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Alleviating Common Concerns About Spray Polyurethane Foam

Spray polyurethane foam, or SPF, is a highly effective insulation that greatly reduces energy costs. It is an excellent choice for roofing due to its high R-value. It also provides a permanent seal to keep out moisture and air, and it will not sag after time.

However, SPF has some inherent dangers that require your attention — learn more about them here.


Isocyanates are a chemical used in the manufacturing of spray polyurethane foam. They can be dangerous if inhaled or ingested. Inhalation of isocyanates causes pulmonary edema, making it difficult to breathe, and causes skin irritation. Ingesting isocyanates causes vomiting, gasping, and a burning sensation in the mouth and esophagus.

Polyol Blend

Polyol blends in spray polyurethane foam are dangerous because they decompose into toxic gases and can be lethal in high concentrations. Excessive exposure can also irritate the skin and mucous membranes and cause respiratory, skin, and eye irritation.

Respiratory Irritation

Inhaling the polyurethane foam can cause coughing, chest discomfort, and difficulty breathing. This is more of a hazard for those more sensitive to irritants.

The spraying of the foam insulation can create a fine mist of particles. This mist can lead to a person’s respiratory system being irritated and coughing, sneezing, wheezing, and chest discomfort. In addition, the solvents that are present in the spray foam can also aggravate an individual’s respiratory system.

In some cases, the foam insulation installation can release toxic chemicals into the air. These chemicals can cause a person to experience symptoms such as headache,

Skin Sensitization

The most common cause of skin sensitization is contact dermatitis, which SPF can cause. This dermatitis is caused by an allergic reaction to a particular substance and is more common in people with allergies or sensitive skin.

An allergic reaction is when the body’s immune system reacts to an allergen by producing an Immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibody. The next time IgE detects the allergen, it reacts more quickly and produces histamine.

Steps to Avoid SPF Health Hazards

Here are the following steps to help you avoid SPF hazards

Allow to Cure

The polyurethane needs to be allowed to cure for a minimum of 18 hours before it is walked on. This will ensure the foam has hardened and the foam will not be damaged.

Use Proper Safety Equipment

When installing spray polyurethane foam roofing materials, safety equipment includes a respirator, goggles, and gloves. In addition, a polyurethane spray nozzle, ladder, and a partner for handling equipment and other assistances are also necessary.

Proper Mixing Ratios

The chemical mixing process for spray polyurethane foam begins with combining isocyanate and Polyol. The first step is to measure out the quantities of isocyanate and Polyol, then mix them together at a low speed on a drill with a screwdriver attachment. The isocyanate must be first mixed with the Polyol. Once mixed, the mixture is diluted with water on the drill’s mixer attachment. Then, watch the mixture carefully for any gas bubbles that might form before it has cooled down too much.

You can always count on us at Ener-Spray to provide you with the best spray polyurethane foam application and installation services. Contact us today to learn more about everything we can do for you.