If you are building a new home or undergoing a building renovation project, it can be difficult to know whether you are selecting the best Spray Polyurethane Foam (SPF) insulation contractor for the job.
For example, how do you know if a Foam Insulation company is reputable and if its team will be available to deal with a problem that may arise down the road? Or, can you trust the company’s foam insulation contractors to show up on the day you want the work done?
Before you choose an SPF contractor, you should understand the various types of SPF insulation that you want to install.
Learning the Basics
SPF contractors are often selected to install insulation in a new building or to retrofit or weatherproof an existing building. Professional contractors install new or “whole wall” installations with two component, high-pressure foam. The contractors that apply this type of insulation are highly specialized, and they commonly have significant training and experience under their belt before they enter the workforce.
Retrofitting jobs, such as weatherization projects, tend to use another type of spray foam: two component, low-pressure foam. Contractors use this type of foam to fill small gaps, openings, and cracks, or to add or replace insulation in small to mid-size areas of a home or building.
Both high-pressure and low-pressure SPF insulation are available in “open-cell” or “closed-cell” products, a topic you should always plan to talk about with your SPF contractor to determine which type of spray foam is suitable for your specific application.
The Foam Insulation Contractor Hiring Process
There are many questions you may have about hiring an SPF contractor. The following are answers to some of the most common questions we have heard over the years:
What type of contractor should I consider hiring?
Always choose a foam insulation contractor who has the track record and ability to do the job well and to do it safely. Get referrals from friends, family, and colleagues, or look online for contractors who are trained, knowledgeable, and experienced in installing spray foam insulation.
Here are some questions to ask a potential SPF contractor:
- Have you been trained or certified for SPF insulation installation? Is your certification up-to-date?
- Are you supervising the job, or do you have another employee who will be on-site during the project?
- Have each of your team members had appropriate training? If so, was it from a product manufacturer, through your SPF company, or another type of educational program? Is he or she certified?
Should a foam insulation contractor be “bonded and insured?”
In many states, specific contractors are required to post what is referred to as a “surety bond” with a contractor’s board as a legal requirement. These bonds have considerable limitations, and often do not replace insurance. An SPF contractor may also be required to carry liability insurance.
Keep in mind: general liability insurance tends to cover property damage and bodily injury losses caused by a contractor and that happened as a result of his or her work. Liability insurance does not usually cover the cost of repairing or replacing poorly applied insulation.
Insurance policies also have their limitations, with regards to the scope of coverage, as well as the amount that they can pay for a claim. Be sure to ask a prospective spray foam contractor to explain what their liability insurance does and does not cover. You should also request proof of insurance, which is commonly in the form of a certificate of insurance.
Should I get a prospective contractor’s references?
The majority of experienced, professional SPF contractors will happily provide several references upon request. You might also want to find out which trade associations the contractor belongs to as membership in a professional organization is a good sign that a contractor understands the responsibilities of being a true professional.
Should a foam insulation contractor provide a written contract?
A written contract is a smart move even if state law does not require it. A contract should illustrate the full agreement between you and the contractor regarding the details of the installation. Take time to carefully read this document to ensure that you understand it and that it is complete.
Specific contract details often include information about the particular insulation product that the contractor will install, an agreed price, and the timeline of the project. A contract should also include details about how long home or building occupants must wait to return after the installation period.
We recommend confirming that the name on the contract mirrors the name in the contractor’s license record.
Finally, most foam insulation companies installing SPF make provisions for cleanup and removal of debris, such as hauling away empty drums, as part of the completion of a spray foam job. In many cases, your contractor will include these arrangements in the contract.
Will an SPF contractor get the building permit?
Construction of new homes and numerous remodeling projects tend to require building permits from a local building department. While SPF contractors will often obtain the permits, the ultimate responsibility for obtaining the right permits belongs to the building owner under most local laws. Discuss these details regarding who is responsible for getting the permits with your contractor before the work begins.
As a homeowner or building owner, what else can I do before my SPF job starts?
It can be extremely beneficial to do a “walk through” with an SPF contractor before installation to help the spray company find the building’s HVAC system and check out the layout as they establish their ventilation plan.
If the installation is taking place inside a home or building, confirm with your contractor what the manufacturer’s recommendations are regarding when people should leave the building and when they can return after the job is complete.
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