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  • Writer's pictureSteve Bunch

Understanding The Dangers of Spray Foam Insulation in UK Lofts: A Concern for Homeowners

- Brooks Surveyors

Hard Cell Spray Foam Insulation in a Loft Space, 1930's Semi, West Midlands.
Hard Cell Spray Foam Insulation in a Loft Space, 1930's Semi, West Midlands.

The Dangers of Spray Foam Insulation in UK Lofts: A Concern for Homeowners


In recent years, spray foam insulation has gained popularity as an efficient and cost-effective solution for improving energy efficiency and reducing heating costs in homes. However, it is essential to be aware of the potential dangers associated with this insulation method, particularly in loft spaces. In the UK, concerns have arisen regarding the adverse effects of spray foam insulation, leading to cautionary guidance from reputable organizations such as the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the Residential Property Surveyors Association (RPSA). Moreover, high street lenders are increasingly wary of financing properties with spray foam insulation due to these concerns. In this blog post, we delve into the dangers associated with spray foam insulation and shed light on the lender aversion it has caused.


The Risks of Spray Foam Insulation in Lofts:


Spray foam insulation involves the application of polyurethane foam directly onto surfaces, creating an airtight seal that effectively prevents heat loss. However, the use of spray foam insulation in lofts presents specific risks that homeowners should be aware of:


  • Moisture and Condensation Issues: Spray foam insulation forms an impermeable barrier, hindering the natural flow of moisture within the loft. This can lead to condensation problems, potentially resulting in dampness, mould growth, and rotting of structural roof timbers.

  • Lack of Ventilation: Lofts require adequate ventilation to prevent moisture buildup and maintain a healthy living environment. The installation of spray foam insulation can impede proper airflow, exacerbating the risk of condensation and other moisture-related problems.

  • Fire Hazards: Some spray foam insulation products are highly flammable. In case of a fire, the insulation can release toxic fumes and contribute to the rapid spread of flames, posing significant risks to occupants and property.


Lender Aversion to Spray Foam-Insulated Properties:


High street lenders in the UK have started exercising caution when it comes to providing mortgages on properties with spray foam insulation. This aversion stems from the concerns surrounding the potential risks associated with this insulation method. Lenders are primarily concerned about the impact on the property's value and the potential costs of remedial work if problems arise in the future.


RICS and RPSA Guidance:


To address the growing concerns about spray foam insulation, both RICS and RPSA have issued guidance to surveyors, homeowners, and lenders. These guidelines aim to ensure that the potential risks associated with spray foam insulation are adequately assessed and addressed:


  • RICS Guidance: RICS recommends that surveyors assess the installation of spray foam insulation carefully. They stress the importance of verifying whether the insulation has been installed by a competent installer, ensuring adequate ventilation and fire safety measures, and evaluating the risk of moisture-related issues.

  • RPSA Guidance: The RPSA advises homeowners to exercise caution when considering spray foam insulation. They emphasize the importance of obtaining a thorough survey and an independent report from a specialist in order to understand the risks associated with the specific property and insulation. (This is a more cautious stance to their initial guidance due to suspected legal pressure from a Spray Foam Insulation Installer)


While spray foam insulation may offer energy-saving benefits, it is crucial to acknowledge the potential dangers it poses, particularly in loft spaces. The concerns raised by RICS and RPSA highlight the need for homeowners to be aware of the associated risks and take appropriate measures to mitigate them. Furthermore, the aversion of high street lenders to properties with spray foam insulation serves as a reminder of the importance of conducting thorough assessments and obtaining expert advice before investing in this insulation method. Ultimately, informed decision-making and adherence to industry guidelines will help ensure the safety and long-term value of properties in the UK.


Disclaimer (due to the rise in legal action taken against organisations who produce content on this subject against spray foam insulation companies): This blog post is intended for informational purposes only. Readers are encouraged to consult with qualified professionals for specific independant advice related to spray foam insulation and its impact on their particular properties.


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