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Are all Foams Created Equal?

There are many types of foams developed for many different applications.

Types of spray foam

It is important to fully understand the foam industry so you don’t use the wrong foam or have someone apply the wrong foam in your project. Not only do you need to choose the right density of foam you need to fully evaluate the Manufacturer of each. There are many new manufacturers of foam that have popped up in the past 3 years and many of their foams seem to be not ready for market. Some foams experience shrinkage or problems cracking after 3 or 4 years. Make sure the foam you spec has not been reformulated in the past 5 years.

Everyday inferior, experimental foams are being sprayed in new homes and buildings. It takes many, many years to perfect the blending of all the chemical and natural ingredients that make up the foam recipe. Some of these foams are being made by companies that are trying to get into the foam business because they see the potential or are losing market share because of their traditional insulation is being lost to foam.

Our industry is young we still have no real state or federal guidelines in place to police the foams that are being formulated and applied in our buildings today. Most of the information we see from the new foam companies are just plain wrong, misleading or incomplete. What can you do? You must turn to the International Code Council.

The best Foams with perfected chemical formulas (or recipes) have been tested or approved by the ICCl. IT’S VITALLY IMPORTANT YOU KNOW THIS INFORMATION WHEN SELECTING WHICH FOAMS TO SPEC IN YOUR PROJECT! The ICC evaluates products to determine if all their ASTM test information is correct, and has not been falsified. (Anyone today can type up an official looking document.) They also evaluate the products to ensure that it can be installed according to International Building Codes. They specify if certain restrictions or exemptions to code may apply. If this process has been successfully completed by a manufacturer, they will be issued an ES-Report. If you are looking at a foam product, you should go to the ICC website (link) and see if that product is listed. There has been at least 40 different foams submitted to them and only a few have passed the tests.

Some manufacturer’s tend to “market test” their foam which means they put it out for a few years to see if there a problem develops. If so they try a new formula. They submit the perfected formula for testing after they have found the problems have gone away. They used you and your building to perfect their formula. This can leave an architect vulnerable to a lawsuit in case of a fire or some failure on the part of the spray foam. We have many times in the past been hired to fix the problems of a contractor who has since gone out of business. It ended up costing the customer money and the architect some credibility since he/she included that product without checking into its viability.

Also visit – How to choose a spray foam contractor


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