Warning against disreputable spray foam installers

Homeowners are surrounded by messages about the urgency of taking green measures in their properties, and insulation should be a high priority. However, mortgage lenders are increasingly taking a zero-tolerance approach to spray foam insulation and are declining applications.

Terraced houses.jpg

Consumer warnings

If spray foam insulation (SFI) is installed incorrectly it may lead to condensation which can affect a roof structure and Trading Standards has issued advice to property owners not to engage with cold callers who offer ‘free’ loft or roof surveys. Information offered from these sources without doing independent research should never the accepted, particularly if they offer access to grants or funding schemes.

Surveyors' views of spray foam

SFI has been used in homes for decades and can be a highly effective method of insulating homes and improving energy efficiency. When administered correctly, it can be more effective than fibreglass or organic insulation. It is also flexible and can be used to insulate hard-to-reach spaces such as tight spaces.

Recently, however, problems in timber-framed roofs have been reported. If incorrectly installed or used inappropriately, spray foam insulation might:

  • reduce air circulation and ventilation within a roof space
  • lead to dampness and condensation on the underside of a roof because it forms an air barrier and stops moisture from escaping
  • place timber-framed roofs at risk of decay
  • make it difficult to assess and repair other damage to the roof, such as leaks and broken tiles

Because of this, surveyors are likely to down-value properties with this type of insulation and many lenders will not offer financing. Even after the removal, some lenders will still refuse to offer a mortgage, as they take the view that the damage may well already be done.

FS, Spray foam.jpg
25 Oct 2023
Fact sheet: Spray foam installation

Industry standards are lacking

There are no universal standards for installation of SFI, nor inspection protocols to allow surveyors to distinguish between good and bad installations.

In 2022, a group of industry stakeholders, supported by the Insulation Manufacturers Association (IMA), announced work to create standards, which would allow mortgage lenders to assess the risk that could be caused to a roof due to poorly installed or inappropriate use of spray foam, but nothing has yet been published.

UK Government grants redress

Spray foam insulation was one of the measures covered by the Green Homes Grant scheme, which closed in March 2022. The UK Government said it had no plans to intervene where property values or access to mortgages had been affected because of SFI installed using the Scheme. They stated the availability and terms of mortgages are issues for lenders and it is the responsibility of the installer and homeowner to decide whether to proceed.

Consumers who believe they have been misled may be able to seek redress under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. All works completed under the Green Homes Grant scheme had to be undertaken by a TrustMark-registered installer and they have a dedicated dispute resolution process.