High-pressure spray foam selling tactics condemned

Relentless sales techniques associated with spray foam insulation have been condemned by manufacturer Huntsman Building Solutions.

Salespeople for spray foam insulation have been known to wrongly label themselves as surveyors, who are in some cases pressuring people to use it quickly, and in some cases inappropriately.

There are also issues with cold callers, door-to-door sales and misleading online advertisements.

Simon Baker, president of Huntsman Building Solutions, said: “Recent reports of high-pressure selling tactics are shocking and abhorrent, and we strongly condemn any firm using these underhand tactics to mis-sell spray foam insulation.

“We also denounce those deliberately targeting vulnerable groups such as the elderly. These businesses are a blight on our industry and are causing significant distress to homeowners, as well as damage to the livelihoods of ethical and professional installers and we urge anyone targeted to notify Trading Standards.”

Businesses who wrongly install spray foam insulation are passing on information to other unscrupulous traders, who will charge them to remove the insulation.

Baker added: “There are many reputable firms using both dedicated sales staff and sales agents to ethically sell their spray foam insulation products, who have a good understanding of the product and its applications.

“However, there is an ill-intentioned minority of businesses which seek to exploit homeowners, causing financial and emotional distress and damage the livelihoods of genuine hard-working spray foam insulation installers; which is why we have developed the following guidance.”

Huntsman produced a guide on spray foam insulation:

BEING APPROACHED

  • Homeowners should be cautious of any businesses that approaches you via door-to-door sales or via cold calls. They should also be highly vigilant about businesses that claim the need to complete the work rapidly.
  • Be aware that spray foam insulation should never be used as a remedy to repair a failing or leaking roof, and should be used solely for improving insulation, home comfort and energy efficiency.
  • When actively seeking spray foam insulation, homeowners should always take the time to research the installer, read their previous reviews, and ensure they are part of a reputable manufacturer’s network.
  • Ensure you have verified the contractor’s insurance policy and whether they offer a warranty for their work.
  • If there is an offer that is “too good to be true” about getting a significant discount for acting quickly, government grant money, etc, question the trader’s motives and ask questions.

BEFORE COMMITTING TO THE INSTALLATION

  • Research on the type of product which will be used. As a rule of thumb, the construction methods used for homes in the UK are most suited to open-cell insulation which is vapour permeable. This means that heat is retained within the building while allowing moisture from inside the home to pass through it, where it evaporates from the roof. This means moisture cannot be trapped or cause damage to the timbers.
  • Homeowners should ensure the installer completes pre-installation checks and can provide the following documents that ensure the installation has been carried out according to industry guidance. Without this, homeowners should not agree to the work going ahead. This includes but is not limited to:
    • Product certification documents (BBA/KIWA) for the specific application.
    • An insurance-backed product warranty.
    • A full condensation Risk Analysis.
    • A detailed pre-installation survey form containing: moisture readings, details about the type of membrane the spray foam insulation is being applied to, and photographic evidence of the site before application.
    • Aninstallation form containing the name of the product, batch number, sprayer’s name and contact details, and photographic evidence of the site following the application.

Huntsman Building Solutions provides training and ongoing monitoring to its network of authorised installers which ensures they are operating ethically. Going one step further, the business has also announced the creation of a new authorised sales agent scheme, similar to the one used to appoint its authorised installers. The scheme will ensure all sales agents are trained to the correct ethical and technical standards regarding the application of spray foam insulation, in order to give confidence to homeowners who are seeking professional high-quality installations.