Question: All my decisions for my new home are finalized except one. Since there are so many different types of insulation, I would like to know more about the advantages of spray-applied foam insulation and is it a safe insulation to use in my home?
Answer: First, I will tell you that the Energy Code dictates insulation values based on “degree days,” which means the code takes into consideration local climate conditions.
For example, the insulation requirements for Winnipeg will be considerably greater than in Victoria or Windsor.
To achieve the requirements of the new Energy Code for air tightness and thermal efficiency, many knowledgeable builders use spray polyurethane foam insulation which has the highest insulation value per inch of any insulation product used in residential
construction. Its value is close to R-7 per inch.
It is also the ultimate air barrier. It far exceeds the requirements for a Class 3 air barrier, the highest class recommended by the National Research Counsel.
There are no seams or joints in this insulation as it is applied in one application. It adheres well to the wood components of walls and ceilings.
It is especially useful for hard to insulate areas. And since it is an air barrier, it prevents moisture from getting into areas that are difficult to seal.
Unlike other insulation, spray-applied polyurethane insulation cannot sag, buckle, settle or mat with ordinary use. It moves with normal structural expansion and contracts without cracking. It will not break down from attack by mildew or fungi and rodents or insects will not eat it.
This product is environmentally safe since it uses no CFCs. Its use results in a healthy home and increased comfort levels while decreasing the use of fossil fuels for heating and cooling, thus reducing emissions to the atmosphere.
In order to ensure the integrity of the product and the contractors that install it, an association of contractors was formed which is known as the Canadian Urethane Foam Contractors Association (CUFCA).
Polyurethane foam insulation is one of the most extensively tested insulation/air barrier material on the market.
The contractors association was
instrumental in developing the Material Standard, CGSB 51.23 and the installation Standard CGSB51.39.
They also developed a curriculum that is delivered by the National Energy Conservation Association to train and supervise installers of urethane foam.
Licensed contractors and certified installers made it possible for them to develop a Quality Assurance Program which meets ISO 9002 standards.
Manufacturers must test their material to ensure that it meets these rigid standards.
The key component of the Quality Assurance Program is quality control testing. Results are recorded and are kept on file at the licensed contractor’s office and forwarded to the national CUFCA office where they are entered into a central data base. A third-party warranty is also offered.
Spray polyurethane foam may be used in attics, in cavity walls and can be applied directly to concrete walls either inside or outside. It must be protected from direct sunlight. When covered by a protective coating, it will not absorb water.
If you want the best insulation value for your money use spray-applied polyurethane foam.