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What is Spray Foam Insulation? A Complete Guide

The global spray foam insulation market is expected to reach approximately $2.1 billion by 2023. This is evident that spray foams are growing in popularity with time.

Traditionally, people insulated their walls, roofs, and floors using fiberglass and cellulose. Currently, the most common insulation product is spray foam, which has been quite efficient in many homes.

If you have ever wondered what is spray foam insulation, here’s a guide of what it is used for, how to use it, and its pros and cons. 

What is Spray Foam Insulation?

Spray polyurethane foam (SPF) is a compound plastic used to seal gaps and cracks in homes or commercial spaces to prevent outside contaminants and improve energy efficiency.

The best time to incorporate spray foam in a building is immediately after construction before residents move into the building. When you cover your roof, floor or wall openings with spray foam, you will experience some level of comfort in your home in several ways that we will discuss in this guide.

There are two types of spray foams: open cell and closed cell. The difference is in the bubbles of the foam that are also termed as cells. Open cell foam is composed of small bubbles that aren’t entirely compressed. After application, the foam dries and the gas in the bubbles escapes leaving the foam light and flexible.

Closed cell foam has fully compressed cells, and this comes with a handful of advantages due to its dense factor.

SPF Composition

Most spray foams are made by combining two liquids which react and turn into a foam. This is what we call a spray foam. The two liquids come in the “A” side and “B” side containers.

The “A” side container comprises of the compound methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) and polymeric methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (pMDI). Container “B” is a mixture of catalysts, surfactant, polyols and flame retardant.

Not all types of SPF insulations take the same amount of time to create spray foam, but they generally harden rapidly. Since you are dealing with chemicals, it’s essential to take precaution by reading safety data sheets.

How does Spray Foam Insulation Work?

As mentioned, spray foam is applied to crevices and holes to fill and seal those areas to reduce air movement. This plastic blanket is also known to resist heat transfer and is soundproof.

For spray foam to be effective, you’ll need to hire a professional with experience in spray foam insulation. Newbies have a track record of missing cracks on the roofs and walls of a building. When a house is not correctly insulated, the spray foam loses its effectiveness. Sound, heat, air and outdoor contaminants will penetrate the forgotten crevices.

Before an expert starts the spray job, they’ll have to inspect the building to take note of every opening available. They’ll also be required to inform residents of protective guidelines during and after spraying the building.

Check out tiger foam how to videos to learn more about spray foam practices.

Benefits of Spray Foam Insulation

Spray foam is currently the best and most common form of insulation for buildings. Here are the reasons why it’s worth considering:

1. Energy efficiency. Crevices leak air making a room cold and in need of heating which in turn doubles energy bills. Using spray foam helps prevent sunlight from excessively heating a building, hence reduces cooling bills as well.

2. Improve building durability. Typically, faulty roofs seep in water that soaks and eventually damage the roof. Using a closed cell foam will increase roof durability by protecting the roof from water seepage and allowing water to drain away. Spray foam also glues a building together, making it wind and pressure resistant.

3. Brings comfort. Since spray foam covers open spaces, the indoor temperature is regulated, and outdoor materials like debris, dust, pollen, and insects are locked out of the building. Sound transmission is also minimized, bringing comfort to the homeowners.

4. The foam keeps building looking clean. Accumulation of moisture increases the growth of mold and mildew. These always make a building appear abandoned by the owners. Spray foam prevents the growth of mold, keeping the building looking neat.

5. Meets multiple objectives. Instead of getting different insulation for different purposes, all you need is spray foam to kill two birds with one stone. Using spray foam also gives you a chance to qualify for tax incentives, grants and the like.

Disadvantages of Spray Foam Insulation

Most spray foam disadvantages come with the type of SPF used and how it was applied. This is why we emphasize on hiring an expert to work on your building.

1. You must hire an expert. Applying spray foam isn’t a DIY job, meaning you’ve to pay for the product and also pay for the service. This brings the cost higher!

2. Installation takes time. It’s not advisable to be indoors when spraying is in process. Spraying the house may take a long time depending on the size of the house and the number of cracks in the house. This means that you’ll be required to stay away from your home for extended periods.

3. Lacking cavities. It’s quite hard to cover all cracks with spray foam successfully. Sometimes minor cracks aren’t seen, hence left out of the spraying process. These cracks end up ruining the house later making the whole process useless!

4. Spray foam is costly/Cost of foam insulation is a bit higher than other methods such as fiberglass insulation. For fiberglass, you may pay around $0.40 per square foot while with spray foam, you may pay as high as $6 per square foot.

Where not to Use Spray Foam Insulation

Spraying the foam around canister lights might increase chances of fire by trapping heat. Before enclosing them, ensure they’re rated for close contact with insulation. Don’t just use any can for windows and doors; there’re specific SPF cans for those areas.

Check the instructions; otherwise, you may end up pushing the jambs inwards, making it impossible to open the doors or windows.

As you learn what is spray foam insulation, consider it the best form for your commercial building because those working also needs to be in a comfortable area.

Check out our blog on air conditioning options to keep your building regulated.