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Bob in Austin
Spray Foam: is it safe?

In the 1970s Polyurethane spray foam came into the market. Some people had problems with formaldehyde allergies due to improperly cured applications. I believe there is also a kind of foam (not sure if it's a spray foam?) that produces cyanide gas if a home catches fire. What is the current status of spray foam insulation: are the products still formaldehyde-based or cyanide-generating, or have new, safer spray foam chemical solutions come to market? I recently toured a model home by Beazer in The Woodlands, TX that uses Certainteed's spray foam and sealant product applied directly to the underside of the roof, inside the attic (between joists) - even in a 90 degree Houston summer afternoon, the attic was 80 degrees and they even had a chocolate bunny sitting in the attic, unmelted, showing the amazing insulating efficiency of spray foam. Is this safe technology: Does it require other code requirements such as extra thick drywall, etc. to be considered fire barrier safe, etc? Just curious what TOH readers know; the technology seems very impressive.

Re: Spray Foam: is it safe?

The new product is not formaldehyde based. Very safe once is is cured. During the installation process the reaction the occurs off gases chemicals that can affect eyes and respiratory systems. Special Sheetrock is not required. I cannot quote the fire rating of a specific product. However most product does meet minimum fire ratings and there is a 2 hour fire retardant product available. Both open and closed cell foam offers amazing benefits to the consumer and significantly lower heating and cooling costs of a home when properly applied.

Re: Spray Foam: is it safe?

we use spray foam regularly on the homes we renovate and build.

the only precautions are that it has to covered by a minimum of 1/2" drywall for fire code, and that if the house is lived in currently is to stay out of the house during spraying and roughly 6 hours afterwords so the fumes dissipate

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