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Comparing Closed-Cell Spray Foam Manufacturers and Suppliers

KevinKeegan | Posted in GBA Pro Help on

You have told us that the chemicals are in short supply or not available at all for closed cell spray foam,  My project involves mostly closed cell so, I’m trying to understand the facts about the quality of the product I will be putting in my framing cavities. I understand that Honeywell is the major supplier of the blowing agent for closed cell and currently they are not able to provide it.  I was told by Victory Polymers that unless the insulation Contractor has his own stock no new stock is available. Should I be concerned about which spray foam brand name the Contractor is using as long as it is closed cell or open cell? I would really like to use a closed cell that is using HFO as a blowing agent, due to the higher R value. But from what I hear it is completely unavailable. Looking at their specifications the R values differ slightly other than that I don’t know what I should be concerned about regarding the different makers? So far it seems most of the local installers are using Victory or  Thermoseal.
Thank you, Kevin

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Replies

  1. Expert Member
    Zephyr7 | | #1

    The R values should all be pretty similar. If your goal is maximum "greeness", then the blowing agent is more important. If your goal is just to get your project completed on time, then the R value of most spray foams is pretty similar, especially when you consider aged performance. All spray foam insulating value drops off a little with time as the blowing agents diffuse out, so most of the difference in R value is a different in initial R value only, which isn't as important over the long term as aged R value.

    About the best you'll see claimed for closed cell spray foam is around R7/inch or so. I typically use R6/inch for planning purposes regardless of claimed performance by any particular manufacturer.

    BTW, you can get more spray foam with less material if you use open cell instead of closed cell, so you may want to evaluate your project to see where open cell might work too if you materials availability is tight. I would generally advise against the use of open cell in unvented roof assemblies, for example, but open cell is often a good choice if you're spray foaming your walls (note that there even better options for walls than spray foam though).

    Bill

    1. Charlie Sullivan | | #5

      Open-cell is also dubious for below-grade (e.g. inside of basement wall or below-grade portions of a crawl space wall. Although some people seem fine with it. (e.g. in this discussion: https://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/question/crawl-space-open-cell-spray-foam).

    2. KevinKeegan | | #9

      Hi Bill,
      Thank you for your advice. You mentioned there are better options for walls. The reason I'm considering CCSF is the odd sized 2" x 4" wall framing bays and beam joist bays. the house was built in the 1800s and needed a lot of squaring and plumbing. as well as air sealing. There is no exterior sheathing, just clapboard nailed to the studs, however the house was resided over the clapboard with a layer of felt paper and asbestos / cement board finished siding composed of 2 foot by 1 foot pieces. Please do tell me what you think might be a better method of insulating the walls and beam joist bays
      Thank you, Kevin

  2. Jon R | | #2

    If you are concerned about the building beyond 8 years, I'd use more like R5.6 for CCSF.

    It looks like HFO foams have double the shrinkage of HFC.

    1. Expert Member
      Zephyr7 | | #3

      >"It looks like HFO foams have double the shrinkage of HFC."

      I had not heard of this. If that's the case, I'd be more concerned with possible seperation of the foam from the framing over time if using HFO blown foam.

      Bill

    2. KevinKeegan | | #10

      Hi Jon R,
      Thank you for your advice. So you are saying for CCSF I should use R 5.6 for the real per inch calculation for the long term life of the project?
      Thank you, Kevin

  3. JWolfe1 | | #4

    So the components of closed cell spray foam can be added to the list of short supplies?

    1. Mike Ferro | | #8

      That's an understatement. Even large SIPS manufacturers can't get a hold of the components to make urethane foam. So, I'm not surprised to hear small contractors can't find it anywhere. I've been working with a SIPs manufacturer the last few months and have had to switch panel types three times because now they also can't procure GPS (Graphite Enhance EPS) foam cores. About the only thing you can still get is EPS.

  4. Charlie Sullivan | | #6

    HFO is advantageous mostly for avoiding the huge climate impact of HFC.

    If you can't get that, I'd look at using a mix of open-cell and rigid foam--polyiso, EPS, GPS, or perhaps NGX. What are the specific places where you need closed cell spray foam?

  5. GBA Editor
    Kiley Jacques | | #7

    From the article Using Closed-Cell Spray Foam: There is a more environmentally friendly option, a closed-cell foam that uses an HFO (hydrofluoroolefin) blowing agent called Solstice, made by Honeywell, which is a much less potent greenhouse gas. Equivalent to carbon dioxide, it still has higher embodied carbon and is more damaging to the environment than most non-foam insulation, but it’s better than conventional closed-cell foam. Several brands and product lines of foam are now using this blowing agent, such as Lapolla Foam-Lok 2000 4G, Demilec HFO High Lift and HFO Pro, Icynene ProSeal HFO, and EcoBay from BaySeal.

    1. KevinKeegan | | #11

      Hi Kiley,
      Thank you for your advice. Do you know if the products you mention are available in the New York State area?
      Thank you, Kevin

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