Frequently Asked Questions

At Alpha Insulation & Waterproofing, we are happy to answer any questions you may have about our services and products. Here are answers to some of our most common questions:

Does spray foam insulation release VOCs?

During the curing process, spray foam will off-gas significantly, and it is recommended to work in another area for 24 to 48 hours or until the product has fully cured. After curing is complete, spray foam is virtually inert and will typically not release any more VOCs or odors.

What are the advantages of spray foam?

Spray foam offers one of the highest R-values of common insulation products, with a rating of up to R-6.5 per inch of installed thickness. This gives it excellent thermal performance. Spray foam is also an effective air barrier because it adheres tightly to adjoining surfaces, plus it is water-resistant and is not conducive to pest infestations or mold growth.

What is intumescent fireproofing?

Intumescent fireproofing is a coating that is applied like paint to bare steel beams and columns. It is a thin material that can accept a top coat to color-match it to surrounding surfaces. Intumescent coatings char and expand when exposed to heat, creating an insulating layer that protects the steel beneath it. This significantly extends the amount of time the steel can be exposed to fire before it weakens, providing up to a three-hour fire rating, which gives the building’s occupants more time to escape safely.

Where is fire caulking required?

Fire caulking is required wherever things like cables or pipes pass through both sides of a wall or when a pipe or cable inside a wall exits through one side, penetrating the membrane. The fire caulk seals the opening and prevents smoke and toxic gases from passing room to room during a fire.

Why are expansion joints necessary?

Expansion joints allow different surfaces in a building to expand and contract with temperature changes or as the building moves due to wind or seismic activity. Without expansion joints to absorb this movement, the materials would undergo significant stress as the building moves, resulting in catastrophic failure of the material or the building itself.

How do photoluminescent exit signs work?

When exposed to light, photoluminescent exit signs capture and store the energy from the light for later use. If the power goes out or the lights shut off, the signs will glow using the stored energy. UL-listed photoluminescent signs produce light for at least 30 minutes to give building occupants more time to evacuate in an emergency. Some signs can produce light for up to 30 hours. They can be a great alternative to battery-operated emergency signs, as they do not need constant maintenance and testing.

Do fire exit signs have to be photoluminescent?

No, exit signs can be lit by rechargeable battery-powered lights, though they require ongoing maintenance, testing and occasional battery replacements to ensure reliable operation in an emergency. A complete charge, discharge and testing cycle should be completed every 30 days.

What are your certifications?

At Alpha Insulation & Waterproofing, we have over 24 certifications, including Underwriters Laboratory Qualified Firestop Contractor, Air Barrier Association of America certification, OSHA #500 certified instructor and many others. For the complete list of our achievements, please visit our Awards & Certifications page.

Do you have more questions about our services? Call your local Alpha office or contact us online to speak with our experts today!