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Soy Based Spray Foam

Spray foam insulation is good because it creates very good seals. You don’t have to worry about air leaks.

The one thing it has against it is that it is petroleum based. There is a company that sells itself as a green alternative because it uses soy based oils instead. Biobased is one such company.

I think that is great and even if it only used a small part soy and the rest petroleum it is better than nothing.

I did have a problem the other day with them. I was discussing with them the possibility of me being a distributor and installer for them. I was excited until I asked what % soy they used. For me this is a key point. THE key point. It is what sets them apart from the rest. It is what makes them greener than the rest.

But they refused to tell me and told me that it was “proprietary information”. ????? Your main selling point is proprietary information? And in the same sentence I was told that I shouldn’t worry about that since using their product can get you LEED points.

Then alarm bells went off for me. Their implication was that getting recognized as green via the LEED points were what mattered. The actual ecological benefit, if any, of the product was not important and a secret.

I protested and the sales rep said he’d get back to me. That was a long time ago. He’s not getting back to me.

Like I said, even if it was 1% soy based and 99% petroleum I would choose it over a 100% petrolieum based foam. 1% is better than nothing.

My problem here is the greenwashing they are doing. Green, if anything, is first and foremost about honesty. And maybe they will get back to me and all will be good. But so far my phone is not ringing.

Another thing is the product itself. I bought some cans of the stuff from home depot. I also bought some “Great Stuff” spray foam. I tested them side by side and the Biobased foam failed. It might have been the cold but it dried dry and crumbly. In comparison the Great Stuff dried like hard chewing gum.

This is very important because the foam is used to fill cracks. Cracks often expand and contract. The Great Stuff has an elasticity to it that the Biobased does not. Also, I forsee the Biobased foam deteriorating and becoming dust over time.

I emailed the same rep asking if the cans they sold at Home Depot contained the same ingredients that pros install but got no answer. We had a polite professional relationship so I’m baffled why he didn’t respond.

Here are the pics:

Great Stuff foam is like hard chewing gum when touched:
 Soy Based Spray Foam

Biobased foam crumbled when touched. This could be because it was cold when we installed it. But Great Stuff was installed exactly at the same time in the same environment. Biobased foam:
 Soy Based Spray Foam

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5 comments to Soy Based Spray Foam

  • SPF Contractor

    In college I worked for one of the largest spray foam contractors in the country and installed Bio-Based foams for several years. Like the author, ee also could not find any information from Bio-Based regarding the soy content of their open-cell spray foam insulation. This foam is in 55 gallon drums, not cans, and is used for foaming entire buildings. Anyway,we were concerned Bio-Biobased’s behavior and we paid for third party testing of the sprayed product…the results were not good. “Bio-Based” spray foam turned out to contain less than 5% Bio-Content. We were disappointed to say the least, and threatened with a lawsuit once we confronted Bio-Based about their fraud. We had been paying more money for what we thought was a green product and telling our customers that it was soy based. In reality the foam has far lower yields than standard open-cell foams, so even if it had a Soy content of 20% it still would end up taking more foam (and Chemicals) for the same job. Pretty pathetic case of Green Washing.

  • fuerza

    I, too, have come across a myriad of companies that give me that ‘proprietary’ line of crap. When I hear that I quickly add them to my blog of companies to avoid. If you can’t tell me what I am using, touching, ingesting, breathing, etc..then you don’t get my business and I will go out of my way as a consumer to warn people to avoid such companies.

  • Gennaro Brooks-Church

    I have it from a pretty good source that they have 5% spray foam in one of their two parts. Which means it is about 2.5% total. It is greenwashing crap.
    I’ll take the company that is honest and simply admits their product is petrochemical based and then tries to make the argument that it is worth it due to the energy efficiency etc, or whatever they honestly believe.

  • BlackHat

    I have also tried another product – Dap Latex Foam. The promise of latex, water clean-up and the implied benefits of eco paled when you actually compared the performance of the product against Great Stuff. Like the soy product mentioned above, the latex product, once dried, quickly turns to dust if brushed up against or disturbed. It slowly delaminates from the building substrates you are trying to seal, calling into question it’s energy claims. What’s more, it easily wicks moisture. Add them together, air penetration, moisture and dust, and you have the perfect ingredients for mold….. growing behind your walls. I’ll use Great Stuff from now on. It works.

  • John Griffiths

    In order for a product to claim that it is “bio-based” 30% of the B-component needs to come from renewable, agricultural resources. Since the B-component is only half of the system this actually translates into 15%. It is hardly “made from soy-beans.” Not only that but the physical properties of the finished foam are inferior to well known non-soy products ie Bayer.

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