GBA Logo horizontal Facebook LinkedIn Email Pinterest Twitter Instagram YouTube Icon Navigation Search Icon Main Search Icon Video Play Icon Plus Icon Minus Icon Picture icon Hamburger Icon Close Icon Sorted

Community and Q&A

Various spray foam companies

quicky | Posted in General Questions on


Would like to know if there any significant differences between the spray foam made by various companies?
We have two vendors in our area and one uses Bayer for Open cell and Dow for Closed cell, while the other vendor uses, Premium and Johns Manville?

Help greatly appreciated


GBA Prime

Join the leading community of building science experts

Become a GBA Prime member and get instant access to the latest developments in green building, research, and reports from the field.


  1. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    Q. "Would like to know if there any significant differences between the spray foam made by various companies?"

    A. To the best of my knowledge, the answer is no. But there are certainly differences in how various companies treat customers with problems. Some companies have a reputation for good customer service, and others, frankly, act like a criminal organization intent on defending their assets and fighting their customers in court.

    To hear some stories from customers with problems, you might want to read this article: Spray Foam Jobs With Lingering Odor Problems.

  2. charlie_sullivan | | #2

    As far as I know the ones you mention are theoretically the same stuff, but there is at least one company, Lapolla, that has recently come out with a new formulation that avoid the huge global warming impact of the "blowing agent" used in other spray foams.

    A while ago the industry switched from ozone depleting blowing agents to "HFC" blowing agents that have zero ozone depletion potential, but they have a global warming potential >1000 times as strong as CO2. Lapolla is offering a formulation using "HFO" which basically eliminates that problem.

    In my opinion it is irresponsible to use HFC blowing agents any more, especially if you are doing something you'd call green building.

  3. Expert Member
    Dana Dorsett | | #3

    Both Icynene and Aloha Energy have some very-low global warming potential water-blown closed cell foam products out there as well. (Icynene also has some high GWP closed cell products as well, so pay attention.)

    (As a aside, it's not encouraging that Lapolla spells "fourth", as "forth". Let's hope their polymer engineers are more competent than their marketing copy editors. :-) Or maybe they really did mean "...FORTH GENERATION... ", whatever that means?)

    That's not to say low GWP blowing agents automatically makes closed cell foam super-green. The chemical production is not exactly environmental-footprint free, and it takes over 2x as much polymer to hit the same thermal performance with closed cell foam as you get with open cell foam (almost all of which is water-blown.) That makes open cell foam (any vendor) quite a bit greener than closed cell foam, even if it's blown with water or HFO1234_ _ agents.

    But all foam insulation products have a higher net environmental hit than say, rock-wool or cellulose. Where it's possible to design it out, it's greener to use lower-footprint alternatives than foam. Closed cell & open foams have many attractive properties making them useful for achieving high levels of air tightness or for moisture control, but that's not to say you can't build moisture resilient high performance assemblies without foam- there are too many existence proofs to the contrary.

Log in or create an account to post an answer.


Recent Questions and Replies

  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |