What to Expect When Having Spray Polyurethane (SPF) Installed by a contractor

What to Expect When Installing Spray Foam Insulation

As with any professional you would hire to work in your home or office, there are a few things you might want to look for in a professional spray foam insulation contractor

What to Expect?

When you are having spray polyurethane foam (SPF or spray foam insulation) installed by a professional, you should be informed about the kind of SPF that the spray foam insulation contractor is going to use in your home. Here are a few things home or business owners should consider when working with a spray foam insulation professional.

What you should do before choosing a spray foam contractor

Learn about SPF products and the process. A great way to learn about spray foam insulation process or products used in installation in your home or business is to ask your contractor.

Ask for an explanation of the different types of spray foam products available, their performance, and how it will change your building’s characteristics. An experienced spray foam insulation contractor can discuss the specific chemical materials that will be mixed to make foam, and will have access to all their Safety Data Sheets (SDS) available during the job. If you have any questions about the chemicals that will be mixed to make the finished foam product, or what to expect during and after the spray foam installation, you can ask your contractor to review the SDS with you.

Choose your contractor carefully

As with any professional you would hire to work in your home or office, there are a few things you might want to look for in a professional spray foam insulation contractor or insulation removal contractor include:

  • Training on best practices for spray foam insulation and certification in SPF installation
  • A good reputation with references
  • Insurance
  • Knowledge of SPF products and materials

The spray foam contractor should be able to advise you on the following:

  • Where to install SPF insulation in your home or building (and what type)
  • What to expect throughout each stage of the SPF installation
  • Safety precautions and technical specifications for the products being installed
  • If there is a need for you to leave your home during the installation, and an appropriate time after installation.

As an added service, your spray foam contractor may also offer guidance on how to take advantage of local and federal utility rebates and tax credits.

Understand re-occupancy guidelines

The home or commercial building should not be occupied during the installation process. Before the job starts, you can consult with your contractor for guidance about the time period people and animals may return to the home or building following spray foam insulation installation.

The length of time before re-occupancy depends on a number of factors including: SPF formulation, the amount of foam applied per volume of space, temperature, humidity, ventilation, and other variables. In an interior application, using two component high pressure SPF, some manufacturers recommend at least 24 hours before re-occupancy. For an interior two component low-pressure SPF application, some manufacturers recommend only a one hour re-occupancy time. Ask your contractor about the suggested re-occupancy time appropriate for your installation to minimize potential risk.

If you live in an apartment complex or work in a commercial building where two component SPF insulation is being installed, consult with the building manager or spray foam contractor regarding the measures being taken to keep building occupants away from potential exposure while the foam is being installed.

The spray foam contractor’s role and responsibilities

Safety of occupants and effective installation

Your contractor should review details about the entire project, including safety measures they will have in place on the job. Safety measures may include items such as:

  • Steps taken to minimize over spray and control dust (protecting exposed surfaces from SPF over spray by covering them and/or masking the exposed areas off)
  • Isolating or marking off the work area
  • Ventilation of an interior application, such as opening windows and/or setting up fans
  • Extinguishing all sources of ignition in the spray area, adjacent rooms and behind neighboring walls, including pilot lights to gas stoves, dryers, furnaces and water heaters
  • Clearing the area of children, pets and other workers or adults without protective gear until the building can be safely re-occupied

During spraying, expect the contractor to:

  • Limit site access only to trained professionals using the appropriate protective gear, which includes eye protection, respiratory protection, and full-coverage clothing
  • Take precautions to avoid high heat or flame sources near the installation site

Upon completion of the job, the contractor will clean the work site thoroughly so occupants can safely re-occupy the building.

Best practices for proper storage, handling and disposal of SPF materials

Your contractor must be well informed of acceptable workplace practices regarding safe storage, handling, and disposal of used SPF product containers which can be as large as a 55-gallon drum. Once empty, the spray foam contractor typically arranges for the drums to be recycled or disposed by a professional authorized to handle hazardous containers.

The bottom line: Be sure to research your spray foam installer and learn about their safety protocols. Spray foam insulation has been effective in reducing heating and cooling costs for homes and commercial buildings; however the risks with improper installation and exposure to the SPF chemicals at any time of the process may outweigh the benefits. It is important to use a professional spray foam contractor, give HQ Spray Foam a call to find out more about the SPF process and best practices.

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