Recently CBC Marketplace aired a program about spray foam insulation. You may have seen it - but I believe it was not well researched and was based upon just one incident in Canada by an untrained installer.
This is how they promoted their program:
CBC Marketplace: Renovation Nightmare
"Canadians are installing spray foam insulation in their homes in ever-expanding numbers. It’s sold as energy-efficient, easy-to-apply solution, but when the job goes wrong, it can be a nightmare for homeowners. Tom Harrington takes you inside the walls and up into the attic to explore a home renovation horror story, a foul-smelling foam job that’s driven a family from its home."
Ed Brassington, President and owner of Georgian Insulation (www.georgianinsulation.com) covering Barrie and central Ontario, is a well respected and a longtime spray foam insulation expert and advocate. Ed has responded to the CBC market place program - with the following detailed overview of where they went wrong. Spray foam insulation is safe - when it is properly installed by well trained, certified professionals.
So make sure you get credentials and references before you buy spray foam insulation services. The CBC Story Was About An Application Mistake And Should Not Have Been About Dangerous Spray Foam Insulation.
If spray foam is installed in applications that are too thick, usually depths that are greater than two inches, then the foam will not cure properly. The foam cures from the outside - in, and as it cures it creates heat, this heat becomes trapped inside the foam (because foam is a great insulator). The resulting exothermic reaction distorts the cell structure resulting in soft, uncured foam. This can result in odours.
This issue on CBC Marketplace was simply because the installer installed the foam incorrectly, it was applied too thick - in one pass. It is crucial to allow the foam to cure between layers and this was the application mistake.
Canadian Spray Foam Has Higher Standards. Spray foam in Canada has to have a CCMC certification number. This means that it has been tested and meets the criteria of the National research council of Canada ( NRC) . The Canadian testing standards are among the highest in the world. However, some unscrupulous installation companies are bringing in cheap non certified foam from the USA and offshore. Spray foam in the USA is literally half the price of spray foam in Canada, because it has not been tested to our high standards and may not meet the Canadian requirements.
Not All Spray Foam Insulation is Bad. There are tens of thousands of buildings in Canada that have been successfully sprayed with remarkable results and extremely satisfied customers. CBC had to go all the way to Florida to find another similar story - In my opinion that does not indicate a problem with spray foam insulation usage in Canada. It indicates a problem with one unscrupulous company that did not ensure it's applicators are properly trained.
Spray foam in Canada has to have a CCMC # from the National research council of Canada before it can legally be sprayed. The manufacturer and the installation company and the installer have to be certified through CUFCA or Morrison Herschfield or an equivalent quality control organization. It is through the efforts of these third party organizations that spray foam has gained the popularity and trust that it has. All Reputable Companies are Certified and Trained to Install the Product Properly. Somebody messed up in this CBC case, as with all industries and trades out there, somebody did not follow the product installation guidelines. It does not make all spray foam insulation bad.
How many buildings have failed because of poorly installed fiberglass insulation? Where is the news story on those buildings? How many walls have rotted because of warm moist air passing through fiberglass insulation, condensing on the exterior surface and leading to rot and mold issues. How many attics have mold because the fiberglass insulation is not able to properly stop the heat passing through into the attic space? The Installation Company Should Have Taken Responsibility The company installing this product should have stepped up and taken care of the issue, they obviously did not. CBC Marketplace should have allowed CUFCA or BASF to present information on the quality control programs that they have in place in order to present a true balanced story. Both CUFCA and BASF have insurance programs in place to help remedy situations like this, to the best of my knowledge neither organization has ever had to use this fund to take care of a problem.
Spray Foam Insulation is one of the Most Tested and Scrutinized Construction Products on the Market. Spray foam is not Urea Formaldehyde, it is not fiberglass. It is far superior and is in a class of it's own. I am proud to sell and install spray foam insulation every day, it is simply the best product to hit the construction industry in a hundred years. I am disgusted by the companies that do not train their installers properly, and those that refuse to follow the guidelines and recommended protocol, and those companies that do not stand behind their work. Either do the job properly or get out of the business and leave it to those of us that truly care about improving the efficiency of buildings, and that care about our customers well being.
Georgian Insulation is based in Oro Medonte. We cover all regions around Barrie, Orillia, Collingwood, Bradford, Alliston, Midland, Gravenhust, Simcoe County, Muskoka, Haliburton, Dufferin, North York, Grey and Bruce.
Contact Us for a Free Quote - Call 1-866-576-9338 or go to our website www.georgianinsulation.com and fill out our form.