As SPF applicators we constantly change temperature settings, thanks to ever changing substrate temps. I’ve been there. I’m from Michigan where it can go from winter to summer in the same day! It’s easy to get frustrated and demand the SPF manufactures make one that doesn’t require it, but unless we are spraying in a controlled environment, we know this is an unrealistic wish. At least one that wouldn’t come with other consequences like loss of yield. This is why adjustments are extremely important. Not only for your day to day success, but for your checkbook at years end.
Here’s a quick story of how heat adjustments played a big factor on a jobsite I was recently on. I was working with some new applicators on the main level of a house, spraying plywood walls and making perfect foam. Then, we moved to the basement (concrete walls). I knew things were about to change, but I remained quiet. As soon as they started spraying, you could clearly tell the foam was different. It was slow to react and seemed to be taking more product to get to the thickness they needed. What changed? Well, the answers were right in front of them. THE WALL! The substrate went from plywood to concrete, and the air was noticeably cooler. A quick check with a laser thermometer showed them the wall was 20 degrees cooler. And with concrete being a heat sink, that hurt them even more. We stopped and I talked them through these changes, and the effects they had on their foam. We bumped their temps up to account for the changes and were back to installing great spray foam insulation.
This is why we always talk about “reading the foam” at our national training events. Your adjustments should always be made on the information you receive from the wall. SPF manufacturers put temperature windows on their application guides to help, but as substrates warm up, we need to slow the reaction down with our settings. Conversely, as the wall cools off, we speed the reaction up. When you don’t make these changes, it lowers yields and wastes both time and money. Maintaining density is where your dollars are, and the temperature settings play a huge part in maintaining proper density and getting the most coverage out of your material.
If you have questions about dialing in your material, take advantage of IDI’s technical team. They are some of the best SPF educators in the country when it comes to training your team and maximizing your materials. If you don’t know your IDI Tech Rep, or want more information on spray foam or any of the other products we sell, contact your local branch manager or sales rep at IDI. Our goal is to help you succeed. So don’t forget to adjustment those temperatures and go make great Spray Foam!
Written by TJ Miller, Spray Foam Technical Training Manager at IDI Distributors