Insulation is growing in popularity – and for good reason. Insulation makes our homes more thermally efficient by stopping heat from escaping. This means you effectively require less energy to keep your home warm in the winter and cooler in the summer, leading to a reduction in your energy bills, and your carbon footprint, too.
With those benefits on the table, insulation seems like a no-brainer, right? But once you’ve decided to install insulation, you’ll still need to consider which type of insulation is best suited to your home and budget. There are multiple different types of insulation on the market, each bringing their own range of benefits and drawbacks.
One of the most popular and effective types of insulation on the market is spray foam. Spray foam is an effective form of acoustic insulation, which is an insulation type that prevents sound from entering and exiting. Let’s explore more about spray foam and how you can benefit from its soundproofing qualities.
What is Spray Foam Insulation?
Spray foam (also known as spray polyurethane foam or SPF) is a type of insulation that’s often installed in lofts and cavity walls. It starts out in liquid form and is sprayed into an area that requires insulating which then sets, growing to fill the space and form an airtight coverage without any gaps.
This extensive coverage means heat struggles to escape, making spray foam a particularly effective form of insulation. There are multiple other benefits to this type of insulation insulation, such as its durability and ability to prevent draughts from escaping.
Spray foam is also ideal for insulating hard-to-reach spaces. Traditional types of insulation, such as blanket insulation (which comes in rolls, batts, and slabs), can’t easily be fitted in a loft where access is difficult, so spray foam provides an effective alternative. Spray foam insulation (or some forms of it, anyway) also provide acoustic insulation, preventing as much sound from entering and leaving your home.
The Benefits of Acoustic Installation
Acoustic insulation is a form of insulation that prevents noise from entering or escaping your home – not entirely, but enough to make a difference. While thermal insulation (insulation that stops heat from escaping) tends to be more popular than acoustic insulation, using insulation to soundproof your home has the following benefits.
Keep noise to a minimum
Barking dogs, crying babies, your neighbour’s teenage son’s band practice – all of these noises can negatively impact your quality of life. By keeping noise to a minimum with the help of acoustic insulation, you can enjoy a more peaceful, relaxed, and stress-free quality of life in your home.
Increase your home’s value
Most homeowners want the same thing as you – peace and quiet in the comfort of their own four walls. As a result, installing acoustic insulation in your home can make the property more desirable for buyers, therefore allowing you to increase its price.
This is especially true for properties that are terraced or semi-detached or in noisy areas near a busy road or railway.
Provide more privacy
Whether you want to blast your music or simply have conversations without your neighbours overhearing, soundproofing insulation can help. By reducing the sound that not only comes in, but also escapes your home, you’ll enjoy a more private space.
Open Cell vs Closed Cell Spray Foam
As previously mentioned, spray foam is one of the best types of insulation for soundproofing, but it’s not quite as clear-cut as that. There are actually two main types of spray foam insulation – closed cell and open cell.
As the name suggests, closed cell insulation is denser, making it more effective at regulating the temperature of your home. It can, however, cause damp problems in your home because moisture can’t pass through the material. It’s also more expensive than open cell spray foam insulation.
Open cell, on the other hand, has a more open structure. While this allows moisture to pass through the structure, it does mean it’s not as effective at insulating your loft or cavity wall as its closed cell counterpart. And despite open cell being cheaper, you often have to install a significant amount to make up for it being less effective than closed cell, so the overall cost can end up similar.
Which Type of Spray Foam Provides the Best Acoustic Insulation?
While both types of spray foam are effective at thermally insulating your home, open cell is undoubtedly better at soundproofing. The open structure is better for trapping sound, ensuring it doesn’t enter or escape your home. Closed cell also has some soundproofing properties, but it’s not as effective as open cell.
How Much Does Soundproofing Spray Foam Cost?
In general, you can expect to pay around £20-£35 per square metre for open cell spray foam, which is the best type of soundproofing spray foam insulation. If you’d prefer closed cell spray foam, you can expect to pay more, with some varieties costing up to £70 per square metre.
Unfortunately, spray foam is one of the most expensive insulation materials on the market, so it’s not the most budget-friendly option.
Are There Any Drawbacks to Spray Foam Insulation?
As with any type of insulation, there are disadvantages to spray foam. Here are some of the things to consider if you’re thinking of installing spray foam as a way to soundproof your home and reduce the costs of your energy bills.
The good thing about insulation is that over time, you break even and even make a return on investment from the initial cost. That’s because the money you spend on installing the insulation itself will be returned by the money you save on reduced energy bills.
Unfortunately, spray foam insulation is especially pricey, so it can take you longer to make your money back.
Can cause damp
Spray foam insulation is one of the most airtight forms of insulation, forming a barrier that stops heat from escaping. Unfortunately, that same barrier stops moisture from moving through the material (especially in the case of closed cell insulation), leaving spray foam vulnerable to damp.
Can affect your property’s value
As a result of spray foam’s potential to cause mould, it can affect the value of your property. Some lenders even refuse to give mortgages for properties with spray foam. While this isn’t a huge issue if you don’t intend to sell your home soon, it can become a problem for homeowners looking to sell in the near future.
Is Soundproofing Spray Foam Worth It?
There are plenty of things to consider when you choose your preferred type of insulation – the price, how effective it is, and the drawbacks. While spray foam insulation is incredibly effective at both keeping your house warmer and soundproofing (in the case of open cell spray foam) it is expensive, and there are other drawbacks, such as a potential reduction in the value of your home.
All things considered, soundproofing spray foam is worth it if you prioritise the effectiveness of a material’s ability to stop both noise and heat from escaping and you don’t plan on selling your home in the near future.
If you intend to sell your property in the next five years or you’re not interested in the soundproofing properties of spray foam, you might find that some other materials are more suitable.
Alternatives to Spray Foam for Soundproofing
While spray foam is definitely one of the go-to materials for soundproofing, it’s not the only type of insulation that does the job.
Fibreglass insulation and blown cellulose installation are both great soundproofing materials, although blown-in insulation can be more expensive and must be installed by a professional. Another disadvantage of blown cellulose is that it’s completely ruined if it gets wet, so it’s not suitable for a space that experiences any level of dampness.
They’re effective because they both create a tight barrier, just like spray foam, that can stop sound from moving in and out of your property.
There are also some forms of insulation that are tailor-made for acoustic, rather than thermal, purposes. These materials were made with soundproofing in mind, so if you’re more interested in stopping the flow of noise than the flow of heat, they’re worth considering.
How to Find a Spray Foam Insulation Installer
Finding a spray foam installer (or any type of insulation you need) has never been easier, with our contractor finder tool. We’ll scour your local area to find a trusted contractor who specialises in the type of insulation you need.l.
When working with spray foam in particular, it’s important to work with an experienced installer, and its definitely not a task that should be attempted by a DIYer. A good spray foam installer will be able to provide you with any paperwork relating to the installation and the condition of your roof at the time it was installed, should you face any issues when it comes to selling or even remortgaging your property due to the presence of spray foam.