Has anyone had the pleasure of dealing with urea formaldehyde foam insulation (UFFI)?  I've just peformed an audit on a home with the stuff.  From the 4 holes I was able to see into, the UFFI is doing what I understand UFFI to do--contract, pit, pull away from the walls, crumble, disintegrate, etc.  It was too warm to get a good look at the walls using IR, so I'm left to wonder what the condition of the insulation is within the walls where I cannot see. 

Has anyone found it effective to blow either cellulose or fiberglass into walls where UFFI exists?  Or does this need to be completely removed before reinsulating?



(Cape Cod)

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Keith Williams told me he has successfully removed UFFI by taking off the baseboard and vacuuming it out (from indoors). Then he blew cellulose in.

Keith's bio:



If you find a better solution, I'd like to hear it. I've thought of trying to insulate only the voids, using IR images for guidance, but am leery of it.


Jonathan (Madison, WI)



See the discussion link above, including the pictures - our utility ran into several problems with local insulators using a particular form of UFFI which is in these pictures.  We eventually had to ban the contractors involved because of problems of the nature you listed above.  We would not recommend using the thermal imaging camera as a guide during an insulation project, but checking weeks later, after the product has settled.  A company tried using a TI camera in our area as a "real-time" guide and was unsuccessful (we found gaps weeks after the project had been completed).

Hi Erin,


I was wondering if you could please clarify regarding the use of IR as a real-time guide.  Was it not successful because the conditions did not allow the detection of the product in the cavities (i.e. weather conditions, insulation temperature, etc. were such that patterns did not appear) or were the cavities simply not dense packed properly (i.e. they initially appeared full that day thermally, but because they were not dense packed, settled during the days after you left the site).


Just curious because I've seen evidence to the contrary that IR can be used in this capacity, but completely understand it is very dependent on many variables and might not always work as this may be the case.

Thank you for clarifying.


Matt Schwoegler

The Snell Group



Sorry for the delay.


A point of my own clarification:  Neither I nor my co-workers were actually using IR as a real-time guide - a local contractor claimed to use IR in a real-time capacity during their installations, but when we used our own, independent IR inspections of completed properties weeks later, notable shrinkage & areas of heat loss were evident in walls that were supposed to be densely and completed packed with this insulation.  This led us at the utility to seriously question the ability of real-time IR to adequately determine of the installation of the particular foam product they were using.  Either the particular individuals installing it were using IR incorrectly (using it without accounting for some of the weather/insulation temperatures or other conditions), or they were installing their product incorrectly (i.e, this particular product they were using appears to shrink notably).  We speculate that insulation temperature was potentially a factor in this particular case. 


Curious for thoughts about the degree to which insulation temperature can impact IR results.


Erin Buchanan

Cedar Falls Utilities

As an insulator of 20 years and themographer, I have come across UFFI many times.  I have found that just inserting a dense pack tube in the cavity and blowing in dense pack cellulose.  No need to remove the material.

hello,  i have uffi insulation and living in a large city its hard to find real solutions.  Ive been quoted to remove it my ripping down all the walls and advised to install the hrv .

Can i Purchase these dense pack tube to put in the cavity do I put them in the same place the uffi was inserted. Who can do it


please advise

Good morning.  I am sorry i did not see your post sooner but i will share a couple of issues I have run into.We were doing a retro fit side wall insulation on an old farm house in upstate NY. Money was no object to this homeowner so when we removed our first piece of siding and found the foam his immediate response was well what do we do know? The foam actually was in pretty good conditon and was not settled that badly and was not" Powdered Up At All"That really left only one option and that was to remove it. The house was getting mostly new sheetrock but he wasn't planning on taking the old stuff down, that plan changed quickly we simply removed all the sheetrock and took the foam out, installed all new sheetrock, and then blew the walls full of cellulose form the outside. Done.

The second job the foam was awfull, it had shrunk on the 4 stud surfaces, the material had become like lime that they line athletic fields with. Money was an issue for this customer seeing he finaced his entire weatherization project. So after I privatley cussed out the auditor/salesman for not finding this on the front end. We discussed options. The people have lived in the home for over 20 years and had not experienced any health issues. Removing all the rock was out of the  question so what we did was from the outside we removed 2 rows of 6" clapboard,cut out the sheathing, designed a tool that we stuck up the wall and moved it around and all the powdered foam fell to the bottom, we sucked out all the residue and the replaced the sheathing blew in the dense packed cellulose and we had a happy customer. We had to tweak the job scope a little bit to stay within the customers financial limits but he was very happy.

Hello Steve,  Regarding UFFI  I too have a simular situation in my basement.  My off gassing levels are high 77.5 ppb.   I was quoted 20,000 $ to remove all walls and use this negative air system .   It is all so changelling and frustrating.  I have a 16 month old. And getting no where fast.   If anyone out there has gone though the procedure. Can i get some feedback

lyonsemma@live .com




Aminoplast injection foam is available today that greatly surpasses the old technology UFFI products that gained infamy 30 or more years ago. Those were the Carter years marked by oil embargos, long lines at gap pumps and hucksters making hay while the sun shined.

Similarly, the cellulose insulation products that are available today are far, far better than many of the more than 900 brands that suddenly appeared in the US marketplace.


Doug Rye is a well known energy guru who advocates cellulose insulation for its many qualities. InsulSmart is an aminoplast injection foam designed especially for retrofitting existing buildings. InsulSmart MH is a melamine hybrid resin based alternative foam developed for markets in states that continue to lump modern low shrinking, ultra-low emitting aminoplast foams in with restrictions of traditional UFFI.

Nationally known cellulose advocate Doug Rye has had nice things to say about InsulSmart. For more information about InsulSmart and InsulSmartMH, check out www.cfifoam.com. Note: CfiFOAM, Inc. has not yet gained legal access to Canadian, but research continues.

Bob Sullivan

Technical Services

CfiFOAM, Inc.



I am amazed that no one understands that the space behind a masonry wall is there to allow moisture that works its way through the bricks/blocks to weep down and out through the installed weep holes at the top of the foundation wall. Filling this space blocks the flow of water and is causing unknown damage to the sheathing and framing.


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