Polyurethane Foams History and Current Use

Polyurethane foam has been widely used in construction and manufacturing for several decades due to its versatility and unique properties. In recent years, it has gained popularity in the foundation repair industry as a solution for lifting and void filling. In this article, we will discuss the history of polyurethane foam, its current use in foundation repair, the benefits of using polyurethane foam, and more.

History of Polyurethane Foam

Polyurethane foam was first invented in the late 1930s by Otto Bayer, a chemist working for the German chemical company IG Farben. Bayer discovered that by combining diisocyanates with polyols, he could create a foam that was both strong and lightweight. However, the foam was not initially commercialized due to the outbreak of World War II.

After the war, polyurethane foam was quickly adopted by the manufacturing industry due to its versatility and cost-effectiveness. It was used in a wide range of applications, from insulation and packaging to automotive parts and furniture.

Current Use in Lifting and Void Filling

Polyurethane foam has become increasingly popular in the foundation repair industry due to its ability to lift and fill voids. When injected into the ground, the foam expands and hardens, creating a strong, lightweight, and waterproof barrier.

The foam is used in two main applications: lifting and void filling. In lifting, the foam is injected beneath a sinking foundation to lift it back into place. This process is known as slabjacking or foam lifting. In void filling, the foam is used to fill voids beneath the foundation or in the soil, providing additional support and preventing future settlement.

Benefits of Using Polyurethane Foam

There are several benefits to using polyurethane foam in foundation repair:

  1. Lightweight – Polyurethane foam is much lighter than traditional concrete or cement, making it an ideal choice for lifting and supporting foundations without adding extra weight.
  2. Quick and Easy – Polyurethane foam can be injected into the ground quickly and easily, reducing the time and cost of foundation repair.
  3. Waterproof – Polyurethane foam is waterproof, preventing future water damage to the foundation.
  4. Long-lasting – Polyurethane foam is durable and long-lasting, providing a strong support system for the foundation.
  5. Environmentally Friendly – Polyurethane foam is environmentally friendly, as it can be recycled and reused.


Polyurethane foam has a long history in the manufacturing industry and has become increasingly popular in the foundation repair industry in recent years. Its versatility, lightweight properties, and waterproof nature make it an ideal choice for lifting and void filling in foundation repair. As the technology and techniques for using polyurethane foam continue to improve, we can expect to see even more applications in the future.

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