Problems With Spray Foam Insulation for Walls

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Spray Polyurethane Foam (SPF) is one of the most energy efficient, environmentally-friendly insulation materials on the market. SPF does not emit volatile organic compounds or contain formaldehyde, and it reduces the incidence of mold and mildew. However, there can be serious problems with spray foam, especially when it is not installed properly.

Problems With Uniform Coverage

  • If you have spray foam insulation, and your home still seems hot or not energy efficient, you may have a problem with an uneven installation. The insulation must be applied uniformly. Anywhere the insulation is too thin, you won't have the benefit of insulation.

Leaks

  • The contractor who installs the spray foam insulation must understand the envelope of the structure. You may experience a problem with your spray foam insulation if a portion of the home was missed or if there are a number of leaks in the insulation. Ask your contractor to test the insulation using a blower door test or a fog machine.

Contracts From Frame

  • If the chemicals are improperly mixed or sprayed in at too high of temperatures, it can cause the spray foam to contract from the structure's frame, which will cause tiny gaps where heat and air can escape. If the insulation is contracting across the whole house, it will impact the energy efficiency of the home, and the homeowner's pocketbook.

Health Problems

  • According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), exposure over a long period to the chemicals found in spray polyurethane foam can cause health problems such as asthma. Anytime spray foam is installed, you should be aware of where the SPF is installed and ventilate the work area. If you have a history of respiratory allergies, skin conditions or asthma, the EPA recommends that you choose alternative insulation options.

References

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