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Building Science

FAQs about Icynene

What is the Icynene Insulation System®? 
Are There Building Code Approvals? 
Advantages of Flexible Foam
Advantages of Icynene ® Insulation? 
What is Icynene ® Insulation Made Of? 
How Long Does it Take to Cure? 
Does the Foam Absorb Water? 
Does the Foam Entrap Moisture? 
Does the Foam Change Physically Over Time? 
Any Worries Environmentally?
Flammability and Fire-Rating?
What Does the Smoke Contain? 
Any Harmful Emissions? 
How is the Insulation Installed? 
How Long Has Icynene ® Been in Use? 
Any Electric Wiring Overheating Problems? 
Is the Insulation Corrosive to Metals? 
Does the Insulation Support Bacteria or Fungal Growth? 
What About Mice and Termites? 
What Are the Acoustic Properties? 
Is Icynene ® Urea Formaldehyde? 
Does Icynene ® Break Down, Sag or Shrink? 
R-Value of Icynene ®Insulation? 
Are These Aged Values? 
R-Value of an Icynene ® Insulated Wall or Ceiling? 
At What Stage is The Icynene System ® Installed? 
How do I Arrange for The Icynene System ® In My Home?

Q. What is the Icynene Insulation System®? 
A. The Icynene Insulation System® is a complete insulation, air and moisture barrier system that windproof's and seals wall, floor and ceiling cavities against air movement, including spaces around electrical outlets and light fixtures, at baseboards and where walls meet windows and doors. This means that outside air (either hot or cold) cannot seep through walls, causing drafts or cold spots. It also means that humid interior air cannot enter the walls and condense. 

The system combines a material with a Certified Service providing any builder or homeowner with a truly cost effective method of energy efficient construction. The material is poly icynene foam (see Product Specifications ), an organic material developed from products of the petrochemical industry similar in composition to many that are already in home use today. The service is a custom installation on the building site by trained and Certified Installers, providing a custom insulation fit into any size cavity.

By virtue of its low permeability to air, its adhesion to other building materials and its flexibility, The Icynene Insulation System® becomes much more than just insulation. It provides superior air leakage control, moisture control and sound control in addition to insulation, thus becoming a one step insulation, moisture/vapor barrier, wind barrier system. The Icynene Insulation System® takes the place of building wrap, fiberglass, polyethylene vapor barrier, tape, foam and caulking, and eliminates the labor intensive work associated with air-tightness detailing when insulating with conventional insulation products. 

Unlike ''loose fill'' insulation methods that do not wind proof building cavities, the air sealing characteristics of The Icynene Insulation System® provide virtually the same R-Value in the field as it does in the laboratory where the R-Value is measured. Cold air in winter and hot muggy air in summer just cannot pass through poly icynene foam like it can through most other insulating materials. 

Q. Are There Building Code Approvals? 
A. The product was evaluated by the Canadian Construction Materials Center of The National Research Council's, (NRC), Institute for Research in Construction. Health and Welfare Canada examined the NRC emissions tests. The Ontario Ministry of Housing, Materials Evaluation Commission evaluated it and the Council of American Building Officials National Evaluation Service also evaluated it. 

Icynene® complies to the BOCA, SBCCI and the ICBO Uniform Building Codes and the Canadian National Building Code. It has been evaluated by the Council of American Building Officials National Evaluation Service. It has been the subject of research projects by the NAHB Research Center, Upper Marlboro, Maryland; Oak Ridge National Laboratories , Oak Ridge, Tennessee and the Florida Solar Energy Center, Cape Canaveral, Florida. 

Health problem concerns associated with other building products in recent years such as asbestos, urea formaldehyde and glass fibers, lead Canadian Authorities to dictate the ground rules for acceptance of new building materials. The Icynene® product became, to the best of our knowledge, the most extensively tested insulation material on the market today. The testing included the most sensitive emissions tests developed to date, tests that few other building materials have ever been through. 

Q. What are the advantages of flexible foam? 
A. A foam that adheres to building materials, like Icynene insulation, must remain flexible in order to maintain its air seal. Buildings expand and contract with changes of season and temperature. If the foam is rigid, it will inevitably develop hairline cracks along the studs and ultimately the air seal will be destroyed. 

Q. Advantages of The Icynene Insulation System® ? 
A. As well as simplifying the construction process for the builder, Icynene® Insulation eliminates the major causes of building envelope problems, air-borne moisture movement and entrapment. Blower door tests have shown that a steel framed home insulated with Icynene® Insulation, and with no polyethylene vapor barrier, measures 1.2 ACH at -50 Pa. depressurization. This is well under the 1.5 ACH50 rating for the most energy efficient home. Heating and cooling costs are typically reduced by 30 to 50%, and smaller, less expensive heating and cooling equipment can be used. 

For the homeowner the advantages are:- 
Compared to other technologies, The Icynene Insulation System® is a less expensive method of building an energy efficient home. 
• A more energy efficient home means that energy costs can usually be reduced between 30 and 50%. 
• A more comfortable home, free from drafts and cold spots. 
• A quieter home because Icynene® creates a continuous sound barrier against outside noises. 
• A healthier home - when used with a mechanical ventilation system, superior indoor air quality provides your family with a much healthier place in which to live. 

Q. What is Icynene®Insulation Made Of? 
A. Icynene® insulation is a water-based formula that contains no formaldehyde, CFC's or HCFC's. The insulation has the texture and look of angel food cake and is made up of millions of tiny cells. These cells are filled with air and provide permanent control of air and airborne moisture movement. There are no VOC's detected in Icynene after 30 days. See Specification Tables for more physical data. 

Q. How Long Does it Take to Cure? 
A. The foam is created in seconds after spraying. You can watch it expand within seconds to 100 times its original volume, literally before your eyes. It completely cures within a few minutes. 

Q. Does the Foam Absorb Water? 
A. No, it looks like a sponge but it is actually hydrophobic, i.e., it repels water. If placed in water it will float and on removal it will dry rapidly and loose none of its insulating properties.

Q. Does the Foam Entrap Moisture? 
A. Icynene® Insulation is a breathing foam, and any moisture in the building's concrete or lumber can escape through the insulation as the building dries out, thus eliminating any risk of rot or mildew. 

Q. Does the Foam Change Physically Over Time? 
A. No, it is inert. Its physical and insulating properties are constant. 

Q. Any Worries Environmentally? 
A. No, the product is environmentally safe. 

Q. Flammability and Fire-Rating? 
A. Icynene® Insulation contributes no fuel in the event of fire and it will not sustain flame upon removal of the flame source. However, like fiberglass, it will be consumed by flame, and gypsum board or other acceptable thermal barriers are required by applicable building codes. 

Q. What Does the Smoke Contain? 
A. Smoke from Icynene® foam, like that of all organic materials including wood, is a complex of many gasses. The major components in the smoke from Icynene® Insulation are carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide. By the time the material is burnt, the fire will have been raging for at least 15 minutes. 

Q. Any Harmful Emissions? 
A. Icynene® is safe for both you and the environment. Icynene® is water-based, and does not produce formaldehyde, CFC's or HCFC's. It has been extensively tested in both Canada and the United States and found to have no VOC's detected after 30 days. 

The product is in fact recommended for use in homes for many environmentally concerned or sensitive people. The Icynene Insulation System® has been selected for use in the American Lung Association Health House projects. 

Q. How is The Icynene Insulation System®Installed 
A. There are two different ways to install Icynene® insulation — spray it onto any open surface and studded wall or pour it into an existing wall cavity when renovating. An Icynene trained, licensed Dealer must be used in both cases. 

With any open surface, Icynene® insulation can be sprayed on 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. 

For retrofitting existing walls, a slower expanding formulation of Icynene is used during renovations. The material is simply injected into small holes drilled into plaster or gypsum walls, or from the outside of the wall. 

Q. How Long Has Icynene Been in Use? 
A. Icynene® Insulation has been on the market since 1986 and is in thousands of homes across the United States. It has also been featured in segments of ''This Old House'' and ''Your New House''. 

Q. Any Electric Wiring Overheating Problems? 
A. No, Icynene® Insulation has been tested and is not a concern to electrical authorities. 

Q. Is the Insulation Corrosive to Metals? 
A. No, Icynene® Insulation is non-corrosive. It is neutral, neither acidic or alkaline. 

Q. Does the Insulation Support Bacteria or Fungal Growth? 
A. 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 pests. 

Q. What About Mice and Termites? 
A. Icynene® Insulation offers no food value, but it would not present a sufficient barrier to their entry if they decided to gnaw through it. 

Q. What Are the Acoustic Properties? 
A. As an effective air seal, The Icynene Insulation System® eliminates the air gaps through which sound travels and is superior in controlling mid-range frequencies, which include the most common sounds, the human voice and stereo music. 

Q. Is Icynene® Urea Formaldehyde? 
A. No. 

Q. Does Icynene® Break Down, Sag or Shrink? 
A. No, Icynene® Insulation is stable. It does not shrink or sag. The reaction that creates Icynene® Insulation is irreversible and it cannot break down into its constituent parts. 

Q. R-Value of Icynene ®Insulation? 
A. R-value is derived from a controlled laboratory test of an insulation’s resistance to conductive heat flow. Icynene’s R-value is 3.6/inch, similar to fiberglass. 

Q. Are These Aged Values? 
A. Unlike foams filled with CFC or HCFC, the R-Value of air filled foam does not decline as it ages. 

Q. R-Value of an Icynene ®Insulated Wall or Ceiling? 
A. R-Values of insulating materials are measured in laboratories and are designated a nominal R-Value per inch. In the wall or ceiling of a building, most factory made insulation materials suffer a reduction in performance due to air leakage and infiltration. The insulating value of many building components may be as low as 50% of the nominal R-Value of the insulation they contain. 

By contrast, the insulation of a wall containing Icynene® Insulation will perform closely to the laboratory tested R-Value of the material and seal the wall cavity from air infiltration as well. 

The Icynene Insulation System® is particularly suited to steel frame construction. Icynene® expands 100:1 as it is installed, adhering to surrounding building components. It completely seals joints, crevices and voids, including difficult-to-insulate spaces such as steel stud ''U'' and ''C'' sections, double studs and non-standard stud locations. A continuous air/vapor barrier is formed around the building structure in a single application. 

Q. At What Stage is The Icynene Insulation System® Installed? 
A. The Icynene Insulation System® is installed after the windows, doors and roof are in, the electrical, framing and plumbing inspections are complete, and after any other electrical or mechanical system located behind the drywall is installed. It is the last installation to take place before drywall installation. 

Q. How do I Arrange for The Icynene System® in My Home? 
A. Talk to your builder early and let him know that you would like to have The Icynene Insulation System® installed in your home. Icynene® can provide a builder demonstration videotape and technical support so that The Icynene Insulation System® is an available option for your home.

topics: Home Owners, Education, Icynene


We were living in our 2 car garage while building our 3200 sq ft house with Icynene. We are now living in our home and using the same amount of fuel to heat and cool the house as we were using in the garage.
Gary & Donna,