By Jen KramerThere are some new spray polyurethane foam systems on the market that combine the best features of both open- and closed-cell foams. We recently sat down with Profoam Corporation’s president and owner, Ted Medford, to discuss the unique features of these new foam products.
Spray Foam Magazine: Can you explain what the difference is between conventional SPF systems and your new Hybrid Cell SPF system?
Ted Medford: For decades now our industry has offered both open- and closed-cell spray foam systems. Open-cell systems have historically been approximately .05 PCF (pounds per cubic foot) in density and closed-cell systems have predominantly been 2.0 PCF in density. Our new HybridPro medium-density spray foam systems are available in 1.0 PCF and 1.6 PCF densities.
The medium-density hybrid spray foam system’s matrix features approximately 62 percent open cells. When sprayed, it is the perfect mix between an open-cell .05 PCF system and a closed-cell 2.0 PCF system; expanding approximately 70 times its liquid volume. When you compare that rate with the typical 30-time expansion rate of closed-cell systems and the 100-time expansion rate of open-cell, the unique expansion of this hybrid medium-density foam becomes apparent.
These medium-density foam systems are every bit as air tight and efficient as the current market options but provide many advantages that the other products cannot.
SFM: What are some of the advantages of these systems for SPF contractors?
TM: The advantages vary in direct relation to the alternative product to which each system is being compared. As an example, the HybridPro 1.0 spray foam system, in my opinion, is a better choice than .05 PCF foam systems for wall applications because:
- The HybridPro 1.0 spray foam system has a much higher R-value per inch than .05 PCF foam systems. Most .05 PCF foam systems have an average R-value of around 3.5 per inch while our HybridPro 1.0 has an R-value of 4.8 per inch. This allows for less insulation thickness to achieve code-compliant R-value.
- HybridPro 1.0 saves SPF contractors labor and money because there is no need to shave the walls after installation. R13 can be achieved with 2.7 inches of foam, which eliminates product waste, and makes clean up times much faster. Therefore, application times can be reduced by as much as 50 percent. Also, there is minimal or no disposal costs.
- The HybridPro 1.0 spray system is a better air barrier because you’re not shaving off the outer skin like you would with .05 PCF systems. This tough outer skin is crucial to the air sealing characteristics of open-cell foam insulation.
- The HybridPro 1.0 spray system adds tremendous structural integrity to the wall system once the foam is cured out, whereas traditional .05 PCF systems do not add significant strength to wall assemblies. The HybridPro 1.0 system is impressively rigid and strong for an open-cell spray foam system.
- Almost all .05 PCF spray systems are very finicky and, at times, tend to shrink away from the studs on the sides or pull away from the sheathing in the back. This can create air pockets in which moisture can accumulate. The HybridPro 1.0 spray system is far more stable and has much better adhesion and stability characteristics.
- The cell structure of the HybridPro 1.0 spray system is much tighter and resembles that of a closed-cell foam system more than an open-cell foam system. This tighter cell structure gives the HybridPro 1.0 system a much lower water vapor absorption rating and, therefore, protects against water vapor intrusion much better than a .05 PCF foam system.
SFM: What would be the advantages of the HybridPro 1.6 product?
TM: The HybridPro 1.6 is a good alternative choice to 2.0 PCF foam systems because SPF contractors will still achieve the structural benefits of a closed-cell foam system, as well as the increased R-value over open-cell foam systems, while benefitting from significantly greater yield. In fact, our customers are reporting an average yield increase of 50 percent over conventional 2.0 PCF foam systems. Other advantages include reduced odor, a better reactivity profile that minimizes tip clogging, and the ability to spray thicker passes for increased productivity.
SFM: How does the material cost compare to conventional SPF systems?
TM: Material pricing per set for our HybridPro systems is very comparable to conventional SPF material systems. The real question SPF contractors need to be asking is “What is the in-place cost?” The in-place cost for the HybridPro 1.6 material is up to 50 percent less than that of conventional 2.0 PCF foam systems, while the HybridPro 1.0 has relatively the same in-place cost as traditional .05 PCF foam systems. However, the savings for the HybridPro 1.0 spray foam system are found in the decreased waste, clean up, disposal, and labor costs that would be involved in installing a conventional .05 PCF foam system.
SFM: This hybrid SPF can help contractors save “green,” but is it “GREEN?” The term “hybrid” has an environmental connotation.
TM: Both HybridPro systems are Zero Ozone Depleting, which means that they have no global warming impact. Since they are made with soy-based polyols and other renewable raw materials, the systems feature low-VOC content. This is an environmentally friendly foam that sprays with the ease of open-cell and has the strength of closed-cell. It truly is the best of both worlds. •
The cell structure of the hybrid foam is much tighter and resembles closed-cell foam rather than an open-cell system.
Direct any questions about the hybrid cell medium-density spray polyurethane foam systems to Profoam:
Photos Courtesy of Profoam Inc.