Building a sustainable market for foam in the construction industry

  • The lightweight, durable properties of foam have made it popular in building and construction applications
  • There is a global trend toward tailored foam products
  • Heightened building activity around the world is behind market grow


In the building and construction industry, foam is used for its lightweight, durable properties in sealing and thermal insulation applications. Its flexibility and non-fibrous properties make it an ideal thermal and acoustic insulator. Long used in commercial building applications, today foam is increasingly being utilised in domestic housing.

Rigid polyurethane foam is a particularly good insulator that can be produced in a range of densities, making it ideal for application in the walls and roofs of homes. It is used widely in cold countries that have large temperature variations between indoors and outdoors, helping to keep the warmth inside during cold spells. This type of foam also helps to reduce noise levels inside buildings by insulating sounds in their rooms of origin.

Companies such as Zotefoams supply the construction industry with tailored foam products for a range of applications. Evazote, for example, is a closed-cell, cross-linked EVA foam used extensively in the construction industry as expansion jointing material. With an elastic working range of 60% compression, 30% tension, and 120% shear, it is used as the support for sports floors, providing a degree of elasticity that helps prevent injury in limbs and joints during sports activities.

Other applications of foam in the construction industry include spray polyurethane, which is used in foam roofing, insulation, coatings, and speciality installations. These spray foams help to reduce air leakage, leading to lower utility bills, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and improved indoor air quality as they help to eliminate infiltration of dust and allergens. Spray polyurethane foams also protect buildings from severe weather conditions by increasing resistance to wind uplift.

Polyurethane rigid foam has a closed-cell structure and high crosslinking density with excellent insulation properties, making it another popular material for use in building and construction. By 2022, the rigid foam market is forecast to be worth $99.78 billion, driven by heightened building and construction activity around the world. This is partly a result of growing concerns for insulation and energy savings as the world becomes more tuned in to environmental issues.

The various applications of foam products in the construction industry will be covered at this year’s Foam Expo Conference, a gathering of the industry’s biggest players where major trends and innovations will be discussed. Sessions include a review of the insulative properties of foams for thermal management applications and and an evaluation of foam materials for insulation.