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Spray foam snake oil

Russell Miller | Posted in General Questions on

I couldn’t believe this, see attachment. I think they should jerk this guys stamp. Read #3 closely. Hope its readable.

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  1. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    Thanks for sharing this appalling document.

    For those who are having trouble reading it, this is what the document shows:

    It appears as if a licensed professional engineer named Michael R. Busby (McKinney, Texas) has provided his engineering stamp to a document with the following false claim: "Our research has shown that a nominal thickness of 3 inches of Closed Cell SPF will perform as well as or better than R-60 blown-in insulations."

    The document includes the signature of Richard L. Rue.

    Later edit: I have contacted Richard L. Rue. He calls this letter a "total forgery."

    1. Russell Miller | | #2

      Ill be happy to send you the original handed to me yesterday. As well as two other pages. The upper half is attached.

      1. GBA Editor
        Martin Holladay | | #3

        The letter is 8 years old. But that doesn't justify its outrageous statements. Thanks.

        1. Russell Miller | | #4

          Yes it is 8 years old. However, they're still handing it out to prospective clients. As they did me yesterday.

  2. Russell Miller | | #5

    HERE IS ANOTHER ONE SAME WORDING!! Different foam company!

  3. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #6

    As long-time readers of GBA know, I didn't pull any punches in my condemnation of Icynene's deceptive marketing practices. I turned over the Icynene rock and found repulsive creatures back in 2010, when I wrote "It’s OK to Skimp On Insulation, Icynene Says."

    I'm now adding two more spray foam companies -- Mid Atlantic and Lapolla -- to my list of weasels. These two companies have new exhibits in the Hall of Shame.

  4. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #7

    A company named J. Anderson Insulation (Belleville, Illinois) has posted this misleading letter on their web site. For shame.

    Here is the link: Misleading letter posted by J. Anderson Insulation. (I have attached the document below.)

    The letter refers to Lapolla FL500 spray foam. The R-value claimed by Lapolla is R-3.9 per inch, which means that 6 inches of Lapolla FL500 has an R-value of R-23 -- so it can't perform at R-60 as the letter claims.

  5. Russell Miller | | #8

    They were pushing for unvented roof even when the baffles are in place and air sealing at ceiling line is obvious. R60 cellulose is the plan.

    Thanks to years of reading GBA, i know better. Many dont though, it makes me sick!

  6. Russell Miller | | #9


    I have a couple other documents id like you to see but i didnt want to post publicly, possible legal issues, can i email these to you?

    1. GBA Editor
      Martin Holladay | | #10

      My email address is martin [at] greenbuildingadvisor [dot] com .

  7. Expert Member
    Zephyr7 | | #11

    My guess is that, if challenged, these guys are going to claim that the enhanced performance of the spray foam is because of its air sealing / air barrier properties. In that regard they’re probably correct, but there is more to insulating than just sealing and I don’t really think of “sealing” as “insulating” myself. R value is related to resistance to heat flow through a given material, airflow isn’t part of that testing and isn’t supposed to be counted when rating a material. This reminds me of the claims the radiant barrier people used to make that got them in trouble years ago.

    3” of spray foam should be around R18 or so. I’ve seen some places claim around R21, but that’s overly optimistic for long-term performance.

    I’m surprised an engineer would seal this. It’s obviously a deceptive document. Have you checked to see if that engineers license is still valid in his state? It’s just a phone call to the licensing board to check, just give them the license number and ask if it’s both active and assigned to the name you have on the seal.


    1. John Clark | | #12
  8. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #13

    I contacted Richard L. Rue and Michael Busby. Richard Rue responded by email:

    "First, let me state that the partial letter (that is stamped) that you sent to Dr. Busby that is shown in the upper left-hand corner above [the one with Michael Busby's engineering stamp] is a total forgery. When you compare the partial letter to the letters that are in the link that you sent [posted on the J. Anderson Insulation web site], even a blind man should be able to see how the letter has been cut and pasted all over the place . You can also see on the 2 letters that have my signature on them, compared to the partial letter, that they are not even close (another forgery). However, In the 2 letters that you sent me in the link, keep in mind they were written in 2011. Obviously, the caulk and seal packages we're not nearly as sophisticated as they are today. Finally, this is not a letter about R-values this is a letter about performance (in 2011). In closing let me say this, I stand by that letter stating that 6 inches of open cell foam spray foam insulation on the underneath side of the roof rafters and totally enclosing the attic making it conditioned space, will outperform any R-60 of blown-in material in the flat ceiling of the attic in 2011."

  9. Russell Miller | | #14

    So he's claimed the stamped letter is a forgery? Just want to be clear!

    1. GBA Editor
      Martin Holladay | | #15

      That's my understanding. The language in these three letters is so consistent that it appears very likely that all three letters were written by Richard L. Rue, who stands by the words he wrote in two of the three letters. It appears that someone did a cut-and-paste job to include Michael Busby's stamp.

      Michael Busby told me on the phone that he used to work with Richard L Rue. He now has an engineering company in Goodlettsville, Tennessee, called American Engineering & Research, Inc.

  10. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #16

    I found a press release online from Lapolla, trumpeting their partnership with EnergyWise and Richard Rue, the author of these letters. Here is a link to the press release: "Lapolla and EnergyWise Structures Form Strategic Alliance."

    In the press release, Richard Rue is quoted. Here's what the press release says:

    "CEO and Principal Owner of EnergyWise, Richard Rue, stated, 'The newly created relationship between Lapolla and EnergyWise will help bring a significant value proposition to tens of thousands of homeowners in the near future.' "

  11. GBA Editor
    Peter Yost | | #17

    When anyone compares apples and oranges and does not recognize/identify/admit the inherent lack of utility or fairness, it's wrong.

    Great expose'.


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