Spray Foam Insulation - How Long to Stay Out of House
Find out how long homeowners should stay out of the house after the experts install the world’s best insulation material: spray foam! Open-cell and closed-cell spray foam provide better thermal insulation and energy efficiency than most other insulation materials. But how long should property owners remain outside their homes if the spray foam is installed correctly? Let’s find out!
How long homeowners should stay out of the house after spraying foam insulation will vary based on the type of insulation material: open-cell or closed-cell. Find the appropriate amount of time to stay out of the home after installing spray foam insulation below.
Open-Cell Foam Insulation
Open-cell spray foam insulation takes an average of 24 hours to become fully cured. However, most homeowners should consider staying out of the house for an additional 24 hours to avoid any annoying odors and ensure all chemicals in the air have dissipated.
Closed-Cell Foam Insulation
Homeowners who have closed-cell spray foam insulation installed should stay out of the house for at least 48 hours. This amount of time will allow all off-gassing to subside and permit the foam to cure fully.
In high concentrations, spray foam’s chemical composition may prove hazardous to human health. For this reason, the professionals wear full protective clothing and a reusable respirator when installing spray foam insulation.
Two chemical reactions take place when experts install spray foam insulation: Side A and Side B (50%/50%)
The Side A chemical reaction contains isocyanates, a chemical substance used when manufacturing both rigid and flexible foams, coatings, and fibers. Isocyanates can irritate the gastrointestinal tract, mucous membranes, and respiratory tract. Depending on the level of exposure, isocyanates can lead to mild, moderate, or severe health effects.
The Side B chemical reaction contains a cocktail of proprietary chemicals. Some of the most common chemicals involved in the Side B reaction include:
- Flame retardants
- Blowing agents
The health risks associated with inhaling spray foam fumes during the off-gassing period will vary based on the pre-existing conditions of the inhaler. People who have the following health issues should take extra precautions against inhalation and other types of exposure to spray foam when they install insulation:
- Respiratory infections
- Respiratory allergies
- Skin conditions
Special care should be taken when installing spray foam insulation indoors. While there is no safe level of airborne isocyanates, high concentrations of the chemical inside an unventilated building will produce the most irritating health effects.
How long spray foam insulation will off-gas depends on the size of the project. Off-gassing begins immediately after application and may continue for 24 hours or more. During the off-gassing period, indoor air quality will plummet and begin to fluctuate before finally recovering after an average of 24 hours.
Many spray foam insulation companies recommend homeowners stay out of the house for at least 24 hours. However, property owners may wish to stay away from their homes for a full 48 hours out of an abundance of caution, especially when installing closed-cell spray foam. Open-cell spray foam usually stops off-gassing within 24 hours.
Temperature and humidity may affect how long it takes for open and closed-cell spray foam to cease off-gassing. If the environment is cold and humid, the spray foam insulation will take longer to off-gas.
How to Remove the Odor of Spray Foam Insulation
Discover how to remove the odor of spray foam insulation from a home. After the installation process, curing, and completion of the off-gassing period, a lingering smell may still affect the indoor air quality of a home. While safe to breathe, the odor-filled air is annoying to most homeowners. So, how can someone eliminate the odor of open-cell spray foam and closed-cell insulation?
The best way to remove the odor of spray foam insulation involves using an air purifier. The top air purifiers will capture, isolate, and neutralize odors caused by open and closed-cell spray foam insulation. Open windows and run fans on a high setting to ensure maximum ventilation.
Can you stay home while doing foam spray?
You can not stay home while doing foam spray if you live in a typical home. Even when installed correctly, spray foam insulation emits chemicals into the air that require ventilation during the curing time and off-gassing stage. The 24 or 48 hours spent away from the home are worth it, though, due to the savings on energy bills during the entire lifespan of the insulation materials.
Does spray foam insulation release harmful gasses?
Spray foam insulation does release harmful gasses after the installation process. However, this effect is only temporary, and neither open-cell foam nor closed-cell insulation will harm homeowners once the spray foam insulation is allowed to cure properly. Many homeowners can re-enter their houses 24 hours after the insulation is installed.
How long until spray foam is safe?
Spray foam is safe after a minimum of 24 hours. In some cases, the spray foam insulation company may ask the homeowner to stay out of the house for 48 hours just to be sure no one inhales any of the off-gas. After the curing process is complete, homeowners do not need to worry about inhaling any chemicals.
How long do fumes last from spray foam insulation?
How long fumes last from spray foam insulation will depend on the insulation materials used. For small projects using low volatile organic compounds (VOC), re-occupancy may occur between two and four hours. However, in most cases where high-VOC products are used, the fumes from the spray foam insulation will last for 24 to 48 hours.
Now that you know how long to stay out of the house after the installation of spray foam insulation, you can plan ahead and find accommodations for your family for a night or two during the curing and off-gassing stages. But first, you need to find the best spray foam company. Call iFoam at (855) 935-4723 to schedule a free consultation today!