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Why Icynene





Frequently Asked Questions.

What is Icynene?

Icynene® is an open-celled, water blown, spray foam insulation and air barrier material that seals walls, floors and ceiling cavities against air movement, including spaces around electrical outlets and light fixtures, and where walls meet windows and doors. This means that Icynene®, when applied along with proper sealants for gaps between double-stud joints and double-sill plates, etc., provides an effective air barrier insulation to minimize air infiltration (hot and cold) through walls and ceilings, preventing drafts, cold spots and energy loss. It also means that humid indoor/outdoor air is restricted from entering the walls and ceilings and condensing, thereby minimizing the possibility of moisture entrapment and build-up within the wall and ceiling cavities. This is conducive to preventing building envelope failure due to moisture damage.

Future Foam conducts a custom installation on the building site, ensuring a perfect fill into cavities of all sizes and shapes. Our installation technique also reduces many labour-intensive jobs such as taping, caulking and any air-tightening details generally associated with conventional insulation products. This can shorten construction time as well as lower labour costs by providing both the building envelope air seal as well as insulation. Contrary to air-permeable insulation types, Icynene® can maintain its installed R-values throughout its service life.

Are there building code approvals?

Icynene® is one of the most extensively tested insulation materials on the market today in many different categories: fire, emissions, sound transmission, energy performance and more. Many Canadian and the US governmental research organizations have participated in the evaluation process on Icynene®.

In Canada, Icynene® has been evaluated by the Canadian Construction Materials Center (CCMC) of the National Research Council (NRC). There is a CCMC evaluation report listed on their website under the report number 12070-R. Visit http://irc.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca/ccmc/index_e.html and type “Icynene 12070” in the search field.

Also, emission testing was conducted and analyzed by the Saskatchewan Research Council. Other Canadian evaluation organizations that have evaluated Icynene® include the Institute for Research in Construction, Health and Welfare Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Housing, Materials Evaluation Commission.

In the US, Icynene® has a product evaluation report from the ICC Evaluation Service under the report number ESR-1826. This evaluation report is effective throughout the US in any jurisdiction that adopts the ICC code. Other US evaluation institutes that have conducted an evaluation on Icynene® are the NAHB Research Center, the Oak Ridge National Laboratories and the Florida Solar Energy Center.

What are the advantages of flexible foam?

Buildings expand and contract due to temperature differentials, moisture content, wind load, seismic activity and more. If foam is rigid, it can't accommodate the movement of the building and will inevitably develop cracks and delamination along the framing, eventually breaching the air seal. Flexible foam remains adhered to the substrate even in the face of seasonal building movement, thereby maintaining its air seal over the long term.

What are the advantages of Icynene® insulation?

For builders, Icynene® can reduce construction time by simplifying the insulation process and minimizing the number of callbacks due to building envelope failure as a result of air-borne moisture entrapment and buildup within the cavities. Many blower door tests have shown that houses insulated with Icynene® and without a polyethylene vapour barrier measure 1.2 ACH @ 50 Pa de-pressurization. This is well under the 1.5 ACH @ 50 Pa rating set out by some of the most stringent energy-efficient home building protocols including R-2000 in Canada and Building America in the US. Heating and cooling costs are typically reduced by up to 50% and smaller, less expensive heating and cooling equipment can be used because of the reduced heating and cooling loads.

For homeowners, this means lower heating and cooling costs from reduced air infiltration and a more comfortable home. Also, Icynene®’s continuous air barrier capability will significantly reduce unwanted airborne noise from the outside, resulting in a quieter interior living space. When merged with an air-to-air heat exchanger like HRV or ERV, superior air quality can be achieved for a healthier indoor environment.

What is the composition of Icynene®?

Icynene® is a water-blown half-pound plastic foam insulation that contains no environmentally harmful blowing agents like HFCs, HCFCs or HFAs. Organic chemical compounds from petroleum extract are the main source of its ingredients. VOC emission testing by the Saskatchewan Research Council has revealed that there were no VOC emissions after 30 days.

How long does Icynene® take to cure?

Foam takes less than 10 seconds to expand to 100 times its original volume and become fully cured, ready for drywall application.

Does the foam absorb water?

No, it does not absorb water. However, water can work its way through the foam under pressure or by force of gravity. When the foam is placed on water it will float and upon removal it will not contain any water and it does not lose any of its insulating properties. But if it is immersed under water, water can be forced into the foam through hydrostatic pressure. Once it is removed from water and allowed to dry out, the original insulating properties will return.

Does the foam entrap moisture?

Icynene® is vapour permeable and this allows water vapour molecules to flow through the foam. This means that any moisture in the building's concrete or lumber can escape through the insulation as the building dries out, thus eliminating moisture that could cause rot or mould.

Does the foam change physically over time?

No, it is a chemically inert material and it will not change over time, chemically or physically.

Are there any environmental concerns with the use of Icynene®?

No, Icynene® is considered to be an environmentally preferred product because of its contribution to indoor air quality as well as reductions in energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Icynene is listed in the industry-recognized GreenSpec® Directory, a list of over 2,000 environmentally preferable products (http://www.buildinggreen.com/). GreenSpec® products are selected based on independent research which ensures unbiased, quality information.

What is the foam’s flammability and fire rating?

Icynene® insulation has achieved a flame spread index less than 20 and a smoke development index less than 400 according to ASTM E84. This is considered a Class 1 fire rating for construction materials. Also, Icynene® has no fuel contribution effect, meaning it does not support fire by itself. Nonetheless, it is a combustible material and as per building code requirements, it needs a 15-minute thermal barrier to separate it from the interior occupied space.

Does Icynene® contain potentially toxic PBDE flame-retardants?

No, flame-retardants such as PBDEs (polybrominated diphenyl ethers) or any other brominated compounds are not contained in Icynene's formulations.

In the event of a fire, what does the smoke contain?

Smoke from Icynene® foam, like that of all organic materials including wood, is a complex mixture of many gasses. The major components in the smoke from Icynene® insulation are carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide. When there is a fire in the building, the drywall interior finish will provide at least 15 minutes before Icynene® comes into contact with the fire. This buffer will provide adequate time for evacuation of the building.

Does Icynene® emit any harmful VOCs?

Icynene® is safe for both you and the environment. It is water-blown and does not emit HFCs or HCFCs. It has been extensively tested in both Canada and the United States and found to have no detected VOCs 30 days after installation.

In fact, Icynene® has been the insulation of choice for a number of American Lung Association Health House projects.

How is Icynene® installed?

With any open cavity, Icynene® insulation can be directly spray-applied once electrical and plumbing services are in place. It then expands to 100 times its initial volume in seconds, permanently adhering to the surfaces of the surrounding building materials and sealing all gaps and voids.

How long has Icynene® been in use?

Icynene® insulation has been on the market since 1986 and is in hundreds of thousands of homes and buildings across Canada and the United States.

Have there ever been any problems with overheating of electrical wiring?

No, Icynene® insulation has been tested and found to be safe. It has been applied over electrical wiring for over twenty years.

Is the insulation corrosive to metals?

No, Icynene® insulation is non-corrosive. Testing has been conducted to confirm this property.

Does the insulation support bacteria or fungal growth?

Icynene® insulation offers no food value; therefore it does not support bacteria or fungal growth. It also does not retain water, making it an unappealing environment for fungal spores. The University of Texas has done an experiment on mould growth on three different insulation types (Icynene®, fiberglass with foil face and fiberglass with vapour barrier). Icynene® was found to be the best deterrent for mould growth among the test group.

Does Icynene® offer any food value to mice and termites?

Icynene® offers no food value, but it would not present a barrier to entry if a pest decided to gnaw through it.

What are the acoustic properties of the insulation?

As an effective air-seal, Icynene® eliminates the air gaps through which airborne sound travels and is superior in controlling mid-range frequency noise, which includes the most common sounds including human voices and stereo music. Therefore, Icynene® adds to the acoustic property of the building envelope.

Does Icynene® contain urea formaldehyde?

No, Icynene® does not contain any urea formaldehyde.

Does Icynene® break down, sag or shrink?

No, Icynene® insulation is stable. It does not shrink or sag. The foaming action that creates Icynene® insulation is irreversible and it cannot break down into its constituent parts.

What is the R-value of an Icynene®-insulated wall or ceiling?

Icynene® has an R-value of 3.6/inch according to ASTM C518 testing. R-values of insulating materials are measured in laboratories under ideal conditions and the conductive heat transfer property is the only property that is measured. However, in reality, convective heat transfer plays a big role when it comes to the energy performance of a house. Icynene® provides superior energy performance over air-permeable insulation because of its air barrier capability – even though they both have similar R-values.

Extensive computer modeling and field data have shown that the energy performance of Icynene® at much lower R-values almost always outperforms fiberglass insulation in the field due to its superior air-sealing ability. Hence, although we usually recommend lower R-values than fiberglass, Icynene®’s thermal performance in the field is superior in terms of the energy efficiency of a house.

Does the R-value take into consideration aged R-values?

Closed-cell foams that contain blowing agents like HFC, HCFC or HFA can suffer from reduced R-values as a result of blowing agent loss as air leakage takes place in the cell structure. The R-value of Icynene® is generated by millions of tiny inter-connected, air-filled cells and the R-value does not decline as it ages.

At what stage is Icynene® installed?

Icynene® usually gets installed just before drywall installation. Everything including the framing, windows, doors, electrical and plumbing should be completed and before the installation of Icynene. Following the application of Icynene, the installation of 1D 2 inch drywall will provide the thermal barrier cover required by code.