Spray Foam Insulation
Frequently Asked Questions
+ What is spray foam insulation
Spray foam insulation is commonly referred to as SPFI – Sprayed Polyurethane Foam Insulation. It is a combination insulator AND sealant in one. When professionally installed, spray foam insulation performs as an insulator, an air barrier, and a vapor barrier – all in one application. A comprehensive install will reduce energy consumption, lower utility costs, and improve indoor comfort levels.
+ How does one prepare the home for attic installation?
The install team requires clear access to the attic “hatch”. If the “hatch” is in a closet, ALL items must be removed, as well as any shelving (temporarily). Everything in the attic must be removed. For attic insulation removal, ALL items in the room closest to the “hatch” should be covered with a poly-sheet or tarp. Dust fallout is inevitable with any attic insulation work – there will be minor accumulation of dust after the work. It’s suggested to replace (or clean) furnace filters and other ventilation devices.
+ Does spray foam insulation abide by building codes?
Spray foam insulation is a recognized building material under the National Building Code of Canada and the Ontario Building Code. Clearly, specifications will differ for the attic and basement, and conditions will vary in a new build, a renovation, and a retrofit. But a professional installation contractor will be able to assess the specific situation, and install according to the appropriate code.
+ Does spray foam insulation contain formaldehyde?
Spray foam insulation does NOT contain formaldehyde. When it’s professionally applied, the foam mixture is a result of a chemical reaction that creates polyurethane foam. Both the foam product and the installation require professional handling. The equipment is specialized, the preparation process is involved, and the final application is multifaceted – this is not recommended as a DIY project.
+ What is the advantage of SPFI over fiberglass?
Because spray foam insulation adheres to every surface and creates a seamless air barrier, it doesn’t have the problems common to fiberglass batts. Batts cannot fully prevent air infiltration. They do not entirely seal circuit boxes, plumbing pipes, or electrical wiring, and therefore leave open gaps. This diminishes the ability of the batts to stop air leakage and thus reduces insulation effectiveness. When air is leaking in and out of a structure, both heating and cooling costs are increased. With spray foam, a space is completely sealed and insulated, and air leakage is prevented in summer and winter.
+ How can I prepare for a thermal barrier installation?
Access is required (within 100 feet of the equipment truck) to a municipal water hookup. The truck must park within 50 feet of the home or building. Ventilation or dehumidification should be provided in the work area until the product is dry. When the temperature is below freezing, Thermal Barrier installations may require a special truck or a work area with temporary heat. Temporary heat in the install area prevents the product from freezing. Drying time varies with temperature and humidity.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT INSULATION
There are several criteria for choosing insulation. R-Value is probably the key consideration – it’s a measure of the insulating value in a given space. But it’s also important for insulation to inhibit air movement; to prevent moisture accumulation; to be fire resistant; and to inhibit mold and insects. Finally, it’s important to consider the cost of the insulation product and the installation. In general, choosing the right insulation should be a combination of everything above. Insulating a space is about conserving energy, and conserving should translate into energy savings. In the attic and roof we recommend Spray Polyurethane Foam Insulation (SPFI) as the ideal install, along with alternative options that combine loose-fill insulation (fiberglass or cellulose). To inhibit air infiltration (air leakage) we use spray foam to completely seal and insulate any openings and holes in the framing “envelope” of the residential home or commercial building. Most of the insulation products we use are designed to block the flow of radiated heat. When a cavity is totally sealed and insulated, radiant heat loss is virtually eliminated throughout.