Q: I don’t think I have any wall insulation… How do I find out?
A: Check the attic, walls, and floors adjacent to an unheated space, like a garage or basement. The structural elements are usually exposed in these areas, which makes it easy to see what type of insulation you have and to measure its depth or thickness (inches).
Inspect the exterior walls by using an electrical outlet:
1. Turn off the power to the outlet.
2. Remove the outlet cover and shine a flashlight into the crack around the outlet box. You should be able to see if there is insulation in the wall and possibly how thick it is.
3. Pull out a small amount of insulation if needed to help determine the type of insulation.
4. Check outlets on all floors as well as old and new parts of your house. Just because you find insulation in one wall doesn't mean that it's everywhere in the house.
Inspect and measure the thickness (inches) of any insulation in unfinished basement ceilings and walls, or above crawlspaces. If the crawlspace isn't ventilated, it may have insulation in the perimeter wall. If your house is relatively new, it may have insulation outside the basement or foundation walls. If so, the insulation in these spaces won't be visible. The builder or the original homeowner might be able to tell you if exterior insulation was used.
Q: Can I have RetroFoam™ installed from the exterior on part of the house, and then some installation completed from the inside on the remainder of the house?
A: Yes. We’ll work with you to suit your particular needs.
Q: What’s it made of?
A: It’s a try-polymer, water-based, plastic foam; it contains a resin, foaming agent (catalyst) and pressurized air (200psi). The three components remain separate until the time of injection. The actual foam is mixed in the 10’ vinyl hose we use for installations.
Q: What’s [its] R-value?
A: It varies depending on the size of the cavity. Generally speaking, RetroFoam™ reaches an R-value of 16.1 in most wall cavities. It exceeds R-23 in 2x6” cavities.
Q: What does it look/feel like?
A: The answer depends on the age of the foam. When first installed, RetroFoam™ feels similar to a shaving gel/cream. It needs a semi-fluid consistency in order to seal the entire wall cavity and flow evenly around various barriers (i.e. wiring/plumbing etc). It begins drying almost immediately, although it takes between 24-28 days to cure. Once dry, it becomes firm, but remains malleable at all times.
Q: Does RetroFoam™ corrode the plastic coating on the electrical wires inside the walls?
A: No. Unlike some plastics, RetroFoam™ will not react with plastic coated cabling/wiring.
Q: Will RetroFoam™ cause dampness?
A: No. RetroFoam™ is hydrophobic – meaning it sheds water rather than holds it. Even when immersed in water, RetroFoam ™ absorbs only a small amount of water which quickly evaporates when it is removed from water. As with most insulation materials Retrofoam™ will become water-logged when exposed to water over a long period of time.
Q: Will RetroFoam™ shrink and deteriorate with age, thereby losing its insulation properties?
A: To a small degree. Some initial shrinkage is normal but studies show that RetroFoam™ maintains its physical and insulation properties. In fact, 15 and 20-year-old foam has been found equivalent in insulation performance to new foam.
Q: How much does it weigh?
A: 300 grams per gallon
Q: Is it an open or closed cell?
A: RetroFoam™ has a unique classification as a 60% closed cell.
Q: Is it flammable?
A: No. RetroFoam™ is a Class 1 fire/flame retardant. See our MSDS form for more information.
Q: Does it contain formaldehyde?
A: Yes, a very small amount: .016 ppm, which is well below EPA restrictions. Formaldehyde is also naturally produced in very small amounts in our bodies as a part of our normal, everyday metabolism and causes us no harm. It can also be found in the air that we breathe at home and at work, in the food we eat, and in some products that we put on our skin. For example: lotions, shampoos, sunblock, body wash, toothpaste, cosmetics... The point: Is formaldehyde dangerous? It depends on the amount. Is RetroFoam™ dangerous? No.
Q: Is it safe?
A: Yes. It’s environmentally friendly. It’s non-toxic, odor free, safe for everyone involved.
Q: What if my dog eats it?
A: RetroFoam™ is safe, although we don't recommend it for consumption. After hundreds of jobs, we haven’t heard any complaints from pet owners and we’ve worked with a lot of them.
Q: RetroFoam™ contains water when it is first installed. Where does it go? Will it damage the walls?
A: Mold can occur whenever moisture gets trapped inside a wall. Usually the foam dries out before mold can grow. The initial water content of the foam is about 4% by volume, that is too low to affect a building’s structure. The partially open-cell nature of the foam means the insulation dries out quickly. Once dry, RetroFoam™ resists re-absorption of water.
Q: How long have you been in business?
A: Since 2009.
Q: Will the installation disrupt my home?
A: There is very little disruption to the household during the installation process. Installation typically takes 1-2 days to complete. We complete 90% of our jobs in 1 day.
Q: How do you/they know when the cavity is full?
A: By applying a combination of techniques including: timing the cavity fill, methodical placement of the insertion holes, and with back-pressure on the insertion hole, the install technician is able to ensure a cavity is full.
Q: Will they drill through/damage my siding?
A: No. Our goal is to leave the outside of your home exactly as we found it. However, depending on the type of siding their may be noticeable [cosmetic] changes. These questions are best answered by a sales associate on a case by case basis.
Q: How much siding will they remove?
A: As little as necessary to ensure every cavity is properly filled.
Q: How frequently spaced are the injection holes?
A: This will depend on the age and/or construction of your house, and should be discussed at the time of the estimate. Remember, if there is blown-in insulation in the walls, the install crew will drill 2 2 1/2” holes per cavity. On a standard install, there will be 1 21/2” hole every 16”.
Q: Will it damage my interior walls?
A: No. It’s a non-expanding foam, specifically designed for retro-fitting purposes. As long as there are no pre-existing cracks or areas you’re concerned about, we shouldn’t have any problems. We ask that the house be accessible to our crew during the foaming process. That way we can monitor the interior of your home in case a problem arises. The crew member on the inside uses a walkie talkie to communicate with the foamer. It’s important for you to identify any areas you’re concerned about so our crew leader can review them before installing the foam.
Q: Will you paint my siding after the install? (cedar/wood/composite board)
A: No. We’ll apply wood filler to wood/cedar/hardboard/composite siding, but the homeowner is responsible for paint touch-ups.
Q: Will the mortar patch match the existing mortar?
A: We do our best. There may be a slight difference due to weathering, but on most homes, once the mortar patch dries the hole locations are difficult to identify.
Q: Is it safe to fill the cavity of a brick veneer home… I thought there needed to be a ventilation space between the brick and wood framework?
A: A common misconception with brick construction is that the gap between the wood stud and brick surface is there for ventilation. This is partially correct, however the primary purpose of this gap is to keep moisture traveling through the brick, which is porous, from touching the wood and sheathing. If the wood is in contact with brick it will take up moisture which causes the wood to rot. RetroFoam™ is breathable, but also repels water. The foam fills the whole cavity space providing a suitable thermal barrier, without transferring moisture to the wood.
Q: How do you install on a brick home?
A: By drilling ¾” holes through the T-joint in the mortar. Our trained install technicians are careful not to damage any of the brick/stone veneer. They’ll drill three holes per cavity; low, middle, high. They’ll install RetroFoam from the bottom up. They’ll place a straw in the cavity directly above where they’re foaming. When the straw moves, the cavity has been adequately filled.
Q: How large of a cavity can you fill?
A: 6”. Anything larger, will need to be examined by a sales associate.
Q: Can you work on a stucco/vertical [siding] exterior?
A: ONLY from the inside. [Unless you're planning to re-side.]
Q: Do you work on new houses?
A: No. We recommend different products for new construction.
Q: Will it seal around my windows?
A: We’ll fill every cavity we can access. We can drill 3/4” holes around window frames. This should be addressed on a case by case basis.
Q: How long will the job take?
A: Best determined on a case by case basis. We finish most jobs in a single day. If it requires more time, jobs are scheduled on consecutive days.
Q: Do I have to be home?
A: It’s preferable but not necessary. We do ask that our crew have access to the home, especially to monitor for problems during the foaming process. We also check outlets once the drilling is complete.
Q: Do you remove cellulose?
A: Yes. We remove cellulose. Re-insulating your home is an investment, in order to see the return you deserve, we must vacate the cavity if loose-fill [blown-in] insulation is present. Not everyone does this. It's a great question to ask whether you're speaking with a Midwest RetroFoam associate or another insulation contractor. The simple fact of the matter is the more RetroFoam™ in the wall, the better.
Q: What do they do with the bag afterwards?
A: The crew will transport the bags.
Q: How much does it cost?
A: Our pricing varies depending on the style of home, location, current insulation, and siding type. It’s in our best interest to keep it as low as possible so the homeowner sees a return [$$] on their investment as soon as possible. Speak with a sales associate for more information.
Q: How do you figure the price?
A: Lineal ft + ceiling height x sq ft price.
Q: Do you accept credit cards?
A: Yes, we accept all major credit cards.
Q: How do you collect cash payments?
A: Our crew leader will collect cash/check payments. Once the installation is complete, the crew leader will give the homeowner a 5 question survey. The survey asks about the quality of work/customer service the homeowner has received thus far. The installation crew and the sales representative will be evaluated. Once the homeowner has completed the survey, the crew leader will accept payment. The crew leader will leave a receipt with the homeowner.
Q: Do you offer financing?
A: Yes! We've partnered with Home Loan Investment Bank to offer flexible finance options to qualified homeowners. Contact a sales representative for more information.
Q: Is there a tax credit?
A: A federal tax credit worth up to $500 is available for 2016. The required form is available at: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f5695.pdf