The Science of Experience



Testing the Benefits of Using Spray Foam Insulation in Building Foundations

Posted by Emillie Lee

Dec 14, 2016 12:20:14 PM


If you regularly use spray foam materials for your construction projects, you know what a great choice spray foam is for insulating walls, attics and crawlspaces but what about building foundations? A village built on the University of Alaska campus put spray foam to the test in building foundations. What they found was really good news. Spray foam provided excellent benefits when used in foundations, even in the harsh chill of Alaska.

The Village was built in 2012 on permafrost ground, which is just above freezing all year round. There were four homes built, each with different foundation types. Two were built with traditional foundations for permafrost-type ground, and the other two were built using a new, raft-style foundation utilizing spray foam.

The innovative, raft-style foundations consisted of steel floor joists mounted on wooden beams and filled with polyurethane spray foam to serve as insulation. A total of 12 inches of the foam was applied, in hopes of insulating the home and preventing heat loss into the chilly, permafrost ground.

Over the last two years since the homes were built, crews have been monitoring the foundations' performance. They have found less than a 5-degree change in temperature in the ground under the homes, which indicates that little heat is being lost through the spray foam foundations. The temperatures under the homes that were built on traditional pile foundations were not monitored over the last two years, but the study has been expanded to include this monitoring in the future.

The potential uses for spray foam are ever-increasing. At NCFI Polyurethanes, we offer training, equipment, and spray foam materials for your construction projects. Contact us to learn how you and your workers can become certified GoldStar applicators and expand your spray foam application skills today.

Topics: Spray Polyurethane, Winter