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What Is Spray Foam Insulation?
Spray Foam Insulation is an insulation and air sealing system that is ideal for residential or commercial applications. An application of spray foam insulation combines both a material and a service. The material is a lightweight foam insulation compound. The service is custom installation of each stud cavity or rafter cavity of a building directly on the construction site by trained, licensed installers. Spray foam insulation is much more than just another insulation. By virtue of its low permeability to air infiltration, its adhesion to other building materials and its flexibility, it provides good air leakage control, moisture control, and sound control, as well as great insulation. All in one application.
Does Spray Foam Insulation Have Building Code Approvals?
Yes! Spray Foam Insulation has approval of all four major building codes in the United States and the Canadian building code. In fact, it is one of the most extensively tested insulation products ever. Concern in the 1970's over the excessive off-gassing of an early foam product called urea formaldehyde, and related concerns in subsequent years over the health effects of other insulating products, specifically asbestos and fiberglass, have resulted in some of the most thorough and sensitive emissions testing of a new building product to date. Based upon the results of this stringent testing, Spray Foam Insulation met the requirements of the building codes and subsequent re-certifications as required on a periodic basis.
What Are The Advantages Of Spray Foam Insulation?
The major advantage of Spray Foam Insulation is that it does more than just insulate. It also wind proofs and air seals wall and ceiling cavities from air movement, with a 3 1/2" sample of foam proving to be about 24 times less permeable to air infiltration than a similar thickness of fiberglass batt. In addition, the insulating power of foam insulation is not diminished by lower temperatures or by air movement. Its R-value performs as stated. By contrast, some building experts state that an R-13 fiberglass batt in the presence of a 10 mile per hour breeze (the real world) diminishes the insulating power of a batt to an R-5! Hardly the kind of protection from heat and cold you were hoping to arrange for your family.
What Is Spray Foam Insulation Made Of?
Spray Foam Insulation is an organic material developed from products of the petrochemical industry. It is a two component system that is sprayed like paint. The chemical constituents are similar to those used in the manufacturer of many products already in your home, such as upholstery foam and the foam used for pillows and mattresses---although the properties of the foam are different.
How Long Does It Take To Cure?
The foam is created within seconds after spraying. You can watch it expand within seconds to 120 times its original volume, literally before your eyes. It completely cures within a few minutes.
Does Open Cell Spray Foam Insulation Absorb Water?
No ; it looks like a sponge but it is actually hydrophobic, i.e. it repels water. If placed in water it will float, and on removal, it will dry rapidly with no loss of insulating properties. If you ever have a roof leak or plumbing leak in your home which would soak the insulation, the water will ultimately settle out of foam insulation and it will not damage the foam. We can't say the same for other insulations. Water breaks down the glue in a fiberglass batt so the batt is destroyed and loses its effectiveness. Water also turns cellulose (ground newspaper) to mush and it dries out VERY slowly (have you ever tried to dry out a wet newspaper?). The cellulose settles into a lump leaving a large un-insulated cavity in the wall. Of course, if it remains wet long enough, it can cause wood to rot and foster mold or mildew growth within your walls.
Does Spray Foam Insulation Entrap Water?
No. As stated above, Spray Foam Insulation is an opened or closed cell foam which is ideal for architectural purposes. The open cell foam breathes slowly, and any moisture in the buildings' concrete or lumber can escape through the foam as the building dries out, thus eliminating any risk of lumber rot or mildew usually associated with materials that trap moisture. Closed cell foam will simply not let water penetrate it very easily.
How Long Does Spray Foam Insulation Last? Does It Change Physically?
Aging is not an issue with Spray Foam Insulation. It is inert, and its physical and insulating properties are constant.
Are There Glass Fibers Or Formaldehyde In Spray Foam Insulation?
No to both. Glass fibers have been listed as a suspected carcinogen by the EPA and most fiberglass batt manufacturers now print a warning label on the wrapper . Formaldehyde was present in an early commercial foam called urea formaldehyde which was also used in residential applications in the early 1970's. Spray Foam Insulation is free of both glass fibers or formaldehyde and is a great choice for insulating your new home.