You’re researching in order to make a smart purchasing decision. That sometimes means trusting the experts in the field. But are they helping you or helping themselves? Let’s find out.
Here are the 7 Deadly Sins we repeatedly hear from customers
(and from the news):
- Neglecting Your Safety for a Sale
- The Open Cell Switcharoo
- Doing Your Attic Roof vs. Attic Floor
- Full Fill Overkill
- Poor Installation Nightmare
- The Ole Bait & Switch
- The Lowest Bid – Swirling the Drain
Let's discuss each one so you can be well-informed.
1. Neglecting Your Safety for a Sale:
The trailers used by spray foam contractors have very powerful pumps that push the chemicals through the lines. That pressure is immense and atomizes particulates throughout the home, even if they are working in just one room.
Those dangerous particulates then take 24-72 hours to settle. You can’t be there when they’re spraying, and you shouldn’t return for 1-3 days in order to give the particulates time to settle safely.
The problem is that most homeowners we talk to are NEVER told they need to leave. That exposes you and your family to chemicals you shouldn't be breathing.
If a contractor feels he may lose a sale due to this inconvenience to your family, then he may just not tell you, and you wouldn’t be alone. You and your family deserve better.
2. The Open Cell Switcharoo:
The spray foam contractors know you’re price conscious. Open cell is much cheaper than closed cell. And open cell is great in some places.
But open cell shouldn’t be used where moisture is an issue. In their efforts to get you to sign over the job, open cell is frequently on the bid vs. closed cell. That’s not what you need to solve the problem at hand, but unless you know the difference, you won’t be aware of the switch.
By the way, this is often hidden from you by the elaborate names like “SoyBox 3000 Supertron” so that you can’t get a handle on what you’re signing off on.
3. Doing Your Attic Roof vs. Attic Floor:
This is a brutal one because it is SO common.
Most spray foam contractors have what they have and they want to sell it to you. So when your attic floor has insulation on it and they drop by to bid, they naturally suggest doing the underside of the roof.
Here’s the thing. If you don’t need to use that attic, you should seal it off so you aren’t constantly paying to heat and cool it. Plus, it’s so much less expensive to do the attic floor!
Watch this: 1) Move the existing insulation; 2) Spray 1-2 inches of Closed Cell foam down and let it cure, 3) Put the old (or new) insulation on top to pump up the r-value cheaply.
Did you see that? We literally used less foam insulation and made more energy savings because you're heating and cooling less house.
If a contractor doesn’t suggest this, then he doesn’t have your best interest at heart.
4. Full Fill Overkill:
This sin ties right into the one above. When you have a high pressure spray foam trailer, it delivers foam in one way: HIGH PRESSURE. There’s no 1 inch or hybrid option available. It turns on, you’re getting the full treatment.
So when they bid, they bid full fill even when it can be done with just 1 or 2 inches. The attic above is the perfect example. Or crawlspaces, walls, rim joists / sill plates, and so on.
5. Poor Installation Nightmare:
None of us are perfect and we all make mistakes. That’s not our point here.
Poor installation comes from contractors who aren’t really at the top of their profession. Badly installed foam can mean something as simple as just an unsightly mess, or gaps that aren’t air-tight and reduce R-value, or worst-case scenario - foam that doesn’t cure properly and continues to emit harmful chemicals into the air over time.
There are lots of contractors, spray foam included, out there who just aren’t experienced or very good at what they do. A lot of damage can be done by a mediocre contractor spraying 2,000 PSI in your house (remember the first deadly sin?).
Even if you could watch, you’re not going to know it’s wrong until it’s way too late.
6. The Ole Bait & Switch:
This couples with the last one. What if the closed cell that’s on the estimate isn’t actually what gets installed? These are drums hidden in a trailer. You have a piece of paper. You won’t know until it’s too late.
You’d be stunned to know the crazy lengths this goes to. We’ve heard stories of spray foam contractors installing non-fire rated materials instead of the right stuff just to save $10. That’s pure craziness.
But more importantly it’s dishonest, it’s wrong, and it’s putting families at risk over a tiny, incremental increase to the bottom line.
7. The Lowest Bid – Circling the Drain
The final sin. And one of the most tempting.
Most contractors compete on price to win your business. There isn’t much separating most of them besides dollars and cents. That makes choosing very hard and yet very easy.
Here’s the issue. The lowest bid often ties out to either the least experienced, the lowest quality, or the one with room to cut corners in other areas. Or all three.
This puts HUGE downward price pressure on the grade A contractors.
Many will not succumb and go out of business instead. Some salvage their livelihoods by taking the grade C path despite knowing there’s a better way. And some will maintain course, sell on value, and do really well.
That means huge turnover at all grade levels, increasing your chance of getting bids from someone who just bought someone else’s truck, or is new in the business.
Or someone who has been around for a long time and now has to cut corners to compete with all the low-ballers giving bids.
Those are the 7 Deadly Sins. We hear them week in and week out from customers on the phones and emails.
And we didn’t even touch cowboy contractors who take your money, or those without the proper licensing, insurance and bonding.
Have you run into 1 or more of these 7? Or is there some new Deadly Sin you want to tell us about? Please
and let us know!