When your home shows all the signs that you need spray foam insulation, you may be tempted to try and apply it on your own.
But spraying foam insulation is not like spraying paint or beard cream. There’s a lot to consider when spraying foam insulation, so hiring an experienced contractor could be the best solution.
This article focuses on helping you understand what it takes to efficiently install spray foam and if doing spray foam insulation is a project that you can undertake by yourself.
Table of Contents
What is Spray Foam Insulation?
You have probably heard about tight seal insulation. This is why spray foam insulation was created. From the makers of spray foam, “Spray polyurethane foam (SPF) is a spray-applied plastic that is widely used to insulate buildings and seal cracks and gaps, making the building more energy-efficient and comfortable.”
One of the best features of spray foam is that it can resist heat transfer extremely well and, because of its tightness when applied, it effectively reduces the infiltration of unwanted air.
It is very efficient when used in sealing joints, cracks, and seams because it can be used on hard-to-reach areas of your home.
How Do You Apply Spray Foam Insulation?
Let’s take a look at the whole process of applying spray foam insulation, so you can make a well-informed decision if it is a project you can do on your own. Here are the steps to applying spray foam insulation in an existing house:
1. Know how much insulation you need
You can get an estimate of how much spray foam you will need to effectively insulate your home.
Check with the California Energy Commission Consumer Energy Center of the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association for a clear estimate of the recommended spray foam amount for your existing home.
SFGate suggests, “most of America, from California and across the South and Midwest to New Jersey, requires R38 to R60 in attics and R13 to R15 in wall cavities”.
2. How to insulate an attic and walls with spray foam
Attic insulation and walls can greatly help with keeping your drywall intact.
It is one of the most important projects you can do to make your home comfortable on the coldest days. Attic and wall insulation with spray foam can be accomplished by spraying foam made of poly material.
Here’s how to apply spray foam effectively and efficiently with no mess:
Wear the proper gear
Protect your lungs and your skin from being in contact with the chemicals that make up spray foam. Put on these gears:
- Full protective suit
- Chemical-resistant gloves
- Wrap-around goggles
- Junky shoes
Make sure that you do not spray a wet surface
Spray foam will not adhere to surfaces that have a moisture level of more than 20%. Test the moisture level of any surface that you intend to apply spray foam on to make sure that the foam will adhere to the surface.
Plan and test before you spray
Before you spray on the joints, cracks, and seams, you can test the gun first by pointing it into a garbage bag or an empty box. Check if the chemicals are flowing evenly. Moreover, make a concrete plan on how you can do the following before finally spraying:
- Clear the room from any obstruction
- Decide which areas really need spray foam insulation
- Place ladders where they are needed
- Ventilate the room well with fans so the fumes are directed outdoors
Install new tips and lube the gun every time you stop spraying
Spray foam can be very delicate to use. It’s important that you know how to install new tips and lube the gun fast every time you stop spraying to prevent foam from clogging or setting inside the nozzle.
You will also need to shake the spray foam cans to mix the contents in between spraying. Make sure that you follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to operate the spray foam gun, change tips, and carefully store or dispose of parts.
Spraying foam effectively
Here’s how to effectively spray foam on your walls:
- Spray the perimeter of the wall with a half-inch layer before filling in the wall cavity. Wait for a while before filling in the cavity after you have sprayed on the perimeter to give the foam ample time to expand.
- If you want to spray on additional lifts, wait a few minutes for the sprayed foam to cure to maintain optimum R-value. Make sure that you do not spray foam that will exceed 2 inches thick.
- Spray foam on other areas that need sealing like between bottom plates and the concrete foundation wall.
- Smoothen the surface by scraping overspray with a curry comb, a tool used to groom horses. Large chunks of foam can be removed with a hand saw.
DIY Spray Foam Vs. Hiring a Professional Contractor
There are DIY spray foam kits available on the market that can be tempting to use to apply spray foam on your own. However, they are best used only for small areas where there are tiny openings on the joints, cracks, or seams on your wall. They can also be used to weather your windows and doors.
For larger areas like a whole wall, hiring a spray foam contractor will still be the best option. Applying spray foam requires mixing of compounds and, if you are not experienced, you can ruin the mixture, and you will end up buying more.
You will also need to consider troubleshooting the equipment if something goes wrong while you are in the process of spraying or how to be able to spray consistently and evenly. If these are things that you are doubtful of doing yourself, hire an expert to do them.
Professional spray foam contractors in New Orleans have the license and insurance to perform spray foam insulation. This means that they were trained on how to do spray foam jobs of all sizes, from preparation to clean-up.
It may most likely be more expensive, but will be more cost-effective in the long run. Search different spray foam contractors, so you will know where you will get the best deal.
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