Spray Foam Coalition Offers Homeowners Tips on Selecting a Contractor

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Learn What to Expect During Installation Process

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Spray polyurethane foam can help homeowners keep their houses cooler during the summer because it resists the transfer of heat very well, but installing SPF is not a DIY project.

With summer just around the corner, many homeowners searching for ways to reduce air conditioning bills are considering installing spray polyurethane foam (SPF). Homeowners stand to reap many benefits from this insulation like reduced air infiltration that can lower energy costs and improve indoor comfort. When having SPF insulation installed, homeowners should work with a professional contractor who can fully explain the product and the installation process.

“Spray polyurethane foam can help homeowners keep their houses cooler during the summer because it resists the transfer of heat very well, but installing SPF is not a DIY project,” said Peter Davis, chair of the Spray Foam Coalition, an organization that is part of the Center for the Polyurethanes Industry of the American Chemistry Council. “It’s important for homeowners to select a professional contractor who can educate them on the product, installation process and industry best practices for building occupants and workers who apply SPF.”

The Spray Foam Coalition offers the following tips for consumers to consider when selecting a professional SPF contractor:

  •      There are several ways to find and select a professional contractor, including the membership directory of the Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance (SPFA), which lists contractors by area, and the contractor directory of the Insulation Contractors Association of America, which lists contractors by product and service.
  •      Always choose a spray polyurethane foam contractor that has appropriate training in SPF installation.
  •      As with other home improvement service providers, it is important to ask professional SPF contractors about their experience, training, insurance and licenses. It is also helpful to request that a contractor provide customer references.
  •      Homeowners should ask a professional contractor to explain the benefits of SPF; the appropriate areas to use it in the home; the properties of the product; and which type of SPF to use in your climate and application.
  •      Homeowners and contractors should discuss in detail what to expect during the installation process; mechanical ventilation needs during and after SPF installation; safety best practices; and how long people and pets need to remain out of the home or building.
  •      After SPF is applied and cured, it is considered to be relatively inert, which means the chemicals are finished reacting. Ask your professional contractor about the product’s curing time and safety practices, such as how the contractor plans to isolate and mark off the work area, and when it is safe to re-enter the space.

The Spray Foam Coalition also outlines some things to expect when having SPF installed:

  •      Installation time varies depending on the size of the job and the ease of access to the site. A small amount of SPF applied to a home’s interior can take as little as an hour or two to complete. Most homes can be completed in less than a day once any prep work is done.
  •      While the foam can be sprayed and completed in a matter of hours, people and pets need to remain out of the home for the amount of time recommended by the SPF manufacturer. The SPF contractor will limit access to the site to workers wearing proper personal protective equipment.
  • There are a number of variables that affect how long it takes for SPF to cure, including temperature, humidity levels and the SPF’s formula. Homeowners should discuss with their contractor the amount of time they need to wait before re-entering the home.
  •      The SPF contractor will extinguish all flames in the area where SPF is being applied, as well as in neighboring rooms and behind walls, such as pilot lights used in natural gas stoves or ovens, furnaces, water heaters and clothes dryers.
  •      SPF installers wear personal protective equipment during and immediately following the application of the product to avoid contact with the reacting chemicals.
  •      With proper installation and mechanical ventilation, SPF insulation is not odorous after it has been applied and allowed time to cure. If a homeowner is concerned about odors that they think may be related to the SPF installation, they should contact their contractor.     
  •      The contractor cleans the work site thoroughly before the homeowners and their pets, children and other service providers re-enter the space.

For more information about SPF and its benefits, visit http://www.whysprayfoam.org.

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) represents the leading companies engaged in the business of chemistry. ACC members apply the science of chemistry to make innovative products and services that make people's lives better, healthier and safer. ACC is committed to improved environmental, health and safety performance through Responsible Care®, common sense advocacy designed to address major public policy issues, and health and environmental research and product testing. The business of chemistry is a $760 billion enterprise and a key element of the nation's economy. It is the largest exporting sector in the U.S., accounting for 12 percent of U.S. exports. Chemistry companies are among the largest investors in research and development. Safety and security have always been primary concerns of ACC members, and they have intensified their efforts, working closely with government agencies to improve security and to defend against any threat to the nation’s critical infrastructure.

The Spray Foam Coalition (SFC) was formed in December 2010 under the American Chemistry Council’s Center for the Polyurethanes Industry (CPI). The SFC is a dynamic organization of companies that produce and sell polyurethane spray foam insulation systems and the chemicals and equipment necessary for their use. The SFC champions the use of spray polyurethane foam in U.S. building and construction applications by promoting its benefits, providing a forum to help shape public policy on issues critical to the industry, and supporting the safe manufacture, transport, and application of spray polyurethane foam.

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