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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Sprayed Polyurethane Foam Insulation?

Quite simply, it is "insulation plus sealant". As a rigid cellular plastic with over 95% closed cell content, Spray Polyurethane Foam Insulation acts as insulation, an air barrier and, in some cases, also a vapour barrier. Spray Polyurethane Foam Insulation will cut energy costs and improve comfort levels in any building.

What are the properties of Spray Polyurethane Foam Insulation (SPFI)?

  • Continuous, seamless, no joints
  • Can fill cracks, voids and holes
  • Adheres to wood, metal, concrete, masonry, almost all plastics
  • Almost totally impermeable to air
  • High insulation value
  • Durability and long service life
  • Can be sprayed overhead, doesn't sag
  • Speedy, quick set, installation
  • Doesn't settle
  • Only thermal insulation which is tested for VOC's

Where can Spray Polyurethane Foam be used?

  • Foundations
  • Crawl spaces
  • Walls
  • Header spaces
  • Roofs
  • Ceilings
  • Interior walls
  • Can be used as the primary air barrier material
  • Can be used to connect other building materials together
  • Is a solution to many building insulation design problems

What about off gasing?

The process of applying spray foam insulation creates an odor and requires venting. As soon as the foam “cures” (or sets), which occurs within seconds, it no longer produces the odor. It usually takes about 24 hours for the odor to completely dissipate.

What about vermin eating the foam?

Spray Foam Insulation is an inert substance and provides no food value for rodents and insects. Although it would not provide a barrier if they decided to gnaw through it.

Can I put blown cellulose insulation over the existing insulation in my attic?

Blown Cellulose insulation may be applied over existing batting in attics of already built structures to increase R-value and improve thermal resistance and reduce heat loss. Adding 6 or more inches of loose Cellulose seals all the spaces between batts acting as an energy saving blanket in your attic.

How much money will I save?

25% to 60% energy saving that will depend on your situation and the type of insulation you choose.

What would be my return on investment?

As a guide, owners generally take three or less years to recapture there investment.

Can I make my house too tight?

Building scientists and engineers advise to build a tight home so that the occupants can control the indoor air quality and are not influenced by outdoor pollution and allergens. Mechanical and ventilation equipment are a much better way to ensure the best indoor air quality is achieved. 

What is R-Value?

R-value measures resistance to heat flow, and is determined by the thickness and density of the insulation. The higher the R-value, the greater the insulating power.

Characteristics of common insulation materials

Insulation Material
R/in. (RSI/m)
Advantages / Disadvantages


3.0 – 3.7
(21 – 26)
All batts come in plastic-wrapped bales. The products are like fibrous blankets, about 1.2 m (48 in.) long and wide enough to fit snugly between wall studs. Readily available.
All loose-fill insulations typically require a professional installer.
Cellulose fibre
3.0 – 3.7
(21 – 26)
Fine particles usually grey in colour, denser than glass or mineral fibre. Provides more resistance to air movement than other loose fill insulations. Can have settlement problems if not installed properly.
All spray-applied insulations fill cavities very well. They must be applied by a specialized contractor.

Closed cell medium density polyurethane

5.5 – 6.0
(38 – 42)

A rigid spray foam that expands into the cavity and sets up fairly rigid.

Can act as the air barrier and vapour retarder. HFC used in production. Must be covered.

Note: All values are approximate and for general comparison only. Some insulations may be irritants or hazardous during installation. Consult manufacturers’ recommendations and insulation packaging for proper respiratory, eye and skin protection.

Source: Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation


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