Polyurethane Foam and Natural Disasters

foam insulation fort lauderdale, fl

This landmark stood up to Hurricane Andrew 20+ years ago.

Whether it’s a school, commercial business, or residential property, closed-cell polyurethane foam insulation can dramatically increase the durability and strength of a building’s structure. When applied to a roof or wall, closed-cell spray foam insulation expands up to thirty times its liquid volume and seals all cracks and crevices. It conforms and sticks to a surface, forming a strong, seamless bond. Along with its incredible strength, closed-cell spray foam as the highest R-value and locks in air and keeps out unwanted moisture and condensation. While spray foam is used in buildings across the country, it is especially beneficial for buildings located in coastal regions and areas that are prone to severe weather conditions, such as hurricanes, floods and tornadoes.

High Winds – Following the destruction of Hurricane Andrew in Florida, which resulted in nearly $30 billion of damage, insurance companies identified roofing as the primary cause of insured losses, followed by windows and doors. Roofs lacking an adequate sheet thickness and fastening devices have an increased vulnerability to damage. Inadequate frequencies of fasteners in areas of greater wind suction are another leading contributor of damage. As for window and doors, glass is incredibly vulnerable to flying objects, and door hardware is the most susceptible to failure. Building foundations that aren’t heavy or large enough to endure uplift forces are also a risk factor.

Due to its incredible resistance to high wind uplifts and blow offs, closed-cell spray foam insulation can benefit buildings in the event of a natural disaster, especially hurricanes. Spray foam insulation has strong adhesive properties and does not require fasteners or use joints that wind can grab onto. When applied to the roof and interior, spray foam increases the structure’s wind and pressurization resistance, making it more likely to withstand heavy winds. When applied to a wall cavity, closed-cell spray foam increases the racking strength by 300 to 400 percent, according to NAHB tests.

bad roof bad insulation older building

Older buildings tend to be the first to flood when disaster strikes.

Flooding – Spray foam is the only material that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), a federal agency that responds to natural disasters, classifies as an acceptable flood damage-resistant insulation material for roofs, walls and ceilings. FEMA requires spray foam to be applied to new construction, the repair of substantially damaged buildings, and the improvement of existing buildings in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA). Spray polyurethane foam is classified by FEMA as a Class 5 flood damage-resistant building material, which is FEMA’s highest rating.

Along with its extreme wind resistance, polyurethane spray foam is highly resistant to floodwater damage. It can resistant damage caused by moving water, as well endure wetting and drying. Because it provides a strong seamless bond with the surface it’s applied to, spray foam prevents moisture and condensation from entering the building envelope, which inhibits the growth of mildew and mold. A property with spray foam can be rendered free of pollutants following a flood.

Due to its unique properties, closed-cell spray foam insulation is the top insulation product for properties prone to severe weather and natural disasters. Whether a property is located in Miami, Kansas City or Richmond, it should utilize spray foam insulation.

This post created by Virginia Foam Insulators.