When is it Good to Use Spray Foam Insulation?

For proponents of spray foam insulation, it’s always a good time to use the spray foam product.  It’s become a favorite of many professionals in the industry, and has satisfied many customers because of the benefits that it brings to an insulation project.  The spray foam products are generically known as polyurethane foam and are being used routinely in attics and roof cavities, as well as inside the walls and under the floors.

Professionally applied, spray foam insulation is sprayed into a given space in thick liquid form, and transforms itself into a thick, hard layer of insulation.  It performs as BOTH an air barrier AND a moisture barrier at one time – probably one of its best product features. It creates a space that is absolutely airtight, watertight, and therefore resistant to mould growth.  Best of all, there is no need to install a separate and freestanding vapor barrier.

Spray foam insulation delivers the highest R-Value rating of any product on the market.  In any insulation project, you want to reach those high levels – in fact, the higher the better.  With other insulating products, it’s not uncommon to have gaps or openings that allow for heat (and cool) to be lost and for R-Values to suffer as a result.  But with a professional spray foam install, there are no holes or openings, and no heat loss.

Having a home re-insulated with spray foam benefits the entire indoor air environment in a residential home.  The enhanced insulating value allows HVAC equipment to perform better, especially if there is an energy-efficient furnace already in place.  The truth is, it’s not unusual to experience energy cost savings of up to 40% from one season to the next, and especially in the extreme ranges of cold winters and hot summers.

Spray foam insulation can be installed practically anywhere.  There are, of course, some exceptions, but an expert installation professional will know about any limitations and any safety implications.  In some situations, a professional installer might recommend “topping up” a spray foam install with another product – blown-in insulation – a proven technique that combines the benefits of both products for better results.

One of the big questions that arise with spray foam insulation is about the do-it-yourself approach.  The fact is, the average homeowner is not adequately trained to handle or install spray foam.  The chemical compounds require special handling, the equipment requires skill and expertise, and the installation itself requires some proficiency.  The do-it-yourself approach can be risky, and calling in an expert to fix up a bad job can be costly.

With regard to cost, spray foam is an expensive proposition.  But it must be looked at as an investment – the many benefits, both short term and long term, far outweigh the initial cost of product and installation.  In addition, the significant energy savings make the investment worthwhile, season after season.  In some cases, there may be government rebates or incentives that could be helpful in moderating the overall installation costs.