Building Survey – Semi-detached House – Hythe

view from the inside of a roof, showing exposed insulation and rafters

The property was arranged chalet style with the first-floor rooms built within the roof line and the sloping sections of the ceilings were not insulated. Our client had been persuaded to install spray foam insulation but was now concerned at the possible risk to their building and requested advice and a defect report.

Spray foam insulation installations have been the subject of much recent research and have become a matter of general concern for homeowners. The difficulty is that roofs can be susceptible to condensation on the underside of the roof pitches or adjacent to the rafters, and when applied the spray foam insulation can trap this moisture within those areas. This can, in certain circumstances, lead to catastrophic timber deterioration, ultimately requiring partial reconstruction of roofs. For this reason, recently many mortgage companies have adjusted their lending criteria to decline any properties where spray foam insulation has been fitted. 

Enhancing the insulation in the sloping ceilings of the bedrooms was the primary reason for commissioning the spray foam. However, the spray foam did not actually extend into the sloping ceiling and so offered no benefit. The attic space was already substantially insulated with a mineral fibre insulation laid over the joists.  

Our advice to the homeowners was that the spray foam offered little tangible benefit and the risk to the structure arising form the manner of installation was significant.  We advised that it should be removed.

It is important to note that notwithstanding the foregoing, there are no restrictions on the sale and installation of spray foam insulation systems. In certain circumstances, they can provide useful and beneficial enhancements to a property’s thermal performance. 

If you live in the Hythe, Folkestone and surrounding areas of Kent, and you are concerned about any aspect of your home, whether it is a damp issue, structural worries, poor workmanship on a project, party walls work, get in touch and we can undertake a building survey and provide expert advice to put your mind at ease, or to help you resolve any issues.

Take a look at another case study on a recent building survey we have completed, here.

About the Surveyor
Steve Way - Collier Stevens


Steven Way BSc MIHEEM MFPWS MRICS is the Practice Principal and is a Chartered Building Surveyor. With over 35 years as a practicing surveyor, Steve has a wealth of experience and expertise in both residential and commercial building surveying, party wall advice and disabled access auditing. He has also built his reputation as an expert witness.