Spray Foam Works: Myths about This Material Debunked

Spray foam insulation has been available since the early 1980s and is one of the most efficient insulation products. It’s been used for everything from roofing materials to home insulation, and it works. Spray foam has air-sealed like no other product; it’s prevented heat loss (both summer and winter); it’s stopped air moisture from collecting, and it’s provided higher R-Value performance than anything. 

Unfortunately, along with its success, many myths surround the product. In some cases, a lack of information feeds these tall tales. But in other instances, questions and uncertainties are well-founded. Here are some spray foam myths debunked:

Myth 1: Spray Foam Is Relatively New And, Therefore, Uncertain

Nope, spray foam insulation is not new. In fact, during the 1960s, polyurethane was used in all types of commercial refrigeration applications. Today, methods can be easily mobile, allowing crews to spray foam into attics, basements, and exterior walls!

Myth 2: Closed-Cell Is Better than Open-Cell

There are different types of foam, each of which has its applications. 

  • Open-celled foam is not intended for exterior use, nor is it intended to be in contact with water. 
  • Closed-celled foam can be used in each of the above-noted applications open-celled foam can’t.

Myth 3: Nominal R-Value Is Better than Effective R-Value

R-Value accounts for the entire wall assembly, not just the insulation. The “nominal R-value” only accounts for the R-Value of insulation. Wall studs can allow for thermal bridging and reduce the R-Value of a wall assembly (effective R-Value). Alternatively, thermal bridging is reduced with continuous insulation, and the effective R-Value of a wall assembly is increased.

So much like the closed-cell vs. open-cell myth, this depends on what it’s used for.

Myth 4: Spray Foam Leads to Too Much Air-Tightness

Spray foam insulation is unique because it creates an airtight seal when applied. Proper insulation of the building structure is essential for energy efficiency (and indoor comfort). That means the structure should be sealed as tightly as possible. 

Indoor air quality can then be improved by ventilating the space properly. However, this does not mean a spray foam job completely seals out air from the surface or room it’s applied in.

Myth 5: Spray Foam Is Pricey

One misconception about spray foam insulation is that it costs more than traditional insulation. However, while it may cost more upfront, traditional insulation costs more in the long run. Spray foam is a high-performance product with an excellent return on investment; other insulations simply cannot compare.

Myth 6: Spray Foam Is Like Smoking—Dangerous to Your Health

When the first spray foam insulation was produced, it did use harmful chemicals. These components had excellent insulation properties, but they were detrimental to people and the environment. However, the technology has advanced in its material production and formulae, and it is now safe, healthy to use and has a positive environmental impact.

We understand why this myth has stuck around—it had a bad start, which was mitigated by technological advances. And even if it has become non-toxic, previous users could still be traumatized by the old formula’s harmful effects.


The last busted myth should change your mind about this application. Spray foam used to be toxic, but its advancements have rendered it safe for use in buildings, rooms, and other areas that need insulation. Don’t rely on traditional insulation methods. Contact a spray foam supplier for the best bang for your buck today!

Get spray foam in Toronto from Foamworks now! We’re the leading insulation contractor specializing in spray foam applications for commercial or residential properties. Text or call us today!

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