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Spray Foam vs. Rigid Foam

Do you need to re-insulate your home? As a homeowner, you may not know much about insulation—but if you’ve been doing some research, you’ve probably seen or heard about the different materials. Foam insulation is used for both new construction and re-insulation projects, but there is more than one kind.

Spray foam and rigid foam (foam board) are two of the main types of foam insulation. What are the differences between them?

Installation Method & Material

Rigid foam insulation can be made of polystyrene, while spray foam is often made of polyurethane or polyisocyanurate. In terms of installation, spray foam is applied wet and expands into thick foam. Rigid foam, on the other hand, is available as a pre-made foam panel that can be cut to fit particular spaces.

Types of Projects

Rigid foam is typically used in new construction projects (rather than existing homes), in unfinished walls, including foundation walls. Spray foam is used for many retrofit (re-insulation) jobs and is ideal for hard-to-reach areas.


The R-values of rigid foam and spray foam insulation vary. Rigid board R-value ranges from R-3.8 to R-5.0 per inch. Polyurethane foam insulation can have R-values ranging from R-5.5 to R-6.5 per inch. Visit the U.S. Department of Energy to learn more.

Air Infiltration

Spray foam insulation can be installed in small crevices, cracks and gaps and can help with air sealing. Air leaks can undermine the performance of insulation, so making sure your home is properly sealed as well as insulated is the best thing to do.

Pros and Cons of Spray Foam

Spray foam insulation is a great choice for insulating hard-to-reach places, sealing cracks that air can escape through, and for achieving higher R-levels. However, it presents a higher upfront cost.

Pros and Cons of Rigid Foam

Rigid foam insulation is more affordable than spray foam insulation and works well in walls, but does not seal gaps as well as spray foam.

Foam Insulation Installers in the Sacramento, CA Area

Whether you need rigid foam insulation for a new home or spray foam insulation, Gold Star Insulation can help. We serve the entire Sacramento, California area and look forward to helping you with your project.

Contact us to learn more about our services or to schedule a consultation!

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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