SPRAY POLYURETHANE FOAM (SPF) is an insulation and sealant like no other. It can form a continuous air barrier on walls, roofs, around corners, and on many surfaces in and around a home or building. It is created at the jobsite by mixing two liquids that react very quickly, expanding on contact to create rigid foam. It not only insulates, but seals gaps, and some foams can form a barrier against moisture and vapor.
By creating a tight barrier around a building, SPF helps prevent hot and cold air, moisture and vapor from infiltrating a building’s comfortable interior environment. SPF insulation is known to resist heat transfer extremely well, and it offers a highly effective solution in reducing unwanted air infiltration through cracks, seams and joints.
Tips for Success with Spray Foam
Work with a Professional Contractor
When having SPF insulation installed in your home or building, consider working with a professional spray foam contractor. Like many construction materials, installing SPF insulation requires planning and appropriate training. Look for a professional contractor who
Follows manufacturers’ instructions for proper application, including engineering controls, proper storage and heating temperatures of the chemicals, and maximum foam thickness.
Discusses with you the appropriate type or types of SPF products to use for your project and can discuss with you what to expect before, during and after the installation.
Follows recommended health and safety procedures before, during, and after application of SPF insulation.
Choose the Right Type of SPF for the Job
The process for applying SPF varies depending on the type of product and delivery system used:
High-pressure foam used for insulating walls, attics, and other large areas is applied by a professional, who has training and equipment.
Low-pressure foam used for weatherization or insulating small areas is also applied by a professional who has training and equipment.
Insulating foam sealant, or foam in a can, used for filling gaps and cracks. It can be applied by homeowners, who can follow the manufacturer’s directions and safety precautions as described on the product label.
The Center for the Polyurethanes Industry (CPI) offers homeowners helpful information about the process, including the following documents:
Find a Professional Contractor
Find a professional contractor who is knowledgeable, trained, and experienced in installing SPF products. If you have questions before, during, or after the application process, contact the spray foam contractor or the product manufacturer.
Ask your contractor if the foam has an ICC Evaluation Service Report (ICC-ESR).An ESR is used by code officials to verify that a product complies with code requirements and provides information about requirements or criteria used to evaluate the product, instructions for installing the product to meet the requirements, how to identify the product, and more.See a list of spray foam manufacturers.