How to choose the right polyurethane foam for insulation: advantages and disadvantages

7 min

On the eve of winter frosts, many are thinking about organizing appropriate thermal insulation in order to make their home as comfortable and economical as possible. It is not too late to tackle this issue so that the first serious cold weather can be met in a warm and cozy home. But the process of insulation is preceded by the process of choosing a thermal insulation material. Today, polyurethane foam is in high demand, which has a lot of advantages. Its main advantages, as well as the main selection parameters, require more careful consideration.

Polyurethane foam is obtained on the basis of the reaction of polyol and isocyanate, with the addition of water to which carbon dioxide is formed. As a result, a porous material is obtained, more than 70% of which is occupied by air bubbles, which gives this type of insulation unique properties.

Advantages and disadvantages of polyurethane foam

Considering the key properties of this material, it is worth noting that it is widely used both in the form of slabs and in the form of sprayed insulation. In principle, most of the properties are general, but there are still some differences. So what are the benefits of polyurethane foam?

  • choose polyurethane foam for insulationVery low thermal conductivity, which makes it possible to call the material the best heat insulator among all known and used heaters. So, its thermal conductivity is 0.019 W / m * K: for comparison, the same indicator for the popular mineral wool is about 0.041 W / m * K.

  • Polyurethane foam can be called a relatively durable material that will allow you to forget about problems with thermal insulation for the next 25-30 years. But modern research shows that its durability is even greater.
  • The material is completely safe for human health and can not cause allergies or any other more serious disease.
  • This material has good resistance to temperature extremes, extremely low and high temperatures, it will not crack, thereby forming cold bridges through which frost can penetrate into the house, lowering the level of protection of the home;
  • Resistant to decay and rodent attack;

  • Resistant to fire.
  • The low weight of the insulation does not weigh down the building structure.

  • Polyurethane foam tolerates the effects of many acids, alkalis and petroleum products, and even protects against corrosion when coated with metal surfaces.
  • The material is also a good noise insulator, so it will be possible to make the house not only much warmer, but also quieter, which is especially important in cases of close proximity of large traffic intersections.
  • Low water absorption capacity.

choose polyurethane foam for insulationAll the advantages of a sprayed polyurethane foam coating should be noted separately. So, the spraying technology itself allows you to create an integral monolithic coating that will perfectly fill all cracks and complex difficult-to-reach relief forms. The absence of seams and rags that form during the cutting process affect the appearance of the surface: it turns out to be virtually perfect and even. Sprayed polyurethane foam has high adhesion to all types of surfaces, and it “sticks” well to indirect walls. Before spraying with any special composition, it is unnecessary to process the surface, and additional fasteners are not required, which can also be considered a competitive advantage.

choose polyurethane foam for insulationAs for polyurethane foam boards, at their lower price, they can also boast a number of additional advantages. So, their installation can be carried out at any time of the year, the process itself is quite simple, and, if necessary, the slabs can be cut or sawed to give optimal dimensions. To fix the insulation, you do not need an additional frame or something like that: enough glue applied along the edge of the plate and diagonal, as well as plastic dowels. The panels can be made with a locking mechanism, so that in the end the room is protected as much as possible from external influences. In addition, unlike sprayed polyurethane foam, in this case, individual protection against aerosol fog is not required.

The disadvantages of this type of insulation include the following qualities:

  • He is afraid of direct ultraviolet rays, which can lead to his gradual destruction, but the way out of this situation is quite simple, because it is only necessary to apply a protective coating in the form of paint or plaster, which is still applied over any insulation.
  • The material is hardly flammable and does not support combustion, but with prolonged exposure to very high temperatures it can begin to smolder. That is why you should not use it near places that can get very hot, or just use additional protection.
  • choose polyurethane foam for insulationSprayed polyurethane foam cannot be applied to cold surfaces, so the work on its application has a strict seasonality, which cannot be said about slabs.

  • If the wind is too strong, the sprayed polyurethane foam is overrun.
  • Work on the application of sprayed insulation should be carried out only in personal protective equipment, since the resulting aerosol is very hazardous to health. But for several hours the hardened layer of polyurethane foam has become completely safe.
  • It is undesirable to use this heat-insulating material when insulating a roof made of bituminous tiles, which can overheat and lose some of their properties.
  • The price of polyurethane foam is not the lowest, but the buyer receives the material with the highest thermal insulation values.

As you can see, many disadvantages of polyurethane foam are easy to nullify, which makes it one of the most optimal materials for insulation. Today it is sprayed polyurethane foam that is in ever-increasing demand, and it is called the insulation of the future. All this can be used in a variety of areas: for the insulation of residential buildings, industrial buildings, roofs, floors, walls, etc.

Selection of sprayed polyurethane foam

choose polyurethane foam for insulationAll work on spraying polyurethane foam is carried out by professionals, and the durability of the thermal insulation layer depends on the level of their skill. In this case, it is worthwhile to carefully approach only the issue of choosing specialists, while using the recommendations of friends or reviews on the Internet. Nevertheless, in order to control the work of the brigade and choose the right one, you need to be aware of what thickness the spraying will need, what density, and what brand to choose the material.

So, the structure of the cells of the material must necessarily be closed: in this case, the material has high strength and can be used in a variety of areas. Insulation with an open-celled structure is susceptible to moisture, more fragile and brittle.

Depending on where the insulation will be used, it is important to choose the right density correctly. It is worth noting that this indicator does not affect the non-thermal properties: insulation with a density of 30 and 60 kg / m3 will be equally reliable. The difference is only in terms of waterproofing: the thicker the insulation layer is used, the more reliable the waterproofing will be, because polyurethane foam has similar properties, and when using it, an extra layer of waterproofing is not needed. If you need to insulate the foundation or the basement, then you need to choose an insulation with a density of at least 23 kg / m3.

choose polyurethane foam for insulationThe thickness of the polyurethane foam layer should be at least 50 mm, despite the surface material: for wood, metal, and brick, the required layer remains approximately the same. The required thickness is selected depending on climatic conditions, own requirements and some other parameters.

It is clear that it is not possible to spray polyurethane foam on your own, so pay attention to the level of specialists, as well as to what equipment they work with. Its high quality will provide high quality thermal insulation while saving material. Preference should be given to the technique that works under high pressure.

The brand of insulation material can also tell a lot. It is better to choose those brands that have already proven themselves to be of high quality. Here are just a few of them:

  1. Basf is a German company that is considered a recognized leader in the chemical industry. Among other products, it also produces polyurethane foams, which are widely represented in Russia. Moreover, the company is so interested in the domestic market and wants to please the buyer that it has produced a special type of insulation that can be applied at low temperatures.

  2. choose polyurethane foam for insulationBaymer is another German manufacturer that has established itself well in the market and is in steady demand among professionals.

  3. Synthesia is a Spanish company with a wide representation in Russia. Today, the production of polyurethane systems has become the main field of activity, and direct delivery of materials of European quality allows you to create the most comfortable indoor conditions.

  4. Huntsman-NMG is a company that has a lot of offices around the world, incl. in many regions of Russia. The products have all the necessary documentation, and are also ISO certified

  5. Izolan is a polyurethane system manufactured in Russia. The plant in Vladimir is equipped with modern equipment and uses only modern technologies, which makes it possible to produce materials of the highest quality, while competing with European companies.

Also on the market are polyurethane foam of Chinese and Belarusian production, but its quality is not the highest, therefore, specialists who use such products should be treated with caution.

Selection of polyurethane foam boards

choose polyurethane foam for insulationWhen choosing, you should pay attention to all the necessary certificates of conformity, which will guarantee that the material will not bring any harm to health. In addition, it is important that appropriate storage conditions are observed so that the material does not lose its performance properties. Taking into account the fact that polyurethane foam is afraid of direct sunlight, it is better to store it under a canopy. It is important that the packaging is integral and reliably protects the material from external influences.

On sale there are both conventional boards and boards with a protective reflective layer, which increases thermal insulation qualities, and also becomes a powerful barrier to dangerous ultraviolet rays.

But an important role in the choice of products is played by the name of the manufacturer, as well as his reputation, reviews about him. All this allows us to single out several companies that are worth trusting. Here is some of them:

  1. choose polyurethane foam for insulationPK Penoflot has been operating on the market since 1988 and specializes in the production of polyurethane foam products, incl. slabs. All products have appropriate certification, which confirms the high culture of production and the quality of finished products.

  2. TIS is another domestic enterprise that uses the latest equipment and is constantly working to improve the quality of products, conducting research and introducing innovations. The main place among the company’s products is occupied by polyurethane foam boards, which are controlled at every stage of production and meet all requirements.

  3. LLC “SK” is a relatively young organization that has already quite loudly declared itself. The company itself manufactures thermal insulation boards and, if necessary, installs them.

  4. “Lissant” is a group of factories that specializes in the production of heat-insulating plates, primarily polyurethane foam. The company uses only high-quality raw materials, carries out constant monitoring of the products, which ensures the maintenance of a consistently high quality of products.

  5. PE “TeploEkonom” is a Belarusian company operating since 2009. It produces both polyurethane foam insulation boards and sprays.

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Passionate about DIY for over 10 years and all the new tools, I give you through this blog all my advice, tips, tests in all areas: carpentry, electricity, masonry, gardening, home automation ...


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