Why Spray Foam?

Spray Polyurethane Foam (SPF) is a site-installed insulation and roofing material that should installed by a trained, experienced, and skilled professional.  A qualified professional with expertise in spray foam materials and applications should be employed to do all SPF installations.  The application of SPF requires the user to be familiar with installation techniques, product health and safety guidelines, principles of building science and other considerations. 

Are there different types of SPF? 

There are a variety of SPF products including: 
  • low density insulation (commonly referred to as “open cell”)
  • medium density insulation (commonly referred to as “closed cell”),
  • high density SPF insulation typically used as commercial roofing material along with protective coatings, and
  • low-pressure SPF “kits and cans” which are typically used for smaller insulation jobs.

What types of applications can SPF be used in?

SPF is the best solution when access to the installation area is unobstructed.  That means all new commercial and residential construction insulation applications are most suitable, along with attics and crawlspaces in residential renovations (which also happen to be the points where the greatest energy savings can result) where these are fully accessible.  If you are hoping to have SPF installed in exterior walls of an existing building, SPF is typically only an option if you are planning to undergo a deep retrofit or detailed upgrade to the building where the walls will be fully exposed.  

Exterior spray polyurethane foam roofing is usually a solution for larger commercial, industrial or apartment properties, managed by a construction professional, and is detailed on the Construction Professionals section of this site.  If you have a residential property with a flat / low-sloped roof, SPF is still a great roofing option for you and you are encouraged to review the information elsewhere on this website. 
Although smaller low-pressure SPF “kits and cans” are less complicated and able to be employed by a knowledgeable user, in almost all cases it is recommended that SPF be installed by a trained, experienced, and skilled professional.  

So why is SPF a better solution than conventional insulation or roofing?

SPF has fantastic attributes, that go beyond just insulation performance, including:
  • High insulating value - especially over the full life of the product's use in the building
  • Durability and longevity - doesn't sag, settle, break down or lose performance over time
  • Monolithic application - no seams, gaps or voids
  • Helps control air and moisture movement in and out of buildings - less drafts
  • Sound control - controling air flow controls noise transfer, and open-cell foam 
  • Increased strength of the structure it is installed in or on (for medium and high density)
In most cases, SPF products can deliver many or all of these performance attributes in one product instead of combining several.  SPF is a all-in-one solution in most cases, for consumers looking for a high performance building solution.  SPF is a proven and tested product in use since the early 1960s.

Spray Foam Features and Benefits

SPF has a multitude of performance benefits.  It provides an insulation and air-sealing product all-in-one. The product is also known for controling noise transfer through and within the building, creating a quieter and more comfortable environment.  For closed-cell SPF materials, there is also water and moisture vapor (humidity) resistance, providing condensation control.  In fact, closed-cell foams are the only insulations that are rated as FEMA flood-damage resistant materials that can withstand floodwaters up to 72 hours.  

The R-value and air-sealing capabilities vary based upon the product and the manufacturer. For example, low-density SPF (or “open cell”) has a comparatively lower R-value per inch and slightly less air-sealing capability than medium-density SPF (or “closed-cell”), but if your project can be met by the capabilities of low-density SPF, this solution could result in some project cost savings. However, if your project calls for a combined vapor, moisture and air-barrier with higher insulation value per inch, or the cavity to fill is not large enough for low-density SPF to reach the specified R-value, closed-cell could be your solution. 

Closed-cell medium density insulation also has the ability to add strength to walls, and increases the durability & attachment of roofs under severe weather/wind conditions. For particularly challenging geometric installations such as an attic, cathedralized ceiling or crawlspace, SPF’s ability to conform to the shape of the surface it's sprayed onto is an unrivalled benefit. 

Every product and project will be different, so the solutions will be different. It is impossible to predict every scenario where you may want to use SPF as a solution, which is why working with a knowledgeable and experienced contractor is recommended.  The flexibility in use of SPF is one of its greatest attributes.
For more consumer benefits information on SPF, consider visiting these additional industry websites:



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