I am building a house in Central Texas (Caldwell). Several builders are cautious about using foam insulation and/or a closed attic. I would like to use both. Here in Texas, heat and humidity (except for the past few years of drought) are a continuing problem. Which type of foam would be the best to use in our home, where should the vapor barrier be or should be use one at all, if we are using fans in the exterior walls to supply fresh air to the house, do we need a vented attic or will it cause more problems than it solve? I have printed out your article and the blogs to give to my contractors and architect, but I would really appreciate your comments on the products being used in my part of the US. 
Spray foam insulation is typically priced by volume, meaning your cost will depend on how much material you need to use to insulate your space, although other factors may influence price as well. In most cases, the cost of spray foam insulation is more than worth it, as it's a once and done upgrade that will not only provide energy savings in your home, but also improve your home's overall comfort.
During colder months, 2 component foam is very sensitive to temperature variances. Per product instructions, both tank temperatures need to be above 70°F (21°C) for at least 24 hours prior to use. All application surfaces should be clean/dry and above 60°F (16°C) prior to application. Variance outside of the recommended temperature can affect foam yield and performance.

If you're chemically sensitive, it's probably not a good idea to get it installed, but it's also not a good idea to breathe musty air from the crawl space either. In addition, your house and its contents are made of lots of materials that affect your indoor air quality. If you're really concerned about this, hire a company to test your air and tell you what you can do about it.
We live in middle TN and had our house foamed last year. We noticed recently that some of the foam was shrinking and seperating from the floor joists. We contacted the installer and he informed us that the manufacturer had a problem with a batch of foam during the time frame we had our house sprayed. The contractor wasn't sure if we had the recalled batch installed in our house or not. He said he would check the batch numbers and let us know. He seems like a nice guy promising to do whatever it takes to fix any problems. Do we trust him, however, to be truthful about the batch number? Do we have any options for finding out the information ourselves? I inspected the entire crawl space of the house and noticed approximately (5) areas that were seperating and a couple areas where the foam didn't adhere to the block. Do I assume by it being so infrequent that it is nothing to be concerned about? My concern is the walls that are not capable of being visually inspected because of sheetrock.

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However, coating asphalt shingles and built-up composition roofs requires more caution. The National Roofing Contractors Association’s (NRCA) director of technical services has stated "The roofing industry is aware of a number of issues that could have negative consequences for field application of coatings over asphalt shingle roof systems. Anyone considering this type of application should be aware of the concerns so they can weigh them against the benefits claimed in coating product promotional materials."[2]
The problem you saw with the closed cell foam pulling away like that is due to the heat of the foam was to hot. It was actually curing out and making foam before it could adhere to the wood. The installer wasn't reading his foam correctly. He should of stopped and turned down the heat on his hose temp. Also installers have to be aware that as the sun rises and the temp in attics rises the subtrates get hotter as well. This will cause the installer to adjust his heat when installing the foam as the temp changes thru out the day.  
Open-cell is also known as half-pound foam. It has an R-Value of 3.5-3.6 per inch, and its density is bout 0.5 pounds per cubic food. Low-density foams like these are made partially from raw biological materials Carbon dioxide or water is also used in the makeup. Open-cell uses far less material than closed-cell, but its R-Value is lower. Also, open cell requires a vapor retarder (like gypsum wallboard) and is riskier when used for roof sheathing. It's not highly recommended that you use open-cell insulation if you live in a cold climate unless you have that extra barrier. You should also compare how much money you spend versus how effective the open-cell insulation is wherever it's installed.

Note:  A board foot is defined as a 12" x 12" square at 1" thick. Actual output can be affected by a number of factors including temperature and humidity. The theoretical yield has become an industry standard for identifying certain sizes of two component kits. Theoretical yield calculations are performed in perfect laboratory conditions, without taking into account the loss of blowing agent or the variations in application methods and types. http://youtube.com/watch?feature=youtube_gdata&v=ggLAUsiuI_o


A well-insulated and sealed building envelope can significantly contribute to optimal energy efficiency. As with any project, to fully utilize the benefits of spray foam, attention to detail and proper installation is crucial. It’s important to take appropriate time or seek aid through outside expertise to understand how all types of insulation products can work together within the construction of a home or building and the surrounding environment. When installed correctly, spray foam has the potential to be one of the most effective choices for insulation solutions. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=ggLAUsiuI_o
Closed-cell spray insulation, a rigid medium-density material, can be used in exterior applications such as continuous insulation applications, as well as interior applications. This type of foam insulation has a higher R-value per inch making it also suitable for small areas that require the highest possible R-value to meet building code requirements. Closed-cell spray foam’s rigidity help reject bulk water making it a recognized flood-resistant material by FEMA.
R-value, the thermal resistance measure of insulation, varies between all insulation products whether they are fiberglass, cellulose, open-cell spray foam insulation or closed-cell sprayed-in foam insulation. Generally speaking the rule of thumb is the higher the R-value, the greater the insulating power.  Focusing on spray foam insulation materials, there is a difference between the two main types. According to industry publication, Fine Home Building, the R-value for open-cell spray foam is between R-3.5 – R-3.6 per inch. However, there are open-cell spray foam insulation products actually offer R-3.7 per inch such as Icynene Classic and Icynene Classic Max. The open cell structure of low density foam insulation means the R-value is lower than its closed-cell counterpart. Nevertheless, open-cell spray foam does offer superior and consistent thermal insulation and air sealing properties.

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Was hesitant to buy this product because of some of the reviews but glad I did. It does just what it says and we even got the square footage out of it. You just need to read ALL the directions first and it wouldn't hurt to read some of the helpful hints in some of the reviews. It does only cover 1 inch at 600 square feet and is extremely easy to apply. Very satisfied customer!

There is a significant price difference when it comes to using foam insulation to insulate a new versus older home. Spraying insulation inside a newly constructed home is easier because the installation company can ensure the insulation will work effectively and design it for optimum defense against sound, heat transfer and utility costs. Installing spray foam in older homes that contain existing insulation can cost additional time and money -- it is not usually recommended as compared to weatherization or an energy aduit.

Spray foam insulation is a great product. Homes insulated with it can be some of the most efficient and comfortable homes built. I've been in plenty of these homes and can tell you that when spray foam is installed properly, they outperform 99% of fiberglass batt-insulated, stick-built homes. (I can also tell you that 73% of all statistics are made up on the spot, so please don't ask for documentation of that statistic.)
We are turning our roof into an unvented roof assembly by raising the roof and blowing in SPF. We are planning to leave the existing vapor barrier down but remove the fiberglass batting and then adding 6" of SPF in all the cavities, to completely seal and insulate the house. Should we have any concerns about doing it "upside down" and not spraying the foam directly to the underside/sheathing of the roof? 

Find spray foam contractors, suppliers, equipment, news, and technical information about spray foam insulation, foam roofing, and protective coatings. If you are a homeowner, builder/architect, or interested to get into the spray foam business, we have set-up special areas just for you. Check out our information packed Spray Foam Guides to learn more.
Spray foam insulation, like other insulation, saves on energy costs and lowers utility bills. Studies by the US Department of Energy show that 40% of a home's energy is lost as the result of air infiltration through walls, windows and doorways. Buildings treated with spray foam insulation insulate as much as 50% better than traditional insulation products.

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Allison--would be very interested in your take on the GHG issues of foams, which have received lots of smart commentary recently. To highlight a few: architect Jesse Thompson's comments on Tom's Good vs Bad post on Energy Circle, the very thorough piece by Alex Wilson on Green Building Advisor and Michael Anschel's cautionary diatribe on Remodeling. 
This is more common with closed cell foam, but it happens with open cell foam, too. Since closed cell foam has a higher R-value per inch, installers generally spray 2" in walls and 3" in rooflines to meet the energy code requirements of R-13 and R-19, respectively. (I'm not going to dive into the energy code here, but these numbers apply to many climate zones, the latter being allowed under the UA tradeoffs rule. See the Energy Nerd's blog on this topic if you want to argue.)

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Closed-cell foam has a higher density and offers a higher R-value per inch. It also adds strength to walls, ceilings and roofs and can contribute to a structure’s overall durability. Additionally, closed-cell foam’s low water vapor permeability offers protection from moisture when installed in places where high humidity—from climate, occupants, or flooding—meets the structure. 

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