You’ve laid out all the plans for your foam insulation installation, but you are worried about fumes and whether you’ll need to vacate your home for a while. There are various forms of foam insulation, and some have a longer re-occupancy time than others. This article educates you on the health hazards associated with foam insulation, how to protect yourself from them and the different types of foam insulation you can consider. And, of course, if you are looking to hire an experienced insulation contractor, head over to www.stellrr.com.
But first, here’s e everything you need to know about foam insulation installation and its health and safety implications.
Types of Foam Insulation
While most people think of spray foam insulation at the mention of foam insulation, we also have injection foam insulation. Both foam insulations contain almost similar properties, but their installation techniques are different, as are the areas where they are installed.
Injection Foam Insulation
Injection foam insulation is installed in enclosed cavities on your walls. This can be done from the outside of your home, so there’s no need to remove any drywall.
Spray Foam Insulation
Spray foam insulation is widely known for its thermal performance and energy efficiency. Spray foam insulation is made from polyurethane foam which also makes memory foam mattresses and couches. It has a high R-value (measuring unit for insulation capacity), which translates to exceptional thermal insulation.
Spray foam insulation seals the envelope of your entire home, minimizing ail filtration. Also, it can be easily applied to tricky areas such as low crawl spaces throughout the foundation and attic corners.
Benefits of Installing Spray Foam Insulation
- Durable Insulation – If maintained properly, spray foam can last a lifetime. You need not worry about replacing it any time soon!
- Airtight Seal – Spray foam insulation stretches and fills out cracks in your walls and attic. This makes it impossible for air to flow through them anymore.
- Lower Energy Bills – Are you spending way too much money on utilities? Spray foam insulation installation reduces the energy escaping your home, consequently reducing how much you spend on cooling or heating your home.
- Stronger Home – Spray foam insulation adds an extra layer to the structure of your home. This adds to the durability of your home and also muffles the sound outside of your home.
- Impermeability to Water – Spray foam insulation is impermeable to water. As such, the insulation won’t absorb water in case of a flood, and it protects your crawl space and attic from moisture around the structure.
Cons of Spray Foam Insulation
- Demands Professional Insulation – Spray foam insulation installation isn’t just another DIY project for you to hop on. Spray foam cures pretty fast, and you can’t change its shape afterward. If any gaps are left or some areas are missed, your insulation won’t be as effective as anticipated.
Risks and Health Effects of Spray Foam Insulation
Now to answer the big question, can I be inside my home during the foam insulation installation?
No. Spray foam insulation is a non-toxic, inert substance once it has cured properly. However, the foam emits a gas during the curing stage that may trigger different physical responses in people. You may experience respiratory distress or blurred vision due to the emitted fumes. As such, it may be best to wait until the foam insulation is properly cured before reentering your home. The waiting period is usually at least 24 hours after the insulation, and while you may notice odors shortly afterward, they should subside quickly.
Chemicals in Spray Foam Insulation
Spray foam insulation contains different chemicals that ensure its flexibility to fit any crack or crevice in your house and durability. It is made of polyurethane, which has two liquid chemical parts that are mixed on-site by contractors. The first part contains isocyanates, and the second part contains polyol, flame-resistant chemicals and amine catalysts. When mixed, these chemicals emit fumes that are dangerous to inhale.
Amine catalysts cause skin and eye irritation and can even cause Glaucoma. Inhaling fumes from the chemical mixture can severely irritate your lungs, causing respiratory difficulties. Also, the flame-resistant properties may be carcinogenic and shouldn’t be handled with bare hands or without protective gear. Isocyanates also contain dangerous properties that could cause or aggravate asthma.
While we recommend against reentering the home before 24 hours, there is little to no health risk from lingering outside in the fresh air. Of course, you’ll need to arrange someplace else to sleep and eat at least for a day.
Spray foam insulation installation has significant benefits and is certainly a worthwhile investment. But for the love of mercy, leave the installation to experienced professionals.