R-Values & Air Sealing: How To Measure Your Insulation’s Performance

It can feel impossible to tell if your insulation is working how it should without a point of reference. Many homeowners will either trust the opinion of their “handy” friend or disregard the quality of their insulation altogether. But you’re here, and that means you’re more aware than the rest. Lucky for you, you’ve come to the right place!

This short guide will teach you how to measure your insulation’s performance based on its R-value and air-sealing properties. For insulation experts near you, Foam Bear Tampa is the place to call!

The Bread and Butter of Top-Quality Insulation

Ask anyone on the street how they judge the quality of insulation and you may get different answers. Most of them will probably bring up the topic of R-value which is a valid trait. One of the lesser-known characteristics that can greatly affect your insulation is air-sealing, and that may be because most types of insulation don’t offer an air-tight seal upon installation.

You could base your decision solely on the R-value as it’s a direct measurement that works for any type of material. However, you could achieve an even greater experience by learning more about what air-sealing can do for your property.

Measuring Your Insulation’s Performance (No Tools Required)

The main factor that determines the quality of any type of insulation is its R-value. The concept is simple: The higher the R-value, the better the insulator. R-value is a universal form of measurement as every insulative material has a rating. For example, common fiberglass insulation averages at around 3.2 which actually isn’t that high compared to other materials. Take the chart below, for reference:





Mineral Wool


Foam Boards


Open-Cell Spray Foam


Closed-Cell Spray Foam


Using R-values to determine which insulation you use can definitely help you achieve a better result, but it shouldn’t be your only deciding factor. For instance, a foam board may have a higher R-value than open-cell spray foam, but many will argue that open-cell foam is still a better insulator since foam boards don’t provide an air-tight seal and they break and wear easily under certain weather conditions.

This is precisely why we’re going over air-sealing next:

Don’t Let Your Conditioned Air Slip Through the Cracks

The only thing that can trump the R-value as a valid indicator of performance is air-sealing. Say, for example, your insulation has an R-value of 4 which can be considered above average. That rating only applies in a scenario where the wind outside has no choice but to come into contact with your insulation. If you go with a material that offers no air-sealing properties, that wind will be able to skirt around your insulation and make it into your property anyway. Imagine an open field with nothing but an impenetrable vault door placed before a stack of gold bars. Despite how indestructible the door is, any robber can simply walk around it and claim their treasure.

Before insulating your home with air-sealing insulation like spray foam, it helps to check the area for air leaks before installation so you can make sure you have all of the trouble spots covered.

Spray Foam Insulation: The Top Performer of 2024

The only type of insulation to offer a high R-value while effectively air-sealing the property is spray foam insulation. Spray foam preserves R-value in so many ways and it’s known for expanding by 1-3 inches to fill in gaps for an air-tight seal.

Experience the Best Insulation With Foam Bear Tampa!

For premium spray foam insulation installed by skilled professionals near you, call Foam Bear Tampa today at (727) 580-1090 to learn more about our products and services before receiving a free estimate. Our team is here to make sure that your insulation is performing at its best!