The pros and cons of spray foam insulation for pole buildings
Whether you’re looking to build a workshop where you’ll spend hours on projects, a horse barn designed to protect your animals from the elements, or even a barndominium where you intend to live, chances are you have some standards for how you want your new pole building to feel.
Temperature is a major comfort factor, so choosing the right type of insulation ensures you’ll get as much enjoyment as possible from your building. It’s important to understand your options when it comes to pole barn insulation, so we’re diving into all the details of closed cell spray foam insulation.
Closed cell vs. open cell spray foam insulation
While both closed cell and open cell spray foam are alternatives to traditional bat insulation, they’re far from identical.
The essential difference between open cell and closed cell spray foam lies in the name: open cell spray foam is made up of cells that aren’t completely enclosed, whereas closed cell spray foam cells are entirely contained.
Because of this, closed cell spray foam is denser and more stable with a higher R-value (meaning better insulation). Once applied, closed cell spray foam insulation will only expand about an inch, but open cell spray foam will expand roughly three times that much.
Even more importantly, closed cell spray foam is rigid once it dries; open cell spray foam remains spongy and pliable. As a result, closed cell spray foam helps reinforce a building’s structural integrity, but open cell spray foam does not.
Pros and Cons of Closed cell Spray foam Insulation
As with any option, there are both positives and negatives to including closed cell spray foam insulation in your new building.
To help you better understand the whole picture, we’ve laid out both the pros and cons.
Pros of closed cell spray foam
- Continuous fill for more effective insulation
When traditional bat insulation is placed in pole buildings, it can become compressed around the framing elements; in other cases, there are some spaces that fiberglass insulation simply can’t reach.
Closed cell spray foam insulation can reach every nook and cranny for a more continuous insulation system that’s airtight and effective at preventing moisture from entering the building.
Since closed cell spray foam is so effective at preventing condensation, it’s a great way to avoid the infamous pole building drip.
- Dries hard for reinforced strength
Unlike open cell spray foam, closed cell spray foam is very rigid once it dries. This essentially allows the insulation to act like glue, helping to ensure that all the elements of the building hold up against impacts or high winds.
Although the color of closed cell spray foam may vary slightly based on the manufacturer, a consistent application technique ensures that it will always dry hard.
- Price comparable to R19 insulation
Although you might assume that closed cell spray foam will drive up the price of your project since it’s a newer type of insulation, the difference in cost isn’t as drastic as you might imagine.
Each inch of spray foam insulation has a 6.9 R-value; we recommend two inches of insulation in a standard pole building to achieve a 13.8 R-value—that brings the price to $2.99 per square foot.
By comparison, traditional fiberglass insulation costs $2.35 per square foot for walls and $1.85 per square foot for the roof.
Cons of Closed cell Spray Foam
- Proper ventilation is a must
The fact that closed cell spray foam creates an airtight environment is great for a number of reasons, but it also means that the need for proper ventilation in your building is non-negotiable.
Fortunately, it’s relatively easy to ensure your pole building is well-ventilated, and most of the negative stories you hear about spray foam insulation are concerning open cell spray foam, which has very different qualities.
- More expensive
Although the price is comparable, closed cell spray foam is still somewhat more costly than R19 insulation.
Choosing the right insulation for your building
One of the best things about pole buildings is that they’re incredibly customizable, and that trait extends to insulation options as well.
There are plenty of pole building accessories that change the look of your project, but insulation is one of the only options that will change the way it feels. For more help deciding which type of insulation is right for your building, or to get started on bringing the building of your dreams to life, contact us today!