Spray foam insulation products that have received Appendix X
approval offer some serious advantages in the marketplace.
In most cases, code-prescribed thermal barriers
such as half-inch-thick drywall will cover SPF,
while other products like fire-protective coatings can get special approval to do so. Approval is obtained via testing, specifically through
completing a NFPA 286 fire test, sometimes
called the room corner burn test, while meeting
In attics or crawl spaces where access is restricted, ignition barriers like 3/8-inch drywall can
be used in lieu of thermal barriers. Non-pre-scribed materials like fire-protective coatings
can be approved as ignition barriers by completing a Modified NFPA 286 test and meeting
criteria outlined ICC-ES AC 377 Appendix X,
which is the relevant Acceptance Criteria of the
International Code Council Evaluation Service.
AC 377 Appendix X also pertains to exposed
spray foam insulation, which can be tested under the same protocol and, if specified criteria
are met, approved for use as a code-compliant
alternative assembly without an ignition barrier. Essentially, the foam offers the same fire
protection as an ignition barrier alternative, but
without the need for installing an additional
APPENDIX X APPROVED SPF
Spray foam insulation products that have received Appendix X approval offer some serious
advantages in the marketplace.
For contractors, these SPF products allow attic and crawl space applications to be completed more expediently by removing a step in the
installation process, which means less time on
the job site and a quicker route to getting paid.
More important, contractors benefit from having one less material expense to incorporate
into their bids, thereby reducing the overall
price and increasing the likelihood of landing
The end user (i.e. homeowner) obviously stands
to benefit from a less expensive application,
which reduces the payback period for their
insulation investment. The homeowner can
be furthermore assured in the overall safety
of the application, as the foam itself has met
code-compliant criteria for fire protection.
Manufacturers currently marketing Appendix X approved products also have an edge
in terms of the products’ inherent benefits, as
well as an increased ability to bring on board
new contractor partners looking to install cutting-edge products.
SAVINGS IN CONTEXT
The savings are certainly the most tangible
benefit for Appendix X approved SPF products, but how much savings are we really
talking about? It’s worth noting that these
products are typically more expensive than the
average SPF insulation products, so it’s definitely worth comparing the additional cost of
installing Appendix X approved foam with
that of a typical ignition barrier.
As detailed in the breakdown below, the additional cost of the Appendix X approved foam
(in this case, Profoam Pro-X) is negligible
while the added cost of an ignition barrier plus
labor is roughly three dollars per square foot.
In the application example, the added cost of
the ignition barrier exceeds that of Pro-X by
$750 ($1,500 for the homeowner).
Of course, the numbers shown in the
breakdown and application example, while
realistic, are rough approximations. Specifically, with regard to yield, there
can be substantial variance
between an Appendix X approved SPF
product and normal
foam. It’s not unheard of that Appendix X approved foams
yield performance (not to
mention odor issues and
unwieldy process parameters). However, an open-cell