Avoid most DIY spray-foam products - most don't meet code
December 10, 2015
To ensure our clients always receive the best prices possible, we regularly track material and labor rates for a large variety of energy measure types.
Spray polyurethane foam - which acts both as an air barrier and as a thermal barrier (i.e. as insulation) - is no exception.
(To be clear, this post regards spray-foam applied to medium or large surface areas, not to spray-foam used for spot air-sealing.)
We know how to get our clients the most competitive prices possible and we let them know when a contractor is asking them to pay too much.
Some of our clients, however, also ask us to tell them just how much they would save if they implemented a spray-foam measure themselves.
Maine certainly seems to have more than its share of enthusiastic DIYers - and we're just as happy to assist them with their projects as we are anyone else.
But when we're asked how much can be saved by implementing these measures DIY - the simple yet perhaps surprising fact is: nothing.
You really can have spray-foam professionally installed for the same price or less than you could install it yourself - provided you do your due dilligence or have a knowledgeable owner representative do it for you.
When we've explained this to some of our clients, some of them have initially told us that - they're not sure we're right, that they've seen decent prices for DIY spray-foam products, and they think they can shave quite a bit off the top.
Well, fair enough, we say, let's look at the DIY products available.
For example, major hardware chains stock this product: Touch 'n Foam 200 Board Foot Polyurethane 2-Component Spray Foam Kit. The specs include: "Yields 200 ft. board (16.7 cu. ft.); R-value 5.48 per in." and "Class 1 fire resistance, ICC evaluation service listed, report #ESR-3052." Price: $299.
We see a few, but the major one is that if you install this product by itself in a room which is accessible, you will fail to meet fire code.
As noted in a State Fire Marshall memo, "Title 25 section 2447-B allows for 1/2" gypsum board or equivalent to be installed to obtain this [required 15 minute] thermal barrier."
What is equivalent?
Per the State Fire Marshall's August 2014 memo, there are seven products which have been deemed equivalent.
But none of them are a part of the DIY product discussed in this post.
So be very careful when considering a DIY spray-foam measure, because if you apply a product without a code-permitted thermal barrier, you will then need to pay more to add the thermal barrier.
And if this happens, you'll wind up paying a lot more to implement such a measure yourself than it would have cost to have the measure implemented professionally.
So save yourself the aggravation!
Give us a call for a free consult: (207) 632-8112.