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Closed-Cell Spray Foam Insulation for Costal Commercial Properties

David Jones - 21 Oct 2019

To justify the use of closed-cell spray foam insulation for coastal commercial properties, it is good to recap on the characteristics of commercial structures. They are exposed to a number of various factors that require the use of sturdier thermal protection materials.
Factors such as large utility costs, structural liability, heavy duty usage by customers – all impact the viability of the commercial warehouse from economics perspective.

We have established in previous publications that closed-cell spray foam insulation is currently a leading product within the design and construction industry, which is attractive to both the owners and occupants of commercial spaces, for a few reasons:

  • improved energy efficiency,
  • reduced operating costs,
  • better durability,
  • cost-effective at planning and design stage,
  • air-tightness,
  • effective soundproofing,
  • structural reinforcement of the building envelope,
  • superior protection against deterioration from elements.

As such, closed cell spray foam has been used for insulating commercial buildings located in extreme weather climates with proven effectiveness.

After years of successful application in Canada, the country of severe weather conditions, even more specific advantages have been noticed. We are going to identify why the use of closed-cell spray foam insulation for coastal commercial buildings across UK is superior to other solutions.

Being located near the exposed areas of the coast, many UK based business sites are affected by severe weather conditions. Surrounded by English Channel to the south, North Sea to the east, Irish Sea and Atlantic Ocean to the west, leaves many industrial buildings strategically placed near ferry connections for import-export purposes. Gale winds, frequent heavy rain, flooding, sudden temperatures drop – these meteorological circumstances largely contribute to disruptions of the normal running of the business as well as serious structural damage of the building. If this happens on a regular basis, there is no surprise closed-cell spray foam is indeed becoming a popular choice amongst architects, developers and business owners when insulating commercial properties. Here is why.

Excellent Thermal Control Layer

Good thermal resistance achieved by insulating with closed-cell spray foam is by far the most advanced way of satisfying the requirements of UK building regulations.

A quality thermal control layer provides a complete solution for cold bridging condensation or heat conductivity often apparent when the building is already insulated with traditional materials that require fasteners and brackets to be able to stick to the wall.

Thanks to the texture of closed-cell spray foam, it adheres to the surfaces without the need to use any additional elements. As it provides a complete and continuous coverage of the building envelope, heat conducting is effectively stopped.

The importance of eliminating thermal bridging is especially appreciated in steel frame buildings positioned in exposed coastal areas.

It is also worth noting that spray foam systems of closed cell nature integrate perfectly with the plumbing system and ventilation installation of the commercial property.

Superior Air Control Layer

A successful air control layer stops random air movement out of the building as well as into the building.

Poor indoor air quality, damp build up and higher costs of maintenance are just a few negative symptoms of a faulty air control layer.

Closed-cell spray foam insulation for coastal commercial properties is the only available insulating material as it combines the thermal layer with air control layer. No other product offers both of these benefits altogether. This also leads to huge savings at design and construction stage as far as the budget is concerned.

Closed-cell spray foam is impermeable and allows for no air leakage, thus minimising the building’s damage caused by lack of moisture control followed by poor energy efficiency.

Protection Against Roof Damage

In the areas where winds frequently exceed 70mph, the risk of roof damage is greater than elsewhere. Considering the fact how many repercussions a leaking roof can cause, closed-cell spray foam insulation for coastal commercial properties is again a stand alone solution to a potential problem.

Closed-cell spray foam, once sprayed, it hardens and becomes an integral part of the building mass. The structural strength of insulated roof can resist the power of high speed gale winds and the phenomenon called a wind uplift. Uplift occurs when high speed wind operating on the top of the roof clashes with the slower air movement to the ground. Under extreme windy conditions, a sudden drop of pressure and simultaneous increase in air movement forms into a powerful vacuum ripping the roofing elements off. A study was undertaken to test whether application of closed-cell spray foam for coastal commercial properties can prevent the damage effectively.

“[…] the study found that the fillets of spray foam increased wind uplift resistance an average of 2 times, while the 3 inch fill increased it 3 times the uplift capacity of roof panels fastened using conventional mechanical fasteners and nailing patterns. In fact, roofing sections with closed cell spray foam applied as an adhesive were able to withstand air pressures in excess of … the wind speed found in a category 4 hurricane.”[…] *

Flooding Damage Prevention

Just like the with roof uplift, flooding risk is much higher for the coastal commercial properties. In UK,  this risk spikes up even higher. As an example, the annual flood damage costs are in the region of £1.1billion around the country. What’s more, 40% of businesses in UK don’t reopen after being flooded.**

UK Environment Agency works closely with councils to manage flooding and coastal erosion risk but the possibility of having all business assets permanently damaged through flooding still exists.

With all the statistics in mind, a strong resistance of closed-cell spray foam insulation to water intrusion must be emphasised. In United States of America, closed-cell spray foam for cavity walls insulation is the only material approved by Federal Emergency Management Agency as floodwater resistant.


To sum up, apart form the well known benefits that closed-cell spray foam presents, a list of other important advantages becomes obvious when specific locations and weather conditions are taken into consideration. Strong resistance against gale force winds or floodwater, being reliable thermal and air control layers stand behind the success of closed-cell spray foam insulation for coastal commercial properties.

Are you an architect and working on a new commercial project? Talk to an experienced closed-cell spray foam professional and establish how you can work together towards a better structural integrity of the building. Contact Spray Foam Experts now.

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*The Benefits of Spray Foam in Commercial Insulation p.16

**Flood Statisitcs