Spray foam insulation is a popular home improvement option for improving a house’s energy efficiency. It can fill gaps and cracks in walls, attics, and crawl spaces to prevent air leakage, which can increase heating and cooling costs. It is also 24 times less permeable to moisture than other types of insulation, making it resistant to mold and mildew.
This type of insulation is applied using aerosol cans, and it’s commonly used in new construction to provide insulation and air sealing for homes. It’s available for homeowners to install themselves, but it’s usually a good idea to work with a professional insulation contractor. They can apply the insulation faster and neater than the average homeowner, and they’ll ensure that the job meets building code requirements.
Homeowners who choose to apply the insulation themselves should take precautions to protect themselves from the harmful chemicals in the spray cans. These chemicals, called isocyanates, are irritants to the eyes and gastrointestinal tract, and overexposure can cause asthma-like symptoms including coughing and wheezing. They can also make existing allergies worse.
It’s recommended that home occupants vacate the home during the spraying and curing process. This is because the spray off-gases large amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including formaldehyde and acetone. It’s important to use low-VOC spray foam, such as BASF Walltite CM01 or Genyk Boreal Nature, to reduce exposure. Also, look for products that do not use HFCs as the blowing agents, as these contribute significantly to climate change.