Spray foam is one of the most popular home insulation options. It is easy to see why with its excellent thermal resistance and sound dampening properties. It even creates an airtight seal that improves indoor air quality and reduces air drafts. If you have the budget for it, then there is no reason why you can’t use spray foam for your home. Safety issues might make you pause, including questions about flammability. One question we are asked often is, “Is spray foam insulation flammable?”. It is a valid concern so let’s discuss this in detail to put your mind at ease. We will also touch on proper installation and its role in keeping you safe.
The Flammability of Insulating Materials
Staying indoors can be uncomfortable when extreme temperatures strike. HVAC systems may help, but they have their limits. If you want to enjoy year-round comfort, then you should increase the insulation along your home’s thermal envelope. However, you must be careful about selection and installation. No insulation material can be classified as truly fireproof. Given the right conditions, most can catch fire and inflict damage. For example, cellulose, open and closed spray foam, and other foam plastic materials are flammable. Others will melt and transfer heat to their surroundings, such as mineral wool and multi-foil.
Why Insulation Remains a Safe Option
Don’t let the flammability of insulation make you fearful. These will not randomly burst into flames. They are not like paper that will almost instantly catch fire upon contact. In fact, spray foam insulation will need to be heated to 700 degrees before you see flames. Manufacturers are also enhancing the production process for safety. They are treating the foam with fire retardant chemicals to minimize the danger. With high-quality spray foam, you can have superior heat resistance, indoor air quality, and noise reduction while staying safe.
Fire Resistant vs Fire Retardant: A Definition
You might get confused about the terms that you read. Many may look like they are referring to the same thing, but there are important differences. Let us clear things up right now to aid you in choosing the ideal insulation for your home. A material is considered “fire resistant” if it can inherently shrug off the fire. It is self-extinguishing, so you don’t need to worry about flames. On the other hand, a “fire retardant” is a material that can slow down ignition thanks to chemical treatments. This can prevent burning and may lead to a self-extinguished fire.
A fire-resistant material reacts quickly, extinguishing flames within two seconds. It should also be under six inches for arc protection and under four inches for flash fire protection. Remember that fire is powerful, and no material is completely immune to it. Some will burn while others will melt. However, fire-resistant materials can delay ignition significantly and give you time to move to safety. The same is true for fire retardant chemical treatments. Since most types of insulation are flammable, your main concern should be their flame spread rating. You should also heed the safety recommendations for each type.
The Fire Rating of Spray Foam Insulation
When it comes to the flame spread rating, lower is always better. Class A materials have a fire rating between 0 and 25, including brick, fiber cement, and gypsum wallboard. These are unlikely to add fuel to fire. Class B materials have a fire rating between 26 and 75, examples of which are wood planks directly taken from trees. Lastly, Class C materials have a fire rating between 76 and 200, including plywood, hardboard, and fiberboard. It would be nice to have Class A insulation for safety, but you may not get the thermal protection you want. Class B insulation may offer a good balance.
Spray foam has a flame spread rating of 75. This puts it firmly in the mid-pack with other Class B materials. It’s not so bad, considering that it has a better rating than common construction options like plywood and fiberboard. Although it is flammable, it can resist fire for about one hour. That should provide ample time for people in a home or building to get out of harm’s way. Nearly all the foam insulation available today contains some type of flame retardant. The treated material will help prevent the spread of fire.
Why Spray Foam Requires A Fort Collins Insulation Professional
If you are planning DIY spray foam installation, think again. It may save you a few bucks, but it exposes you to unnecessary risks. Note that spray foam generates heat during installation so you need to be careful about it. If the layers are applied too thick or piled too soon, then the material may end up charring, smoldering, or even burning. The odds are low, but the recorded cases should serve as a warning to everyone. Let a professional insulation contractor handle the installation for your peace of mind.
Insulation is a vital part of a home’s energy efficiency. If you are tired of consuming large amounts of energy, paying high bills, and feeling discomfort, then add insulation around your walls, your basement, and your attic. Cover your thermal envelope with a material that can repel heat and keep you safe. In regions with mild temperatures, fiberglass, mineral wool, and cellulose might suffice. In places with extreme temperatures, spray foam is a common choice. Manage risk by using a product that has been treated with flame retardants. Hire a professional insulation contractor for the installation to ensure safety and performance.
Is Spray Foam Insulation Flammable Fort Collins, Colorado?
When it concerns insulation, consulting with a professional insulation company is the best option. There are a lot of factors to consider when determining what type of insulation works best for your home. Ascend Construction specializes in insulation removal and installation, energy conservation, energy audits, whole house fan installations, and more in Fort Collins, Colorado, and the neighboring areas.
Contact Ascend Construction for a free consultation today. We can provide you with practical solutions to address the problem areas in your Fort Collins home. All of our services are affordable and our work is guaranteed. Click here to contact us or click the button below to give Ascend Construction a call. We offer free, no-obligation, in-home consultations.
301 S Howes St #1241
Fort Collins CO, 80521