Should I remove UFFI before selling?


Dear David: I have a home that was built 60 years ago. The garage walls are insulated with UFFI, and the garage is attached to the house. I’m thinking of selling in 5 to 10 years. Should I remove the UFFI in preparation? – THINKING AHEAD

DEAR THINKING: I suspect your home may have UFFI installed in the wall that runs between the garage and the house. If you didn’t own this home when the UFFI was installed, its presence should have been disclosed when you purchased the property.

For those who may not be familiar, Urea Formaldehyde Foam Insulation (UFFI) is a low-density foam insulation that was popularized by government subsidies during the 1970’s energy crisis and later became controversial. Like many other household products that contain formaldehyde, UFFI releases a small quantity of formaldehyde gas as it cures. This is known as “off-gassing”. UFFI was discontinued in Canada in 1980 due to off-gassing concerns, and homes with UFFI carried a stigma for years, even though they tend to register the same air quality readings as those without UFFI.

UFFI has been less of an issue in the past few decades, and at some point in the next ten years, I strongly suspect we will no longer be discussing it. It’s like rock n’ roll in the 1960s: it was supposed to ruin a generation, but half a century later, we seem to have turned out fine.

In the Ontario Real Estate Association’s pre-printed Agreement of Purchase and Sale form, there is a section where the seller specifies that their house “does not have UFFI” or “has never had UFFI”. If their house does have UFFI, they need to disclose it, and they must tell the buyer it was there, even if it has been removed.

Because of this duty to disclose, I would personally not recommend going through the hassle and expense of removing UFFI unless you are taking on a renovation project anyway. When buyers do their due diligence and realize that UFFI has virtually no known effects, they can make their purchase decision accordingly.

There are some recent cases of UFFI installation in our area: a company in Breslau installed UFFI for a brief time in the 2000s (despite the ban) and faced a class action lawsuit as a result. But even in these homes, the resulting formaldehyde off-gassing would have been short lived, just as it is with other common household materials.


Do your homework and get professional advice before investing in UFFI removal. A huge variety of household products contain formaldehyde (including carpeting, construction materials and mass-produced pressboard furniture), so off-gassing is a common phenomenon. Formaldehyde is what gives your shiny new vehicle that distinctive “new car” smell. #Advice #AskDavid #TheNegotiatorDavid is a top-selling Broker in Kitchener-Waterloo Region. He works personally with you when selling or buying your home. Call or text today for your free home evaluation! 519-577-1212.