Will Injection Foam Insulation Bow or Crack Drywall?
By: Eric Garcia on December 18th, 2019
Imagine getting injection foam insulation installed in your existing walls and all of a sudden the walls begin to bow or crack.
That is one of the things you may have heard through the grapevine or read on the Internet when researching injection foam insulation.
As the general manager here at RetroFoam of Michigan and Foam University’s Professor of Foam, this is a concern I hear a lot from homeowners. There are a few variables that lead to the drywall bowing or cracking that don’t have anything to do with the foam.
We want all of the homeowners who find us to be left with all the information they need to make an informed decision. As a part of that mission, below you will find information on whether the foam insulation will damage the drywall and that it can be fixed if the worst were to happen.
Will Injection Foam Insulation Damage Drywall?
The quick answer is potentially injection foam insulation could damage the drywall.
First and foremost, human error is possible and if the cavity is overfilled then it is possible for the drywall to bow and crack. An experienced contractor knows how to avoid this through training that helps them determine when the cavity is filled.
While this happens, there are other reasons and factors that this happens.
The potential is there, but it’s not because of the expansion, because RetroFoam injection foam doesn’t expand. The pressure of the foam being injected is a factor, but not the main cause.
The possibility is always present, but about 90 percent of the time it’s due to improperly installed drywall or drywall that has had previous damage.
Let’s look at improperly installed drywall first.
If the drywall is only glued to the studs, then it will likely be pushed out and away from the studs. The pressure of the injection foam being installed can cause this to happen.
Another reason is if the studs aren’t universally on center.
So, what does that even mean?
Studs are 16-inches on center, which means there should be 16-inches from the center of one stud to the center of the stud next to it. This way the drywall is hung center to center. If the drywall isn’t hung in this way, then there is a long span of drywall with no support. No support makes it easier for it to bow or crack when the foam is injected.
Now let’s talk about existing damage.
If the existing drywall is compromised either through water or moisture damage, then it will be weaker in those spots than in areas where there is no damage.
Another scenario is if the drywall needed to be repaired or patched and it wasn’t done correctly. This again is going to create a weak point in the drywall.
Now that you have a better understanding of what causes the drywall to bow and crack, let’s take a quick look at how to fix it.
How to Repair Drywall After Injection Foam Insulation
If you have your existing walls insulated with injection foam and the worst happens, it can be fixed.
Typically, if the wall bows out, a good contractor will anchor a board across the drywall into the studs. Doing this pushes the drywall back into place so the contractor can re-secure and anchor the drywall into place. A rough patch is then placed over the new screws and seams.
If the drywall is cracked, typically the same method of repair is done as needed with the crack line patched as well.
Insulating Your Existing Walls with Injection Foam Insulation
Hopefully, you have a better understanding of how the drywall can bow and crack depending on the installation circumstances.
What’s important to note is how your insulation contractor handles it if the worst were to happen.
For example, we offer a lifetime warranty that covers the workmanship and product. If this were to happen to a homeowner we were working with, we would fix it at no cost to that customer.
If you want to learn more about the ins and outs of foam insulation, check out the Learning Center on our website or watch Foam University on our YouTube channel starring yours truly.
Will Plaster or Paneling Impact Injection Foam Installation?
How to Insulate a House Without Taking Down Drywall
Insulation Installation Problems: 10 Complications that Lead to Home Insulation Nightmares
About Eric Garcia
Eric brings his knowledge and training in building science, training in spray and injection foams from the manufacturers, more than 8 years installing foam insulation, as well as selling and managing in the foam insulation industry. He is also BPI and Dale Carnegie certified and has taken several building science courses including air sealing and building envelope. Eric’s responsibilities include overseeing and giving support to all of the branches of the RetroFoam of Michigan company, office, estimates, and installs. He is also the Professor of Foam on our educational YouTube series Foam University. Even when Eric is off he is usually still “working” or thinking about work, but when he can get away he enjoys camping, hiking, hunting, and woodwork.