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sprayfoamcustomer

Q&A Forums Registered User
Posted: 6/30/2009 10:52 PM EST

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spray-foam fumes hazardous
My attic was spray-foamed about 10 months ago. On hot humid days, I have fumes in the attic due to the foam possibly not being mixed right in a few areas. If I do not smell the fumes downstairs in my living space, do you think the fumes are hazardous to my family? In the winter you can't really smell much in the attic. My main question is are these fumes dangerous to my family. Thanks for the help.

(the underside of my roof was sprayed with 1/2 lb insulation. Contractor requested that I continue to ventilate w/fans etc. which has improved the situation but still hasn't completely solved the problem)

Mason  

Moderator
Posted: 7/01/2009 8:05 AM EST

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RE: spray-foam fumes hazardous
That is a very good question. The answer is yes and no. What you are smelling is the catalyst in the foam that has not reacted properly. While highly odiferous, the quantity of catalyst that is in the reacted foam is not considered to be hazardous to a typical individual. Consider it similar to other chemical such as chlorine and ammonia, etc. In diluted form these products are not considered harmful but in more concentrated form are harmful. However even in diluted form, they produce strong odors.

In sprayfoam, usually the odors dissipate rather quickly (within a few hours or days). However, if the foam is sprayed slightly off ratio (B rich) or poorly mixed or has experienced high exothermic heat during it rise and set then it can develop strong odors that may take weeks or months (even years) to dissipate.

Strong odors affect different folks different ways. To most, the odor is objectionable but not harmful.

But, strong odors can affect chemically sensitive persons more severely causing them to have headaches,become nauseous and experience other side effects. Strong odors can also trigger seizures in folks who have asthma.

caddis

Q&A Forums Registered User
Posted: 7/02/2009 4:32 PM EST

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RE: spray-foam fumes hazardous
If the foam was sprayed incorrectly, I believe it is within your right to demand the installer removes the bad foam and resprays correctly.

urethaneman1  

Q&A Forums Registered User
Posted: 7/04/2009 8:27 AM EST

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RE: spray-foam fumes hazardous
Before we create panic, there are other possibilities here.

If the attic was sprayed without proper ventilation, you may have the odors (wherever they originate) moving into the porous wood.

While I agree with Mason's observations, but the first issue is wether or not the applicator ventilated PROPERLY in the first place.

Ventilation is not just the removal of air. It is the REPLACEMENT of air with odor with air which has no odor. To pump out the manway, only to draw air back in that same manway is a waste of time.

Best method of ventilation is in one accesway (manway or window) out another. If you cannot do this.....then use flex vent to seperate the inlet, exhaust.

Simply, if it is improving through ventilation, you are probably seeing the wood gove off its absorption in the heat. KEEP VENTILATING....it will eventually solve the issue (90 times out of 100).

If the foam is not sprayed correctly.....that's another issue. I would contact a representative of the manufacturer of the foam and ask them to look at the job....that should not be an issue. They should be able to make that determination.

foammaker  

Q&A Forums Registered User
Posted: 7/09/2009 10:59 PM EST

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RE: spray-foam fumes hazardous
I disagree with the comments about ventilating. If you are having to ventilate 10 months later, you basically are not getting the benefits of the insulation, ie a window or attic hatch is open. Yes the ventilation is required during installation and maybe for 24 hours after, but certainly not ten months. Spray foam is supposed to improve the indoor environment not pollute it.

I suggest you contact the installer and manufacturer and demand this be rectified. You may want to hire an environmental assessment company to have the foam tested independently.

I think there is definitely a problem with the foam. It likely should be removed and replaced.

jrb2662  

Q&A Forums Registered User
Posted: 7/10/2009 11:16 AM EST

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RE: spray-foam fumes hazardous
If it still requires ventilation after this long the foam was probibly sprayed off ratio..you may have to remove the foam and have it resprayed it eliminate the smell

sprayfoamcustomer

Q&A Forums Registered User
Posted: 7/14/2009 8:31 AM EST

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RE: spray-foam fumes hazardous
I really appreciate all of your help. The smell has improved some since I have been ventilating constantly. I closed the attic up for a few days and the smell is a little better. I still get a strong initial smell when I go up the attic steps on a warm day. It just kind of 'hangs' in the stairwell leading up to the attic. After i'm in the attic itself, it doesn't smell near as bad. I do think that ventilating has helped some.
Is it possible that spraying the foam with fire-retardant would help to cover the rest of the smell instead of removing the foam? Thought this could be an option in case the smell is now part of the external "fabric" of the foam...meaning it could just be an external smell on the foam since it wasn't initially ventilated properly??? It currently has not been sprayed w/fire retardant. Thanks.

urethaneman1  

Q&A Forums Registered User
Posted: 7/15/2009 5:14 PM EST

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RE: spray-foam fumes hazardous
The ventilation is helping??? It took 10 months for the odor to penetrate the porous wood (and whatever else is up there)...it will take some time to "ventilate" it out...

Concenterate your efforts in the area you notice the most concentration...IT WILL STOP

The foam is probably not producing any more odor (notice how i left myself an out...probably)...covering it will probably not help.

Mason  

Moderator
Posted: 7/15/2009 9:17 PM EST

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RE: spray-foam fumes hazardous
I have been in attics where the foam was over a year old and when I cut into the foam, strong odors emenated from the cut foam. I am not sure that you can vent out all of the odors in some cases, particularly if folks are extremely sensitive to odors.

John P
Q&A Forums Registered User
Posted: 7/16/2009 6:18 PM EST

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RE: spray-foam fumes hazardous
Try covering the foam with intumescent paint.

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