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Attic open-cell foam: off-gasing / odor

We have a traditional 1966 two story home, dual-zoned home in Atlanta (zone 3A). On April 18th we had our existing inadequate fiberglass insulation removed and open cell foam installed in our 1200 sq ft attic. We have had odor / off-gasing problems since. On cool, cloudy days it’s not very noticeable but on hot, sunny days the odor is quite pronounced and our second floor A/C (handler in the attic) is not usable as it blows in the odor/gases. We’ve been living with open windows and fans upstairs since. The odor is closer to the paint-like I have read about, not the fish-like. My wife has had significant reactions to this gas – sore throat, throat closing up, coughing, etc.

The installer and I first worked the problem as a temporary issue by opening up the attic at the gable vents and forcing air through the attic. I went as far as rent a manhole blower for 8 days removing air from the attic.

The foam is Accella’s Foamsulate 50. At this point I’m ready to declare the foam install a failure. The installer is no help. Seems to be two schools of thought on next steps. One is to cut out, scrape out the bad foam, vacuum it up as much as possible and go back with better installed open cell foam. Replace the ductwork while I’m at it. That’s the cheap option.

I’ve also had advice that the entire roof needs to be replaced, including some support (struts?) that had foam on them.

Any thoughts on next steps?

Thank you.

David Carlson

Asked by user-7075353
Posted May 22, 2018 11:54 AM ET
Edited May 22, 2018 12:28 PM ET


1 Answer

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It sounds like you understand the situation fairly well. You might want to begin documenting the situation by communicating with your contractor via registered letters (dated, of course). Keep copies of all letters.

You might also want to consult with a lawyer who has experience with construction defect litigation.

If you haven't seen it yet, you should read this article: Spray Foam Jobs With Lingering Odor Problems.

Good luck.

Answered by Martin Holladay
Posted May 22, 2018 12:33 PM ET

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