Spray Foam Insulation FAQ
Why is choosing a CUFCA licensed spray foam insulation installer so important?
The Canadian Urethane Foam Contractors Association (CUFCA) specializes in sprayed polyurethane foam insulation. Their goal is to champion the Polyurethane Foam Industry as a whole, while sustaining high industry standards and encouraging ongoing professional development. CUFCA is responsible for training applicators to install spray foam insulation to the CAN/ULC S705.1 National Standard. It is extremely important to understand that spray polyurethane foam is “site-manufactured”. We purchase two different liquid components and combine the two components under heat and high pressure as it is being installed. The heat and pressure vary depending on the environmental conditions at each job, and are adjusted to ensure the spray foam has the proper density and adhesion/cohesion properties. Spray foam insulation is tested on every job site and the results are recorded and reported to CUFCA and kept on file. A sticker will be placed on your electrical panel that identifies the type of foam was sprayed, the installer’s name/license information, and the company name.
Can spray foam insulation be poured into an existing wall cavity?
No it cannot be poured into the walls. Spray foam is made up of two chemical components that mix at the tip up the gun at very high pressure and heat. As soon as the two components mix, they begin to react. It only take about one second to change from liquid form to expand to 20-30 times its original volume. If you tried to inject foam into a cavity, it would set up too quickly, and leave un-insulated voids. To achieve the best result, the wall needs to be opened up completely. This can be done by removing the drywall, or by removing the siding/sheeting on the exterior of the house. We tell our clients to think of it like spraying a coat of paint… to do the job right; you need to be able to see the area you’re spraying. This is the only way to know that the spray foam is applied properly and a perfect seal has been achieved.
Does spray foam insulation “off-gas”?
All manufactured materials will off-gas to some extent. Medium density spray polyurethane foam meeting the CAN/ULC S705.1 Material Standard is the only building product that is tested for occupant conditions. The industry has then taken an unprecedented stance and required that all manufacturers meet a maximum limit of 1/100 of the government allowable limit. Our manufacturer met this requirement in less than 24 hours.
How much does spray foam insulation cost?
The most accurate way to price out the spray foam insulation cost for your project is to contact our office and arrange for an on site estimate, or send us a digital copy of the plans for the project. While we can provide footage rates over the phone, it is always best to see the project to make sure that you have an accurate price to work from. While the up front cost of spray foam is higher than fiberglass, the cost is offset by lower utility bills, government grants/rebates (when available), the ability to downsize heating and cooling systems. Spray foam insulation will also add value to your home – The Home Appraisers Journal states that a home’s value increases $20 for every $1 of annual energy savings.
Doesn't my home need to “breathe”? / Can my home become too airtight?
Yes – your home needs to breathe, and it can become too airtight. If your home is perfectly sealed, then the indoor air quality will become poor because no new fresh air is entering the home to offset the carbon dioxide produced from breathing, fumes from cleaners, off gassing from paint/carpets/flooring, etc. This doesn’t mean that sealing your home is a bad idea – it means that you may need to consider installing a Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV), depending on how airtight your home is. HRVs have been used for the last 40 years worldwide to provide high quality indoor air into buildings for the benefits of the occupants. HRV technology is used for commercial and industrial buildings as well as residential buildings.
A genuine HRV system will provide the following:
- fresh air into a building,
- extract stale air from the building,
- filter the fresh air entering the building to remove pollutants,
- recover heat from the stale air using a heat exchange core,
- and transfer the recovered heat to the incoming fresh air.
HRV systems are fully ducted systems delivering fresh filtered air from outside the building (external to the building and associated roof space) to living and bedrooms and extracting stale air from high moisture areas such as bathrooms, kitchens and laundries. Typically, an HRV is able to recover 70 to 80 percent of the heat from the exhaust air and transfer it, via a heat exchanger, to the incoming air.