What is Spray Foam?
Definition of Spray Foam in Construction
In reference to insulation, this is a process where insulating foam is mechanically sprayed on a surface to build up a layer of insulating material. The equipment is a pump, to provide the pressure to spray the material, as well as a special nozzle, designed to mix the components of the spray foam at the nozzle’s head. Spray foam can either be open or closed cell, and each specific product is used in different applications. Spray foam has developed during the last several years and has created a new market for insulating products. The use of spray foam allows a continuous application, filling all voids, which can be applied in areas where the installation of batt insulation or rigid insulation is difficult or impossible. Spray foam is being specified to insulate structures, such as occupied buildings levels, from the parking constructed below, as well as general applications on walls and ceilings throughout the structure.
The ability to obtain greater R values, utilizing less space within the structure, is all possible with both open and closed cell insulation. Closed cell, spray foam, does not expand as much as open cell, however does not require a vapor barrier. Open cell, which provides more expansion, does require a vapor barrier. Architects are now specifying the use of spray foam, due to its efficiency and capabilities. Other applications for the use of spray foam, include sound deadening and attenuation, as well as structural stiffening. In areas of hurricanes and tornadoes, the use of a spray foam throughout the structure will stiffen the entire structure, and reduce deflections during storms. In special situations, such as auditoriums, the use of acoustical spray foam is commonly specified. Due to the specialty of the product, the installation of this spray foam, is only available through a small number of licensed applicators.
Spray foam is also used within the modular home industry. The application of spray foam within an enclosed, environmentally controlled building, allows the spray foam to cure properly, as well as provides the required R values within the structure. In addition, the stiffening property is beneficial to the modular concept of lifting assembled units on the jobsite from trailers into place. Spray foam is being developed and improved daily, and its use will increase as the products, and the applicators increase.