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How Does Spray Foam Work? - BASF Interview

April 17, 2024

When it comes to insulating your home, there are many product options. It helps to educate yourself on what’s out there to understand what works best for your needs.

In this article, we’re focusing on spray foam: we talked to Chris Janzen, Head of Field Tech Service North America and Canada Sales for BASF, who shared this primer on everything you need to know about spray foam insulation. BASF is a global chemical company and leading spray foam manufacturer with facilities across Canada.

Unmatched thermal resistance and energy efficiency

At the heart of spray foam's appeal is its exceptional ability to conform to almost any space. When it is sprayed, it expands and creates a solid structure that fills gaps, cracks, and crevices, providing a seamless barrier that significantly enhances a building’s performance. In Canada’s demanding climate, closed-cell spray foam is particularly valued for its dense structure, offering high thermal resistance that keeps homes warm in winter and cool in summer.

Spray foam delivers several key performance attributes in a single product, which means you don’t have to use multiple products. And when you also factor in its superior air-sealing capabilities and the resulting energy savings, it’s easy to see why spray foam isn't your typical insulation: it’s a sustainable solution that’s a favourite with builders and renovators.

What is spray foam, exactly?

The reaction in spray foam involves two components: isocyanate and resin. When these two compounds are mixed at the end of a spray gun, they react to form polyurethane in a reaction that is considered manufactured on site.  This versatile foamed plastic is known for its excellent insulation properties.

So many benefits

  • Moisture resistance: Even when exposed to moisture, spray foam stays intact and resists water infiltration.
  • Longevity: While other insulation types need topping up over time, spray foam has a much longer lifespan: the long-lasting nature of the product saves homeowners time and money over time.
  • Draft blocking: Because spray foam fills even the smallest crevices, buildings stay warm in cool temperatures, cool in warm temperatures, and are totally draft-free year-round.
  • Allergen-reducing: It minimizes pollen, dust, and other allergens that affect indoor air quality.
  • Pest-resistant. Unlike some other insulation types, spray foam isn’t a food source for pests, so rodents and insects aren’t attracted to it.
  • Cost savings over time: Spray foam insulation offers significant savings on energy costs.

Insulation innovation

Since being introduced almost 50 years ago, companies like BASF have continuously evolved spray foam to improve its environmental profile. Today's spray foam products use advanced chemistry that minimizes greenhouse gas emissions without compromising the insulation's effectiveness. BASF’s purple spray foam, WALLTITE®, for example, provides high energy-saving insulation while maintaining a low global warming potential, aligning with the latest environmental regulations.

“We've seen remarkable advancements in construction technology in recent years,” says Janzen. “WALLTITE® is a testament to the industry's focus on innovation and adaptation – and its commitment to reducing the environmental impact of insulation.”

A trained and certified Great Northern Insulation installer applies spray foam on the underslab of a newly constructed home, providing both insulation and radon protection.

Expert installation required

Sprayers must be trained and certified to be able to apply spray foam in Canada: it takes precision, understanding, and expertise. Effectiveness depends on correct installation. Compounds are metered with specialized equipment for precise ratios and under specific conditions to ensure the chemical reaction occurs correctly and safety protocols are followed.

“As part of my Field Tech Service role at BASF, I have seen firsthand how GNI focuses on their installers being fully trained and certified,” says Janzen. “With a priority on safety, GNI has implemented many policies and procedures in their operations to ensure a proper installation."

Working with suppliers like BASF, GNI installers are fully trained and are third-party certified to ensure the job is done right and homeowners realize the full benefits of the product. Our expertise ensures that the insulation exceeds performance expectations, providing a reliable and efficient solution for both residential and commercial insulation needs.

Is spray foam right for you?

One of the primary benefits of spray foam insulation for homeowners is its versatility. With spray foam insulation’s spray-in-place application and ability to expand, it can be used throughout the entire home. Spray foam insulation is perfect for sealing basement rim joists, insulating exterior walls, or turning an existing attic space into a livable one with spray foam insulation applied to the interior underside of the attic roof.

Whatever your next project, renovation, or insulation upgrade may be, you can contact GNI to chat with one of our professionals for information and a free estimate.

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Phone: 1-800-265-1914

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Great Northern Insulation - Better Business Bureau Profile.

Homestars Best of 2021 Award

Best of 2021

HomeStars has ranked Great Northern Insulation as a company that goes above and beyond in every aspect of business for the year of 2021.

Homestars Best of 2022 Award

Best of 2022

HomeStars has ranked Great Northern Insulation as a company that goes above and beyond in every aspect of business for the year of 2022.


GNI is the Authorized & Trusted Insulation and Air Sealing Installer for Lowe’s

Trusted for Over 40 Years

Over 40 Years in Business

At GNI, we service your project with the most experienced staff in the industry. Ongoing professional development is an obsession at GNI and we will not compromise at any level to bring to our customers the very best Installers, Sales Representatives, Customer Care Personnel, Field Superintendents, Estimating and Technical Support to your project.

100% Canadian

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Great Northern Insulation is recognized as Canada's largest full-service insulation contractor. GNI is 100% Canadian owned, proudly serving Ontario customers since 1980.

Foam Masters

Do it right the first time
- with foam mastersTM

January, 2021 regulatory phaseout of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) with the introduction of WALLTITE CM01. Using hydrofluorolefins (HFOs) with lower global warming potential (GWP) compared to HFCs, WALLTITE CM01 is the next generation of spray foam insulation.



Heatlok® Soya HFOTM leverages Honeywell’s latest Solstice® Liquid Blowing Agent technology. This new hydrofluoroolefin (HFO) blowing agent is the most environmentally conscious blowing agent produced to date, with a zero ozone depletion potential (ODP) and a global warming potential (GWP) of 1, which is more than two orders of magnitude (99.9%) lower than HFCs used in this industry.


3MTM products.
Quality + Performance = Savings

3MTM energy-saving products are designed to keep warm air in, and cold air out, while keeping energy bills down. Products optimize energy efficiency in buildings and homes; improve indoor environment for occupants; and effect the reduction of seasonal energy costs. 3M products are authorized for LEED credits (Leadership in Energy/Environmental Design).

Holmes and Holmes

Holmes and Holmes


Mike Holmes and his son Mike Jr. (MJ) convert MJ’s bachelor bungalow into a two-storey home for MJ and his girlfriend Lisa. Choosing the newest materials and build techniques, the father and son team follow Mike’s famous motto – “Make it right.” The show can be watched on HGTV and DIY Network.


Enbridge Incentives

The Home Efficiency Rebate Plus program offers up to $10,000 in home reno rebates – and Great Northern Insulation can pave the way.


Great Northern Insulation proudly abides by a renovation-specific Code of Conduct set by RenoMark™.


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The GNI crew have been featured installing insulation on Love It or List It - have you seen our logo in an episode?

Climatizer Cellulose


CLIMATIZER PLUS cellulose insulation is manufactured from a minimum of 85% locally-sourced post-consumer recycled newsprint. Non-toxic additives are applied to the uniquely fiberized paper generating a building material with superior thermal and acoustic properties, as well as exceptional resistance to fire, moisture, mould and pests.

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