Spray Foam Insulation – The Technical Questions

With the increasing popularity of spray foam insulation, consumers are asking more and more relevant questions about the efficacy of the product and the installation process.  In recent years, the annual growth of spray foam usage has been close to 40% – that’s a huge increment – and it means that consumers are seriously evaluating the options.  For consumers to be looking for answers translates into a much better understanding of the spray foam product as well as the installation itself.  This is especially important because of the unique nature of the spray foam product and the complexities of the spray foam application.  In the end, a better-informed consumer makes better decisions all around.

Which spray foam product is the right one?

There are a myriad of spray foam formulations under the banner of “polyurethane foam” (the generic name for the product).  There are also a variety of brand manufacturers.  Some product formulations are designed for specific applications.  A reliable contractor can best recommend.

Are there national standards for spray foam products?

There are national standards that govern the installation (house or building).  Installed spray foam must meet standards for thermal insulation and for material specifications.  As well, the building and construction code refers to these standards, as do many insurance companies.

Is there certainty about the spray foam product used?

As a consumer, you need to be sure that the product offered meets the required standards.  An established and reputable contractor will provide the necessary backup material to assure compliance, and readily offer the manufacturer’s product warranty on everything installed.

What are the worksite rules for spray foam installation?

Regulations dictate that the spray foam product must be “easily and uniquely identified on the jobsite”.  In general, there are colour-coded indicators for the worksite, indicating the specific brand of spray foam being installed.  Again, a good contractor will observe these regulations.

Is the spray foam product recognized in the building code?

Spray foam insulation is recognized as a thermal insulation in the building code, and meets the requirements as an air barrier system (and in most cases a vapor barrier system).  Although every project is different, the product is recognized as having one of the highest R-Values/inch.

What happens when a spray foam install is poorly performed?

Licensed contractors are obligated to meet installation standards and requirements.  There is also a contractor obligation to the product manufacturer, and of course, to the customer.  The contractor who is well established and reputable will also commit to correcting deficiencies.

The notion of hiring a dependable and trustworthy insulation contractor can’t be overstated.  A good contractor who is committed to customer service and support will have credible answers to all technical questions.  At the same time, they will not make outlandish promises.  And with no shortage of dubious service providers on the market, spray foam insulation is one of those “buyer beware” scenarios.  But – with a licensed, certified contractor/installer, the customer can be assured of a quality product, quality installation and quality customer service.