fibreglass insulation batts are likely to lose thermal protection over time, especially if it is not professionally installed.

2) Installation Convenience

One main differentiating factor between the two insulants in question is the ease of installation and its resulting effectiveness. Fibreglass batt insulation is available in standard, pre-cut, sizes. This makes it very convenient to easily fit the insulant into attic rafters, ceiling joists, wall studs and more. Additionally, more irregular-sized spaces can be accompanied by custom-cut batts. Insulation batts can provide an easy-to-fit insulation service.

Alternatively, the spray foam insulation installation process is a bit more complex and requires a professional to install it. The equipment used is highly specialised and the product needs to be handled professionally. However, in terms of installation convenience, using spray foam, you are guaranteed to have an insulation that does not require much (or any) upkeep or maintenance, unlike insulation batts. Due to the airtight barrier that foam insulation provides on installation, it requires no extra steps. When using insulation batts, you may still need a professional to make sure it is airtight (as much as can be), using a ‘flash and batt’ insulation approach.

3) Vapour Barrier

Upon installation, spray foam provides a vapour barrier, although depending on the type of foam used, the foam may not necessarily act as a vapour barrier. However, by using a professional, they will be sure to recommend the right foam insulation type for you to use, which can include the variant which acts as a vapour barrier.

On the other hand, fibreglass insulation batts do not alone create a vapour barrier. This insulant requires additional steps to fulfil this specification. To install a vapour barrier with batt insulation, you are required to include a separate vapour barrier, this can be provided by a professional, just make sure to let the installers know what you wish your insulation would do for you, e.g. prevent moisture accumulation.

4) Insulation Cost

When comparing the cost of foam insulation vs batt insulation, there is a notable difference. Due to the pre-cut nature of batt insulation, it can be cheap to provide and acts a more of a DIY insulant. However, the cost of batt insulation may start to add up if you start to include the necessary ‘addons’ to fulfil certain standards, such as vapour barriers, airtight insulation and longer-lasting insulation. This requires additional insulants on top of the insulation batt and may even need to include a professional to install it.

Spray foam insulation has a higher up-front cost than insulation batts, however, you will not require to purchase any addons to help meet requirements such as being airtight or creating a vapour barrier. Also, spray foam insulation will not become less effective over time and will not require ‘top ups’ with a product lifetime as long as your homes lifespan. Importantly, using spray foam insulation can and will actually save you money and provide a return on investment. Using the foam insulant, you will save money on energy bills, with savings up to 30% per month, you will gradually see a ROI.

5) Eco-Friendly Insulation

If you are looking for an insulation that is environmentally friendly and can help reduce your carbon footprint, then spray foam is the answer you are looking for. Foam insulation uses a spray component that releases no harmful toxins and the material is composed of recyclables. Foam insulation has a Global Warming Potential (GWP) of 1, which makes it the most sustainable insulation product on the market. Additionally, the insulant has an Ozone Depletion Potential (ODP) of 0, due to its non-toxic emissions installation process. Furthermore, when you have foam insulation installed, you will drastically reduce your reliance on heating and cooling, which further helps the environment, reducing your carbon emissions used every year.

How to Choose the Right Insulation?

When choosing the right insulation for your project it all really comes down to where you wish to install it, what you hope the insulation will do for you and how much are you willing to invest on your insulation project. There are many insulants available on the market today and this comparison of spray foam vs fibreglass insulation batts can help show two universally used insulants and where their strengths are. If you wish to learn more about insulation, you can speak to one of our professionals for a free survey and consultation of your property. With over two decades of experience in home and property insulation, we are happy to provide you with specialised information to help you make an informed decision when considering insulation. You can contact us today at www.sprayfoam.co.uk/contact.html or call us directly on 0203 411 5188.