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Covering Spray Foam Insulation Vs. Leaving It UncoveredBy admin
Tuesday, 3 September 2019
Spray foam does a great job of keeping the home nice and warm, but as with anything new that you bring into your home, it’s natural to have anxieties about prolonged exposure to it.
After all, the whole point of the product is to create a safe and comfortable environment for you and your loved ones to enjoy. If you’re having it put into your loft, you’re suddenly faced with a choice as to whether to cover it or not. The question is, how significant is that choice?
When it comes to deciding whether to cover insulation or not, the good news is that you don’t have to worry about toxic fumes or ‘evil chemicals’ seeping through the walls.
In fact, there are typically only three factors which you need to consider: thermal factors, vapour factors and ignition barriers. Vapour barriers aren’t really anything to worry about, and thermal and ignition barriers follow a similar concept, but in practice, are quite different.
Let’s explore each factor in turn in a little more detail:
Factor No.1: Is A Vapour Barrier Required?:
A vapour barrier is there to keep the moisture out, and stop damp setting in to any of the structural materials. When it comes to spray foam insulation, vapour barriers are pretty simple: you don’t need one.
Spray foam insulation is a fully water proof product, so no water will be getting in or out, with or without a barrier.
Seeking further expert advice on whether spray foam’s the right investment for your home? Check whether your property is suitable for spray foam today with our free site survey service!
Factor No.2: Is An Ignition Barrier Required?:
An ignition barrier is a barrier designed to prevent an insulation from catching fire. Ignition barriers are, in principal, usually required, but because of where spray foam is typically used, you’ll most likely have an ignition barrier, without having to worrying too much about it.
Things like dry wall and wooden panels serve as perfectly good ignition barriers. For dry wall, you only need about 9 mm, and for wood, you only need a thickness of about 6 mm for your arrangement to be both safe and legal (depending on where you live).
This means that almost anywhere you’ll put spray foam insulation, you’ll likely be protected by the walls or floor boards which are already in place.
The only exception to this is if you’ve not already got a wooden board floor in the roof.
Factor No.3: Is A Thermal Barrier Required?:
Unfortunately, this is where things get a bit more complicated. An ignition barrier stops fire getting in and setting the spray foam on fire. However, a thermal barrier is a barrier which is designed to stop heat from fire from penetrating the spray foam, and causing detrimental damage to the home.
Although Icynene foam is much less flammable than the highly combustible polyurethane, and is in fact a fire retardant, it is still vulnerable to high levels of heat.
It depends on where you live, but many places, including the UK, have strict legal requirements when it comes to thermally protecting insulation; you’ll likely need a good centimetre of something thermally resistant to make your spray foam insulation installation completely safe.
When it comes to the question of which is better: covered or uncovered foam, one must conclude that without a doubt it is better to cover spray foam insulation.
However, because of certain strengths of spray foam insulation, particularly icynene insulation, it will likely be much quicker and cheaper than you imagine to get your loft into the state it needs to be in to be functioning effectively in terms of both heat retention and moisture prevention for many years to come!
Seeking further expert advice on whether spray foam’s the right investment for your home? Check whether your property is suitable for spray foam today with our free site survey service. Simply call 0800 1700 636, or click the button below to get started today!
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