Problems With Spray Insulation

Updated February 21, 2017

Spray insulation is a polyurethane or icynene foam that is sprayed into the space between walls and floors to insulate homes and commercial buildings. Many builders and homeowners like foam insulation because it expands to fill in every crack and keep energy costs low. Like every building material, foam insulation has pros and cons. Although there are benefits to using spray insulation, there are also some problems with the material.


Spray insulation must be applied with specialised equipment that includes a high pressure spray gun. The insulation comes out as a liquid foam that quickly hardens as it is exposed to air. As the liquid foam is sprayed into the cavities between walls and ceilings, it has a tendency to spray other places as well. Cleanup is challenging if the foam finds its way onto brick or stone surfaces, and spraying foam insulation typically requires the use of protective plastic as well as protective clothing.

Installation Errors

Spray foam installation is a challenge to handle, and even professional spray installers can miscalculate and cause an installation error. Spray insulation expands rapidly as it dries, and, in some cases, it can expand aggressively. If too much foam is sprayed into the walls, the rapid overexpansion can cause the walls to buckle or even crack and result in damage.


Spray insulation is significantly more expensive than fibreglass installation, and hiring a professional crew to install it can drive costs up even more. A homeowner who wishes to spray insulation himself is forced to rent expensive spray insulation equipment to complete the job. In addition, waste expenses can increase the cost of spray insulation. Spray insulation is sprayed into the open spaces between wall studs and floor and ceiling joists. As the insulation dries, it expands beyond the studs, and the homeowner or installer is forced to trim away the excess to make it flush. The expense of excess insulation waste is often substantial.


If a future remodelling project requires the removal of a spray insulation product from the home, you may face another set of challenges. Unlike fibreglass insulation that removes easily if needed, spray insulation is a semi-permanent insulation product that is difficult to take out. Removal requires cutting or scraping to separate the insulation from the building surface, and the task is messy and time consuming.

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About the Author

Sara Melone is a mother of three and a graduate of UNH. With prior careers in insurance and finance, photography, as well as certifications in fitness and nutrition, Melone draws directly from past experience and varying interests. She contributes with equal passion to birth journals, investment blogs, and self-help websites.