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Spray Foam vs. Rigid Board Insulation

Which Insulation Material Is Best?

Every home should have high-quality insulation. These materials are added to walls and attics to help defend against outdoor temperatures. Without proper insulation, a home can feel drafty and HVAC systems can be overworked to compensate.

Two of the most common types of insulation are spray foam insulation and rigid board insulation. Both have benefits and can insulate a home well, but each can be more beneficial than the other in certain circumstances.

This article will explore the differences between these two and how to choose the best for your home.

What’s the Difference Between Spray Foam & Rigid Board?

Spray foam and rigid board insulation perform the same job but are different in several ways. A few differences include:

  • Materials: Spray foam is usually made of polyurethane or polyisocyanurate while rigid board is typically made of polystyrene.
  • Installation: Spray foam is sprayed onto a surface and expands to fill gaps while rigid board is cut into panels and put into place.
  • Projects: Spray foam is usually used while retrofitting a home with insulation while rigid board is common for new construction projects.
  • R-values: R-value is a rating that shows how well-insulating the material is for your home. Spray foam usually has an R-value between 5.5 and 6.5, while rigid board has an R-value between 3.8 and 5.0.
  • Air infiltration: Spray foam can fill small cracks and gaps while rigid foam won’t be able to seal out air as well.

Benefits of Spray Foam

Spray foam provides a variety of benefits that aren’t available with rigid board insulation. A few benefits of spray foam include:

  • Space-filling capabilities: Spray foam is an expanding material that can easily fill every nook and cranny with insulation. This can help insulate every corner of a wall or floor.
  • Great for attics: Installing attic insulation can be tough due to the awkward space. Spray foam makes it easy for technicians to fill the space with insulation.
  • Exceptional moisture control: Spray foam fills a space better than rigid board, making it a better insulator against moisture. This can be valuable in humid climates.
  • Longevity: Insulation can be complicated to replace, but spray foam is designed to last a long time.

Installing spray foam insulation can be good for a wide range of clients. Consider this option if you have a tough space to fill, need extra moisture control or want long-lasting insulation.

Benefits of Rigid Board

Rigid board has its own set of benefits that make it a good choice for insulation in many instances. A few perks include:

  • Easy installation for walls: Rigid board insulation panels can easily be added to walls and fill the entire space. The panels can be cut to size and ensure a tight fit.
  • High R-values: Rigid board insulation has some of the best R-values on the market.
  • Cost savings: Rigid board insulation costs less to install compared to spray foam. This can make it easier to afford and possibly install additional insulation where needed.

Rigid board insulation is a good choice for wall insulation and for those who want a less expensive initial cost. Consider this option when budgets are tight and high-quality insulation is needed.

Understanding Insulation R-Value

The R-value of an insulation product is possibly the most important aspect to understand. This insulation rating shows how well a product insulates against outside elements. The greater the R-value, the greater defense against outdoor temperatures.

Each spray foam and rigid board product will have a different R-value due to the thickness of the materials and the type of foam used. Spray foam typically ranges from 5.5 to 6.5 while rigid board ranges from 3.8 to 5.0, although extra layers of rigid board may increase this number.

R-value is an important factor when choosing an insulation product. Consider the local climate, the areas of your home that need insulation and your budget to help determine the best R-value for your project. An insulation installer can also guide you in your decision.

Expert Insulation Advice From Gold Star Insulation

The crew at Gold Star Insulation has spent many years installing new insulation in old homes and new constructions. Our team knows how to carefully remove old insulation and replace it with fresh materials. We can discuss your insulation needs and create a plan that insulates your home well.

Trust a top-tier business that’s part of the IBP Family of Companies to provide you with the insulation services you need most.

Contact Gold Star Insulation today to schedule insulation services in Sacramento, CA.

Where should you insulate in your home? Check out our interactive infographic:

Products We Install
Energy Audits

Our team can help you save money with a home energy audit and air sealing services.


Our insulation team installs batt and blown-in fiberglass insulation.


Environmentally friendly and effective, cellulose works well in homes and buildings.

Spray Foam

Gold Star Insulation is a leading installer of spray foam insulation in the Sacramento area.

Radiant Barrier

An attic radiant barrier can help keep your home cooler and more comfortable.

Insulation Removal

Gold Star Insulation provides home insulation removal services.

Air Sealing

We are committed to saving you money by sealing your attic—which is the main source of air leaks in the home.

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