Three Polyurethane Spray Foam Insulation Pointers

4At Intech Equipment and Supply, we often receive questions about polyurethane spray foam insulation and the best way to apply it.

Here are three tips to ensure that your polyurethane spray foam insulation jobs get done the right way:

1.    Get your ratio right. Two-part spray foam formulations require the correct ratio of “A” and “B” components for a proper chemical reaction to occur, which directly relates to the overall quality of the insulation. Unfortunately, being off-ratio can lead to sub-par spray foam quality, as well as toxicity problems. There are many factors that may impact your ratio and mix, and much of it can be tackled with the right equipment.

 

2.    Keep an eye on lift thickness. A lift is a single layer of spray foam, sprayed in one pass. Apply each spray-foam product at the specific lift thickness suggested by the manufacturer. For example, one company might allow for as much as six inches, but most recommend that lifts do not exceed one-and-one-half to two inches. Why? In closed-cell spray foam jobs, for example, if the lift is too thick, the chemical reaction produces a heat that can result in chemical breakdown of the foam. Conversely, with open-cell spray foams, there are not typically heat-of-reaction issues, yet the expansion rate can occasionally result in the formation of large spaces, or gaps, impacting the foam’s R-value.

 

3.    Focus on the substrate. The temperature of the substrate is critical, especially in colder-weather installations. Why? For starters, cold substrates can extract enough heat out of the reaction that your polyurethane spray foam insulation does not expand properly or adhere to the substrate. Alternatively, substrates that are too hot can also lead to issues. Be sure to check with your product’s manufacturer to confirm its high and low-temperature limits.

 

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