Spray Foam Installation
Spray Foam Installation: Is It Worth It?
With our energy prices drastically increasing, along with our other household outgoings, and the temperature beginning to drop, properly insulating our homes has never been as important as it is now. The UK government has been promoting property insulation for years in an attempt to lower our energy bills and make our homes warmer. The Energy Saving Trust estimates that the average UK home could save as much as £300 annually by adding insulation to the loft or roof of their home. For homeowners looking to reduce their carbon emissions, there’s a plethora of ways to help keep the heat in your home and the cold out.
Let’s have a look at a controversial choice with spray foam insulation for your home.
What Is Spray Foam Installation?
Spray foam insulation is an alternative to traditional building insulation. It is versatile and can be used to insulate your roof, walls, and floor, helping to retain warmth and reduce your energy costs. When spray foam insulation is sprayed onto a surface, it clings to it and then expands to up to 60 times its original size! The result is a waterproof and airtight barrier to both water entering and the loss of warm air from your home. There are two types of spray foam insulation to choose from:
• Open cell spray foam insulation – This type has cells that are not completely encapsulated. It makes the foam more spongey, softer, and more flexible.
• Closed cell spray foam insulation – Cells in this form are completely closed, which means air and moisture cannot penetrate the foam. It sets much more rigidly and is more stable.
• Unlike traditional types of insulation, spray foam insulation is formed on-site, which results in potentially hazardous fumes being released. The spray area should not be re-entered for approximately 24 hours after installation. However, properly installed spray foam insulation can typically last more than thirty years.
Is Spray Foam Installation Right for My Home?
Determining whether spray foam insulation is a good fit for your home will require specialist advice from an expert as it’s difficult to remove once installed! However, if your home could use an energy-efficiency upgrade, it’s worth considering the following before proceeding with installation:
• It can be applied to difficult-to-reach areas.
• It may provide additional soundproofing.
• It’s more expensive than other types of insulation.
• It MUST NOT be used on the underside of any roof structure, as it can lead to serious problems with timber structures.
• The foam adheres to the slates in older roofs without underfelt, making it almost impossible to replace a damaged individual slate.
• It shouldn’t be used on Listed Buildings or houses with thatched roofs.
• It’s unsightly and cannot be decorated over.
• Poorly installed spray foam insulation can cause structural safety problems and severe condensation by blocking ventilation.
• It may seriously affect the value of your property – more on this below.
• When using spray foam insulation, you can achieve an entirely waterproof and airtight solution. However, this can mean that warm and damp air becomes trapped in the space, risking timber rot in structures. Therefore, it’s important to have ventilation options such as windows or trickle vents. While your home may be warmer, you need to consider the potential build-up of warm air and water vapor from showering and cooking and how difficult it will be for it to escape. Electric extractor fans can be added to address this issue.
Spray Foam Installation Costs
As mentioned, spray foam insulation is much more expensive than other types of insulation you may consider for your property. Cheaper options include glass fiber or mineral fiber wool, suitable polystyrene slabs, and expanded polystyrene (EPS) or equivalents that comply with Building Regulations.
Spray foam insulation should always be installed by a professional, and it’s vital to note that it is not a DIY option! Additionally, be cautious of rogue companies offering spray foam insulation in unsuitable instances.
Read more about the considerations and challenges associated with spray foam insulation in this article from the BBC: Spray Foam Installation – BBC News.
THE BIG ONE – Will Spray Foam Insulation Increase or Decrease the Value of My Home?
Whenever homeowners invest in their property, there’s always the consideration of whether the extra work will add further value to their home or potentially REDUCE it. Due to concerns about condensation and other damp effects that can lead to roof timber rot, which could go undetected for many years, spray foam insulation could end up causing problems when selling your property. The lack of airflow can even cause mold formation and release toxic odors.
Due to these reasons, many mortgage lenders will now refuse to lend on any property where spray foam insulation is used, potentially making your property UNSALEABLE in the future or substantially reducing its value. If you’re looking to purchase a home with spray foam insulation, it’s worth noting that removing the foam material is likely to be more expensive than the original installation cost, as the material will be in every crevice and gap behind timbers, making them difficult to access and remove. It may involve complete reconstruction of a roof, for example. Even if you’re able to remove it, very few lenders will be happy to accept your new home for a mortgage as they may deem that the lasting damage has already been caused. According to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), if a surveyor encounters spray foam insulation during their inspection of your home, they may advise that a loan should be declined, or reduce the value of your property, or request an independent specialist report.
For all your property needs, we are here to assist you. At Eyesurvey, we are dedicated to providing comprehensive solutions for homeowners like you. Whether you’re considering spray foam insulation or require assistance with other property-related matters, our team of experts is ready to help.
Contact Eyesurvey Chartered Surveyors, your trusted partner in home improvement.
Les Long FRICS FISVA Principal, Eyesurvey
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