Education

Choosing the Right Applicator

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The trade contractor who applies your spray foam insulation MUST be an experienced, diligent professional, well-versed in not only general spray foam application, but also adept at applying the particular brand of spray foam you’ve selected. For this reason it’s often prudent to select an applicator affiliated with the manufacturer you choose.

Different formulations of spray foam insulation require different application techniques and cure times, and abiding by the specific instructions that go along with each formulation guarantees the safety and successful curing of the product. Remember, spray foam is safe when applied correctly by an experienced professional.

Here are some of the questions to ask when interviewing potential spray foam applicators:

  1. How long has the applicator been in business?
  2. Does the applicator have proper verifiable certification(s) such as CPI and/or specific manufacturer advanced training programs? Does the applicator belong to the SPFA’s Professional Certification Program?
  3. Is the applicator supported by the manufacturer of the product you’re applying?
  4. Does the applicator have good standing with the local Better Business Bureau?

We recommend hiring only certified, experienced contractors to apply your spray foam insulation. Never be nervous about asking an applicator for references from past clients, and his/her industry certifications.

Here are some tips from the Spray Foam Coalition:

  • Always choose a spray polyurethane foam contractor that has appropriate training in SPF installation
  • As with other home improvement service providers, it is important to ask professional SPF contractors about their experience, training, insurance and licenses. It is also helpful to request that a contractor provide customer references
  • Homeowners should ask a professional contractor to explain the benefits of SPF; the appropriate areas to use it in the home; the properties of the product; and which type of SPF to use in your climate and application
  • Homeowners and contractors should discuss in detail what to expect during the installation process; mechanical ventilation needs during and after SPF installation; safety best practices; and how long people and pets need to remain out of the home or building
  • After SPF is applied and cured, it is considered to be relatively inert, which means the chemicals are finished reacting. Ask your professional contractor about the product’s curing time and safety practices, such as how the contractor plans to isolate and mark off the work area, and when it is safe to re-enter the space

The Spray Foam Coalition also outlines some things to expect when having SPF installed:

  • Installation time varies depending on the size of the job and the ease of access to the site. A small amount of SPF applied to a home’s interior can take as little as an hour or two to complete. Most homes can be completed in less than a day once any prep work is done
  • While the foam can be sprayed and completed in a matter of hours, people and pets need to remain out of the home for the amount of time recommended by the SPF manufacturer. The SPF contractor will limit access to the site to workers wearing proper personal protective equipment
  • There are a number of variables that affect how long it takes for SPF to cure, including temperature, humidity levels and the SPF’s formula. Homeowners should discuss with their contractor the amount of time they need to wait before re-entering the home
  • The SPF contractor will extinguish all flames in the area where SPF is being applied, as well as in neighboring rooms and behind walls, such as pilot lights used in natural gas stoves or ovens, furnaces, water heaters and clothes dryers
  • SPF installers wear personal protective equipment during and immediately following the application of the product to avoid contact with the reacting chemicals
  • With proper installation and mechanical ventilation, SPF insulation is not odorous after it has been applied and allowed time to cure. If a homeowner is concerned about odors that they think may be related to the SPF installation, they should contact their contractor
  • The contractor cleans the work site thoroughly before the homeowners and their pets, children and other service providers re-enter the space

“Overall employment of insulation workers is expected to grow 28% from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average for all occupations.”