High-pressure systems can be used to spray all three types of spray polyurethane foam. Of the three types of spray foam used in building insulation and weatherization, the high-pressure, two-component spray foam is most likely to be used on larger projects such as a new building construction or renovations. SPF applied with a high-pressure system tends to adhere tightly to the entire structure which helps avoid sagging or detaching from its position. It can also provide a seal against air and insects.
Low-pressure spray polyurethane foam is typically applied around ductwork, electrical or piping penetrations, rim joists and roof repairs. This type of foam is used to insulate and seal small to mid-sized areas in homes and other buildings that are too large or extensive for smaller, insulating foam sealants. It is especially effective in weatherizing older homes that have many cracks, gaps and wall penetrations around doors, window frames, pipes and plumbing lines. The air- and heat-leakage improvements can be quite dramatic after a low-pressure SPF application, which can result in greater efficiencies.
Insulating foam sealant, also known as one-component foam or foam-in-a-can, is generally used for small projects, such as sealing gaps and cracks. This foam is available to both professional spray foam applicators and homeowners. It’s popular with users seeking to use less energy and conserve resources.
One-component foam sealant bonds readily to wood, masonry, metal, glass and many plastics. It sets and cures quickly, hardening into a protective shield that helps prevent air from crossing the foam barrier.
What things should I be looking for in a contractor? What type of questions should I ask?
Any time you are hiring a contractor to work on your home you should be sure they have:
A good contractor can tell you:
As an added service, your contractor may also offer guidance on how to take advantage of local and federal utility rebates or tax credits.
Your contractor may also have knowledge or local and federal utility rebates and tax credits that you may be able to take advantage of.
When it comes to bigger jobs that require two component systems it is best to leave installation to a trained professional. Larger projects require specific applications and can be complicated. These jobs also require proper protective equipment, including respirators, which a trained professional will have on hand.
There are insulating foam sealant products available in cans for Do-It-Yourselfers at home improvement stores. These products are used for small "bead-type" applications, such as sealing windows, doors, and filling small gaps and cracks.
Most home improvement stores offer foam sealant products for small jobs in a can to seal small gaps and cracks.
Before having SPF installed be sure to check with your contractor for information about how long you and your family must stay out of the house after installation.
Be sure to discuss any work being done in your home with your contractor before moving ahead with the installation. The SPF contractor should discuss the timing of the installation with any other contractors working in your home.
Always discuss your expectations with your contractor so every stage of the installation will be clear. Typical expectations include:
It is best to discuss the specifics of the SPF you are having installed with the contractor doing the installation. One of the reasons for SPFs popularity is its resistance to settling and its structural integrity.
If you have concerns about scents you think may be due to the SPF installation you should contact your contractor immediately to verify that proper procedures were followed and the site was properly cleaned up after the job was completed. If you still have concerns contact your local or state consumer protection office.
Cracks in your building can allow humid air into the building. This moist air can cause discomfort in your home as well as increase heating and cooling costs. The excess moisture can also sometimes promote mold growth and even increase the risk of deterioration in your home. Sealing all gaps will help stop humid air from entering your home and help prevent these problems from occurring.
SPF does not usually attract insects. Sealing the cracks and gaps in your home will help keep insects and rodents outside rather than inside. Over time pests may chew through foam insulation despite the fact that it is not a food source.
SPF usually has flame retardants in it and they are designed to meet building and fire codes when they're properly installed.