Spray foam insulation is one of the most effective green building materials available, with a high energy savings potential and excellent comfort levels. It also helps to keep rodents and bats out of buildings. However, like every product, spray foam insulation has its pitfalls. Some of these pitfalls are easy to avoid, and some require a bit more thought and planning than one might expect.
Most of the issues with spray foam insulation relate to the application process. It is best installed by professional technicians. It can be difficult for a homeowner to apply, as it requires the mixing of two liquid chemicals that react to form spray foam. This is why the manufacturers of spray foam insulation only sell it to licensed contractors. Professionals know how to apply the insulation properly and quickly, so it will not sag or get wet. They can also ensure that the insulation meets all local and federal building codes.
Homeowners should make sure they are using open-cell spray foam, which is less expensive than closed-cell foam, and that the contractor uses a blowing agent with low global warming potential (GWP). This will prevent the insulation from being made from HFCs, which have a very high GWP. Some brands that use a lower-GWP blowing agent include BASF Walltite CM01 and Genyk Boreal Nature.
During the installation of spray foam insulation, it is important that a homeowner evacuates the house. The spraying and curing of the insulation releases a lot of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air, so homeowners should stay out of the house until the curing process is complete. This usually takes 1-3 days.