Technical Properties of Spray Foam Insulation
February 24, 2015
The term "spray foam insulation" is commonly known throughout the industry as Spray Polyurethane Foam (SPF). During an application, the spray foam product is delivered to the jobsite where it's mixed together according to the manufacturer's product specifications. The mixing process is basically a chemical reaction between compounds, and the result is the formulation of super-thick liquid foam. Using special, customized equipment, the foam is sprayed into a specific space or cavity. With a professional installation, the spray foam is allowed to spread out evenly and uniformly. It expands quickly into place, and then hardens into a dense blanket of insulation that covers the entirety of a space. But the spray foam coverage is much more than a dense layer of insulation. Yes, it insulates the coverage area with high R-Values, but it also provides an impervious air and moisture barrier, precluding the need to install a separate and freestanding vapor barrier. A spray foam application is designed to restrict air movement, thus resisting the transfer of heated air in the winter, and cooled air in the summer. Considering the fact that a residential home can lose up to one-third of its indoor "conditioned" air through leakage, spray foam is simply an ideal application - it effectively seals up a space to prevent air leakage, and it provides the highest possible insulation value of any product available on the market. Whether it's for new construction, renovation, or retrofitting, spray foam creates a continuous barrier that covers and coats everything. It seals up every crack and crevice and adheres to virtually every kind of surface, both even and uneven. With an expert installation, even awkward, hard-to-reach spaces are coated and sealed. There's really no other product on the market that can seal AND insulate in the same way as spray foam. Even a combination of products is hard pressed to compete. Because spray foam involves chemical compounds, the product and application both require experience and expertise. It's a project that's best left to a professional - one with the necessary product knowledge and with proficiency handling the chemicals. As well: safety protocols are required during preparation and application; proper protective gear is required during installation; and worksites must be appropriately prepared. A reliable and reputable installer will be well prepped procedurally. During application, custom equipment is used to apply spray foam. The equipment requires technical competence, as does the installation process. The fact is, a spray foam application should he handled by a professional, and the very notion of a do-it-yourself approach should be discouraged. Considering the uniqueness of the spray foam product and the complexities of installation, a DIY effort would be risky. And the cost of a rework would likely be prohibitive. All things considered, spray foam insulation is the best product of its kind. It seals and insulates better than any other product - there is no need to maintain, replace or replenish - and the application lasts a lifetime. And while the product is known to be somewhat costly, long-term dollar savings far outweigh the initial investment.