Is DIY Spray Foam Insulation Worth the Risk?
Spray foam insulation offers an airtight seal and maximizes energy savings, making it a popular choice for many New Jersey homeowners. However, if you’re thinking about starting a DIY spray foam insulation project, you should think again. Here are six risks associated with spray foam insulation that will make you reconsider taking on the installation process on your own.
- Installing spray foam insulation requires experience.
As an inexperienced installer, you may do more harm than good to your home when making spray foam insulation a DIY project. Before applying the foam, you must take the time to prepare the area in order to prevent damage, which is easier said than done. In addition, the spray gun itself is difficult to operate and can clog easily if improperly used. This lack of experience could result in a longer equipment rental period, and you may end up using more material than anticipated as you work to unclog the gun over and over again. Because spray foam essentially can’t be removed, every mistake becomes an expensive fix, causing you to spend much more than your initial estimates.
- Missing spots can reduce your home’s energy efficiency.
In order for spray foam insulation to provide desirable performance, it needs to be applied correctly. However, if it’s your first time working with this high-performing insulation, you may not understand how to apply the foam uniformly, missing spots, leaving gaps and running the risk of under-insulating your home. Plus, while a rental company can monitor material, hose and machine temperatures, they don’t have the ability to control substrate temperature and moisture, which can dramatically reduce the functionality of your foam insulation if not at the right levels.
- Applying the product too quickly presents a fire hazard.
Installing spray foam insulation too fast can prove hazardous to you and your home. As it cures, spray polyurethane foam insulation releases a lot of heat, and if the application is too thick, it may burst into flames right then and there, resulting in a structure fire. In other cases, layers of spray foam insulation that haven’t been allowed to cure for the appropriate amount of time can damage the product and reduce its insulating capabilities. On the contrary, professional insulation installers typically use different formulas that are much safer and have the know-how needed to correctly apply spray foam to eliminate any risks.
- Spray foam installation requires special equipment.
When it comes to spray foam, there’s a delicate balance between heat, pressure and spray-gun configuration. Getting just one factor wrong can lead to poor cell structure and dimensional instability, resulting in cracking, shrinkage, fissures and poor adhesion. The proper spray foam equipment can be costly to rent, difficult to use for untrained installers and not up to par with that of a professional spray foam installation company. Not to mention, you’ll need to invest in respirators and disposable suits and determine the proper amount of materials needed for the job. It’s also important to keep in mind that most rental companies don’t offer the same top-of-the-line equipment that professional insulation installers use, which can compromise the success of your insulation installation. Plus, if they do provide expert-quality insulation application equipment, it will result in a much higher rental cost overall. In the end, you could be spending more money by doing it yourself rather than calling a professional.
- Incorrectly mixed chemicals make spray foam insulation less effective.
Like with any chemical system, the liquid chemical components of spray foam insulation must be mixed properly to provide ideal performance. Whether the foam is sprayed before the chemicals are up to temperature or faulty spray equipment leads to off-ratio foam, if incorrectly mixed by the rental company, the spray foam will pull away from rafters and studs, leaving cracks that may result in costly damage to your roof – as well as a reduction in your home’s energy efficiency.
- Safe installation requires a thorough assessment of your home’s ventilation.
Foam insulation is a safe choice for homeowners when properly applied, but it does contain substances that can be harmful if not eliminated via proper air circulation. And while you do want to create an airtight seal with spray foam insulation, it’s also critical to assess a home’s ventilation to ensure that aerosols, mists and vapors can escape after application. A rental company may instruct you to open windows in the attic for 24 hours, but that’s not enough. Experienced technicians will carefully review your home’s ventilation and ensure that the application process is safe for residents and workers alike by maintaining a high level of indoor air quality using a specialty industrial-grade exhaust fan.
While you may be a DIY guru, if you spray at the wrong temperature or your space is not properly ventilated, you may do more damage than good. And though DIY is great for many home projects, when it comes to spray foam insulation, it’s best to consult with trained professionals. Atticare has provided Northern and Central New Jersey homeowners with insulation services for more than 15 years, and our technicians are ready to apply spray foam insulation with the same level of expertise and customer service we deliver on every job. To learn more about our spray foam installation services and to see if this option is right for your home, contact Atticare today.