Spray urethane foam: the benefits of high-performance thermal insulation

Spray urethane foam: the benefits of high-performance thermal insulation

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If you’re having a new home built and the time has come to choose insulation, or if you’re considering renovations to improve your home’s thermal insulation, you are most likely looking for an insulation material that offers proven performance as well as excellent value for your money. Thanks to its superior performance and durability, spray urethane foam (also called polyurethane) offers numerous proven benefits that we encourage you to learn about or take another look at.


Thermal resistance refers to the capacity of a material to resist the flow of heat through it and is determined based on the material’s thickness and thermal conductivity. Of all the insulation materials used in construction and renovation, type 2 spray urethane foam has the highest R‑value, R‑6 per inch, and retains its insulating properties for the entire life cycle of a building.

When renovating a house built of 2×4s, we consequently recommend using spray urethane foam, which can be used to achieve an R‑value of 20. What’s more, urethane acts as both an air and vapour barrier (at a thickness of 1.5 inches or greater), eliminating the need to add a 6 mm polyethylene vapour barrier before hanging the drywall.


Applying at least 1.5 inches of spray urethane foam seals the building envelope against air and moisture, generating considerable energy savings while also preserving your home’s structural integrity and improving the indoor air quality. This is because urethane serves as both an air barrier (1” provides 500 times the protection prescribed in the Building Code) and vapour barrier (at a thickness of at least 1.5 inches on most substrates), respectively preventing:

  • air from penetrating the envelope
  • water vapour from entering the walls by diffusion.

It also creates a continuous insulation shell without any joints whatsoever. By blocking air from coming between the insulation and the substrate, urethane prevents any condensation or moisture problems and is consequently your best guarantee against mould.


Urethane is renowned for sticking to a variety of surfaces, including wood, concrete and metal, a property that other products just can’t compete with. Its outstanding bonding capacity means that urethane creates a perfect seal when applied to a concrete surface such as the foundation walls of a house. Say goodbye to air and moisture infiltration! With urethane, you have a mould-proof insulation shell in place.


When the curing process is complete, urethane foam is an inert plastic. In other words, it can’t promote the development of mould that can eventually rot the structure of your home. Multiple independent laboratory tests have been conducted and have confirmed this material is definitively moisture-resistant and contains no substances that might nourish the growth of mould.

Rugged, stable and highly effective as both an air and vapour barrier, urethane is the best-performing insulation product available on the market to date. It creates a perfect shell and a healthier, more comfortable indoor environment in summer and winter alike.


house radon
Source: Natural Resources Canada

A single application of 1.5 inches of spray urethane foam under your basement slab provides enhanced protection against the infiltration of soil gases such as radon (16% of lung cancers in Canada being attributable to radon exposure), which is a product of the breakdown of the uranium that occurs naturally in soil and rock. This odourless, colourless and tasteless gas can infiltrate a building through cracks in the foundation, causing respiratory problems for the occupants.

After erecting the framing, we proceed with the application of urethane to the foundation walls and end (band) joist.

By creating a joint-free, air and watertight envelope in your basement, urethane effectively protects against indoor air contamination.

This article was originally published on August 27, 2017 by Marcel Lapierre