Originally broadcast October 25, 2013
Canadians are installing spray foam insulation in their homes in ever-expanding numbers. It’s sold as energy-efficient, easy-to-apply solution, but when the job goes wrong, it can be a nightmare for homeowners. Tom Harrington takes you inside the walls and up into the attic to explore a home renovation horror story, a foul-smelling foam job that’s driven a family from its home.
More from CBC Marketplace, Canada's top consumer affairs show:
Watch episodes online at http://cbc.ca/marketplace
Like us on Facebook: http://facebook.com/cbcmarketplace
Talk to us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/cbcmarketplace
Follow our hosts @cbctom and @cbcerica
Why would you use spray foam oh because it's a cheap way to go. Always remember you get what you pay for personally I wouldn't pay someone to do something I could do myself and everyone in that video looks pretty young enough to get up there and do their own insulation work provided you're using traditional R-13 insulation I'm in my fifties and I just did Mine by myself
I learned a lot about spray foam after working with it for years the main 2 causes of foam problems is spraying to much foam at a time especially when it is cold and the dreaded crossover. Crossover occurs when the 2 different parts of the liquid foam is not mixed at a 50/50 ratio as it leaves the end of the sprayer. Their are a couple of things that can cause this which I will not get into much detail because I could write a book on problems with spray foam. The main problem I have seen that is the worst case scenario is when the two lines caring the two different liquids end up with different pressures allowing one part of the liquid to enter across the interior chamber of the gun and go up the other line. This will cause a restriction of the one line. A technician will clean out the mess in the gun and continue on spraying. Now because of the restriction on one line the foam is not mixed at the 50/50 ratio when it is sprayed thus it will never cure properly and will out gas for years. The proper thing to do is to replace the 10 to 20 feet of hose which is called a whip line to restore equal pressure to both sides. The whip line is like a extra section of garden hose that can be unscrewed and thrown away. When a crossover occurs it usually doesn't travel any further past the whip line which leaves the rest of the line in good condition. So proper cleaning of the spray gun and replacing the whip line will put you back into business. The foam also has to be heated in cold weather to a certain temperature before spraying for a good cure. One last thing, when foam is stored it needs to be stored above a certain temperature so the properties of the chemicals don't break down.
I wish I had seen this a couple of weeks ago. I just filled my wheelbarrow tire with Great Stuff. The same active ingredients as the spray foam seen in this video. My 15 year old son and I have to use this wheelbarrow every day to feed our family. I really hope I don't get sick. #soworrired.
I like how the company they visited tried to cover their asses instead of just taking the loss and fixing the problem. And with love, I mean it's a disgrace. Seriously, they claim there's better applications and that in certain situations, spraying foam isn't the best choice, but hey, they're gonna do it anyways because money.
That's not how it's supposed to work, if the application isn't right, or there are more risks involved, an owner should be told that the job that's being asked for isn't suitable for spray foam appliance, the company should know better and in that case simply not do it. If they do spray foam in situations where even THEY claim it has risks, then if those risks end up causing problems, they should work on fixing those problems completely, not try to determine the minimum amount of work and effort required to hopefully, maybe fix it.
No, set up a plan, we have determined that these are the problem areas, we will fix these areas, remove the foam, reapply if requested and if the problem STILL persists, than we will fricken continue fixing until the job is done perfectly.
The company takes the job, they assume the risk of a botched result, not the uninformed consumer. You can't just assume that a consumer knows best, if you do that, you'll always end up causing problems at some point. It's just greedy negligence that causes these kinds of situations.
I had one job where the foam encased a 1/2" copper plumbing pipe close to an outside wall in a crawlspace under a cottage.
One bad winter the waterline burst and filled the crawlspace for months. No one knew.
The poor folks had an expensive water bill but that wasn't the worst of it.
The Spray Foam installer ECO, had used Open Cell foam in the crawlspace that acted as a sponge. One year later the foam, up to 16" above grade held water like a sponge. I could grab chunks from the inside of the foundation and squeeze a cup of water from from them. The folks asked what to do. I found the company and spoke with the owner. He admitted that they used the wrong foam and that it was a sloppy install but because it had been 11 years since the install he wouldn't do anything.
I remember on the TV show Holms on Homes. The used that spray foam everywhere. It was expressed as the best thing to insulate your house. I always wondered what if some nothing needs servicing. Alot of work to access something buried in foam. And the gutsy applying the foam is wearing a haz-mat suit. Reds flags are up.
I'm glad the family in Canada got everything back in order and are now living in their home instead of the camper. That spray foam is not suitable to use. The business, if it's upstanding and cares about the safety of their customers, should remove all of it from any home where the owner is having a problem regardless of how much it costs. The customer is suppose to be right after all... aren't they.
The business owner said that there are better types of foams used by others, so why doesn't he use it if it's better and safer?! He's courting danger with this stuff. I wonder how it responds to heat once it's applied?
These are two-component products mixed together to create a reaction when sprayed through a metering pump. It's about 50% Isocyanurate(ISO) That stuff can cause a lot of health issues. Mostly to the installers. They have to be completely suited up to avoid direct contact with the ISO. People become sensitized to it which is like becoming allergic. It can cause severe rashes and severe asthma. Once you're sensitized it can mean trouble with any PolyIso foam products including furniture cushions and car upholstery. These are not DIY products. It takes training to be qualified to use them. There are a lot of variables that can affect the cure. Temperature/humidity at time of installation, thickness, and the ratio of the pump. If the pump isn't working properly you could have unreacted ISO in the foam that can be slowly released. When installed properly it is safe. Sounds like it wasn't done right and no QA inspections were performed. In my mind that hazards aren't worth the risk.
Formaldehyde is used in so many products we take for granted as safe such as food, clothing, carpets, soft furnishings and insulation. In the UK Kingspan and Celotex are insulation products made from extruded polystyrene that have formaldehyde as a mould inhibitor. I had both these products in my house and had to remove them. The extreme skin irritation they caused took 14 years to clear up after removal. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen and should be completely banned as it is in Japan.
Another concern that few people seem to consider is this product is very flammable!
Yes it does contain a fire retardant, which will stop it from sustaining combustion after the source of heat (candle sized flame) is removed.
The reality is an actual house fire, where the fire retardant will NOT stop the foam from burning out of control.
In other areas where it is exposed inside the home, it is covered with a spray on thermal barrier. Usually lung irritating mineral wool, which would hopefully buy the occupants enough time to get out before the toxic smoke kills them.
This stuff is basically like solidified gasoline, when it burns it releases a lot of heat. It uses oxygen very quickly , producing a huge amount of toxic black smoke which is also extremely flammable!
It's bad enough the new home industry has been using vinyl siding for over three decades, which is the main reason multiple homes are lost when there is a house fire.
Now with the addition of urethane type spray foams , most high intensity residential fires are becoming a house fire on steroids! UNSTOPPABLE, as water from a fire hose seems to repel right off of the melted, burning foam.
+Leslie B Intumescent coating is great for rim joists ect, these types of coatings are meant to keep the foam from igniting for a relatively short period of time.
When an area like a basement for example becomes fully engulfed any fire retardant barrier will fail in short time, the urethane foam will add significantly to the fuel load . The toxic black smoke produced will result in a much quicker flash over.
Same as drywall board installed over urethane foam in an attached garage, If a a mid sized suv catches fire in that garage , it is only a matter of time before that drywall fails and the foam is exposed.
Most vehicles hold anywhere from 500,000 -1,000,000 btu's of gasoline, vehicles will typically burn completely in 20 minutes or less , fuel included.
Add five or so cubic meters of urethane foam once the drywall falls down to make a terrible situation even worse, the entire structure will be a total loss, with an increased likely hood of multiple fatalities.
Do you think intumescent coating would be 1. Easily and effectively applied over top of the spray foam in an attic area? 2. Would it be effective against fire spreading into the attic space through soffit openings (cardboard insulation stops)? , & bypass penetrations or flash over & failure of ceiling drywall in any room below the attic?
Mineral fiber & intumescsent coatings are intended as fire retardants, to buy time. they are not fire proof coatings.
Live like your Great Grandparents , don't use these new things , or , eat foods that were not around then .
Humans (girls and woman especially)put a lot of products on themselves , then wonder why their birth organs are cancerous ! Breast tumors , womb tumors . Teenage girls DOUSE themselves in beauty products , then use nail polish and remover (s) daily as well . HMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM
I think it is common sense that if you are spraying anything at all you should exit the house!! Think this way, Would you spray a can of raid in a room and sit in the room while you spray it and after?
I think the contractor deserves some credit here. As a homeowner, I would have told them to remove that 1% today and maybe the surrounding area and we'll see if that fixes it. Only after that, demand full removal.Documentation all along the way from the contractor. There has to be a point of reason. Not having vacancy requirements in writing was definitely a fault on contractor, though.
I don't get why you would even waste your money on insulting the attic. Getting regular batting insulation would have been cheaper n just as good since it's only insulting the attic n the rest of the house isn't done or is done with spray foam.
So in a nutshell What I gather from some “expert sprayers here in the comments is and I could be way off but put off getting it done till cool weather sets in not in 120+ degree attic heat that way the chemicals can fully solidify hopefully avoiding any urea being over expelled throughout the home. I’ve used it in my bathroom and in cracks out side and never had odor and fume related sickness. A massive foam job like insulating an entire home done by untrained uneducated morons getting paid crap They just wanna get it done and done fast and on to the next. Spraying over pipes and wires should be the first side of caution these companies operate by. Otherwise lawsuits like these will become another court system nightmare overrun with claims that could be avoided with precautions and common sense
Polyurethane Foam (PU Foam) Industry Present Scenario and the Growth Prospects with Forecast 2024
Get free sample report here: https://bit.ly/2QyCLMp
The global polyurethane foam market can be used in modern houses and other commercial construction projects. Polyurethane foams can also be used to improve sound comfort and environment majorly in residential areas.
Foam and non-foam PU are further modified by using surfactants. Hydrogen bonding also determines the properties of final PU product. Foam products are ecologically beneficial for constructed structures, as they help interior noise pollution levels.
This is one of those products that future home owners will have to remove like asbestos. I can only assume if there is a small water leak this product will hide the issue and could cause mold to grow freely until it is too late. The fact that the chemicals in this products stays active and become something other than you intended is reason enough to stay away. If the rate of error 1 in 100 that is 1000s of 1000s home in a city.
My house was so drafty in winter. I wanted to do this but didn't have the money and I was to old and sick to do it myself. So I sold the house. I live in an apartment now and the person downstairs smokes cigars and weed and it comes into my space. I have to get them removed...
**People do not realize that your entire skin pores absorb more then you would believe. Water from the tap. swimming or take showers you absorb more contamination chemicals through the skin pores. , what we fear the most, contaminated hazardous drinking water. or soak your hand in dish water, see if it swells and gets wrinkled which is a normal cause from absorbtion of water. then if proven we absorb more water through our pores in a shower then by drinking water stored in hazzardous plastic bottles,,, is it less poisonous then our own showers?, get my point**
13:25 -- "When the salesman was here, he MAY have mentioned [staying out of the house], but I don't recall"......But if it was in a pamphlet or in the fine-print, it would have stuck in his head -- What a joke!! A money hungry couple that disregard warnings, then sue because the lawyer said it wasn't in writing. I wonder what other instructions they ignored-- (the A/C temperature, leaving doors open/closed, going inside right after the foamers left, opening the attic to look at the work, etc, etc..)????
He seems like a guy who got a bunch of money from some frivolous lawsuit (worker injury, slip-and-fall, car whiplash, etc). He's wearing an "Ed Hardy"-type shirt to a news interview, haha. He can go in the house along with the news reporter, without a gas-mask/respirator ....But the wife needs one to open the door?!? LOL
*Anyways, these two "parents" ran out of money and were trying to sell the house. The realtor told them to get spray insulation to increase the value of the home. They decided that they could keep the home if it was found to be noxious/uninhabitable, and they could sue the company for the money to pay off the loan....What a bunch of crooks!! They still lived in the home, but went in through the back doors to avoid the company's investigators. When somebody would come over to look at the issue, they sprayed foam in a jar and left it in the bedroom.*
Foreclosure will make people do CRAZY THINGS!
Very informative, I believe they mention Troline,? Not as bad as I Tricolethean, but definitely a runner-up... really I feel sorry for these people,,, When we discovered in 2007 that the sheetrock that was coming from China where Tens of thousands of new homes for unlivable a lot of healthy people got awful sick, in a very short amount of time...
The owners need to practice "due diligence", e.g., read, study, and form a plan BEFOREHAND. They found out the hard way what can happen when they leave it to the "experts". That's good advice for anything in life. In the middle of this terrible experience they still haven't learned. He claims he doesn't know how he will insulate his new roof. What has he been doing? He's had months to figure this out. What's cheaper, insulating the roof before installing or doing it later? A foil-backed, more efficient foam (polyiso?) could have been installed before setting the roof.
The class of drugs that Levitra, Viagra, Stendra, and Cialis belong to are called PDE5 inhibitors. They work by relaxing tight blood vessels, allowing more blood to surge into the penis and cause an erection, says Gregory Bales, M.D., an associate professor of urology at the University of Chicago.
The little pills do the trick for more than two-thirds of men with Viagra protects the heart (ED). They also work for guys who simply need them for a short time to get their “confidence back,” says Michael Eisenberg, M.D., director of male reproductive medicine and surgery at Stanford University.