Undocumented SPF Products
March 11, 2022
We are all aware that SPF materials have been in short supply during the past several months. Today there are SPF materials introduced in the US market that may not be properly tested and certified for use under applicable US building codes. All foam insulations need to be tested by an independent laboratory to measure R-Value and surface burning characteristics before they are approved for use as an insulation or roofing system under all building codes in the US.
Reliable foam manufacturers perform these two mandatory tests for R-value and surface burning, along with many other non-mandatory performance tests to measure vapor transmission, density, dimensional stability, etc. This data is typically sent to a third-party certification body (e.g., Intertek, ICC-ES, IAPMO, etc.) to develop a code compliance report for the product. This code compliance report is provided to the customer and code officials to certify the foam is code compliant. Additionally, reputable manufacturers also provide safety data sheets (SDS) for both the A and B side chemicals. Having a valid SDS for these chemicals is required by OSHA.
Before using any SPF insulation product in a building, prudent contractors should have all SDS forms and either a valid code compliance report or third-party R-value/fire test reports for the foam being installed. If the foam product installed does not meet fire testing requirements, the installing contractor could potentially find itself liable in a court of law for damages, including loss-of-life, arising out of a fire determined to have been caused by the non-compliant foam product. It is important for all contractors to have the proper documentation for any SPF product that is being installed.
2. ASTM E84-21a Standard Test Method for Surface Burning Characteristics of Building Materials