How Does Spray Foam Insulation Work?

Spray foam insulation, also known in the industry as polyurethane foam, is created when chemical compounds are mixed together and react with each other.  The actual chemical reaction results in a foam formula that the professional installer can spray into a given space using special application equipment.  The foam formula quickly spreads, expands, and hardens to create the super-dense foam insulation layer that remains in its place.

A properly installed application of spray foam insulation provides BOTH an air barrier AND moisture barrier simultaneously.  The application resists heat transfer better than any other insulation product, and restricts air infiltration through any opening, crack, or crevice.  As an air barrier, it offers the highest rating for an insulation barrier – and as a moisture barrier, there is no need for an additional vapor barrier to be installed.   

Whether it’s a retrofitting job, or a new home building project, homeowners are quickly learning that spray foam insulation is the best way to save on energy, while improving indoor home comfort.  The product is very highly regarded by the professionals, but it needs to be considered carefully, depending on the job requirements and the project objectives.  An expert in the field will be able to properly assess when and how to install.

A good insulation contractor will advise which product is best suited for the customer’s needs.  Inasmuch as spray foam insulation has become an industry favorite for all kinds of applications, there are contractors who will recommend a combination of products in order to achieve the best short term and long-term results for the premises.  It’s the professional installer who understands the products, and has the expertise with installs.

Without getting overly technical, the chemical compounds and chemical reactions that create the spray foam require careful handling and safe operation.  Professional installers are highly trained in both the preparation and application of spray foam.  Indeed, a good contractor company will provide installers who are both certified and licensed.  The key to a proper application is safety and security for installers and residents alike.

During an install, the foam spreads and expands and hardens very quickly – that’s why an experienced professional is best suited to provide uniform and consistent coverage.  As well, the workspace needs proper preparation, and protective safety equipment must be worn (including a respirator).  Clearly, this is a project for a professional, and not for the uninitiated, which is exactly why a do-it-yourself approach is highly discouraged.

Properly installed and professionally applied, spray foam insulation is recognized as the best insulation on the market.  And the benefits are superior to any other application – it delivers the highest insulation R-Value – it provides the perfect air and moisture barrier – it allows for more efficient energy consumption – it enhances HVAC performance – and it improves indoor air circulation and air quality.  It’s a multi-purpose product that delivers.

The bottom line with spray foam insulation is the significant energy savings that are realized throughout the year.  And although the product and installation are expensive, the long-term savings far outweigh the initial project investment.