To Foam or Not to Foam, That is the Question. There has been a significant push to improve the energy efficiency of older homes in recent years based on important objectives. One of the popular methods and materials used to achieve improved efficiency is spraying expanding foam insulation into wall and ceiling/roof cavities and basements.
Within a few decades, this petroleum product has gone from being used primarily in industrial buildings to being sprayed into the homes of hundreds of thousands of families, with little study or documentation of what hidden costs might come with it. Some early adopters of this new material are now discovering severe problems resulting from its use in their homes.
This recently published article by Alden Wicker is one of the best and most comprehensive looks at the conflicting claims and counterclaims about the use of spray foam insulation in older homes. Wicker is an award-winning investigative journalist who was considering spray foam insulation for her Vermont home. It is well worth your time to read it if you are considering the same: https://ow.ly/gEoG50PbgC9
I wrote the chapter on Insulation and Ventilation in “Restoring Your Historic House, The Comprehensive Guide for Homeowners” in 2019. Since then, more and more information has emerged to support my cautions about the use of spray foam insulation in historic houses. There are better options with far fewer risks. The book includes a chart comparing the nine most common types of insulation for use in a historic house, each rated on six criteria. Open and closed cell spray foams rank poorly.
Signed and personalized copies of the award-winning and bestselling 720-page hardcover book are available in our shop, YourHistoricHouse.com/shop/.
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