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Community and Q&A

Spray Foam Odor Help

Joe K | Posted in General Questions on

Hello and thanks for looking at my post. I’m obviously new to this and am here out of desperation. I had a company install ThermoSeal closed and open cell into my home recently (last week 6/12,13,14). The closed cell has no odor but the open cell has a strong chemical odor. I’ve left windows open and have 3 fans going. The company put closed cell in all 2×4 framing and 2″ on the roof deck then covered it with 6-8″ (well thats what they said…Ive found many areas they were short or thin and they are returning to fix it) all of the 2×6 framing has the open cell.

Can anyone tell me where in the lower part of NY (Hudson Valley) I can find someone to do an air quality test for me. I dont want to sheet rock the house up with the odors still there if they are in fact harmful.

Thanks for any input.


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  1. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    I don't recommend an air quality test yet. One thing that could be done is an investigation of the cured foam to see if there are voids, gummy areas, or anomalies that indicate an off-ratio mix. Otherwise, I recommend "watchful waiting."

    In case you haven't read it yet, here is a link to an article that might interest you: Spray Foam Jobs With Lingering Odor Problems.

  2. Don J. | | #2

    Hate to be direct but Joe you are pretty much screwed... most likely
    Don't put up drywall, you'll need to scrape it all down. the smell will likely stay forever
    been there, done that, learned my lesson...
    yes, and you'll likely face a mountain of denial from all parties involved
    See my previous posts.....

  3. John Brooks | | #3

    Hi Joe,
    I am moving your second question over here because it is related to your original post.
    (and I apologize to you for going "off-topic")

    Joe K wrote:
    "OK - So I began to rip down some of the smelly open cell foam and realized that the foam guy completely ripped me off with the closed cell that was supposed to be under the open cell. There was supposed to be 2" of closed cell....I'm lucky if there is 3/4.

    My question is do I leave the envelope alone and just live with it or do I have someone come in and rip it all out and seek legal action for the removal and for the shortchanging on the closed cell?

    I'm supposed to have R-38 in the roof decking. I'm lucky if I have R-24 or R-30 in some areas."

    David Meiland's advice:
    "I wouldn't remove any spray foam yourself. Call the contractor and let him have a chance to make it right. If that doesn't work, call the manufacturer. If you start taking it out yourself, you reduce the chances that they will cooperate. Don't spoil the crime scene."

    A question that still remains....
    What are the ramifications of leaving the install "as is" ?

  4. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #4

    If you have written documentation that describes the work you expected (2 inches of closed-cell spray foam), and if the contractor installed less than you specified, then the contractor has to do what it takes to fix the problem. Most contractors, when confronted by a homeowner who can document the fact that the work was not performed as specified, will do their best to resolve the problem.

    However, a minority of contractors refuse to resolve cases like this. If that happens, you could consider going to small claims court or hiring a lawyer.

  5. Richard Beyer | | #5

    From Green to Homeless: One Man’s Battles with SPF Insulation

    Jim Vallette June 20th, 2013 2 comments

    Richard Beyer of East Lyme, Connecticut, provides a great example of how one person can change the building industry (with a little help from the Pharos Project).

    After a bad spray polyurethane foam (SPF) insulation installation sickened him and his family, Mr. Beyer researched these products on Pharos.
    - See more at:

  6. Richard Beyer | | #6

    I hope your contractor has "Contractor Pollution Liability Insurance? Your first step is to verify the contractors insurance policy and the second is to make the claim. There are no published remediation standards for off-ratio spray polyurethane foam by any industry, government office or national building codes. We are the guinea pigs of industry for the 21 century. Your homeowners policy does not cover smelly foam so do not try to get them to make it right. It will not happen. The exclusion is "Gas and Workmanship".

  7. Mary Sally | | #7


    Sorry, but your bad experience with Spray Foam SPF has happened to tens of thousands of building occupants and owners. I was seriously and permanently injured by the fumes at the school were I was teaching.

    A well vetted physician, an expert in this product, testified that the fumes are toxic well below the level at which you can smell them. Damage to the body is increased by "sensitization" the longer you are exposed and by off-gassing from the product.

    My sinus tissue was so damaged and scarred most had to be surgically removed. My larynx, throat, and lungs are scarred, causing hoarseness. The worst is brain damage. The chemicals in SPF are recognized by the EPA for causing respiratory and brain damage, particularly to children.

    If you need an opinion about the smell, your question should be amended to ask about the health problems associated with fumes from the product. Consult one of the many SPF class-action attorneys or a personal injury attorney to get an answer.

    Under no circumstances allow more product to be apply which will cause more health damage. Do not remove this product yourself. It won't go away either. Years after application, homeowners have complaints about the odor and health problems, requiring moving or selling their homes to an unsuspecting buyer.

    It is possible that this message will be removed, so the message has been copied and will be messaged.

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