Spray Polyurethane Foam (SPF) insulation is widely recognized by many people today as a highly effective building envelope material. A high-performance product with many remarkable benefits, SPF is also one of the most popular application categories for roofing systems, increasingly gaining wide adoption by roofing contractors and builders alike.
Similar to other types of building products, an SPF professional should always install foam roof insulation utilizing proper handling and installation techniques, with a safety-first approach.
Why Is a Spray Foam Roof Ideal?
A roof’s main reason for existence is to protect what is beneath it. With roof coating systems, the spray foam roof insulation serves dual purposes as a thermal insulation solution and a protective roofing material.
Spray foam roof insulation systems offer durable protection for the structure below, whether it is a commercial building or a residential home. The product is lightweight, seamless, self-flashing, and highly resistant to harsh weather and foot traffic. In addition, once you install this type of installation, it rarely requires maintenance. It also performs well across a diverse range of climates and geographic areas.
Foam roof insulation also provides superior capabilities as both water and an air barrier, protecting against moisture and water entry. Furthermore, it minimizes air movement through the roof system, lowering the energy use of the building and enhancing air quality.
Check Out These Amazing Roof Insulating Qualities
Because the roof on any building is often a significant source of heat loss, the insulating qualities of foam insulation deliver excellent interior temperature control and energy efficiency.
As a thermal insulator, SPF insulation has one of the highest R-values per inch when you compare it to other types of roofing insulations. Why? Because you fully adhere spray foam, there are no thermal shunts from fasteners to factor into the equation. As such, it keeps a building warm in cooler months and the heat out in warmer months. In extremely hot climates, you can also apply reflective roof coatings over the spray foam insulation to further lower cooling costs.
How to Install Foam Roof Installation
While the advantages of SPF roofing are vast, you must optimize these benefits with safe and proper installation.
Because you form the product onsite during installation, you must take specific guidelines, techniques, and measures to realize ultimate product safety and performance:
- Proper storage. You must always store spray foam chemicals per the manufacturer’s recommended temperature range. Otherwise, it can lead to a reduced shelf life and make the product challenging to apply correctly. During installation, you should set your spray foam machine, or proportioner, to the manufacturer-suggested temperatures and pressures to create optimal foam.
- Equipment care. Caring for your professional SPF equipment is vital to ensuring safety, proper installation, and optimum SPF performance. You should regularly instinct, clean, and repair all equipment, and properly store your equipment to keep it in running order. Also, try to always have a supply of spare parts in your mobile rig to reduce downtime should your equipment fail during a foam roof installation.
- Safety first. It is important to factor in the chemical vapors and aerosols emitted during application and after an SPF job. Employ appropriate protective measures to lower risks associated with overexposure through inhalation, or eye and skin contact, including proper ventilation during installation, safety training for all team members, and the use of personal protective equipment (PPE).
You Must Dry, Prep, and Prime a Roof Before SPF Application
It is important to always assess a building’s roof surface prior to an application. SPF has excellent adhesion to a variety of substrates including BUR, clay, and concrete tile, shingles, metal, wood, and concrete. Existing roof surfaces must be free of dirt and debris, oils, and grease that could potentially impact adhesion.
Because foam roof insulation adds very little weight and you can apply it in varying thickness to add slope and fill in areas, many building owners often use roof coating systems as re-cover solutions over existing roofs.
Prior to applying spray foam, it is also crucial to assess weather conditions. As with traditional roofing systems, you may apply SPF insulation in a wide variety of weather conditions, but it is essential always to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Keep in mind, you should never install SPF when there is ice, frost, surface moisture, or apparent dampness present on a roof.
In many SPF roof system installations, you must prime the substrate surface before application. Primers can greatly improve adhesion between the SPF and existing substrates and roofing systems. It also can enhance adhesion between SPF and protective coatings. They also can help seal porous substrates, reduce moisture, prevent metal substrates corrosion, and darken the substrates to boost solar heat gain or surface temperatures.
The Bottom Line
Each of the above installation considerations represents basic and critical practices for SPF roofing applications. The best way to go about ensuring that everyone involved in the process follows these suggestions and guidelines is to use an experienced, professional SPF contractor.
Intech Equipment & Supply serves SPF roofing contractors, spray foam insulation contractors, and the materials suppliers that serve those markets. We have built a network of industry relationships over the years to provide the best in support and manufacturer materials.