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Frequently Asked Questions


Question Topics

  1. Is SPF Safe?
  2. Why Use Foam to Insulate?
  3. Is Spray Foam Insulation "green"?
  4. Are all spray foams the same?
  5. How does Closed Cell Foam work?
  6. Is SPF just for new homes?
  7. What about venting?
  8. Can SPF really save 50% or more on heating and cooling?
  9. Will SPF qualify for a tax credit?
  10. Settling and Foam Cracking  
  11. R-Value Loss of 50%  
  12. Hot Roofs & Roof Leaks  
  13. Trapping Moisture in Stud Cavities  
  14. Off Gasing & Fire

Q: Is SPF Safe?
A:

Closed Cell Foam is made of resins and does not contain formaldehyde. Free of harmful emissions- No VOC's, CFC's, HFC's, HCFC's, or formaldehyde, Spray Foam is recommended for use in homes for environmentally concerned or sensitive people.

For nearly two decades, this insulation has built a solid performance record in commercial and industrial applications. You have used it for years and just didn't know it. Cellular foam has been used to make the soles of our shoes, fill sofa cushions,  car dashboards and the pillows we sleep on. Its insulating properties have made it ideal for refrigerators, coolers, storage tanks, coffee cups, takeout boxes, disposable plates, refrigerated tractor trailers and even the space shuttle!

Protect Your Family's Health - Since 1994, the US National Toxicology Program has listed fiberglass as a carcinogen and fiberglass insulation is required to carry a cancer warning label. Fiberglass is considered “green” based solely on that fact that it insulates yet there are studies that show microscopic fiberglass particles to be airborne and to cause severe cancerous health issues. Fiberglass, rockwool and cellulose insulation all collect dust. Studies show that homes with SPF have  60%  less dust that homes with these three types.

Healthy Indoor Air Quality

A majority of the air you breathe in your home comes up from your crawl space.  The average temperature of a typical vented crawl space in the Southeast region of the U.S. is perfect for breeding moisture and mold which can create a musty smell and release toxins that can affect your family's health.  Sealing your crawl space keeps mold away with a high quality moisture barrier and converts it into a semi-conditioned dry space. By preventing moisture and outdoor air infiltration into your home, you reduce the family health impact of airborne allergens, pollution and mold. SPF will not promote mold growth - foam offers no food value and will not support bacteria or fungal growth. It is not a source of food for rodents or insects.

What about Flammability?

Polyurethane insulation meets Class 1 flame and smoke characteristics. Once installed some local building codes require it to be covered by a 15 minute thermal or ignition barrier depending on the application. Typically your sheet rocked ceiling or walls will take care of this. Citing the Tech Checks and research done at the University of San Francisco and the University of Denver Poison Control Centers the following was concluded. Everything does burn and if it doesn’t burn and off gas  then it melts and off gasses. The University of San Francisco Fire Research Center, in a study funded by NASA, chose 300 commonly found household building materials, which included closed cell spray polyurethane foam. These materials were burned and data collected on smoke development, flame spread and lethality of smoke in order to find out potential survivability in house fires. What was learned was that polyurethane was less dangerous in terms of off gassing, spread of flame and smoke development that that of spruce, fir and pine. In other words the wood used to assemble the wall that the foam is sprayed on is more dangerous than the foam itself.

In regards to the health effects of living with cured polyurethane foam a long-term study results reported in the Journal of American Medical Association confirmed that no long-term health risks are associated with exposure to cured polyurethane. The study went on to editorialize that many reports and news stories about the health effects and fire characteristics of spray polyurethane were unrealistic and unfounded in study.

Q: Why use foam to insulate?
A:

The real purpose of a building is for people  to be able to isolate themselves  from a hostile exterior climate. The purpose of insulation is to take this  beyond minimum shelter to allow complete modern interior climate control. To achieve this climate isolation successfully requires full isolation between interior and exterior air, moisture and temperature. The two climates must not mix in the insulated building cavity. The system must also be reversible so the building may be both heated and cooled efficiently. Closed Cell Foam achieves the climate isolation necessary by its nature as a solid closed cellular plastic - fully adhered in the thin space of the building cavity. Exterior and interior climates cannot mix so no compromise of climate isolation can occur due to the exterior climatic conditions, however severe.

Spray foam insulation reduces drafts by cutting convection looping. Looping occurs when temperature differences between the outside and inside walls cause warm air to rise and cold air to sink in the cavity between the studs. This action initiates a convection current flowing up and down the walls, especially with fiberglass batt insulation. Spray foam insulation applied to the interior wall reduces the temperature difference of the air current activity. Spray foam insulates hard-to-reach areas and provides a seamless layer of insulation.

Spray foam insulation boasts high insulation value with the best R-value per inch of any readily available insulation. It allows for more insulation in a tighter space than conventional batt insulations, and performs well in controlling hot or cold temperatures. The spray foam is good at keeping heat out as well as in, giving homeowners a break on their air conditioning bills along with their heating bills.

Q: Is Spray Foam Insulation "green"?
“Is it green?” is quickly becoming one of the most frequently asked questions by consumers of all types of products today.  Concern for the environmental future of the globe as well as economic implications to our personal finances has everyone looking for ways to reduce dependency on oil and carbon emissions. Better performing home insulation is a great place to start towards conservation and reducing your home’s  carbon footprint. Insulation contributes towards significant heating and cooling efficiency and energy conservation, not to mention the health and comfort of  its occupants- and it can help protect the environment through reduced emissions. Its superior insulating capabilities dramatically reduce heating and cooling demands, reducing harmful emissions from power plants. No other insulation material on the market is more effective and energy efficient than spray polyurethane foam (SPF). From this point of view, SPF is the greenest insulation material on the market and has the added benefit of providing significant operating cost savings as well. See www.sprayfoam.com for more information.
Q: Are all spray foams the same?
A:

No, all spray foams are not the same. Typically there are three types of Spray Polyurethane Foam for three different types of insulation needs:

  1. Closed Cell Roofing foam : For  exterior roof applications (flat roofs, commercial buildings, industrial needs) Often referred to as 3 pound foam. This is very rigid foam with a UV protective coating.
  2. Closed cell foam : typically sprayed onto the interior  surface  of the roof decking, exterior walls and under the floor. Frequently referred to as 2 pound foam. This has an R value of 6.8-7.0 per inch.
  3. Sound lessening foam: Also known as Open Cell or ½ pound foam. Not considered an air or vapor barrier. R value of 3.0-3.5 per inch.
Q: How does Closed Cell Foam work?
A:

The installer fabricates the foam on-site according to manufacturer's instructions. He or she brings the application equipment and the foam's components to the home-building site, where framing, electrical, and plumbing are complete, and exterior siding encloses the home. A controlled reaction among a number of mixed chemicals, a blowing agent, and some other additives,  produces a wet foam mass. Using a specially designed sprayer, the installer sprays the mass onto or between wall surfaces. 

This mass forms into a hardened cellular plastic material containing a low thermal conductivity gas, similar to the gas found between the panes in your insulated windows. The exposed surfaces of the rigid foam resemble a hard, tan colored shaving cream. Its solid nature provides soundproofing and insect resistance, and also seals cracks from unwanted gas and odor penetration. 
Once installed, the foam remains rigid and does not settle or sag as most other forms of insulation do. This means that it adds structural strength to a house while adding very little weight providing greater protection from high force winds.
How long does it last? Indefinitely. As an inert, long lasting polymer plastic, a house wall or commercial structure is the perfect place for Closed Cell Foam to do its job for a very long time.

Q: Is SPF just for new homes?  Can I use it in my existing home, garage, workshop, etc?

Existing homes can be upgraded to significantly increase energy efficiency and comfort. By insulating and air-sealing the underside of the roof deck and the underside of the floor in the crawl space with Spray Foam, existing homes can typically save 30-40% on heating and cooling

Ducts Leak: According to the EPA,  ducts are typically so leaky that more than 35% of the conditioned air is lost before it returns to the room the duct is trying to reach. This means that more than 20% of the energy used to condition the air in your home is being wasted. Improved energy efficiency and duct performance depends on completely sealing and insulating these ducts.

Ducts are under-insulated: In our hot southern summers, we are attempting to push cold air through the middle of a barely insulated and leaky pipe located in the middle of our superheated attics, where temperatures routinely reach 140+ degrees! 

By installing Spray Foam Insulation in your attic and crawl space, we can create an air-seal which significantly reduces the heating and cooling energy costs for your home and the attic temperatures will be reduced from 140+ degrees to an average 70-80 degrees year round. This will keep your home considerably more comfortable, quieter and maintain healthier indoor air quality.

Are you experiencing drafty rooms?  High energy bills?   

To reduce the cost of heating and cooling our homes, most homeowners assume that more insulation is the answer. The reality is, that air leakage is actually the biggest thief of your energy dollars. Well sealed homes are considerably more economical to operate and much more comfortable to occupy. There are no cold drafts or hot areas, only controlled air flows throughout the house. In most homes unwanted air-leakage allows moist, heated air to migrate into cooler areas, such as insulated walls and ceilings. Here vapor condenses, which leads to mold, mildew, rot,  and other moisture-related problems. (Insert link to video here)  Air-leakage is also a major source of allergy and asthma symptoms in most homes.

Home Envelope Air Sealing

The shell or “envelope” of a home is designed to protect occupants from outdoor elements. Air can escape through many obvious and not-so-obvious cracks and gaps around your home making your house feel uncomfortable and your energy bills costly.  Unfortunately, a typical residential home has large amounts of envelope air leakage through the windows, doors, and walls, as well as through attics and crawl spaces. This leakage allows air, moisture and outdoor pollutants to penetrate indoors and makes the home uncomfortable. Sealing air leaks is critical to improving the overall efficiency of your home and will make your heating and cooling system perform better. 

Air leakage in the home envelope and ductwork system causes an increase in heating and cooling costs and contributes to comfort, health and safety issues.  Weatherizing a home is one of the most cost-effective ways to make a home more comfortable and energy-efficient.  Proper weatherization includes home envelope air sealing, proper HVAC duct sealing and adding adequate insulation to the attic and crawl space.

Closed crawl spaces have been proven to save homeowners money on their energy bill.  By encapsulating your crawl space and converting the area into a "controlled" air space, you will lessen the impact it has on the indoor temperature of your home which will lower your energy costs and help create a more comfortable living area.

Q: What about venting?  If you spray the entire roof line or crawl space won't you be closing off the vents?
A: Unlike fibrous insulation, Closed Cell Foam does not need venting. Venting was designed to carry moisture out of fibrous insulation so it can maintain its thermal efficiency and minimize the damaging effects of condensate water in hidden building cavities. With Closed Cell Foam no air can enter into or through the product as it is a solid cellular plastic. Since no air or moisture can get in or around Closed Cell Foam, it need not be vented off. (Insert video link here) Closed crawl spaces have been proven to save homeowners money on their energy bill.  By encapsulating your crawl space and converting the area into a "controlled" air space, you will lessen the impact it has on the indoor temperature of your home which will lower your energy costs and help create a more comfortable living area.
Q: Can SPF really save 50% or more on heating and cooling?
A:

The vast majority of homes today have traditional fiberglass insulation because it is considered cheap to purchase and quick to install. Sadly installers may often skimp on proper installation. They may pack it in holes and spaces, cut out around plumbing and electrical and leave major gaps during installation. The actual performance of traditionally used insulation is dramatically reduced because of poor installation. The resulting gaps, voids, compressed areas and improper fit within the installed spaces, result in huge energy losses. It is estimated that as little as 3% of missed insulation area can equal a 50% reduction in the insulations effective R-value. Usually installers do not care that a stiff energy bill will soon show up after they leave.

Spray Foam is the very best insulation available today at any price. It not only insulates well, it stops air infiltration, has a low moisture permeability, stops condensation, does not support convection heat loss, and completely pays for itself in energy savings in a short amount of time. 

Often, builders and homeowners take for granted the installed pricing data of traditional insulation products as 'total costs' without taking into consideration the additional materials and labor required to complete a building using these poorly performing products. For example, they do not count the cost of building wraps, polyethylene, taping, spot foaming, caulking, etc. and the large amount of additional labor required when they attempt to seal a traditionally insulated home, if even done at all. The home owner ultimately ends up with a very poor air seal that result in considerably higher energy costs year after year.

  • SPF Reduces heating and cooling energy consumption and costs by 40 to 60% for the life of your home.
  • SPF Allows a 25 - 40% reduction in size of the HVAC system needed for the home.  
  • SPF Seals against unwanted air infiltration, which is 40 to 50% of home energy loss as determined   by US Department of Energy testing. 
  • SPF Currently qualifies for Federal Tax Credits. 

Today's homeowners should demand an insulation product that is Green, effective, safe, healthy, environmentally sensitive, and affordable not only in its purchase, but more importantly in the ongoing operating costs of the home. Demand the superior product, Spray Foam Insulation from FoamOne. We guarantee that your home will perform better than with any other type of insulation, as Spray Foam provides a 'complete solution' including thermal efficiency, air seal and moisture management system all-in-one, ensuring the most energy efficient and comfortable home for your family. 

You only insulate once, but you're going to pay Heating and Cooling energy costs forever.   

Thinking of replacing your old heating or cooling system?

Save money and energy costs by purchasing a smaller unit. Upgrade your insulation at the same time with sprayfoam and you can feel more comfortable with a smaller unit and lower costs. 

Q: Will SPF qualify for a tax credit?
A:

On February 17, 2009, President Obama signed a stimulus bill (The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009) that made significant changes to the energy efficiency tax credits. Tax credits for energy efficient home improvements are available in 2009 and 2010 for 30% of the cost, up to a combined $1,500.

The residential tax credit is available for these energy efficient improvements, placed in service in 2009 & 2010:

  • windows
  • doors
  • roofs
  • insulation
  • HVAC
  • water heaters

There are also tax credits for geothermal heat pumps, solar water heaters, solar panels, windmills, and fuel cells at 30% of the cost, without any upper limit.

See energystar.gov/taxcredits for details.

Note that Home improvement tax credits are available for home improvements "placed in service" from January 1, 2009 through December 31, 2010.

The tax credit for new windows, doors, insulation, roofs, HVAC and non-solar water heating (“eligible building envelope components” and “qualified energy property” (Section 25C)) are ONLY available for existing homes. 

There is a $2,000 tax credit for building a new energy efficient home, but it is ONLY available to "eligible contractors"; therefore, owner/builders may not receive the builder tax credit unless employed as eligible contractors. Home builders who qualify as eligible contractors are eligible for the $2,000 tax credit for a new energy efficient home that achieves 50% energy savings for heating and cooling over the 2004 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) and supplements. At least 1/5 of the energy savings must come from building envelope improvements.

Insulation Meets 2009 IECC & Amendments,  30% of cost, up to $1,500.  For insulation to qualify, its primary purpose must be to insulate. (example: vapor retarders are covered, siding does not qualify).

Must be expected to last 5 years OR have a 2 year warranty

Q: When my house settles, will the foam crack and separate from the studs leaving an air void?
(Settling and Foam Cracking)
A: Any product that is misapplied will not perform as stated on the technical data sheets.  This includes open celled foams which have the tendency to separate from surfaces in cold climates and form large air-pockets if off-ratio or if the surface is wet.  With closed cell foams in all types of construction, both residential and commercial, elongation and tensile strength numbers are greater than that of sheet rock and actually helps reduce the impact (nail popping and drywall separation in truss uplift) in both cooling and heating environments.  In both the NAHB and CCMC studies, the substrate actually separated from the studs while the foam remained intact retaining an air-tightness seal.
Q: Another insulation contractor told me that closed cell foam will lose 50% of its R-value over time.  Is there any truth to this?
(R-value Loss of 50%)
A: R-value loss with closed cell technology is very similar to that of most insulation in that the K value actually increased and decreased with temperature.  as temperature drops, thermal resistance (R-value) actually increases to a point (roughly 20F) and then declines slightly.  The overall average thermal resistance remains constant at the numbers stated on the technical stat sheets.

Thermal drift where the blowing agent (ba) is replaced by air over time... initially this impact is greatest in the first year or so of operation.  This is related to the initial R-value and Aged R-value numbers that are reported on technical data sheets.  The reduction in R-value is minimal (8.2 to 7) or somewhere around 15%.  This is why we stated Aged values or make the distinction between aged and initial.  The thicker the application, the more R-value is retained.  So thickness and density have an impact on the loss or migration of ba.  Skins also have an impact on ba drift.  Thermal resistance numbers are taken on samples without skins or core samples.  If skins have an impact on thermal resistance and drift, which we believe does and studies support, then numbers reported on technical data sheets may, in fact, be understated from the start.

R-value degradation of 50% of more is indicative of air movement within and through traditional insulation materials.  All traditional insulation materials other than closed cell foams rely on trapping still, dry air within the fibers or cells of those traditional products for thermal resistance.  These traditional insulation materials are fiberglass, mineral wool, cellulose and large open celled foams.  If air moves through the insulation with filtration or within the insulation as with convection thermal resistant (R-value) can be degraded by 50%.  This effect can be compounded by air pockets or gaps and seams in the insulation.  A 3% void area in a stud cavity can reduce overall R-value in that cavity by 15%.  Both of these number are reported in the ASHRAE Handbook and are based on actual research conducted on various products.

Closed cell foams insulation differently.  Trapping and insulating gas within millions of microscopic closed cells of the polymer matrix, closed cell foam is not affected by air infiltration; as a matter of fact, closed foams have been tested to meet air barrier requirements based on ASTM (E283) testing protocol.  By nature of being a closed cell foam and by having a very efficient R-value per inch, convection within the the stud cavity is eliminated as well.  Closed cell foams are the best system to properly seal a cavity.  properly applied, it will seal against any air filtration, due to "creep" - unseen imperfections in the stud cavity are sealed as well.  No seams, No gaps, No errors, No conductive or infiltration related R-value loss.

Q: Should I be concerned with the temperature of my roof deck if closed cell foam is sprayed directly against the heating.  Also, what happens if I have a roof leak?
(Hot Roofs and Roof Leaks)
A: Multiple studies have proven that non-ventilated roofs (spray foam applied directly to the underside of roof decks) do not significantly impact roof or roofing materials durability.  These studies have shown that roof deck temperature is more determined by roof covering color and roof orientation.  There is some heightened roof deck temperature with this application and most research has found that by not ventilating, roof deck temperatures have on average been found 2-3% higher than with ventilated roof decks.
Q: If closed cell foam is considered to be a vapor retarder, wouldn't it trap moisture inside the exterior wall assembly and create wood rot? (Trapping moisture in stud cavities)
A: Closed cell spray foams are used widely as a roofing system.  A roofing system by design is meant to keep water out and the interior dry.  Closed cell foam applied to the underside of roof decks keep the roof deck from moving due to temperature changes which result when the roofing materials on that deck are put under stress.  Because the foam adheres to everything very tightly, the roof moves less and the potential for nail loosening and popping and roof deck separation and leakage is less.  Should a roofing system fail due to poor workmanship or in some other manner, the closed cell foam beneath that deck will localize the leak.  In other words, without the foam, the leak could be somewhere near the peak and migrate through more porous insulation materials to some other point where the natural path of least resistance will allow the water to move until it collects causing damage to roofing and roof deck materials or leak into the structure itself, creating more damage.  Foam under a failed roof will prevent the water from migrating from where the actual penetration is, "localizing" it, thus reducing water damage to roofing substrates and the interior while making repairs easier and less costly to perform.

Although closed cell spray foam is a roofing system and will prevent air movement and air infiltration, it is still a "breather."  Moisture can and does "flow through" closed cell foams but at a much reduced rate and in microscopic amounts in between the cell structure of the polymer matrix.  With over and and half million closed cells filled with an insulation gas per cubic of this stuff, you can see how only very small amounts of moisture in vapor form can actually move through foam.  But it does.  Building with wet materials is often the case, but unless the entire surface of a web building material is covered and closed-cell foam moisture applied in vapor form has the ability to out gas in another direction.  Studies conducted by the University of New York have shows that throughout the year, it is common that building materials wet and dry in terms of elevated relative humidity of the material.  The relative humidity is of little concern as log as the percentages are below saturation point and the vapor becomes liquid water.  Once at saturation within the wall, there are still opportunities to find a way out of the cavity as conditions change and water returns to a vapor state.  The advantage of closed cell foams is that when moisture is present, the flow from hot to cold and more to less (2nd law of thermodynamics) are:

  • Moisture is reduced
  • Temperature differentials are lessened to reduce the potential for condensation
  • Air flow is reduced to prevent more moisture and introduction of unconditioned
  • Air into cavity and convective thermal insulation (R-value) loss
Q: If my house were to catch on fire, would the spray foam give off dangerous fumes?
(Off Gassing and Fire)
Basically citing the Tech Checks and the research done at the University of San Francisco and the University of Denver Poison Control Centers.  Everything does burn, if it doesn't burn and off gas something, then it melts and off gasses.  The University of San Francisco Fire Research Center, in a study funded by NASA, chose 300 commonly found household building materials (including closed cell spray polyurethane), burned them and collected data on smoke developed, flame spread and lethality of smoke in order to find out of the survivability potential in house fires.  What was learned was that polyurethane was slightly less dangerous in terms of off gassing, spread of flame and smoke developed than that of Spruce, Pine, and Fir.  The foam was slightly less dangerous that the wall assembly it is sprayed on.

The second test wasn't really a test but a long-term study on the health effects of living with cured polyurethane foam.  The results reported in the Journal of American Medical Associate confirmed that no long-term health risks are associated with exposure to cured polyurethane.  The study went on a bit to editorialize somewhat saying that many reports and news stories about the health affects and fire characteristics of spray polyurethane foam were unrealistic and unfounded in study.