polyurethane insulation

Polyurethane spray foam insulation appears blue. I hope that is correct. If used in the basement does this application require a fire retardant barrier such as drywall or is it OK to leave it uncovered?

Help please as I am getting conflicting views.

A few references:



Bryce, any type of foam, regardless of whether it is spray or rigid, is a fire hazard and should be covered if used inside the building envelope.

Except no protection required if used in crawlspace.

Should it be covered if a gas furnace and water heater are present in the crawlspace?


** Protection of Foamed Plastics
(1) **Except as provided in Sentence (2), foamed plastics that form part of a wall or ceiling assembly in *combustible
construction *shall be protected from adjacent space in the *building *other than adjacent concealed spaces within attic or roof
, crawl spaces, and wall assemblies,

Yes in Nova Scotia. NBC states it.

Home inspectors are not obligated to determine whether or not an observed defect is in fact in violation with the applicable section of the Building Code. Nevertheless - if I find any exposed rigid or foam insulation which - in my opinion - might release toxic fumes when on fire - I always recommend corrective actions.

RUDOLF REUSSE - Home Inspector since 1976 - **TORONTO

That’s what I do as well, Rudolph. However, I have been questioned sometimes when I pointed out that foam insulation in a cold storage room under a porch should be covered. I don’t get all anal about it in that location, but present it as a suggestion. Should I be more insistent?

Bill Mullen

Be more insistent on multiple interconnected line voltage smoke dectectors plus battery back-ups. I some times recommend up to 3-4 in the basement due to dryer, water heater, furnace/boiler, electrical panel being situated in different rooms with closed doors. It’s cheap insurance for detecting a fire before it really gets developed.

IMHO, the foam issue is way overstated by the codes!! Seems it’s just a historical artifact from when foam panels first came out. We have foam pillows/cushions, carpet pads, and lots of other plastics in houses today but we don’t have to cover them with 1/2" drywall. Haven’t heard of higher #'s of deaths related to insulation foam in fires!! It’s the CO and cyanides from a variety of sources.

From http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/559849:

"In a study done in Sweden at the National Testing Center, they looked at a controlled burning of household items, everything from VCRs to furniture to chairs to cables, anything that you would find in a residential structure. What they found was amazing throughout. These are the isocyanide levels that came through all the building materials. But the biggest that came through is fiberglass insulation. The insulated wool actually threw off the highest levels. When you look at it from the fire service perspective, when you look at the pink and yellow insulation inside walls and you see firemen out in the streets, you know they are fighting fires and they are going through tearing the building apart to find any hot spots in it and you see the insulation consistently being pulled out and looked at.
This has become a significant concern in the fire service, because we used to concentrate on the wool, the cotton materials, and some of the plastics."

BTW, silk throws off cyanide also!!

From the Portland Concrete Association in an article about the fire resistance of ICF homes:
“[FONT=FilosofiaRegular][size=2]Practically any organic material, like wood or plastic, gives off emissions when subjected to intense heat or flame. The Southwest Research Institute reviewed numerous existing studies of fire emissions and concluded that emissions from polystyrene foams are “no more toxic” than those of wood.”