Hurricane season is in full swing, and families all across the US may be wondering whether this will be the year that a mammoth hurricane hits their city or town, especially if it’s located near the coast.
Spray foam insulation has long been known, by those within the industry, for its ability to help limit moisture-laden air from passing into buildings where it is installed, but the moisture in the air when a hurricane is pounding at the windows is a completely different story. This doesn’t even take into account the huge potential for flooding that may occur.
Nearly every year, the cost of damages that occur as a result of hurricanes or intense tropical storms making landfall in the U.S. numbers in the billions. Heavy rain, storm surges, and coastal flooding can all contribute to the destruction of homes and other buildings. The country can hope that we will never again see a disaster as epic as Hurricane Katrina, and the havoc it wreaked on the crumbling infrastructure of Louisiana, but preparedness is the key.
Think about insulation. With traditional insulation materials, their primary function is to insulate your home from the heat and the cold that seasonal weather brings. Traditional insulation’s primary function is not to protect against flooding, so if and when this occurs, it offers virtually no impediment to moisture entering the home in any way. In fact, traditional insulation materials often have the potential to absorb moisture entering the home, and are unable to dry out quick enough to withstand damage. They quickly become soaked when excess moisture is present, such as during flooding, which can lead to mold growth. This not only reduces the efficacy of your insulation’s R-value, any insulation soaked in polluted water will eventually need to be removed and the space, re-insulated. Not exactly ideal, when you live in a hurricane-prone part of the country.
On the other hand, spray foam insulation is able to better control moisture movement. And, because spray foam expands within seconds of application, tiny gaps and crevices can be filled effectively, creating an air seal on your home.
It’s important to note that not just any kind of spray foam insulation that will help, when it comes to the types of conditions your home may endure during a hurricane. The best type of spray foam insulation you can install in your home is closed cell spray foam, like the type offers.
There are many things that make closed cell spray foam insulation different from other types of spray foam. Unlike the spongey, flexible texture of open cell spray foam, when closed cell spray foam insulation is sprayed in, it quickly becomes rigid. This rigidity can be a key element in homes situated in a hurricane-prone area. This is due to the insulation’s ability to add structural integrity to roofs covering unvented attics, which can help prevent roof blow off, something which is all too common when the high winds of a hurricane are present and wind uplift is a concern.
Why, exactly, is wind uplift and roof blow off a concern? Once the roof of a home is blown off, even partially, water from the hurricane can enter the home freely, causing aggressive amounts of damage. Flooding goes unchecked, and the home becomes unlivable very quickly. And while damage may not be entirely avoided, just because the roof stays intact with spray foam insulation, it can at least be minimized.
In addition, closed cell spray foam has extremely low water absorption. Did you know that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has rated closed cell spray foam insulation as a highly acceptable flood-resistant material? That means that your attic and roof can better sustain the wind-blown water that often pummels homes during a hurricane, but it also means that other key areas of flooding can be better protected as well.
When it comes to your home’s basement or crawlspace, having insulation that rejects bulk water, the way Icynene closed cell spray foam does, can go a long way in helping to prevent significant damage that hurricanes sometimes cause. In order for FEMA to consider a material to be flood-resistant, it must be able to withstand direct contact with floodwater for an extended period (72 hours) of time.