What is spray foam loft insulation
The foam used for insulation is a combination of two chemicals, isocyanate and polyol resin. These two chemicals react when mixed creating a foam that can expand more than my string belt at an all you can eat buffet (between 30 to 60 times its liquid volume). It’s this expanding quality that enables it to get into every nook and cranny which is one of the reasons that it is so difficult to remove.
The 2 types of spray foam loft insulation
There are 2 types of types of the foam commonly used in loft insulation;
Closed cell foam
This foam sets hard. It is the best insulator of the two types but can cause a vapour barrier that can reduce ventilation and lead to condensation issues. It can also cause structural damage warping wood as it sets. It is also very difficult and time consuming to remove.
Open cell foam
This type of foam doesn’t provide the same level of insulation as closed cell foam because it is less dense due to it remaining soft after setting. However it is less prone to causing condensation issues and is easier to remove than the hard setting closed cell foam.
Can I Get A Mortgage With Spray Foam Loft Insulation?
The problem with getting a mortgage with spray foam loft insulation installed is more about the fear of the unknown rather than an issue with the expanding foam per se. The trouble is that the foam expands making it next to impossible to assess the condition of the roof underneath the foam or check the condition of the roof timbers. This means that most mortgage providers would rather categorise the property as “difficult” and simply choose to not lend against it rather than carry out a more intrusive and costlier investigation to determine the true condition of the roof.
There are some lenders that will still provide a mortgage on the property if certain criteria are met, these criteria vary from lender to lender but some of the stipulations are as follows;
You have to have the correct paperwork, documenting that your roof was in good condition before the foam was installed and that the foam has been implemented to a good professional standard.
Some lenders have an additional stipulation that you will need to have a structural engineers report carried out along with having the correct paperwork. These reports can cost several thousands of pounds to get carried out.
Other lenders will assess each decision on an individual basis and some just flat out won’t lend in any circumstances this also always comes down to the lenders discretion, so even if they are willing to look at an application, they may decline the mortgage later on down the line putting you back at the starting blocks.
Spray Foam Insulation Mortgage Problems
The main issue arises if you either want to sell the property, remortgage the property or release equity from the property.
There are currently no equity release companies that will offer equity release on a property that has spray foam loft insulation.
While there are some lenders that offer a mortgage on a property with spray foam insulation they are few and far between and they are very strict when it comes to what is required.
Similar to remortgaging if you are looking to purchase a property with spray foam loft insulation you will have difficulties finding lenders. Some do but again they have strict criteria on the evidence that is required.
Alternative solutions to Spray foam loft insulation
Despite what the spray foam installation companies might tell you there are other more favourable options to spray foam, which are generally less permanent, less costly and just as effective at insulating your loft space . Here are some of the common alternatives:
- Fibreglass Insulation: One of the most widely used types of insulation, fibreglass as the name would suggest is made from fine glass fibres. It’s affordable and effective for insulating lofts, though it requires careful handling due to its irritant fibres.
- Mineral Wool Insulation: Also known as rock wool insulation, this material is made from rock and / or recycled slag from steel mills. It offers excellent fire resistance and sound insulation, and is easier to handle compared to fibreglass.
- Cellulose Insulation: Made from recycled paper products, cellulose insulation is environmentally friendly and effective. It’s often treated with fire retardants and is known for its superior air-sealing capabilities.
- Sheep’s Wool Insulation: A natural and sustainable option, sheep’s wool insulation is biodegradable and renewable. It’s efficient for thermal and acoustic insulation, and it’s naturally moisture-resistant.
- Cotton or Denim Insulation: This eco-friendly option is made from recycled denim or cotton. It’s safe to handle, provides good thermal performance, and is ideal for those looking for a sustainable insulation solution.
- Polystyrene Insulation: Available in forms such as EPS (expanded polystyrene) and XPS (extruded polystyrene), this foam board insulation offers high R-values (measure of thermal resistance) and is moisture resistant.
- Loose-Fill Insulation: Made from materials like fibreglass, rock wool, or cellulose, this type of insulation is blown into place, making it a good choice for difficult-to-reach areas.
- Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs): While more commonly used in walls and loft conversions, SIPs can also be used to insulate in roofs. These panels can be cut to size to provide a high level of insulation and are relatively simple to install.
Each alternative has its own set of pros and cons, including cost, installation complexity, environmental impact, and effectiveness. The best choice for you will depend on your specific requirements such as budget, desired energy efficiency levels, and the existing structure of the property. It is advisable to speak to a company that specialises in insulation that can recommend the best solution for your needs.