Jennifer, I'm not an expert on the health effects of closed cell foam. A lot of people live in houses with closed cell foam and have no health problems from it, at least not short-term, acute problems. I do know of one person who had it removed from her crawl space because she was convinced it caused her dog to get sick, but I know only what she told me. Spray Coating
Roof coatings made with acrylics, urethanes or asphalt soften under the stress of ponding water or snowpack. Eventually, these roof coatings will bubble and peel away from the substrate, leaving your roof vulnerable to leaks, rot, and decay. However, GacoRoof’s 100% silicone formulation is designed to stand up to whatever the elements dish out. Silicone will withstand areas of ponding water without softening, bubbling or peeling from the substrate. Acrylic, urethane and asphalt roof coatings decompose and wear away from the stress of harsh sunlight, UV rays, and freeze-thaw cycles.
Yes, you're right that all of the problems mentioned above are related to the installer. I didn't try to hide that and even used the word 'installer' in two of the four headings. I can see how you'd think that the title is misleading, but in the end you can't separate spray foam insulation from its installation. Some people have the mistaken impression that if you get spray foam in your house, your home will outperform all others. My point here is that that's not true. Insulation Spray Coating
This is more common with closed cell foam, but it happens with open cell foam, too. Since closed cell foam has a higher R-value per inch, installers generally spray 2" in walls and 3" in rooflines to meet the energy code requirements of R-13 and R-19, respectively. (I'm not going to dive into the energy code here, but these numbers apply to many climate zones, the latter being allowed under the UA tradeoffs rule. See the Energy Nerd's blog on this topic if you want to argue.) Coating Services
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The process typically operates at 39–120 °C to avoid thermal damage. It can induce non-thermally activated surface reactions, causing surface changes which cannot occur with molecular chemistries at atmospheric pressure. Plasma processing is done in a controlled environment inside a sealed chamber at a medium vacuum, around 13–65 Pa. The gas or mixture of gases is energized by an electrical field from DC to microwave frequencies, typically 1–500 W at 50 V. The treated components are usually electrically isolated. The volatile plasma by-products are evacuated from the chamber by the vacuum pump, and if necessary can be neutralized in an exhaust scrubber. Spray Coating
Synavax™ thermal insulation coatings help organizations improve energy efficiency. They are nano-engineered patented cutting-edge thermal paint coatings that provide next generation performance beyond older, non-patented ceramic insulation products. Additionally, our products are eco-friendly and provide mold-resistant and anti-condensation properties without harmful biocides and other harsh chemicals, which is a significant plus for sustainably-minded companies. Coating Services
Heat Shield™ EPX–H2O is our #1 high temperature industrial protective insulation coating for equipment. It is a super-powered thermal insulating coating that is also chemical and corrosion resistant and cures within 2 hours to 2 days. Our best in class thermal insulating coatings are proven to solve the most difficult energy efficiency, corrosion, CUI, moisture, and safe touch problems of factories and industry around the world. Spray Coating Services
Sean, thanks for jumping in and answering John's questions. About choosing the right foam, I intentionally avoided the open cell vs. closed cell foam debate. I did this partly because it's worthy of an article all by itself, but mainly I didn't include it because, despite all the warnings the two sides issue about the other, I've never personally seen a problem caused by using open cell where they should've used closed cell or vice versa. I'm sure things like that happen; I just haven't seen it yet. Insulation Spray Coating
Proper storage: Since, paints and thinners are fire hazards, extra care must be taken not only while they are in use. Fire safety should also be considered when storing paint supplies. In the United States, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides guidelines for the proper storage of flammable materials. Many products used in spray painting are flammable such that fire risk is likely within a distance of 15 cm from the nozzle. As such, ignition sources must be placed at a safe distance. In addition, there is a risk of dust explosions when finely-divided paint particles become airborne.
Another type of thermal barrier that can be used instead of prescriptive or approved equivalents is a barrier that has been tested as an alternate assembly. Alternate assembly methods are used to get approval for various types of intumescent coatings. In order for alternate assembly products to meet code, they must be installed and used in the exact same way that the alternate assembly was tested in the laboratory.
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The standard prescriptive material that can be used as a thermal barrier is 1/2" gypsum board (a.k.a. drywall or sheetrock). Anything else has to be approved as an 'equivalent thermal barrier' by undergoing tests for temperature transmission and fire integrity. In some cases, however, you need only one test. According to the Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance (SPFA), "Under specific conditions, the temperature transmission test can be waived if approved by building code authorities on the basis of large-scale fire testing representing actual uses." (See their pdf document, Thermal and Ignition Barriers For The SPF Industry.) Spray Coating Services
New fire safety tests for intumescent coatings were created by code officials and the spray foam industry, and many manufacturers found their closed cell spray foams could pass the test without any intumescent coating. Some open cell spray foam can pass the fire tests without an intumescent coating, but most still require the coating. Approved closed cell spray foams do not need the ignition barriers discussed above, which can make the job easier for builders. Coating Services
Spraying paint with compressed air can be traced back to its use on the Southern Pacific Railway in the early 1880s In 1887 Joseph Binks, the maintenance supervisor at Chicago's Marshall Field's Wholesale Store developed a hand pumped cold-water paint spraying machine to apply whitewash to the subbasement walls of the store. Francis Davis Millet, the decorations director for the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893, used Binks and his spray painting system to apply whitewash consisting of a mix of oil and white lead to the buildings at the Exposition, taking considerably less time than traditional brush painting and tuning it into what has been called the White City. In 1949, Edward Seymour developed a type of spray painting, aerosol paint, that could be delivered via a compressed aerosol in a can. Insulation Spray Coating
Good article, but it seems like you can chalk up almost all of those problems to the experience level of whomever is spraying the foam. Spray foam isn't an inherently bad product, but it's pretty easy to botch if the hired company is inexperienced. Fiberglass may be foolproof to install, but then again it has a terrible R-Value compared to a good spray foam. People just need to get referrals and do their homework whenever they research a spray foam contractor.
The guys who sprayed my attic were trained and certified, but I later found out, too late, that they had no experience and my attic was the first they'd ever sprayed. I was also never told to vacate my house for any length of time, and so I (and my pets) were in the house the day they sprayed and the entire time the off ratio foam was filling my home with horrendous vapors. The company kept telling me that it was a good job and I had nothing to worry about, even after I'd had 2 other experienced sprayers from 2 different companies visually examine the foam and confirm that large areas appeared to be off ratio. The 3rd sprayer from yet another company, was also outraged because the company who did my attic had failed to vacuum up all of the old cellulose insulation, and he also noticed areas where the foam was shrinking or pulling away, and this was not even 5 weeks after the spraying. Coating Services
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Thermal barriers come in the form of 1/2-inch gypsum drywall or any material that is proven to have an equal fire resistance to gypsum wallboard. Additionally, alternate assemblies can be used if they have been tested in a laboratory and approved. Ignition barriers are a lower standard to meet, and can be satisfied with a number of different materials. Like thermal barriers, they can be substituted with equivalent fire resistant materials and alternate assemblies, such as an intumescent coating.
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Whether or not an intumescent coating, or even a thermal or ignition barrier, is needed often depends on the type of spray foaminsulation that builders use. Many closed cell foam sprays are already sufficiently fire resistant and need no additional barriers. Ultimately, whether or not you need an ignition barrier or thermal barrier varies depending on location and materials. You should check with your local code official to ensure that your insulation work is up to code. Insulation Spray Coating