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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How are polyurethane foams applied?


Our systems are spray-applied, two-component products that include an isocyanate (A-Side Component) and a resin (B-Side Component). These are not pre-formed, friction-fit batts or boardstock insulations. It is not a wet application – no water is used. During application, there is a chain reaction between the two components that creates a bond to the substrate as it foams up. It dries, cures and hardens within 3-5 seconds. This product should always be installed by a trained applicator.


What is the insulation R-value of your systems?


Our polyurethane foam systems are closed-cell, with a superior effective R-value of over 6.0 per inch.


What are the differences between roofing foams, wall foams and sealant foams?


Polyurethane foams are either single- or plural-component products engineered on the molecular level for a specific purpose and application. Roofing foams tend to offer higher compressive strengths and smoother surfaces, while wall foams tend to offer faster reaction rates, higher yield and superior insulation R - values. Sealant foams can be similar in content to wall foams, and are either single-component or plural-component sealants in cans for smaller cracks and finer applications. All of our polyurethane technologies are closed-cell foams.


What are the differences between closed-cell and open-cell foams?


There are three major differences. First, BASF uses the versatility of chemistry to offer a closed-cell content of greater than 90 percent for all of its formulations, and open-cell foams commonly used as insulation systems have approximately 60 percent open-cell content. Second, closed cell content offers an R-value of over 6.0 per inch and open cell offers between 3.0 and 3.9 per inch. Third, closed cell foam is virtually impermeable to air, while open cell foam allows far more air and vapor into the building interior.


What is an insulating air barrier system?


A closed-cell, spray-applied polyurethane foam wall system that combines superior insulation values and near-zero air permeability in a single application to improve building durability, energy efficiency and occupant comfort, health and safety.


Does polyurethane technology control air leakage?


Our polyurethane foam wall systems have been tested and are certified to be an air barrier at an application of 1-inch thickness. Once applied, our wall systems are fully-adhered and do not allow air to flow around, behind or through the insulation system. Most open-cell foams have not been tested and therefore do not qualify as air barrier systems. One open-cell foam manufacturer’s product requires an application of 5.5 inches to pass the minimum requirements of the air barrier test.


The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has shown that 15 percent of traditional insulation materials’ effectiveness is lost due to convection loops through and behind board and batt systems. Spray-applied polyurethane technology eliminates this by forming a fully adhered, seamless insulation and air barrier system.


Can an insulation system add structural strength?


Spray-applied closed-cell polyurethane foam is the only insulation material that adds structural integrity throughout the wall system. Testing conducted by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Research Center and the Canadian Construction Materials Centre shows spray-applied polyurethane foam insulation between wood- and steel-stud wall panels increased rack and shear strength two to three times compared with standard stick-built components with glass fiber insulation when sprayed onto gypsum wallboard and vinyl siding, and increased racking strength when sprayed onto oriented strandboard (OSB).


What about mold?


Mold requires three things to grow: moisture, warm temperatures and a food source. Polyurethane foam insulation has no nutritional value and is not considered a food source for mold. The use of polyurethane as insulation eliminates condensing surfaces and reduces the potential to accumulate moisture. It also eliminates air movement within the wall cavity. Other insulations are less successful at controlling air infiltration and providing adequate insulation to eliminate condensing surfaces, thus increasing the possibility of an environment susceptible to mold.


Is polyurethane good for the planet?


Our polyurethane technologies are formaldehyde-free formulas that emit no volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and use ZONE3® zero ozone depleting blowing agent technology. Plastic building products, including polyurethane foam, use less energy from all sources than alternative products during production. Spray-applied polyurethane foam insulation saved 3.4 trillion BTUs in manufacturing energy over glass fiber in 1990. Our systems also increase building energy efficiency and reduce waste. For more information on how our polyurethane technologies help make buildings – and the planet – better, please visit our sustainability section.


Can polyurethane wall systems be used in a chemically sensitive environment?


Yes. Our wall systems do not emit Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). Off-gassing from this product has been measured at 0.000 parts per million. The product is inert.


Are there any fire protection requirements?


Polyurethane insulation meets Class 1 flame and smoke characteristics. Once installed, it must be covered by a 15-minute thermal barrier or ignition barrier, depending on the application. Check with local Building Codes for final determination.


Are Performance Materials Construction Products approved?


The National Roofing Contractors Association describes spray-applied polyurethane foam as one of the best roofing systems for flat, unusually shaped or low-slope roofs. ELASTOSPRAY® roofing systems and AmeriGlue insulating adhesives have received a variety of fire, wind uplift and hail resistance approvals.


Many of our ELASTOCOAT™ coatings for roofing applications are ENERGY STAR®- rated for reflectivity. The ELASTOCOAT coatings for storage and tank applications are NSF-approved and carry other ratings specific to the application.


The WALLTITE® insulating air barrier system is approved by the Air Barrier Association of America to meet the criteria of the Commercial Energy Codes of Massachusetts, Michigan and Wisconsin.


For the various credentials of specific formulations, please view our Technical Data Sheets or contact us.


What equipment is required?


Spray-applied polyurethane foam systems require specific application equipment, including pumps, proportioners and spray guns. BASF offers a selection of top-quality equipment for the proper application of SPF insulation, from leading manufacturer Graco. Equipment and materials are sold to qualified contractors; this is not a DIY project. For more information, please visit our equipment page.


Are there any special handling considerations?


Professionally trained contractors must always use personal protective equipment (PPE), avoid all contact with skin and eyes and do not inhale the vapors of the isocyanate.


While spraying, always work with adequate ventilation. Protective gloves, face mask and additional PPE items are required.

For more information, please view our material safety data sheets or contact us directly about the proper handling and use of our polyurethane foam product line and equipment.