SPF acts as a single-material solution for thermal, air, vapor*1
and water* vapor transmission through the home’s building
envelope, or enclosure. Think of the enclosure of the home as
what a set of clothing is for the human body on a windy, damp
winter day. A sweater (fibrous insulation) provides insulation (Rvalue) to retain body heat – but it does not stop wind (air
movement) or control moisture. You would need a thin
waterproof windbreaker (air barrier and vapor retarder) to block
the wind as opposed to just wearing a sweater. SPF insulation is
the only insulation inside stud walls that can provide R-value, air
barrier and vapor barrier in a single product. As a thermal insulator, SPF is one of the highest performing insulations available.
Spray applied by
professional installers, the material forms in-place.
It fully adheres and initially expands to eliminate
cracks and gaps that leak air or water vapor. It may
also be applied in a continuous layer, eliminating most
thermal bridges caused by framing. These thermal and
air-sealing qualities of spray foam are what directly
result in lower home energy bills. Closed-cell SPF, a
denser and more rigid version of the material, also
provides structural enhancement and can qualify as
both a water vapor retarder, a water-resistant insulation
and secondary water barrier. It may be applied on
the interior of walls, as well as along exterior walls as
continuous insulation – above or below grade.
SPF insulation comes in two basic types, and both can
be used in any climate zone. All SPF insulation provides
air sealing and insulation. Open-cell SPF, ProFILL, is
generally less costly than closed-cell foam because it
does offer fewer performance characteristics. The
higher R-value per inch of closed-cell foam may be
more suitable in tight spaces and justify the
investment. Closed-cell foam, ProSEAL also provides
vapor retarder and water-resistant performance needed
in certain applications, as well as structural
strengthening of the home.
False...Cured SPF and the chemicals used to make SPF are not flammable.
They are considered ‘combustible’, which like many common building materials,
including wood, means it requires a higher than normal temperature to ignite.
And in some cases, spray foam can improve fire safety by blocking flame spread
inside frame walls.
True...which is good. SPF prevents the infiltration of unwanted moisture and exfiltration of
conditioned air which, in turn, can reduce condensation that causes mold, mildew, poor indoor
air quality, rot or corrosion of the home. A properly designed spray foam home will also include
controlled ventilation to bring in small amounts of outside air to displace odors from normal
homeowner activity while minimizing energy loss.
False...SPF is not a food source for wood-destroying organisms like termites. SPF seals cracks
and gaps in the home, reducing paths for entry of insects and other pests. SPF also controls the infiltration of unwanted moisture, which termites need to thrive. When properly applied, SPF can
be installed to allow for regular visual termite inspections by pest management professionals,
providing no greater risk to termite damage than any other cavity insulation.