Spray foam insulation is everywhere, and it is a popular choice for home insulation. If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you have at least heard of it, but chances are you don’t know much more than that. Foam insulation is less expensive than traditional fiberglass insulation, and it can do a great job at improving your home’s energy efficiency. It also helps protect your pipes should you experience a burst pipe. But, as with anything else in life. You will face disadvantages (along with the advantages); that one needs to be aware of before making any decisions about spray foam insulation. You can also visit http://cleanairdoctors.com/spray-foam-insulation for more info. But first, here’s what you need to know.
Is Spray Foam Terrible For You?
Spray foam insulation has become increasingly popular in the past few years. Also known as polyurethane foam or spray polyurethane foam (SPF), spray foam insulation uses a chemical reaction to expand and harden when applied. It can also be used in conjunction with other types of insulation, such as fiberglass batting. There are two types of spray foam insulation: open and closed cell insulation. Both have their benefits, but each is better suited for specific applications. The benefits of spray foam insulation are well-known: it expands to fill gaps and crevices, seals air leaks, removes the need for batt insulation, reduces energy costs, and has no risk of mold growth.
While spray foam insulation has many benefits, it can also have severe consequences. Here are four common pitfalls associated with spray foam:
- Open-Cell Spray Foam Can Be Less Effective at Insulating
Of the two varieties of spray foam insulation, open-cell is less efficient as an insulator. It is because open-cell insulation allows air to pass through it, creating less resistance to heat transfer. Though open-cell spray foam does have its benefits—it’s cheaper and more effective at soundproofing than closed-cell spray foam—its R-value is typically lower than that of closed-cell spray foam.
- It is not for everyone
Spray foam insulation is not for every building and every budget. For example, if you have a small home and are trying to stay within your budget, spray foam might not be the best option.
On the other hand, if you have an older home in need of severe restoration or if your home doesn’t have existing insulation, then the benefits of spray foam might outweigh the cost.
- It’s messy
One of the most significant downsides to using spray foam is that it can be extremely messy. The product is sticky and difficult to clean up and should never be used near open flames or sparks because it is highly flammable until it dries. Additionally, you’ll want to wear protective gear while spraying it in your home and keep all pets and children away from the work area.
- Off-Gassing May Occur After Installation
When spray foam insulation is applied, it expands and dries quickly, but it may continue to give off chemical fumes after being installed. The process of chemical evaporation that causes these fumes to be released into the air is called off-gassing. The main ingredient of spray foam insulation is polyurethane. Polyurethane does not have an odor, but it may remove a foul odor as it cures. It occurs because of catalysts used in the manufacture of polyurethane. These catalysts are sometimes called “polymerization agents” or “polymerization enhancers.” The triggers are essential for the proper curing of polyurethane. If you use open-cell spray foam insulation, you can expect more off-gassing than closed-cell foam. In general, though, off-gassing is standard with both types of spray foam insulation.
For most people, the chemical fumes emitted during off-gassing are not harmful and cause no adverse health effects. However, some people may experience nausea, headaches, and dizziness after using polyurethane spray foam insulation in their homes. The best way to avoid these hazards is to work with a professional contractor. Inspectors will look for things like punctured vapor barrier, improper application, and even things such as air leakage or being able to see the foam through the walls.
While effective when correctly applied, spray foam insulation is messy and dangerous. Some contractors do not have the time to complete a proper job, which often leads to problems with the structure of your home. If you have spray foam in your attic, hire a professional to inspect it so that you can live in your house safely.