In recent years, an increasing number of homeowners with spray foam insulation applied within their roofs have faced difficulties securing mortgage or equity release finance.
Spray foam has been used for around 30 years. During this time, we have inspected hundreds of roofs which have not been adversely affected by spray foam. However, over the same period, there have been many incidences where the use of spray foam has required the replacement of entire roof structures.
Spray foam is currently available and is included in works attracting Government funding under the Green Homes Grant since 2020. Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) have been important in highlighting areas of improvement in homes.
If you have spray foam insulation applied within your roof and wish to sell or obtain a mortgage or obtain equity release finance, please get in touch with us for advice.
The Challenge of Mortgaging a Property With Spray Foam Insulation
Spray foam insulation can be a factor that sets off alarm bells for some mortgage lenders. A property’s insulation is so important to mortgage lenders as it affects the home’s marketability and energy efficiency rating.
In more recent times and with the increased costs of energy and inflation of living costs, homeowners have sought more cost-effective ways of insulating and
postponing costs works to their homes – this all too often has resulted in them installing spray foam insulation.
We are aware of many incidences where owners of homes with old roof coverings have been sold the benefits of spray foam by the spray foam industry, saying that it can both enhance the life of a roof and provide thermal insulation.
The research on the effectiveness of spray foam is considered unreliable by many mortgage lenders. The potential for damage depends on the individual aspects of a roof, and roof timbers and Chartered Surveyors can advise on the necessary works in accordance with lender requirements.
Different Spray Foam Insulation
There are two types of spray foam, open-cell spray foam and closed-cell spray foam. Both are sprayed onto the underside of the tiles under high pressure and expand, in some cases, to a thickness of 300mm.
Open cell spray foam was the more widely used for insulation and is softer and more flexible, so it is easier to install spray foam insulation.
Closed-cell spray foam was initially used to prevent leaks in roof coverings. Closed cell foam actually sets in a much harder finish and this can impact how harder it is to remove, so homeowners should consider this when looking into spray foam installation.
Whilst both types have been widely used, the quality of the installation is the major issue affecting the performance of a roof.
All roof types can be vulnerable to condensation issues but where spray foam
reduces the ventilation within the roof space, the risk of condensation increases. Other concerns surround the risk of decay to timbers and fixings covered in foam when water penetrates the roof coverings. These problems can result in costly repair bills.
It is crucial that you know exactly what spray foam was installed on your property, as the different types can have different impacts on your mortgage.
Mortgage Lender Attitudes to Different Spray Foam Insulation
Suppose you’re looking into the options of remortgaging your property or taking out an equity release mortgage on your property and you have had spray foam insulation installed on the property. In that case, it may not be the end of the world.
As mentioned before, it is crucial that you are aware of which type of spray foam is on your property. This is because some lenders will consider properties that have open-cell spray foam.
If the spray foam insulation has been in place for many years, it is possible that a lender will decide that the risk of damage already being done to the property is too high, and this is why it is crucial that you speak with experienced professionals or commission a chartered surveyor before steaming ahead and having the insulation removed.
It’s also important to note that some spray foam installers have approved certification, which, along with the necessary pre-installation tests, can be acceptable to some mortgage lenders. In other situations, it’s necessary to commit to removing spray foam insulation, repairing any damage, and check the roof remains watertight.
Getting a Mortgage with Spray Foam Insulations
Potential buyers can be put off buying properties that have spray foam insulation installed due to the mortgage implications that SPF can cause. For example, spray foam can cause a lack of airflow, which in turn can cause mould to form, which has the potential to release toxic odours, it can rot the roof timbers and because of all the issues it can cause to the roof, you may need to replace it which results in the home being devalued.
How to Mortgage a Property With Spray Foam Insulation
Many contractors still recommend spray foam insulation despite the well-known problems property owners find when it comes to mortgaging their property. So you will be relieved to hear that this isn’t an uncommon issue that surveyors and lenders find themselves dealing with.
While there is no one size fits all solution to this problem, there are some general options that you can consider, but please be aware that each situation is different, and you should have the issue evaluated by a surveyor for a specific answer.
As mentioned previously in the article, some specialist mortgage lenders will accept properties with open-cell SPF. However, there aren’t many options for lenders as very few mortgage lenders will accept properties in this condition.
You can also have the spray foam insulation removed. However, the cost of doing so will most likely be more than what was paid to have the SPF installed in the first place. It is also important to note that the damage may have already been done, especially if you had closed-cell spray foam installed.
If the damage has already been done or if your roof is approaching the end of its life cycle and is a little worse for wear, it may be worth exploring the option of having the roof replaced. This is not a cheap option but it may benefit both you and the property in the long run.
If you are looking to purchase a property that has spray foam installed, it may be worth considering a bridging loan. When a mortgage lender doesn’t lend to you because of the spray foam on the property, even with mortgage retention – looking into the more expensive option of a bridging loan could be a beneficial alternative.
Equity Release, Mortgages and Spray Foam Insulation
If you’re experiencing spray foam insulation mortgage problems, don’t stress – there are different options available to help you remedy the situation.
It is very rare that you will come across any lenders who publish their definitive guidance on spray foam insulation, so it is hard to be confident going into a mortgage application with a lender when you have spray foam insulation in the property.
If you a keen to know whether or not a mortgage lender is likely to approve a mortgage on a property with spray foam insulation, your best bet would be to go to a whole-of-market mortgage broker for some tailored advice.
It is important that if you are facing the issue of spray foam insulation, then you should seek a chartered surveyor to assess the property, as many mortgage lenders will rely on the surveyor’s judgement and use the valuation of the property to aid in their decision to lend or not.
As a blanket rule, all equity release providers will refuse to lend against properties that have spray foam insulation installed. So while there aren’t options for equity release, there may be other mortgage options for you that can meet your needs.
As chartered surveyors, Chekes & Co are highly experienced and knowledgeable in surveying properties. If you need support in surveying your property, please get in contact with us today.
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