Did you know? Spray Foam Insulation Can Lead to Pipe Leaks and Degradation

by Alex Nelson ColoradoNews

April 18, 2014

Spray foam insulation is an increasingly popular way to insulate homes and other buildings. Spray foam insulation is also often used to create air barriers or fill & seal odd-shaped cavities. “Open cell” and “closed cell” spray foam are the two main categories of spray foam insulation commonly used. CPVC (chlorinated polyvinyl chloride) is a common form of plastic piping used for hot and cold water in homes and buildings, and is also often used in fire suppression sprinkler systems.

Certain chemicals commonly found in spray foam insulation are not compatible with CPVC piping. Those chemicals include, but are not limited to:

1. Amines, which are used as catalysts for the foam creation and expansion when the products are sprayed.

2. Chlorinated phosphate esters such as TCPP (a/k/a tris-iso-chloropropyl phosphate), often used as a flame retardant.

These chemical incompatibilities can all call environmental stress cracking in CPVC piping under the proper conditions, and are well known by chemists, polymer scientists, and other people in the engineering and building professions. Unfortunately, the manufacturers of spray foam insulation have used these chemicals in their products in the past, and still use these chemicals today. Many builders and contractors are not aware that spray foam insulation can be chemically incompatible with CPVC piping, and use the two in the same wall and roof cavities, in contact with one another.

If your home, condominium, townhome, or commercial building contains CPVC piping in contact with certain types of spray foam insulation, you may have an actionable claim against your builder, developer, and/or the manufacturer of the spray foam insulation.  Multiple or persistent leaks in your CPVC piping may be an indicator of the adverse chemical reaction between your CPVC piping and certain chemicals in the spray foam insulation.

Benson, Kerrane, Storz & Nelson has successfully prosecuted this kind of court action for CPVC/spray foam insulation chemical incompatibility.

For a free case evaluation, contact attorney Alex Nelson at Benson, Kerrane, Storz & Nelson: Mr. Nelson is a licensed attorney in Colorado (720-898-9683), Minnesota (952-314-7237), and Texas (512-270-0586).