Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Hurricane and Super Storm Aftermath – Repair and Prepare With Icynene

Hurricane and Super Storm Aftermath – Repair and Prepare

Home flooding from hurricanes can leave extensive damage
Within the past decade, extreme weather events such as hurricanes and super storms have become far more prevalent across the United States leaving trails of destruction and damage costing millions and millions in clean-up and repair. Catastrophic events such as Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, Super Storm Sandy and Hurricane Katrina leave thousands stranded as flood waters infiltrate their homes causing irreparable damage. The aftermath as well as the repair and prepare strategy is one of the important factors for consideration by not only homeowners but also architects designing buildings in areas prone to these kinds of events.
The damage sustained from these extreme weather events, either  wind-driven or water-driven, can be extensive and expensive to repair.  A repair and prepare strategy is one that many living in these areas should consider as part of their recovery efforts. Assessment of the damage caused by hurricanes and flooding is critical in understanding how to approach the next steps. Once the extent of the damage is determined, removal can begin. It is recommended that a qualified clean-up contractor assess the removals required. 
Thorough and proper cleaning, drying and disinfecting of some materials that are porous can take a while to complete. It is important to understand that mold can thrive in as little as 48 hours in such situations so the likelihood of many porous materials requiring removal is greater. It should be a qualified remediation contractor who makes the determination as to which materials need to be removed.

What is a flood-resistant material?

FEMA(link is external) has release a comprehensive technical fact sheet that details what is considered a “flood resistant material” under their criteria:
Flooding accounts for a large percentage of the damage caused by a coastal storm. Building materials exposed to flooding must be resilient enough to sustain a certain amount of water exposure in order to avoid the need for complete replacement after the flood.  
FEMA defines a flood-resistant material as any building material capable of withstanding direct and prolonged contact with floodwaters without sustaining significant damage.
Flood-resistant materials identified by FEMA can include, but are not limited to, corrosion resistant coated steel, pressure-treated wood, epoxy formed-in-place flooring as well as closed-cell spray foam insulation.  A complete list of materials can be accessed via the FEMA website(link is external).
Due to its resilience, spray foam insulation can be a key component in the design of building assemblies against future disaster-driven damage. Closed-cell spray foam, like Icynene ProSeal(link is external), can be used as a water-resistant barrier to help deflect moisture away while offering additional performance advantages useful in extreme weather events such as hurricanes.

Flooding and water penetration through walls

The strong winds of a hurricane and threat of wind-driven rain and flooding can be confidently addressed with the use of spray foam insulation.  Icynene spray foam insulation products are considered air-impermeable materials that help deflect wind and wind-driven rain. Light-density spray foam is able to reject water penetration and have a low water absorption (less than 5%) while medium-density spray foams are considered water resistant barriers with very low water absorption (less than 1%). Additionally, medium-density spray foams are able to provide additional ‘racking’ strength to help resist the high winds of a storm, super storm or hurricane.

What about roof damage from wind and water ingress?

While closed-cell spray foam insulation is ideal for use in areas close to the ground (or underground such as basements) due to its ability to provide structural strengthen and reject bulk water ingress, spray foam insulation including open-cell spray foam can help play a role in other areas of the home in protection against extreme weather.
Water ingress is one of the most common  insurance claims. An unvented roof designed around spray foam is one easy solution to protect from roof damage during extreme weather events like hurricanes and storms.  An unvented roof has fewer openings, therefore the chance of water penetration is reduced. 
Icynene spray foam insulation is able to help provide several roof protection benefits:
  • Open-cell spray foam insulation, like Icynene Classic Max, can rapidly expand up to one hundred times its initial volume, upon application, to provide a superior air barrier that seals and insulates the roof space.
  • In the event of a roof leak, open-cell spray foam is vapor permeable allowing for bi-directional drying allowing leaks to be detected and repaired immediately. Bi-directional drying helps protect the roof sheathing from rot and moisture damage.
  • Closed-cell spray foam can be used as a water resistant barrier to deflect water, especially wind-driven rain.
  • Where additional hurricane hold-down resistance is required, all Icynene spray foam products benefit from an unvented roof by eliminating upward pressures from pressurizing the attic via roof vents.
Inclusion of spray foam insulation in homes and buildings in areas prone to extreme weather events such as floods, hurricanes and super storms can help protect homeowners and building owners against future extreme weather events which are likely to become more prevalent as our environment evolves and the effects of climate change become known.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Customer Q&A

Thank you. I'm interested in doing this project. Though I have some questions and want to do a touch more research. 

I'm a bit concerned about humidity in the home. Can you speak to the product and "sealed" attic and how it may relate to humidity in the home. 

It should require a little less AC than required today, right?  But I already have AC In place. If AC runs less it may increase humidity?  I wonder if you have any information about this. Or opinion. 
This is theoretically correct, and could be an issue although likelihood is low.  Essentially, the attic becomes part of the AC home and the efficiencies of the Icynene would allow for 1 HVAC to cover 800-900 Sq. Ft.  Retrofit homes such as yours may be “oversized”.  To offset this potential if you own variable speed units, these units will work at their lower speed and longer which will service to de-humidify the entire home and attic.   A post application test may be done to evaluate the relative humidity of the attic.  My experience so far is very few homes have this issue as most of the homes are leaky in other areas

Please keep me in loop of conversation.

I'll reach out to my AC contractor for their opinion. We've added window tinting on north and south windows of the home - this in theory makes the home more efficient too. 

I'd like to do the project. I'm a little concerned that I'm "over air conditioned" in the home. I know reducing humidity makes it feel cooler; and AC's running longer reduce humidity. I'll ask AC people to measure the home and give me recommendation for AC. 

Any help or advice regarding these concerns would be appreciated. 



Tuesday, May 30, 2017

What is low VOC and why is it important to understand?

Posted: 26 May 2017 08:00 AM PDT
Low VOC spray foam insulation for residential homes and construction
Volatile organic compounds ( VOCs ) are gases that are emitted from certain solid or liquid materials. They can include a variety of chemicals. High VOC emissions from consumer and commercial products are significant contributing factors in the creation of air pollution in urban areas and can be harmful to health when present in large quantities.
The ultra-low-VOC Icynene spray foam products are based on protocols and procedures developed by a task group of the American Chemistry Council – Center for the Polyurethanes Industry (ACC-CPI) - and follow months of extensive research, testing and third-party evaluation. 
Discover more about VOCs and why it's important to seek low VOC products when choosing building materials for use in your home in the infographic below.
What is low VOC and why is it important?

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

What are VOCs and How Do They Affect Homeowners?

Posted: 28 Mar 2017 05:00 AM PDT
Low VOC spray foam insulation from Icynene
VOCs – otherwise known as volatile organic compounds – are defined as gases that are emitted from certain materials, whether they are solid or in liquid form, and can include a variety of chemicals. According to the EPA, VOCs can typically have higher concentrations indoors, in some cases up to ten times higher, than outdoor concentrations. These emissions can have varying degrees of short-term and long-term health effects.  Nowadays, consumers are increasing becoming aware of VOCs and their effects on humans. As a result, consumers have become savvier in understanding the various types of products available in the market and selecting products that identify as low VOC.
While VOCs do not sound appealing, there have been significant developments by manufacturers of chemicals and building materials that reduce the exposure to building occupants.

Where are VOCs found?

The EPA states that VOCs can be found in an array of household products and materials from paints, waxes, aerosol sprays, cleaners, pesticides, craft materials, office equipment, furnishings and building materials including insulation. You may find many of these everyday household materials and products after a quick search through your home. 
Effects from exposure to VOCs can vary between individuals depending on the chemical as well as length of exposure and level of VOC emissions. Effects can include irritation of the nose and throat, nausea, dizziness and headaches among other effects.
Although the presence of VOCs and their effects are not pleasant, there have been steps taken by many manufacturers to reduce our exposure to VOCs. For example, the paint industry has been very active in developing paints and varnishes that are considered low VOC. These active steps by manufacturers are helping to ensure that consumers are aware of what VOCs are and how they can reduce their exposure to such emissions.

How to reduce exposure to VOCs

The EPA offers consumers an array of recommendations to reduce exposure to VOCs.  There are several recommendations including:
Do not mix household products together
Increase ventilation when using a product
Only purchase in quantities that will be used immediately
Avoid storing open containers
Meet or exceed label precautions
Keep out of reach of children and pets

How is the spray foam insulation industry responding to VOCs?

Like the paint industry, the spray foam insulation industry is responding to VOCs and developing products are considered low VOC. As the spray foam insulation industry leader, Icynene has been committed to the responsible development of spray foam chemistry for over 30 years. Icynene’s leadership position in the category has seen the development of several spray foam insulation products including Icynene Classic Max, Icynene Classic Max Select, Icynene ProSeal and Icynene ProSeal LE. Each of these spray foam products is identified as a low VOC spray foam insulation material. And it doesn’t stop there; chemists and building scientists at Icynene continue to develop spray foam innovation to meets the ever changing requirements of modern commercial and residential construction as well as the demands of architects, builders and homeowners alike.
Icynene has gone further to ensure that their spray foam insulation products are evaluated by UL Environment to gain and GREENGUARD Gold certification.  Icynene Classic Max, Icynene ProSeal and Icynene ProSeal LE have received GREENGUARD Gold certification. Furthermore, Icynene spray foam insulation products meet the criteria set by the Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS).
As a result of Icynene’s low VOC innovation, building occupants are able to re-occupy a home or building after just two hours and in some cases 1 hour after the spray application following active ventilation as prescribed.


GREENGUARD Certification has been widely adopted as a trusted standard for low-emitting products. More than 400 green building codes, standards, guidelines, procurements policies, and rating systems recognize or reference GREENGUARD Certified products.
The GREENGUARD Gold Certification standard includes health based criteria for additional chemicals and also requires lower total VOC emissions levels to ensure that products are acceptable for use in environments such as schools and healthcare facilities.

What is CHPS?

CHPS is a collaboration to address energy efficiency in schools. The program covers all aspects of school design, construction and operation. CHPS develops tools that help make schools energy, water and material efficient, well-lit, thermally comfortable, acoustically sound, safe, healthy and easy to operate.  CHPS sets a specific set of criteria that must be met by building materials to allow for use in the construction of schools.

Where does LEED fit in?

Low emitting materials  are addressed in LEED v4 with the intent to reduce concentrations of chemical contaminants that can damage air quality, human health, productivity, and the environment. Architects can receive credit toward LEED certification in addressing low emitting materials including interior paints and coatings, flooring, interior adhesives and sealants as well as ceiling, wall, thermal and acoustic insulation.

How can architects and builders help?

Architects, designers and builders can all take steps to encourage the adoption of a low VOC approach in design and construction. Through educating and working with their clients in understanding what VOCs are, how they affect building occupants and the low VOC options that are available in the market, architects and builders can create high performance, energy efficient and positive spaces to live, work and play. 

For More Information Call Therma Seal- 561.775.9703 or visit us at www.thermaseal.net

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Unique spray foam insulation application in Florida for commercial site

Link to Story

Overlooking grand gardens and an impressive fountain, the monumental Pegasus and Dragon statue in Pegasus Park at Gulfstream Park celebrates the contributions that horses have made to human civilization.

The large equine and dragon sculpture sits in a new entertainment precinct primarily aimed at families. The $30 million bronze statue stands more than 100 feet tall atop of a domed building that will eventually house a 5D movie theater, pony rides, carousel and a musical light show that rivals those of Las Vegas. 
Pegasus Park in Florida has been insulated with sprayed-in foam from Icynene

A Florida-based Icynene dealer was brought onboard to help insulate the enormous structure’s domed building. Working in collaboration with architects, engineers and the park  management, the spray foam application team recommended using low-VOC Icynene ProSeal closed cell spray foam insulation. Featuring an R-value of R7.1 per inch, Icynene ProSeal is a high performance spray foam insulation that is a Class II vapor retarder at 1.5” thickness. The flexibility of Icynene spray foam insulation ensures that the dome is both well insulated and air-sealed for optimal year round performance, regardless of the curvature and shape of the roof.

Curved / domed roof spray foam application featuring Icynene insulation
The experienced and licensed spray foam crews covered the 5,600 sq ft. domed roof with 4.25” of Icynene ProSeal to achieve R30.