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Is Spray Foam Insulation Safe to Have in My Home? [Video]
Amanda Ringler

By: Amanda Ringler on April 12th, 2018

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Is Spray Foam Insulation Safe to Have in My Home? [Video]

injection foam insulation  |  spray foam insulation  |  FAQ  |  home insulation  |  home insulation safety

While doing your research on insulation for your home, you are probably finding conflicting reports on the safety of foam insulation.

This leaves you asking yourself if spray foam insulation is safe to have in your home.

The quick answer is yes, both our injection foam and spray foam insulation are safe to have in every area of your home.

You have to take what you read on the Internet or hear second hand with a grain of salt. Problems with spray foam insulation that may have been true 20 years ago just isn’t the case today.

RetroFoam of Michigan has more than 15 years of experience insulating thousands of homes across Michigan’s lower peninsula, so we get a lot of questions regarding the safety of foam insulation. We use the safest products offered on the market not only in your home, but our homes as well.

Let’s take a look at common safety concerns and clear up the misconceptions on the safety of foam insulation.

RELATED: Clearing Up Misconceptions about Spray Foam Insulation

Does Foam Insulation Off-Gas?

When you talk about off-gassing, your contractor will use VOC, or volatile organic compound.

Basically, it’s all of the little bits that are expelled while a material is being sprayed. Your hairspray, body spray, and anything you bring home from the dry cleaners has off-gassing. But let’s talk more about spray foam off-gassing.

Spray foam does off-gas and there are some health and odor concerns with off-gassing, but only when it happens in large amounts. When considering spray foam insulation for your home and you’re concerned about off-gassing, look for products that are labeled “low-VOC.”

That is the industry seal that means that there is a minimal amount of off-gassing. This low-VOC also means there is a lower re-occupancy time of around 2 hours.

The injection foam we install, commonly used for existing walls and cathedral ceilings, doesn’t have any off-gassing.

What is Foam Insulation Made Of?

The injection foam and spray foam insulation we install are both non-toxic and environmentally safe.

What is Spray Foam Insulation Made Of?

When spray foam is made, two liquids combine causing a chemical reaction creating the spray polyurethane foam. The two liquids come in different drums or containers, referred to as the “A” side and the “B” side.

The “A” side of a spray polyurethane system is made up of methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) and polymeric methylene diphenyl diisocyante (pMDI).

The “B” side is typically a blend of polyols, catalysts, blowing agent, flame retardant, and surfactant.

When the “B” side is introduced to the “A” side, there is a reaction that creates the foam.

The “A” and “B” side differ per the manufacturer. Most “A” sides will share components, but each manufacturer will have their own proprietary blend.

The main ingredients in the spray foam we install are water-blown and organic chemical compounds derived from petroleum extracts.

What is Injection Foam Made Of?

RetroFoam is a three-part resin injection foam. As the resin mixes with a foaming agent and water, it transforms into our injection foam insulation.

Our injection foam has the consistency of shaving cream that fills all of the nooks and crannies to create an air barrier.

Is Foam Insulation Flammable?

The foam insulation products we use are Class One Fire Rated.

This means if the worst were to happen and there was a fire in your home, the foam insulation doesn’t act as a catalyst. Once the flame is removed from the foam it will self-extinguish.

Does Foam Insulation Contain Formaldehyde?

The word formaldehyde strikes fear in the hearts of most homeowners, but you have to take into consideration all the things in your home that do have it in them.

These things include tobacco smoke, cosmetics, lotions, shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, keratin hair smoothing treatments, and some fingernail polishes, according to the American Cancer Society. Other items that have trace amounts of formaldehyde are crafters glue, caulk, drywall adhesive, some insulation boards, and some liquid detergents, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Now that we’ve looked at some of the things in your home with formaldehyde, let’s talk about foam insulation.

RetroFoam injection foam insulation has a trace amount of formaldehyde present in the dry product, but when it is mixed in our trucks the formaldehyde dissipates. This means the finished foam product installed in your walls is formaldehyde-free.

The spray foam products we use contain no formaldehyde at all. Since it’s a spray foam product, it doesn’t require the preservative properties of formaldehyde.

RELATED: Does RetroFoam of Michigan Use Formaldehyde-Free Insulation?

Learning More About Foam Insulation

If you would like to learn more about spray and injection foam insulation, head on over to our Learning Center.

Copies of the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) and Tech Sheets for the insulation products we use can be found on our website as well.

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About Amanda Ringler

Amanda previously has worked as a breaking news and crime reporter, TV news producer, and editor in Flint and Detroit. Throughout her career as a journalist, she has won several awards from the Detroit Chapter of Society of Professional Journalists and the Michigan Press Association. As part of the RetroFoam of Michigan family, Amanda uses her experience as a journalist to write content that will help educate homeowners on the benefits of foam insulation. When Amanda isn’t writing, she’s spending time with her husband and rescued huskies. She also loves knitting, making art, cooking, and hosting dinner and a movie night for friends and family.