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Can Mold Grow on Spray Foam Insulation?

Insulating a house is important to help reduce your energy bills. Being presented with various types of materials that may be used as insulation, people must consider all the benefits they may get from each type of insulation. Spray foam insulation is one of the most effective types of insulation materials. But with the benefits it may give to a house, people also have some questions with regards to the quality of the foam produced by the insulation material.

People are concerned if spray foam insulation gets affected by molds. The formation of mold and mildew to other forms of insulation materials is one of the biggest issues houses have in Ontario, Canada. This article will discuss this problem more. It will also show if molds will be able to affect spray foam insulation.

The Problem With Molds

Mold naturally grows on areas that are affected by moisture. When people are exposed to molds, they may show symptoms like wheezing, itchiness on their eyes or skin, and a stuffy nose. For people with allergies or asthma, exposure to molds can give them more intense problems. This is due to the fact that when inhaled, molds will cause an inflammation on a person’s airway and may also irritate the throat. If there is a mold problem inside a person’s house, getting exposed for longer periods of time can cause serious lung and other chronic health problems.

The Importance of Insulation

Before discussing the different types of insulation materials and their issues with molds, you should know some important things about insulation. You may be wondering why there are many types of insulation materials but have been developed to serve one purpose. Below are some important things you should know about insulation:

  • Insulation is actually a product of science. With the 2nd law of thermodynamics, it has been stated that hot air is known to move to an area with a lower temperature. This can be clearly experienced in areas that undergo extreme climate changes.
  • Canada is a country that experiences both winter and summer. During these periods, your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems (HVAC) are usually used to maintain your preferred room temperature. However, the optimal use of your HVAC systems can be challenged if there is no proper insulation of your house. This would lead to unnecessary increases in your energy bills.
  • Insulation and your HVAC systems work by preventing the movement of hot air while maintaining a constant room temperature. During summer, if you do not have any insulation, hot air coming from the outside will enter your house through any cracks or spaces that may be found in your ceilings and walls. This will create hot air pockets that would increase the temperature inside your house. When your air-conditioning system is turned on, the system will try to bring down the temperature of the area based on your preferred temperature which has been set on the thermostat. Without proper insulation, the air-conditioning system will just keep on running since there is a continuous production of hot air pockets inside the house or room. This causes inefficiency and an increase in your energy bills. When it comes to winter, hot air produced by your heating system will escape outside since the temperature outside your house is relatively lower. So the heating system will continuously work unless the escape of hot air is stopped.
  • The type of insulation material you choose may depend on the availability of budget and the specific conditions you may be living with. This means that your location and the weather conditions might help dictate when you choose the correct type of insulation material.

How Molds Become an Issue with the Various Types of Insulation Materials

Since molds rely on water or moisture to grow, people need to pick a type of insulation that will be able to prevent water from leaking into their houses. Depending on the kind of material that has been used to create the insulation material, this would determine if the material will be able to seal any cracks or holes in the surface cavities of the walls of a house. This brings us to a discussion on which types of insulation materials will be able to effectively prevent water or moisture from entering the house. You may refer below for information about the common types of insulation materials and their effectiveness in keeping out moisture or water:

Fiberglass roll/batt

o   This is the most common type of insulation used for houses.

o   This is a kind of blanket roll/batt that uses fiberglass in its production.

o   It is used to cover space with larger areas.

o   It is one of the insulation materials that can be easily installed.

o   The problem this type of insulation has is that it has a tendency to hold moisture. Even though it will not absorb water into the insulation material, the fact that it will hold moisture would mean that it gives the best chance for mold to form and grow over time. The molds do not actually grow on the fiberglass insulation, but they form on its backing which is made of paper. Paper is one of the food sources of molds.

Expanded polystyrene foam boards

o   This type of insulation material has a compact and durable build. This makes it easier for the material to efficiently control the use of energy from the house which it has been installed on.

o   Insulation materials are measured by their R-values. This means that the effectiveness of insulation is measured by its resistance against the conductive flow of heat. An expanded polystyrene foam board has a higher value than a fiberglass roll/batt. This makes it a better alternative for insulating your house.

o   The issue for an expanded polystyrene foam board when it comes to molds is that it has air bubbles that have the tendency to collect moisture. This makes it possible for molds to live and grow in this type of insulation material.

Cellulose loose-fill and blown-in insulation

o   This type of insulation material is made of small pieces of recycled paper that are blown into wall cavities.

o   This is best used to put insulation into areas that have very small openings.

o   However, this type of insulation is only recommended to be placed in areas that have no chance for water to enter. Being made from paper, when the cellulose material gets wet, the molds can easily thrive and grow in this type of insulation material.

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Spray Foam Insulation and its Effectiveness Against Molds

Seeing that some of the common insulation materials cannot properly keep out molds from ruining the living conditions in a house, one might get curious about the type of insulation material that can be used for a house that is regularly affected by rains. Spray foam insulation is one of the best answers to this concern. Spray polyurethane foam is known to be a very effective insulation material while also having a composition that prevents the absorption and entry of water or moisture into a house. Below are some of the important things you should know about spray foam insulation and its effectiveness against molds:

  • Spray foam insulation is composed of chemicals. Isocyanate is one of its chemicals and is known to be toxic. It can be lethal if inhaled or ingested.
  • After the spray foam insulation material has been sprayed on the wall cavities, the foam produced will expand and harden over time. This is why it is an excellent insulation material since it is very effective in sealing even the tiniest cracks or spaces found on walls and other areas of the house.
  • As an insulation material, it prevents hot air from flowing through to areas that are affected by lower temperature. This ensures that any of your HVAC systems will be able to work optimally, which helps in saving energy.
  • The cell composition from spray foam material makes it impossible for water or moisture to penetrate. The spray foam insulation material does not absorb water or moisture. Molds are not able to form since there is no moisture on the material. Also, having a non-biodegradable composition, molds have nothing to eat through, which would not make them survive.

Spray Foam Insulation is Your Safest Bet Against Mold

Using spray foam as your insulation material is cost-effective if you live in an area that will most likely get affected by rain and moisture on a regular basis. It is a perfect material where molds will not be able to survive and grow. However, you should leave the application of the material to a professional installer. Spray foam insulation may cause other health hazards if it is not properly applied. By not following the correct thickness will prevent the material from drying up completely. Also, not using the proper protective gear during application can make a person sick. The toxicity of chemicals used will become a problem if accidentally inhaled. If you are currently looking for expert installers, you may contact the Foam Insulation Company at (416) 880-1927.

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