The Dangers of Spray Foam: From a Spray Foam Contractor
So this may not seem like a typical blog – when an industry professional writes a blog about how their product can cause issues. But I think it’s time to clear the air (pun intended) regarding the dangers of spray foam.
You don’t need to go far in a Google search to find a whole host of websites, YouTube videos, and newspaper articles regarding the dangers of spray foam insulation. Being an industry professional with almost 10 years of experience, I would be the first to tell you that there can be and will be problems with spray foam insulation when installed incorrectly. All it takes is one bad apple out of hundreds of thousands of good installations to give an industry a black eye. So I thought I would go over what they are and how to prevent them from causing problems.
Spray Foam Problems
Fishy smell – The majority of the time when spray foam results in a fishy smell results from one of two things: improper mixing or their ratio is off. Spray foam is designed to be installed with the two parts at a one-to-one ratio. When this doesn’t happen, the foam never cures out to the proper end product. The second option comes from installing closed cell spray foam in too thick of passes which in turn may not let the foam cure properly. Most manufacturers will tell you to never install closed cell spray foam in lifts or passes more than two or three inches thick.
Charring or catching fire – As we just mentioned, closed cell spray foam needs to be installed in controlled lifts. Since closed cell spray foam creates an exothermic reaction when it is processed, this creates heat and if installed too thick can potentially create a fire hazard.
Respiratory issues – When spray foam insulation is installed, the applicators and helpers are required to wear the proper personal protective equipment (PPE). Once the product has been installed correctly and allowed to off-gas properly, spray foam insulation is a very safe product. While spray foam is as safe as the things that you come in contact with on a daily basis, you don’t want to be breathing it in while it is being installed. Now with that being said, some people who are hypersensitive to chemicals in general or who have asthma and related respiratory problems; while I would like to sell product to everyone, these people may want to look to other insulation options. I look at it like this: those without peanut allergies don’t worry about being in contact with peanuts. But for the population that is allergic should we stop growing and using peanuts? No, we simply need to take the proper precautions.
How Do We Prevent The Problems From Occurring?
This is the really easy part, do your homework: hire a certified, properly trained, and reputable contractor. That sounds easy, so how do you know if they are certified and reputable? Start with asking if they are SPFA certified. Next, find out what manufacturer they are buying their product from and check to see if they have completed the manufacturer’s training program. Not all manufactures have training programs and will sell product to just anyone. Spray foam insulation is not a “do it yourself” project nor should it be done by just anyone. We are manufacturing foam plastic insulation on the jobsite. This takes proper training, equipment, and skill.
However the easiest way to prevent all this is just to call us.