Shropshire homeowners are being warned against installing spray foam loft insulation by legal property experts, amid a rise in lenders refusing mortgages and homes potentially being rendered uninsurable.
Experts from local law firm mfg Solicitors are urging people to find alternative ways of insulating their homes, warning they could end up forking out thousands of pounds to remove the spray foam if they have any chance of selling their property, remortgaging, or releasing equity.
Spray foam insulation is a chemical product applied using powered sprays. The foam then expands and turns into a solid coating which insulates roofs, lofts, walls and floors.
Beverley Clinton, a legal assistant in the firm’s Residential Property Division, said there were two types of spray foam loft insulation - open-cell, which allows moisture to escape, and close-cell, which reduces air circulation.
When used in roofs and lofts the close-cell insulation can eventually trap moisture around wooden joints, leading to rot. The hardened foam can also warp wooden beams, create mould and release toxic vapours.
Ms Clinton added: “This type of insulation is very difficult to remove and so many mortgage providers and equity release companies refuse to lend on homes that contain it, even if it has been installed by a reputable firm.
“Surveyors are also becoming more vigilant with this type of insulation and insurance companies can refuse to insure properties that have it.”
The warning comes after a couple from Stoke-on-Trent lost almost £11,000 of savings in a spray foam insulation scam that left their house unsellable.
Married couple Fiona and Andre Barton, both 60, paid £4,926 for spray foam loft installation following a cold call in December 2022.
Six months later, the couple made an offer on another property and were in the process of selling their own home when the buyers surveyor’s report raised concern regarding the spray foam insulation – basically drawing attention to homes containing that type of insulation were “un-mortgageable”, so they needed to pay for its removal if they had any chance of selling their house. They were forced to hire a specialist removal company and hire two skips, at a cost of £5,490.
Ms Clinton added: “Obviously due to cold weather and people trying to keep their homes warm to cut down heating bills, spray foam loft insulation is something people might well consider.
“However, we have seen an increase in property sales falling through because of spray foam insulation and although it has been on a list of approved government measures for a number of years, the public should be aware of its long-term effect on their property and should be looking for an alternative.”