Spray foam insulation is wonderfully diverse and can provide benefits throughout your home. The foam has the unique ability to be applied in ceilings, floors and even walls because it can cling to a huge variety of surfaces. If you’re planning to install spray foam insulation in your home, it’s important to apply it to a clean, dry place. Read on for a list of different areas that the foam can be applied.
Where can spray foam be applied you ask?
Here are a few suitable substrates to spray foam to:
1.) Wood, gypsum or fiberboard – Take care that the maximum moisture content of the substrate is at or below 10 percent. You’ll need to take special precautions when spraying onto laminates like plywood because of the potential for a higher moisture content and the likelihood of a treated surface.
2.) Galvanized steel – Galvanized steel should be washed with acid and then rinsed with water and primed before spray foam insulation is applied. Weathered steel may not need to be washed with acid, just with water and then primed.
3.) Bare steel – Spray foam insulation may be directly applied to bare steel after any particles of rust or debris are removed. If insulating a tank, sand blast and prime the surface first.
4.) Stainless steel – The surface should be cleaned with mineral spirits or a similar substance and primed before insulation is applied. A sand blasting may be required to achieve proper adhesion between the steel and the insulation.
5.) Aluminum – Clean with a solvent and then prime prior to the application of the insulation. This helps prevent corrosion after the application due to acids forming on the surface of the aluminum.
6.) Concrete – The moisture content of concrete varies widely, so it’s important to use a moisture meter and do a spot application to test for adhesion. Excess salt precipitation can also cause problems, so clean the concrete with muriatic acid before beginning.
7.) Copper – A general cleaning is all that is required.
8.) Glass – A general cleaning with glass cleaner is suggested. If applying to a window, treat the glass with a UV resistant coating first as sunlight can degrade the foam with time.
9.) PVC – Wash the surface with mineral spirits. Work with caution as PVC with a high plasticizer content can exhibit symptoms of plasticizer migration causing a loss of adhesion. This is usually the case with flexible PVC, but not PVC pipe.
10.) Asphalt – The surface should be cleaned, primed and sprayed prior to the application of the foam.
11.) Urethane Insulation – Any areas that show degradation should be cleaned with a wire brush before spray foam.
12.) Polystyrene Insulation – If the polystyrene has not deteriorated and is still stable enough to support the spray foam, it may be applied. Otherwise, the polystyrene insulation must be removed.
13.) Earth – When applying to the Earth, it’s important to select a place where ground water does not infiltrate. A vapor barrier is suggested.
Use this list for a guideline to help you determine where you can apply spray foam and what preparation needs to be done first. If you’re ever in doubt, do an adhesion test ahead of time