How Does Spray Foam Insulation Actually Work?

Spray foam insulation is known in the industry as Spray Polyurethane Foam (SPF) or just plain Polyurethane Foam, and except for the specific brand name products, it’s the same.  Without getting too technical, the spray foam product is mixed at the jobsite, and is basically a chemical reaction that results in the formation of thick liquid foam.  When sprayed out of special application equipment, the foam expands quickly, and hardens into a super-dense blanket that covers everything completely.

Spray foam is more than just a layer of insulation.  While it fully insulates the entire coverage area, it also acts an impermeable air and moisture barrier, and without the need for a separate vapor barrier.  Spray foam is known for resisting heat transfer, and is highly effective in reducing air movement through holes, openings, cracks, and crevices.  It therefore provides superior SEALING properties and the highest INSULATION value of any product on the market – it’s the perfect insulation product.

The beauty of the spray foam product (whether it’s new construction, a renovation, or a retrofit) is its capacity to create a continuous barrier – it will cover everything – every crack and crevice, every nook and cranny, and all manner of even and uneven surfaces.  An expert installation will be all encompassing, and will even penetrate the hard-to-reach spaces that other insulation products are hard pressed to handle.  No other product on the market can seal and insulate to the extent of spray foam. 

Once again, without getting too technical, spray foam is comprised of two distinct chemicals that are combined in a chemical reaction to form the actual foam.  The reaction of the chemicals is designed to produce the unique attributes of the spray foam product, like its airtight and watertight quality.  Needless to say, this is a product that requires special handling, extensive product knowledge, and specific expertise during the mixing and preparation stage – its best left to a professional.

Both preparation and installation require safety measures.  Personal protective gear is required during an install, and both the jobsite and residence must be prepared appropriately.  Above all, the safety of occupants and residents must be considered – especially during the install, but also after the job is complete.  A reliable, reputable contractor will provide re-entry guidelines for the post-installation.  Needless to say, this is another reason why a project like this is not suited for the DIY advocate.

As for the actual application, customized equipment is used to apply the spray foam throughout a given area.  By example, the attic is an ideal application area and one that delivers excellent results in terms of insulation value and energy efficiency.  The equipment requires proficiency and the installation process requires experience.  And because the spray foam expands and hardens so quickly, expertise is required in order to create coverage that is consistent, uniform, and comprehensive.

In short, spray foam insulation is the very best product on the market – it seals and insulates like no other – it lasts for a lifetime – and it delivers more benefits than any other product or combination of products.