Icynene Spray Foam Insulation FAQ
Icynene spray foam insulation is an insulation and air barrier material that seals walls, floors and ceiling cavities against air movement, including spaces around electrical outlets and light fixtures and where walls meet windows and doors. Icynene spray foam insulation can provide an effective air barrier insulation to minimize air infiltration through walls and ceilings, preventing drafts, cold spots and energy loss. The performance of Icynene spray foam insulation means that humid indoor/outdoor air is restricted from entering the walls & ceilings and condensing, thereby minimizing the possibility of moisture entrapment & build-up within the wall & ceiling cavities. This is conducive to preventing building envelope failure due to moisture damage.
Icynene spray foam insulation products include half-pound, open-cell and two-pound, closed-cell solutions which can be used separately or in tandem within a project to provide long-term thermal comfort and air sealing. Icynene spray foam insulation products are installed by extensively training and licensed Icynene® contractors only.
Icynene spray foam insulation products are extensively tested in a range of different categories including, but not limited to, fire, emissions, sound transmission and energy performance. Icynene spray foam insulation products have been extensively assessed and evaluated by global product approval organizations including the International Code Council Evaluation Service, the Canadian Construction Materials Center and the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials Uniform Evaluation Service.
North American evaluation reports for Icynene spray foam insulation products can be found on the following US and Canadian websites:
Additional testing and evaluations have been conducted by the Saskatchewan Research Council, the Institute for Research in Construction, Health and Welfare Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Housing, Materials Evaluation Commission, the NAHB Research Center, the Oak Ridge National Laboratories and the Florida Solar Energy Center. In Europe, Icynene spray foam insulation have been assessed by the British Board of Agrément, ATec: Avis Technique, the EEA: European Economic Area and the VTT: European Technical Approval.
Typically, buildings expand and contract due to temperature differentials, moisture content, wind load and seismic etc. Closed-cell insulation cannot accommodate the movement of the building. Open-cell spray foam:
- Provides air sealing benefits in many applications at lower cost
- Vapor permeability supports bi-directional drying of assemblies – critical in warm climate zones/seasons
- Flexibility allows it to expand and contract with any movement of the building structure ensuring long term air sealing
- Water-blown product maintains a lower GWP (GWP 1) than most closed-cell products
For builders, Icynene spray foam insulation can reduce construction time by simplifying the insulation process and minimizing the number of callbacks due to building envelope failure as a result of air borne moisture entrapment and buildup within the cavities. Blower door tests have shown that houses insulated with Icynene and without polyethylene vapor barrier, measure 1.2 ACH @50 Pa. de-pressurization. This is well under the 1.5 ACH @ 50 Pa rating set out for some of the most stringent energy efficient home building programs such as R-2000 in Canada & Building America in US. With Icynene spray foam insulation, heating and cooling costs are typically reduced by up to 50%^ and smaller, less expensive heating and cooling equipment can be used because of the reduced heating and cooling loads.
For homeowners, Icynene spray foam insulation offers the opportunity of lower heating and cooling costs from reduced air infiltration and a more comfortable home, draft free without cold spots. Furthermore, Icynene's continuous air barrier capability will significantly reduce unwanted airborne noise from the outside resulting in a quieter interior living space. Proper mechanical ventilation must be provided to Icynene® insulated houses and when merged with an air to air heat exchanger like HRV or ERV, superior air quality can be achieved for a healthier indoor environment.
^ Savings vary. Find out why in the seller's fact sheet on R-values. Higher R-values mean greater insulating power.
Most Icynene spray foam products do not contain environmentally harmful blowing agents like HFCs, HCFCs or HFAs, in fact most Icynene spray foam insulation products are 100% water-blown making them better for the environment. Organic chemical compounds from petroleum extract are the main source of its ingredients. Additionally, our LD-R-50 product contains castor oil, a sustainable resource for a greener, cleaner future. VOC emission testing by Saskatchewan Research Council has revealed that there were no VOC emissions after 30 days.
Spray foam expands up to 100 times its original volume within 4-10 seconds. Independent studies indicate that with 24 hours' active ventilation after spraying is completed, Icynene spray foam insulation is safely cured.
No. However, water can work its way through the foam under pressure or by gravity force. When the foam is placed on water it will float and upon removal it will not contain any water and it does not lose any of its insulating properties. But, if it is immersed under water, water can be forced into the foam by the hydrostatic pressure; however, once it is removed from water and allowed to dry out, the original insulating properties will return.
Icynene’s open-cell spray foam insulation products are vapor permeable to allow water vapor molecules to flow through the foam. This means any moisture in the building's concrete or lumber can escape through the insulation as the building dries out, thus eliminating moisture that could cause rot or mold.
Icynene’s closed-cell spray foam insulation products are able to reject bulk water and block mass transfer of moisture that may cause mold.
No. Icynene spray foam products are chemically inert meaning they will not change chemically or physically over time.
Icynene spray foams are considered to be an environmentally preferred products due to their air sealing qualities which contribute to improved indoor air quality, reductions in energy consumption as well as greenhouse gas emissions. Icynene is listed in the industry-recognized GreenSpec® Directory and the Green Wizard directory. GreenSpec® products are selected based on independent research which ensures unbiased, quality information.
Complete details of the Flame Index and Smoke Index of all Icynene spray foam insulation products can be found in each product’s Technical Data Sheet.
No, flame retardants such as PBDE's (poly-brominated diphenyl ethers) are not contained in Icynene's formulations.
Smoke from Icynene spray foam, like that of all organic materials including wood, is a complex mixture of many gases. The major components in the smoke from Icynene® insulation are carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide. When there is a fire in the building, the dry wall interior finish will provide at least 15 minutes of time before Icynene® is involved in the fire. This will provide adequate time for egress of the building.
Icynene spray foams are safe for both you and the environment. Most Icynene spray foam products are water-blown, and do not emit HFCs or HCFCs. Extensive testing in North America have shown that no VOCs are detected after 30 days following installation. Icynene recommends that once sprayed, Icynene spray foam be allowed 24 hours with adequate ventilation to fully cure.
Icynene spray foam is ideal for use in homes for many environmentally concerned people.
Icynene foam insulation is installed by fully trained, licensed Icynene contractors who spray the solution into open building envelope such as studded walls, ceilings and floors. The solution can be safely sprayed directly onto electrical and plumbing.
For renovation projects, Icynene’s LD-CP-50 pour foam solution is used. This product is simply injected into small holes drilled into plaster or gypsum faced walls, or from the outside of the wall, whichever provides the easiest access to the cavities.
In each case, a fully trained, licensed Icynene contractor must install the product. Icynene foam insulation products are not Do-It-Yourself (DIY) products.
Icynene spray foam insulation has available since 1986. It has been used in excess of 350,000 buildings across North America. It is available in over 30 countries on four continents worldwide. It has been featured numerous times on television programs such as “This Old House” and “Your New House”.
No. Icynene spray foam insulation has been extensively tested and found to be safe. It has been safely applied over electrical wiring, as well as plumbing runs, for more than twenty-five years.
No. Icynene spray foam insulation is non-corrosive. This has been confirmed by extensive testing undertaken on behalf of Icynene.
Icynene spray foam insulation products do not offer any food value, therefore do not support bacterial or fungal growth. Furthermore, it also does not retain water, making it an unappealing environment for fungal spores. University of Texas has done an experiment on mold growth ability on three different insulation types (Icynene, fiberglass with foil face and fiberglass with vapor barrier). Icynene was found to be the best deterrent for mold growth among the types tested.
Icynene spray foam insulation offers no food value to rodents or pests. It should be noted that it would not present a barrier to their entry if they decided to gnaw through it. Therefore Icynene spray foam should not be considered a barrier to rodents or pests.
As an effective air-seal, Icynene’s range of open-cell, light-density spray foam products which eliminates the air gaps through which airborne sound travels. As a result, these spray foams are able to noticeably control mid-range frequencies noise, which includes the most common sounds, the human voice and stereo music. Icynene open-cell, light-density spray foam thereby adds to the acoustic property of the building envelope.
No. Icynene is not and does not contain urea formaldehyde.
No, Icynene foam insulation is stable. It does not shrink. The reaction that creates Icynene foam insulation is irreversible and it cannot break down into its constituent parts.
R-value is determined from a controlled laboratory test of an insulation's resistance to conductive heat flow.
- Icynene Classic (LD-C-50) has an R-Value of 3.7 per inch.
- Icynene Classic Max has an R-Value of 3.7 per inch.
- Icynene MD-C-200 has an R-Value of 6.75 per inch.
- Icynene LD-R-50 has an R-Value of 3.7 per inch.
- Icynene MD-R-200 has an R-Value of 5.2 per inch.
Closed cell foams that contain blowing agents, like HFC, HCFC or HFA, can suffer from reduced R-values as a result of blowing agent loss as air leakage takes place into the cell structure. The R-value of Icynene open-cell spray foams is generated by millions of tiny inter-connected, air-filled cells and the R-value does not decline as it ages.
The R-Values of insulating materials are measured in laboratories under ideal conditions and the conductive heat transfer property is the only property that is measured. However, in reality, convective heat transfer plays a big role when it comes to energy performance of a house. Icynene provides superior energy performance over air-permeable insulation because of its air barrier capability even though they both have similar R-values.
Extensive computer modeling and field data have shown that the energy performance of Icynene at much lower R-values almost always outperforms fiberglass insulation in the field due to its superior air-sealing ability. Hence, although we usually recommend lower R-values than fiberglass, Icynene's thermal performance in the field is superior in terms of the energy efficiency of a building.
Icynene spray foam usually gets installed just before drywall installation. Everything including the framing, windows, doors and electrical, plumbing inspections should be completed prior to the installation of Icynene spray foam. Typically, following the application of Icynene, the installation of 0.5-inch dry wall will provide the thermal barrier cover when required by the codes. It is best to always refer to your local code requirements and speak to an Icynene representative to ensure that you are meeting the requirements in your local area.
Speak to your architect and/or builder prior to designs are finalized and construction starts indicating that you want to include Icynene spray foam insulation in your home/building. Then, contact Icynene or visit the Dealer Locator on www.icynene.com to get detailed contact information of your three nearest licensed Icynene dealers. Our licensed dealers can speak to you about how to successfully include Icynene in your home.
In an occupied space, you need a thermal barrier adjacent to either low density or medium density foam - this could be ½ inch gypsum board, or from the code prescribed list in 2603.4, depending on the spray foam section of your local code. See each Icynene spray foam product to check which paint-on or spray-on thermal barriers can be used.
If the space is unoccupied, you don't need a thermal barrier.
This depends on your local code requirements; it’s affected by climate and the elements in the building envelope.
This depends on your local code requirements. ICC code allows Icynene spray foam insulation to be installed with less than the prescriptive minimum R-value and still meet the intent of the code.
Compliance based on simulated energy performance requires that a proposed residence (proposed design) be shown to have an annual energy cost that is less than or equal to the annual energy cost of the standard reference design that is based on the minimum prescriptive standard. When the air tightness of the building envelope is factored into the computer calculations, the building will require less R-value than the prescriptive level mandates. Typically the R-value can be reduced by 20-25%, depending on the code version that is being used.
See 2006 / 2009 / 2012 IBC (IECC) Section 506 - Performance-Based Compliance.
Icynene insulates and air-seals to control unwanted random air leakage – which traditional cellulose and fiberglass insulation can’t do without the use of extra sealing materials. Traditional insulations can also leave gaps and seams around electrical boxes or light fixtures (compromising performance), but Icynene fits perfectly around all detailing for a complete air-seal. The result is a healthier and more efficient home.
Icynene seals tiny cracks and penetrations that would otherwise allow unwanted airborne irritants to invade the living space. Home occupants are protected from outdoor allergens, pollutants, and humidity. Icynene makes it easy to get a tight fit around wall openings, such as windows, electrical/cable service entry points, and light fixtures.
Icynene’s 100% water-blown light density spray foam makes it an even healthier option for homeowners. Icynene is recommended for spaces occupied by people with allergies, asthma and other particular respiratory issues.
Most of the damaging moisture within a building envelope is the result of air movement through the cavities. When warm air meets a cold surface within a cavity, it condenses; and if not found in time, it can lead to mold and rot. Icynene creates continuously insulated, tight walls and ceilings – exactly the leak-free building envelope that is needed to minimize the potential for moisture, condensation and mold. Icynene has been tested and proven not to be a food source for mold.
There are no blowing agents such as CFC’s (chlorofluorocarbons) or HCFC’s (Hydrochlorofluorocarbons) in Icynene’s light density products. Spray foam insulation is produced by mixing 2 components at a high temperature, which causes the foam to atomize
during installation. This process creates an odor and requires venting. As soon as the foam “cures” (or sets), which occurs within seconds, it no longer produces the odor. It usually takes about 24 hours for the odor to completely dissipate.
The answer is, you have to build tight and ventilate right. With the proper use of exhaust fans and heat/energy recovery ventilators, a building envelope can be made tight while clean, healthy air is circulated through the structure. Air leakage needs to be controlled in houses by making wall and attic assemblies as tight as possible. This not only prevents drafts but reduces the amount of airborne noise and dust from entering the building while ensuring that insulated cavities remain moisture-free.