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How Icynene Works

How to Install Icynene
Icynene must be installed by licensed professionals with the proper safety training and equipment.
Icynene must be installed by licensed professionals with the proper safety training and equipment.

If you're leaning towards selecting Icynene for your insulation needs, know this: It's not a do-it-yourself project. Only authorized dealers recognized by the company are permitted to install it. Prior to receiving their Icynene license, prospective dealers must attend training that covers products, equipment, installation processes and general building knowledge. This background is required because components of Icynene are mixed on site; it's an exacting procedure requiring specialized, expensive spray equipment ($50,000 worth). Additionally, installers must wear protective gear, including a full mask that provides clean air while blocking the inhalation of any foam particulates.

But wait! You're going to need more protection. Because of the cohesive and adhesive properties of Icynene, it sticks to itself and to most substances it contacts. Fortunately, this prevents Icynene from breaking down over time and loosening its grip on whatever building material surrounds it. Installers, however, must take care to provide protection for surrounding unintended targets of overspraying, such as doors, windows, and water heaters [source: Insulation for Life].

Professionals choose from the four Icynene products discussed on the preceding page, depending upon the purpose. For new construction, Icynene can be sprayed between walls, ceilings and floors -- the locations that are traditionally insulated. Within seconds, Icynene expands a hundred fold. Workers can use the original spray or one of the greener versions. Quick review: Remember the R-values we were examining on a previous page? Icynene sprays have R-values of 3.6 to 3.7 per inch -- comparable to cellulose, which is composed primarily of recycled paper.

If you want to insulate an existing structure, installers can pour the original Icynene into hollows within a house. There is no need to alter the building's structure, although you might need to drill a few openings in walls or ceilings. Poured foam expands more slowly than sprayed, eventually achieving 60 times the starting volume within minutes. Installers pour twice to ensure a complete fill. The R-value is similar to fiberglass batting at 4 per inch [source: Icynene Inc.].

Just need some small areas filled in? Perhaps your doors and windows seem leaky, or you've had some repair work done that leaves you a bit vulnerable. Your installer will opt for a new kit specifically designed for minor procedures. It's a speedy system; it has the same expansion rate as sprayed Icynene, and its R-value is 3.7 per inch [source: Icynene Inc.].

Now that we've examined how to install Icynene, let's consider why you might want to do so. What are the advantages of this product?