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GreenGuard-certified Icynene Classic Max and ProSeal odor: Feedback?

j_sakellar | Posted in General Questions on

I’d appreciate guidance / feedback / reviews of two Icynene Products that I am considering for a basement renovation:

1. Icynene Classic Max
2. Icynene ProSeal

Both products are certified by GreenGuard as low-VOC.  Icynene touts their low-VOC status.  My questions are as follows:

1. Who has recent experience with these products, and what can you share regarding installation best practices and the extent to which you experienced any off-gassing or residual odors?  If you did experience the same, approximately how long would you estimate that the odors remained noticeable?
2. Prior to installation, how would one determine that the installation crew is preparing the correct Icynene product, assuming multiple Icynene products are options provided by the contractor?
3. How did you monitor / assess installation performance?
4. Would you employ these products again?
5. Given the ongoing concern regarding SPFs and  VOCs, are the Icynene products viable options, or is Owens Corning’s Foamular XPS product superior?
6. Are there any additional techniques to be employed to mitigate the risk(s) associated with an inferior installation experience of Icynene SPF, i.e: odor, off-gassing, voids, mix issues, etc.?
6. What questions have I failed to raise in this post, that you would like to see addressed?

Thank you to GBA for hosting this site and facilitating the exchange of advice; it provides a wealth of useful information.


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  1. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    It sounds as if you have concerns about off-gassing and odors. Under the circumstances, I advise you to avoid the use of spray foam. Instead, insulate your basement walls with rigid foam -- either polyisocyanurate or EPS would be a good choice from an environmental viewpoint.

    Odor complaints after spray foam installation are rare, but they do occur -- and if you end up with a smelly spray foam job, it's a nightmare. I've never heard of odor complaints associated with rigid foam.

    For more information, see "How to Insulate a Basement Wall."

    One final piece of advice: If you end up using one of these two spray-foam products to insulate a basement wall, you want to use the ProSeal (which is a closed-cell spray foam with a low vapor permeance), not the Classic Max (which is an open-cell spray foam with a high vapor permeance -- namely 11 perms at 5.5 inches thickness). On the interior side of a basement wall, you want closed-cell spray foam, not open-cell spray foam.

  2. brendanalbano | | #2

    You should add Icynene ProSeal HFO to the list of options to evaluate:

    It uses a blowing agent that has a tremendously lower global warming potential than regular ProSeal, while still providing higher performance than the water-blown ProSeal Eco.

  3. msarge | | #3

    Another environmentally appropriate foam product for interior basement wall insulation could be Kingspan Kooltherm phenolic foam products. Their K20 product looks promising for this application and (disclaimer) although I haven't used it, I've been researching this product and believe it deserves a look due to zero ozone depletion and low GWP of blowing agents. And it can be left exposed due to good fire performance ratings.

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