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?
Today’s “third generation” of blowing agents have a GWP of 700 to 1000 which is still remarkably high considering water/CO2 has a GWP of 1. However, innovation from some chemical manufacturers like the Chemours Company have introduced the next generation of HFO blowing agents such as Opteon 1100, which significantly reduces the GWP impact when using closed-cell spray foam insulation products. http://m.www.youtube.com/embed/ggLAUsiuI_o
Spray foam is a chemical product created by two materials, isocyanate and polyol resin, which react when mixed with each other and expand up to 30-60 times its liquid volume after it is sprayed in place. This expansion makes it useful as a specialty packing material which forms to the shape of the product being packaged and produces a high thermal insulating value with virtually no air infiltration.
You probably have some familiarity with spray foam insulation, and you may have even used the foam that comes in pressured spray cans at home improvement retailers. This foam is know as one-part foam, meaning that it is one continuous mixture that is simply applied to the area in need. One-part foam is frequently used for sealing small gaps and cracks.
Here's a simpler, less expensive alternative: Cut some 2-inch-thick rigid-foam insulation and glue it to the subfloor between the joists or support it with nails driven partway into the joists. Then fill any gaps between the edges of the foam boards and the joists using the canned spray foam sold at home centers or hardware stores. An even easier option is to nail the foam panels against the bottom edge of the joists and seal the joints with canned foam, but you'll lose some headroom and access to any pipes and wires between the joists. As with spray-foam kits, protect yourself and the floor from the dripping globs of canned foam. A full face shield, gloves, and a hat would be a good start.
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.
Roof coatings can add 25 years to the service life of a roof and reduce the amount of discarded roofing materials that end up in landfills. The infrared image on the right shows 175 °F (79 °C) on the uncoated (black) section of the modified bitumen roof. The coated (white) section is 79 °F (26 °C). Field studies have shown that cool roof coatings can lower rooftop temperatures and reduce air conditioning bills.
Most flat roofs are not perfectly sloped, causing water to puddle in some areas, in particular around the drains and scuppers. Many roof coatings are not rated or warranted for "ponding water", and thus might fail pre-maturely if exposed to standing water over long periods of time. Serious consideration should be given to the performance and limitations of the coating being selected. Some manufacturers will warranty their coatings including ponding water. Typically, manufacturers for acrylic roof coatings do not include warranties for ponding water, while some polyurethane and silicone roof coatings manufacturers will.
Note: The practice of foam insulating the attic has raised eyebrows in the building industry because "standard" roofing techniques call for the attic to be ventilated; however, in a vented attic situation it will become approximately 130 degrees in the summer. There's no reason for an air-conditioning and vent-ductwork to have to work in that type of severe conditions. By applying Icynene right on the underside of the roof deck, the severe temperatures no longer exist in the attic. In short, the attic is now a "conditioned" space of the house that is just as comfortable as any other room in the home. This is called a "Compact Roof", which means you can frame right up against it. The one drawback of using expanded foam on the inside of the roof is that this will cause the temperature of the shingles to rise, but how much is not yet known. And how much damage a rise in temperatures could cause is debatable.