Spray Foam Insulation: What is it?

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Spray foam insulation is a type of building insulation made from resin and chemicals that expands and solidifies in place. It can be used in walls, ceilings, and crawl spaces to keep heat in or out. Safety precautions are necessary during application. Advantages include better insulation, pest control, and higher resale value, while disadvantages include cost and accuracy issues. It can be purchased in aerosol cans for DIY projects, but professional help may be needed for larger projects.

Spray foam insulation is a type of building insulation that can be used in walls, ceilings, crawl spaces, and other parts of buildings. It is used to keep heat in when it is cold outside and warm air out when the weather is warmer. This type of insulation comes in aerosol cans and is made from resin and some chemicals, such as polyurethane or other isocyanates. When sprayed, the chemicals and resin create a foam that expands and solidifies in place. Originally spray foam insulation was recommended for professional application, but do-it-yourself kits are now available, although safety precautions are strongly advised during application.


When foam insulation is sprayed on, it coats the surface and expands rapidly as it sets. It dries quickly, providing a relatively permanent, non-sagging insulation. If the foam expands beyond the desired area, the excess insulation can be trimmed or trimmed to the desired size.

Spray foam insulation is somewhat dangerous to people when sprayed. Particles can enter the eyes, on the skin or be breathed in through the mouth and nose if proper safety clothing and equipment are not worn. The chemicals can irritate the eyes and respiratory system and cause inflammation or a rash. It is recommended that a person wear goggles, a respirator, gloves, long sleeves, and long pants when spraying foam insulation.


Like any insulation, there are pros and cons to spray foam. Spray foam insulation is more expensive than fiberglass insulation. The process is not accurate and the foam can be accidentally sprayed in places other than the intended target. If too much insulation is sprayed on, the thin walls may buckle as the foam expands. Security is also a concern for anyone attempting to enforce this type of isolation.


Cost and cleanup aside, there are clear benefits to using spray foam insulation. As a spray, it can get in and fill small nooks and crannies, providing better insulation. This can eliminate drafts and keep the building warmer in cold weather. Even in summer, no cold air can escape. These benefits can help reduce your building bills. By filling cracks and crevices, foam insulation also helps keep bugs and pests from entering the building, which can help save on extermination costs.

Spray foam insulation also adheres well to surfaces, so it can adhere to the inside of walls or it can be applied to the underside of floors and insulate from below. Homes insulated with spray foam often have a higher resale value than those that use fiberglass insulation or other types of insulation. There are also environmental benefits; in particular, there are no glass fiber particles floating in the air. In addition, spray foam insulation does not itch when touched and inhibits mold growth because it does not absorb water.
Isolation projects
Do-it-yourselfers can purchase cans of spray foam insulation at most home improvement stores. Along with the normal uses for insulation purposes, it can also be used to fill cracks around doors and windows as well as gaps around pipes and window frames. If an insulation project is too large or difficult, however, it may be in a person’s best interest to call in a professional. This may be more expensive, but will usually ensure that the job is done correctly.

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