After the Grenfell Tower fire in London back in June 2017, we were shocked and saddened to hear that the severity of the fire was in part, caused by unsafe, combustible cladding used on the external walls of the tower. We immediately started to look at the combustibility of the polyurethane spray foam insulation we were using at the time and sought to find safer alternatives. Any type of plastic-based insulation material will, to a degree, be combustible but we thought, “why not find the safest possible option for our customers”.
After jumping on Google and hunting high and low for safer alternatives, we eventually came across a Texas-based manufacturer called SES Foam who had created an Open Cell product called Sucraseal. Impressed by the apparent fire-resistance and reduced surface spread of flame of the material, we were on a flight to Texas with in a matter of days. After a couple of days of meeting with company executives from SES Foam LLC and being treated to some prime Texan BBQ and steaks, we returned to the UK with a distribution agreement in our hands to bring Sucraseal Open Cell and SES Foams range of products to the UK.
What Is Sucraseal?
Sucraseal is a 0.5-pound density open cell, polyurethane-based spray foam insulation material. Sucraseal has been tested to UKAS standards, certified by the BBA and tested by Warringtonfire to achieve a British Class 1 surface spread of flame to standard BS476 Part 7. Sucraseal Open Cell performs like any other open cell foam brand in terms of thermal performance, density and yield with the exception of its Sucrose-based polyurethane formulation which is what causes it to char and self-extinguish rather than combust and burn.
What Is A British Class 1 Fire Rating?
A British Class 1 fire rating is based upon standard BS476 Part 7. The test is conducted by UKAS-approved Warringtonfire and involved nine flat boards of insulation which are ignited at one end and measured by time to determine how fast the flame spreads across the surface. The required parameters to achieve a British Class fire-rating relate to how fast the flame spreads across the surface to 165mm along the board and that it doesn’t exceed this distance within 1.5 minutes. Sucraseal was tested for a total of 10 minutes before the test was aborted and in that duration of time, none of the nine samples experienced the flame breaching 50mm. This is a truly impressive result for any type of Polyurethane-based material and is testament to how safe Sucraseal Open Cell is when it comes to fire resistance.
How Does Sucraseal Compare?
To our knowledge, there are no other open cell spray foams that have been tested to BS476 Part 7 and have achieved a Class 1 rating. In fact, most other open cell foams achieve the worst rating of a British Class 4. Sucraseal is certainly one of a kind and currently unmatched in the UK market for its fire performance. Compared to other open cell foams, Sucraseal shares a similar thermal conductivity which means it is comparable when it comes to the end result. It also has similar yield to other open cell foams and can be spray-applied by the installer with relative ease. The only difference is the processing parameters where Sucraseal performs best when heated and it requires constant mixing in the drum before and during application. ThermoFoam-approved installers are trained and certified to install Sucraseal and it can be used in many circumstances including new-build homes, as a retro-fit in homes and it’s even used in some commercial and industrial scenarios.
Why Should I Choose Sucraseal?
As the end user, you will no doubt appreciate that the safer the product, the better it is for you and your property. Therefore, with fire risk being an important consideration for any property owner, Sucraseal outperforms its competitors hands down. With no compromise on thermal performance, choosing Sucraseal for your property should be an easy decision. For installers of Sucraseal, whilst the processing parameters are slightly more cumbersome than other open cell foams, the ability to sell the fire-resistant benefits to customers is an added benefit that sets them apart from the rest. We don’t just sell Sucraseal to any installer, we need to be sure that the installer is trained to use the product and will achieve the right end results for the customer. That’s why we have our ThermoFoam Approved Installer training programme in place to ensure we are working with the right delivery partners.
Check out our video to show how Sucraseal Open Cell compares against other leading brands of Open Cell Spray Foam Insulation.
In conclusion, Sucraseal Open Cell is a safer choice when considering open cell spray foam insulation for the home, office, commercial or industrial building. With fire risk being of greater consideration since the Grenfell Tower Fire, we are delighted to be able to deliver safer products for installers and end users. If you are an architect or specifier and you would like to learn more about how Sucraseal can benefit a project, our CPD’s and Technical Support Representatives will be able to discuss the pros and cons of choosing ThermoFoam products.