Polyfoam: The Realities
How Entrenched Manufacturers Mislead Consumers
Not Only Is The Market Rapidly Expanding
The insulation industry is highly competitive. All of the big fiberglass insulation companies have seen the writing on the wall. They’ve been shutting down their huge factories at an unprecedented rate for several years now.
Yes, they’re ALL getting into the foam business. Yet they still have to move fiberglass insulation, with quite a ways to go before they can afford to shut down all those manufacturing plants.
So, they’re slowly changing over and still selling you on fiberglass – duplicitously “fomenting” distrust in the foam industry while “expanding” into it! Unreal, isn’t it?
A Little Knowledge PLUS Some Common Sense
Now that you know how safe these foam products are for humans and the environment (Read More), here are a few facts about their downside.
First, untrained people should NEVER install this material.
Consider a teaspoon of sand in the palm of your hand suddenly growing 100 times it’s size in just 1 to 2 seconds.
You would have more than two cups of pea-gravel sized pebbles spilling all over the floor.
Let’s say you breathed in 1/100th of a teaspoon up your right nostril just as it was expanding. In less than a second it would be plugged with a gluey substance surrounding all your nose hairs and intruding an inch or so up into your nasal cavity.
That’s not a “nose job” you would want regardless of your profile.
Spray Rigs Are Actually Called “Reactors”
That’s because of the chemical reaction of the liquid that becomes foam when the blowing agent and the resin come together and hit the air. Not only does it grow wicked-fast, it’s very sticky for a couple of seconds until it dries.
Like a can of spray paint, when the liquid comes out of the nozzle (and/or bounces off the surface being sprayed) it creates a very fine “mist” – which in split-seconds grows up to 100X as it falls to the ground. You might consider this an “over-spray” of sorts. It’s a miniscule amount, even after it grows – but it’s quite visible.
The liquid is being shot out of a nozzle very fast – at up to 5,000 lbs psi. It expands so much in volume and so rapidly that it could almost be weaponized. At the moment of application it’s almost as dangerous as a nail gun or circular saw. And it certainly isn’t something you want to be getting into your oral cavities.
That’s why only factory authorized trained technicians should be handling it.
Dries in Seconds, But the Smell?
Yes, it’s completely dry and cured in just a few seconds. Like “new car smell,” there’s an odor associated with the chemical reaction which isn’t the most pleasant, either – and some people can become “sensitized” to it if they don’t follow this TWO SIMPLE RULES:
1) Don’t be within 100 feet of the area being sprayed without an Air-Suit on with a Live Fresh Air feed
2) Stay away from a recently treated area for 24 hours or until the contractor releases the area.
While not as stinky as the average bathroom on a given weekday morning, the smell may linger for a brief period.
For these reasons installers wear air-supply suits, and people who aren’t involved in the application should stay away for several hours or until the following day once the operation is completed.
The Bottom Line?
We exclusively use spray and injected foams for insulation in our building component systems.
Go here to learn about the cost of too much insulation: The Zero Myth
To find out what ASHRAE says your R-value should be – and for more on how, where and why we use certain types of foam, click here: Insulation Applications