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BS* + Beer

Pros and Cons of Spray Foam Insulation

Spray foam is a problematic problem-solver—here's what you need to know when deciding whether to use it

Spray foam from a two-part foam kit sealing and insulating the sheathing and the top plate

This episode of the BS* + Beer show is a discussion of spray foam insulation—the different types, their properties, application strategies, and problematic aspects. For many high-performance-home builders, spray foam is a go-to solution due to its efficacy not only as a reliable thermal insulator but also as an air barrier, yet it comes with a weighty environmental penalty. The hosts share thoughts on blowing agents, offgassing, fire risks, R-value over time, ventilation requirements, two-component kits, and the issue of “when spray goes wrong,” among other talking points.

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The next show is on April 6, 2023, from 6-7:30 p.m. ET

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4 Comments

  1. charlie_sullivan | | #1

    Very timely as there's an active discussion of a spray foam job gone bad right now. I think it's useful for anyone considering it to review that discussion and think about what they would do in that situation.

    https://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/question/open-cell-off-gassing-contractor-wants-to-remove-and-spray-closed-cell-over

  2. iainb | | #2

    So the consensus seemed to be that spray foam has its place, but there are almost always alternatives.

    Is one of those places where there aren’t good alternatives insulating fieldstone foundations? I figure it’s worth asking just in case there’s a product that’s come on the market.

    1. Expert Member
      Michael Maines | | #3

      I'd agree with your summary. It's possible to insulate a fieldstone foundation by building a wall on the interior side and using rigid foam insulation, with some creativity required at the sill area, but it's difficult to do as well and as effectively as spray foam directly on the stones.

      1. iainb | | #4

        Thanks, I was afraid of that. There are always new products coming out, so I figured I might as well ask. Although I’m not sure any other product wouldn’t be roughly similar in nature just to meet all the same criteria.

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