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Foam Sealant

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January 29, 2015

Recently the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been questioning the safety of foam sealants. Rendering the EPA, there is concern about the possible health effects that may result from exposure to products that contain uncured (unreacted) methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) and its related polyisocyanate found in foam sealants, coatings and adhesives. As well, the EPA is concerned about incidental exposures to the general population where uncured MDA is used, such as in homes and schools.

However, foam sealant or spray polyurethane foam is favored amongst many green builders due to the tight seal and high R value. The R value is a measure of how well insulation blocks or slows down heat transfer under specific laboratory conditions.

Importantly, foam sealants are not a health issue if it is cured. Moreover, most professional insulators are well educated in the use and application of polyurethane foam installation. But regrettably, when it comes to insulation, many home owners are overseeing their own do-it-yourself projects.

As of late, there are an increased number of subjective complaints about the health effects of spray polyurethane foam that is applied in the field. The biggest concerns are the “open cell” low density urethane foams. Nonetheless, spray urethane foam insulation should be exclusively installed only by a professional and should not be used for DIY projects. Unfortunately, there are countless circumstances where home owners permanently had to evacuate their new homes due to chemical sensitivity said to be caused by improper insulation.

Notwithstanding, many home owners decide to use a kit that claims to be a ‘quick cure’ for foam sealant. Although there are kits for do-it-yourself foam sealant insulation that offer a quick cure, it is highly recommended that homeowners seek the help of a professional.

Benefits of Foam Sealant

It is well known that foam sealants are the current preferred method of insulation with both contractors and architects. This is because foam sealants create an air seal. An air seal prevents moisture from entering the attic which in turn reduces the moisture in the rest of the house. Air seals also stop the heat from coming into the living area.

Using foam sealants as insulation allows lower humidity levels and better quality air. Moreover, foam sealant can reduce you utilities tenfold.

The Pros and Cons of Foam Sealant

Pros

Foam sealants have a wide range of pros, here are just a few:

  • High R value
  • Water resistant
  • Has a high expansion rate
  • Has a high expansion rate
  • Cured foam is firm can be trimmed easily, reducing maintenance

Cons

The cons are generally caused by DIY projects. This is another big reason why only a professional should install foam sealant.

  • Gaps can overfill quite easily
  • Applicators are easily clogged
  • After curing, it will not come off of clothing, carpet or upholstery
  • After curing, it will not come off of clothing, carpet or upholstery

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