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Spray Foam Insulation vs Fiberglass: What’s the Difference?

When it comes to insulating pre-engineered metal buildings, two of the most popular types of insulation are spray foam and batt insulation. Both have their pros and cons, and it is important to understand the differences between the two when deciding which is best for your project. In this article, we will discuss the pros and cons of spray foam, both closed and open cell, as well as batt insulation in pre-engineered metal buildings. We will also explore why most building suppliers prefer batt style for pre-engineered buildings.

Some things to keep in mind

As you read about these two types of insulation, there are some things you should keep in mind.

First, what is your budget? These options don’t cost the same, so it’s good to know what you can afford before you’re sold on one or the other. What’s the scope of your project? If you’re doing an entire building or house, that’s going to affect your budget. If you’re doing something smaller you may be able to afford the more expensive option even on a small budget.

Keep these and any other needs in mind as you read about these two types of insulation.

Spray Foam Insulation

Closed cell spray foam and open cell spray foam are two types of insulation used in steel buildings. Closed cell spray foam has a high density and is a better insulator than open cell spray foam, which is why it is more commonly used in steel buildings. Closed cell spray foam is also more moisture and vapor resistant and can create an air barrier in the steel building, which can help reduce energy costs. Open cell spray foam, on the other hand, is less dense, but it is more economical and provides better soundproofing. Open cell spray foam also has more of a foam-like texture and is less likely to settle than closed cell spray foam. Both types of spray foam insulation are effective, however the differences between the two should be taken into consideration when deciding which type to use in a steel building.

Closed Cell Spray Foam

Closed cell spray foam completely blocks air flow from inside or outside of your home or office. This means you’ll have better control over the building’s internal temperature as well as your heating and cooling bills.

Closed cell spray foam also adds structural strength to the building. This is ideal for areas with potential for high winds or earthquakes. It’s also helpful when the home or building could use more support for upper levels.

Not only does spray foam block air, but it’s also resistant to moisture and mold.

Open cell spray foam is usually a less expensive option than closed cell, and can not only be used as insulation but also to help with sound reduction.

The closed cell spray foam also helps to reduce the amount of energy lost through the building's walls. The foam is denser than other insulation materials, and it can create an effective thermal barrier that helps to keep the inside of the building comfortable year-round.

The closed cell spray foam also helps to reduce noise from the outside, and it can help to create a quieter interior environment. The foam's air-tight seal can also help to prevent the growth of mold and mildew in the building, which can improve the building's air quality and the health of its occupants.

Overall, closed cell spray foam is an excellent option for steel buildings, as it helps to reduce energy costs, create a quieter and healthier environment, and ensure a tight air seal. It is also a relatively easy material to install, and it can be applied to both interior and exterior surfaces. If you are looking for an effective insulation solution for your steel building, closed cell spray foam is a great option.

Open Cell Spray Foam

Open cell spray foam insulation is a great choice for steel buildings because it is designed to expand and fill any gaps or crevices, creating an airtight seal. This helps to keep the temperature inside the building more consistent, as well as helping to reduce noise levels. It also helps to keep the building more energy-efficient, as it prevents air from leaving or entering.

The installation process is also relatively simple. The foam is sprayed into the walls, ceiling, and floors of the building, ensuring complete coverage. The foam will then expand and fill any cracks or crevices, creating a perfect seal. This process is much faster than traditional insulation, and is much more cost-effective.

Open cell spray foam insulation is a great choice for steel buildings because of its many advantages. It helps to regulate the temperature inside, reduce noise levels, and make the building more energy-efficient. The installation process is also relatively simple and cost-effective. If you’re looking for a reliable and cost-effective way to insulate your steel building, open cell spray foam insulation is a great choice.

Blanket-Style Batt Insulation

Blanket-style batt insulation is a widely-used insulation product for pre-engineered metal buildings. It is typically composed of fiberglass strands or other man-made fibers held together with a binder. The insulation is available in rolls or pre-cut batts, and is usually covered with a vapor barrier to prevent moisture from entering the building.

Blanket-style batt insulation is designed to fill the cavities and gaps between the metal panels of a pre-engineered metal building. The insulation is installed by placing the batts between the metal panels, usually by hand. The insulation is then fastened to the metal panels with metal clips or other fastening systems. Once the insulation is in place, the metal panels are then sealed together with a heavy-duty sealant.

The benefits of using blanket-style batt insulation in a pre-engineered metal building are numerous. The insulation helps to reduce sound transmission, maintain consistent temperatures, and lower energy bills. It also helps to protect the building from moisture, mold, and mildew. Additionally, it can help to increase the overall structural integrity of the building.

Overall, blanket-style batt insulation is a great option for pre-engineered metal buildings. It is easy to install, cost-effective, and provides a variety of benefits. For these reasons, it is a popular choice for metal building owners looking to insulate their buildings.

Some Comparisons

Now that you know a bit about each type of insulation, here’s how they stack up against each other.

The Cost

When paying for fiberglass insulation you’ll pay by the square foot.

The cost of insulating a room or home with fiberglass will depend on how much space you want to cover and how much R-value you need to achieve.

Spray foam is paid for by board foot instead of by square foot. A board foot is a space that is one inch thick and one foot wide and long. For example,1,000 square feet area covered with 3” of closed cell spray foam is equivalent to 3,000 board feet.

One board foot of closed cell spray foam can cost you double to triple the price of a square foot of fiberglass insulation. Generally, Batt insulation will cost you substantially less to insulate than using spray foam. However, because you need to have batt insulation installed at the time of the erection of the building, some people opt to pay more down the road and use spray foam.

Length of Life

Fiberglass insulation can last several years, but during that time it loses its effectiveness and you never have a complete seal against air flow. The level of effectiveness will depend on if any moisture is present, too. You may need to replace this type of insulation or add to it as it settles and deteriorates over time.

Spray foam, on the other hand, can last as long as 80 years or more. It’s a much more permanent and effective option. While you’ll pay more up front, the longevity and efficiency of spray foam make it a very cost-effective option.

Sound and Allergy Considerations

If you’re looking for insulation that also blocks sound, fiberglass isn’t the best option. While it will block some sound, open-cell spray foam blocks a lot more of it.

Spray foam helps to block pollen and dust too, which is great for people with allergies.

Fire Hazards

Fiberglass insulation is flammable in certain situations. Spray foam can be too. With spray foam, you’ll often need an intumescent paint to be applied over it to provide a 15-minute thermal barrier.

What do Metal Building Providers like Peak Building Systems Think?

Ultimately, when designing a building, we just need to know what type of system you are planning on using so that we can make sure the hardware that is sent matches the type of insulation used. Going with spray foam? Short length fasteners and hardware will likely work for that application. If you’re going with Batt, however, we will need to know the thickness of the compression layer and of the cavity layer if applicable.

Most metal building providers will advise customers to use batt-style in their new pre-engineered building projects. The first reason is simply that it breaks metal-on-metal contact throughout the building. The reason that this is important is to prevent sweating in the building which can cause rusting and degradation in the steel year-over-year.

Do you have questions on which system works best for your project, and more importantly, your budget? Contact one of our knowledgeable project managers today to learn more about how choosing the right insulation system at the beginning of your project can save you thousands of dollars over the lifetime of your building. To get started, fill out your project with our 3D Builder today by clicking here!

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