There are several components that are often very important when building or working with steel and other metal structures, and one that cannot be ignored in many such setting is insulation. Among several insulation formats that are available for these kinds of buildings, one that’s quite common and often effective is spray foam insulation.
At Wasatch Steel, we’re here to offer a huge range of steel products and steel services to clients around Salt Lake City and nearby parts of Utah, plus expertise on related components like insulation and more. What is spray foam insulation, why is it often so advantageous for steel and other metal structures and buildings, and what should be considered when utilizing it for any project? Here are some basics.
What is Spray Foam Insulation?
For those just learning about insulation in general, spray foam insulation is a form of insulation that’s made up of two separate materials – polyol resin and isocyanate. These substances are combined as they’re sprayed onto an area to be insulated, then mix together and harden into an insulating material that fills the entire space it’s been placed within.
There are two primary types of spray foam insulation (abbreviated SPF):
- Open-cell SPF: This form is a bit less dense and lighter than its counterpart, allowing for slightly higher air permeability. It’s also more affordable on average.
- Closed-cell SPF: In contrast, closed-cell SPF is denser and offers greater insulation properties due to this density. It’s also more difficult to install.
Advantages of Spray Foam Insulation
Why do many choose to utilize spray foam insulation for steel and other metal structures? There are a few key reasons, including:
- Fantastic thermal barrier: Spray foam insulation is an incredibly effective insulator, helping block nearly all heat or cold transfer between two areas. Closed-cell SPF, in particular, is among the most efficient insulators on earth.
- Moisture control: Along with thermal benefits, spray foam insulation helps keep moisture out of walls and other areas. This will help prevent mold or mildew growth and protect your building from water damage.
- Energy efficiency boost: Another reason many choose spray foam insulation is for its energy efficiency advantages. This material is often great at helping reduce your heating and cooling costs, especially when used in conjunction with proper ventilation and other such tactics.
- Structural strength: Finally, spray foam insulation is great for strengthening steel and other structures. It can be applied to help reinforce weaker areas of a building and combat any weak points.
- Improvements in air quality: Through its ability to fully seal cracks and gaps in any area, spray foam insulation can also help improve air quality by reducing the amount of pollutants and allergens that enter a building.
Best Practices for Spray Foam Insulation in Metal Structures
If you’re planning to utilize SPF insulation for any steel or other metal structure, here are some basic best practices:
- Know the recommended applications: While spray foam insulation can be used in many situations, it may not be the best option for every building or structure. Make sure you understand its ideal applications and consider alternatives if they’re better suited to your project.
- Proper surface prep: Before applying spray foam insulation, make sure the surface is clean and free of debris or other contaminants. Any moisture should also be removed.
- Wear protective equipment: Because SPF insulation can release harmful chemicals as it cures, it’s important to wear proper protective equipment like masks and gloves during application.
- Proper application technique: Depending on the type of SPF insulation you’re using, there may be specific application techniques that need to be followed. Make sure to read and follow all instructions carefully.
- Codes and fire protection: One key consideration for spray foam insulation is that it must be properly fire protected according to local and national building codes.
- Consider certified SPF insulation contractors: For the best results and highest quality application, it’s often wise to choose a contractor who is certified in applying SPF insulation. These professionals will have the expertise and experience needed to ensure proper installation.
As you can see, there are many benefits to using spray foam insulation for steel and other metal structures. By understanding the basics and following best practices, you can ensure a successful and efficient project.
For more information on this and other steel-related topics, reach out to Wasatch Steel today. We’re happy to provide expertise and products for all your construction needs, plus steel services for clients across SLC and other parts of Utah. Contact us at your nearest convenience!