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Spray foam industry acknowledges problems with 'cowboy operators'

spray foam insulation roof

Landlords who have used cowboy spray foam firms to insulate their properties are to be offered help by one of the main trade associations for the sector.

The Property Care Association (PCA) has made the move after growing complaints by property owners that using spray foam inappropriately to insulate roofs can lead to excess moisture being trapped in loft spaces, making selling, buying or remortgaging properties very difficult.

The PCA, which says its members who offer spray foam insulation are ‘responsible actors’ within the housing market, has now offered those affected by cowboys access to specialists who can help them rectify problems, and created a new kind of membership type to highlight the help on hand.

This means landlords will be able to “access practical guidance, centred around identification, evaluation and the recommendation of appropriate actions”, its announcement says.

Pitched roofs

“Spray foam has been used for many years, but its use in pitched roofs has received a lot of negative publicity as many surveying professionals and financial organisations have raised concerns regarding the potential effects of poorly applied or inappropriately specified foam,” says James Berry, Deputy Chief Executive of the PCA.

“As a result, the presence of spray foam may significantly affect a surveyor’s valuation of a house, with many mortgage companies refusing to lend on such properties.

“For surveyors and property professionals, sprayed foam could potentially pose an issue when evaluating and reporting on the condition of structural roof timbers, ventilation and moisture management.”

Spray roof

The launch of the new membership category comes after the PCA contributed to new guidance in 2022 as part of a cross-industry group, which offered a defined course of action for the inspection of properties with spray roof insulation.

Berry adds “The new membership is a progression from our work two years ago and marks the next step in helping to address householders concerns across the UK.

“Those affected by poor installations had no route to seek advice on how to deal with the issue, but the new PCA membership, which has stringent requirements for entry, means there are now trained and recognised professionals who will be able to provide assistance.”

A fair chunk of the ‘negative publicity’ Berry mentions has followed estate agents and surveyors warning of the problems they face when spray foam has been incorrectly or inappropriately applied by inexperienced or unqualified firms.


home insulation