Rigid foam board is another popular insulation option that’s worth looking at when it comes to insulating your home. While it is priced higher than other insulation materials on the market today, most contractors agree the cost is worth it. Despite the thin packaging it comes in, it packs a high R-value and can insulate/soundproof any part of a home quite well. It’s also relatively easy to install, especially in open walls where the boards can be packed in quickly. You can learn more about this type of insulation below.
What is Rigid Foam Board Insulation?
You can expect rigid foam boards to look much like the name implies, as each board of insulation is firm and either pink or blue in color. There are different thicknesses of boards available, making it easy to achieve the R-value you want for the room this insulation is being placed in. When it comes to the material that boards are made out of, you have the choice between EPS, XPS, and ISO. Each of these has its own unique qualities, which you can learn more about below.
Pros of Rigid Foam Board:
- Higher R-value than most other insulation materials
- Waterproof boards can be found
- Easy to cut
- Protective layer already installed
Cons of Rigid Foam Board:
- Must be tightly installed to prevent air gaps
- Can be damaged by UV light
- Certain types are not environmentally friendly
Best Material Types to Consider
This is the most expensive type of rigid foam panel that you can find, although the R-value is also the highest at R-5.7 to R-6. It is first designed as a liquid foam that is sprayed against the substrate to create the rigid panel that you end up with in your home. If you’re looking for an extra layer of protection, these do come with foil on one side to make them vapor impermeable. ISO can be installed anywhere you need insulation, although boards that have a foil backing should not be installed in areas where there is an interior vapor barrier already present.
The price for this type of insulation will vary, with most 1″ boards coasting $0.67 per square foot and 3″ costing $1.26 per square foot.
Extruded polystyrene (XPS)
This type of rigid foam board is made from extruded polystyrene and has an R-value of 5 per inch. It’s the most water-resistant rigid foam board available and is both strong and dense as well. Unfortunately, XPS can be quite expensive with boards ranging from $14.47 to $33.92 each. This is why it’s rarely used for roofing applications and instead is used for heavyweight decks, basements, and interior walls. If you have a larger budget available, then this is a solid choice for your home for the best energy efficiency and soundproofing possible.
Expanded polystyrene (EPS)
This is the most budget-friendly type of rigid foam available and is also known as beadboard. It’s made from expanded polystyrene and may come with a plastic backing to create a firmer board with added longevity. You’ll normally see contractors using this on flat roofs, as it’s a material that performs well and is much more affordable than other rigid foam boards. The cost of these boards will vary between $9 and $13, depending on the thickness and size chosen. Beyond roofing applications, this can be installed in walls, attics, and basements with the appropriate barriers in place.
What is the Installation Process and Average Labor Cost?
Installing rigid foam board is a fairly simple process, although it should always begin with prepping the area. The prep that’s necessary will depend on where you’re installing the foam and what it’s being used for. You can rely on a contractor to do this for you if you’re not sure how the preparation for installing foam board should begin.
The process of installing rigid foam board can vary based on where it’s going. For example, the steps above will work well for installing inside of an empty wall. However, if you are installing in masonry walls or an attic, the steps may be different. In these situations, it’s best to work with a professional that will make sure each step is done the right way to avoid any problems down the road.
The cost to have rigid foam board installed will range from $1.43 to $2.52 per square foot, depending on the specific material that you choose. Since rigid foam board is easy to work with, most of the effort will go into prepping the area and making sure it’s put into place properly. Fortunately, you can rely on our contractors at Action 1 Insulation to discuss your options. This way, you can choose which rigid insulation material works best for your budget.
Measure the size of the area that you’ll be installing the boards in. It’s recommended to measure at least two times to make sure you have the most accurate numbers possible. It is important to also measure the width and the height.
Once you have the measurements for your space, you can cut the foam board to the size that you need. This can normally be done with a box cutter, although you may want to use a circular saw or table saw if you need to cut a large amount at once
Press the foam board into place and then seal it in place with caulk or expanding spray foam. These adhesives will ensure you have a tight seal that enhances energy efficiency, but more importantly, they will also make sure the boards are set in place and don’t budge over time.
How Action 1 Insulation Can Help You
Not sure about hiring a professional? Let us help you learn more about Action 1 Insulation! We are proud of the ways we can help you with rigid foam board in your home.