Is there long-term off-gassing from polyurethane closed-cell spray foam insulation?


first of all - don't panic about the polyurethane foam. PUF is not the same as UFFI from the seventies, but it does have problems if not done correctly. personally, i never use the stuff in any jobs and i think its going to go the same way of UFFI for ecological reasons. THAT DOES NOT MEAN YOUR HOME IS UNSAFE OR THAT ANYTHING IS WRONG!!!

essentially, spray insulation is a foam that forms and hardens once two chemicals are mixed in very specific proportions. if all the metering equipment is 100% accurate and calibrated, then both chemicals react in their entirety and there is no outgassing. however, if either of the proportions is off, you get almost all of it reacting with a small residual left that didn't react. it can be either chemical A or chemical B.

there are two major types of foams: polyurethanes and polyisocyanurates. now in most spray foams, there are two parts - the resin (which becomes the solid part in the foam) and the catalyst (which causes the bubbles...

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All right. As soon as you see a headline beginning with "Losing Their Health and Homes to..." you should know that last thing the author has in mind is making your life better. The article is nothing more than atrocious clickbait. Do not make fundamental changes in your life or your home based on what somebody wrote purely to sell internet advertising.

Now, the EPA article can be trusted. But Margaret Badore, the author of "Losing Their Health...", is citing it in support of her super scary thesis. Does the EPA article actually say that SPF in your home is dangerous? It does not. Does the EPA article say you should be worried about SPF in you home? It does not. What it says is that the EPA is not absolutely certain that SPF poses no long-term danger.

In other news, the EPA is also not absolutely certain that composition decking, gas water heaters, iron nails, and NEST thermostats pose no long-term danger. Citing this EPA article in support of the long-term dangers of...

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I am considering having Bayer’s Bayseal closed cell spray foam insulation (“SFI”) installed in the attic and basement rim joist at my New Jersey home. I am interested in hearing thoughts on the recent concerns over off-gassing of the SFI that I have been reading about. My questions assume SFI installation gets done correctly (I have read about the improper installation problems causing odors). Anyway, the issue of concern/interest for me is long-term off-gassing AFTER a properly done SFI job. None of the information on off-gassing I have seen draws a bright line between (i) the risks of SFI off-gassing during installation/before the SFI materials cure VERSUS (ii) risks of off-gassing in the post-curing period – the long run, i.e., a few days after the SFI cures and the ensuing months and years when the home is occupied.

It makes perfect sense to me that during spraying of SFI and a few days after the cure, there will be odors and off-gassing. But it seems to me that a few...

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How It Works

The transfer of heat is slowed down with fiberglass insulation because the glass fibers trap air bubbles. These bubbles create an insulating effect by slowing heat exchange between areas and surfaces.

Spray foam contains a polymer, such as polyurethane, and a foaming agent. After being sprayed, it expands to roughly 100 times its original volume and hardens into a solid. As a result, it is able to fill vacant air gaps, and will expand and contract in relation to the building.

Types of Spray Foam Insulation

The two types of spray foam insulation are open-cell and closed-cell. Each kind has its advantages and disadvantages, based on insulation needs and costs.

Open-cell foam means that the cells are broken and air fills the gaps inside the material. Open-cell foam is thus softer and less structurally stiff than closed-cell foams, where the cells form a cohesive structure. The closed-cells hold their shape as they are filled with gas,...

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Spray foam insulation extruding from a duct.

Spray foam is a chemical product created by two materials, isocyanate and polyol resin, which react when mixed with each other and expand up to 30-60 times its liquid volume after it is sprayed in place. This expansion makes it useful as a specialty packing material which forms to the shape of the product being packaged and produces a high thermal insulating value with virtually no air infiltration.


Otto Bayer (1902-1982) is credited with the invention of polyurethane in 1937. He succeeded in synthesizing polyurethane foam by exploring his basic idea that mixing small volumes of chemical substances could create dry foam materials.[1]

Polyurethane was further developed for different applications, ranging from shoe soles and cushions to industrial uses. In the 1940s rigid foam was applied to airplanes,[2] and in 1979 polyurethane began being used as building insulation.[3]

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Yes, there is a 24-hour window upon application of the liquid that spray foam insulation off gassing may occur, though it is unlikely. Regardless, during this 24-hour window, the insulation needs time to harden and get into its correct position, so its wise for people to avoid those areas anyway.

In this 24-hour period, it is plausible that spray foam insulation off gassing could occur, though the occupants or owners of the property should not be present, and the insulation technicians will be the only ones who could be affected, and they have protection masks with filters for breathing. Icynene manufacturers revealed that within the first 24 hours of application of spray foam, the minor off gassing that occurs is well within the national guidelines for such an activity, and so you certainly should not worry.

What you may want to worry more about is the nature of the liquid expanding in the air. There have been stories where homeowners attempted to capture the...

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Spray-polyurethane foam (SPF) insulation, growing in popularity, is under scrutiny from EPA. What's a homeowner or builder to do?

A friend of mine used to be a long-haul truck driver. At one point he even became a trainer working with new drivers.

Over dinner recently, I asked what was one key lesson that he would want to impart to any new driver. While he was thinking about it, his wife lit up and offered this advice (which I'm sure is not from the company manual): make sure your seatbelt is removed before you begin a hot swap.

In trucking, a hot swap occurs in a truck being driven by a team of two drivers when they are in a real hurry to make a delivery. When one is ready to take a break and turn the wheel over, rather than taking the time to stop, they may decide to trade places while the vehicle is moving down the highway.

Hot swapping green building techniques

While I'm sure that experienced drivers can "hot swap" quite, um, professionally,...

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Closed-Cell Foam

Closed-Cell spray

Polyurethane foam

is highly dense and when sprayed expands up to 30 times its original liquid volume producing an R-value per inch of 6.4+. In Closed-Cell spray foam, cells or bubbles in the foam are compacted together, are not broken and each is filled with an inert gas selected to make the insulation value of the foam as high as possible. An example of Closed-Cell foam insulation that we benefit from every day would be the insulation found in your refrigerator and freezer.

The advantages of Closed-Cell foam include its strength, higher R-value, and greater resistance to the leakage of air or water vapor making it ideal for windy, damp and water prone locations, such as coastal areas, below grade, crawl spaces, or for the whole house. For many of our clients, Closed-Cell foam is the product of choice. While more expensive than Open-Cell foam because of its density, at 1 inch thickness Closed-Cell foam develops an air barrier and at...

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Polyurethane foam is very effective, but must be installed carefully to prevent toxic off-gassing.

What is polyurethane foam?

Polyurethane is a commonly used material for foam, and combines the best qualities of plastics and rubber. It's often used to create the padding in car upholstery and seating, as well as in cushions for furniture.

Where it comes to insulation though, it can be put to use in two separate ways – as rigid foam panels, or as a spray foam. While the panels act very much like batts in their installation and application, the spray foam method can be used to completely cover and seal a wall from air (and sometimes moisture), which can make for significantly higher R-values.

How does polyurethane foam insulation work?

The rigid polyurethane foam panel insulation is usually installed in sheets between the inner and outer wall - or cut to fit in between joists or wall studs in a frame like batts are.

Much like polystyrene,...

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Many Types of Foam

According to the polyurethane foam association over 1.8 billion pounds of flexible polyurethane foam (FPF) products are produced annually in North America. There are many different types of foam out there; they are all based on altered forms of plastic filled with micro bubbles.

Some examples of FPF products are: polystyrene foam, polyethylene foam, styrofoam, and polyurethane foam. Polystyrene foam (often blue) is used in rafts, life preservers, and insulation wraps for residential homes. Polyethylene foam is used in cushions, pillows, and beds. Styrofoam is usually white, and typical uses are white foam for coolers, mugs, or cups (e.g. coffee/ or hot chocolate). Finally, polyurethane foam is a yellow type of foam for roofing, insulation, refrigeration warehouses, foam boards. Foam roofing is one of the most common polyurethane foam applications.

Foam Roofing Myths

There are probably as many myths as there are types of foam. Some of...

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I fully intended to replace the original floors in my shipping containers with new plywood, although I was not looking forward to the work involved. I had read of the chemicals used to treat the plywood floors and the potential health risks to humans, so I really didn’t think I had a choice. Everything that I had read though focused on Basileum SI-84 as the chemical of choice for plywood in shipping containers. When my containers arrived, I was surprised to find that they were treated with Radaleum FHP-60 instead of Basileum – not that I knew what Radaleum FHP-60 even was.

Container data plate

To find out what the plywood flooring has been treated with, you need to look at the container data plate. This should be attached to a door of the container, although they could be missing from containers that have been removed from service. The plate will have a section called “timber component treatment” with three parts separated by forward slashes. The first part “IM”...

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