Global warming potential (GWP), as defined by the EPA, is a measure of how much energy the emissions of 1 ton of a gas will absorb over a given period of time, relative to the emissions of 1 ton of carbon dioxide (CO2).  Spray foam insulation products that use water as the blowing agent - typically open-cell foam however Icynene’s ProSeal Eco is a 100 percent water blown closed-cell spray foam – have a global warming potential of 1, the lowest possible number.  This is because water in the mixture reacts during the application process to release carbon dioxide and heat. The GWP of the blowing agent is that of carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide has a GWP of 1.

Spray Foam Basement Walls


Although spray foam insulation has been in use since the 1940s, primarily for aircraft, for the past 30 years, continual product innovation has seen the increased adoption of spray foam insulation in residential and commercial construction. The rapid growth of sprayed foam insulation in building construction, thanks in part to its immediate and long-term benefits, has allowed the insulation material to sit confidently alongside traditional insulation types in providing thermal comfort for building occupants. https://m.youtube.com/v/ggLAUsiuI_o

Some states, municipalities and utilities have programs. Check with your coatings manufacturer for further information. As a membership benefit, RCMA provides maintains a database of current information on rebates and tax credits for installing reflective roofs. RCMA’s customized search tool can be used to find the most up-to-date listings of reflective roofing financial incentives available.


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?
RE: my June 12 post...We went ahead and had the attic sprayed with a Soy-based product. Stayed in a hotel for 3 nites. Still smelled a little bad but that's gone away over time. I'm very glad we didn't use the other foam as even that much outgassing of a petrochemical could have sent my wife to the hospital. Unfortunately, the spray crew didn't speak English(at least not to me) and were kinda lazy, so they ended up spraying over some can fixtures from the kitchen below that were not insulation-contact rated. So I hired an electrician to come out, pull down the cans, pull out what he thought was an appropriate amount of foam to create a big enough air space and then re-install the cans. I billed the firm for the electrician plus an extra night we had to stay in the hotel and they paid, no questions asked. Guess they knew they had screwed up.  
I've seen this only once, and it was with closed cell foam, but I've heard of it happening with open cell foam, too. I don't know the details, but I've heard it could result from a bad batch of chemicals, improper mixing, or too high a temperature. Whatever the cause, it's not a good thing. The photo below shows how the spray foam pulled away from the studs. A little bit of uninsulated area like that adds up to a lot of heat loss/gain when the whole house has that problem, as it did here. http://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ggLAUsiuI_o
The average price to cover 200 square feet with a foam insulation kit will run between $300 and $600 (about two to three kits). Inside these kits is something called Icynene, a foam made from two liquids that are heated and pushed through a gun on the can. When Icynene is released, it expands up to 100 times its size as it hits the surface area you're covering. These can contain a lot of gasses, making its installation a dangerous process. Even low-pressure sprayers can be harmful to homeowners' health. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtube.be&v=ggLAUsiuI_o
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.
When it comes to weatherproofing your RV roof, the Flex Seal liquid roof is one of those we’re proud to recommend because it can be applied in all temperatures. It can also protect your camper roof from even the harshest weathers, including rain, snow and wind. With it, you can keep your roof protected from changing temperatures, eventually prolonging its lifespan.
FROTH-PAK Foam Sealant is a two-component quick-cure polyurethane FROTH-PAK Foam Sealant is a two-component quick-cure polyurethane foam that fills cavities penetrations cracks and expansion joints. FROTH-PAK foam sealant can also be used as a sealant and void fill in many roofing applications. FROTH-PAK is chemically cured foam which significantly reduces curing time. FROTH-PAK dispenses expands and becomes tack ...  More + Product Details Close
SPF application is fast and effective. Unlike traditional insulation types like fiberglass, which require a separate air-sealing step, spray foam can air seal and insulate a structure in one step, thus keeping the project moving forward. Combining these steps coupled with a spray-on application decreases installation time and delivers the ability to fit into hard-to-reach places, like eaves, odd-sized cavities, and rims. In addition to installation efficiencies, spray foam can provide excellent thermal, acoustical and indoor air quality performance in any climate. 
I am an Architect in Toronto. I am designing a new roof addition to a row house building. Because of existing conditions and the shape of the new roof. It may be easiest to use closed cell spray foam within the areas of the joists. My question is when spray foam is used in this situation do I need to worry about how the joist members may be thermal bridges? It is not common to provide a little bit of rigid insulation to protect the joist members? The additional layer of outboard insulation will require an extra layer of plywood above the insulation which will add to cost.
A. You can use closed-cell spray foam that way if you want, although you should realize that the spray foam will prevent the roof sheathing from drying inward. This approach should only be used if the roof sheathing is bone dry, because it will never dry when sandwiched in this manner. Most building scientists would prefer to see fiberglass rather than closed-cell spray foam under the roof sheathing in this type of assembly.
The product is an acrylic coating, which is packed conveniently for ease of use. As it is also in one-gallon size, you can rely on its supreme area coverage reaching up to 125 square feet. The Dicor rubber roof coating is also very easy to apply. When shopping around for a roof coating, we believe it pays off to find an easy to apply product for fast results. It is one of the best qualities of the RV roof coating that makes it a top pick in the category.

I've seen this only once, and it was with closed cell foam, but I've heard of it happening with open cell foam, too. I don't know the details, but I've heard it could result from a bad batch of chemicals, improper mixing, or too high a temperature. Whatever the cause, it's not a good thing. The photo below shows how the spray foam pulled away from the studs. A little bit of uninsulated area like that adds up to a lot of heat loss/gain when the whole house has that problem, as it did here.


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.
Sta-Kool 780 Siliconized Acrylic White Elastomeric Roof Coating Sta-Kool 780 Siliconized Acrylic White Elastomeric Roof Coating is a high quality flexible white acrylic roof coating. Product is enhanced with silicone for improved water resistance adhesion and life expectancy. Product resists cracking peeling while offering tremendous durability and long term life. The coating forms a durable protective barrier which ...  More + Product Details Close
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. 

Spray Foam Attic Ceiling


Sean, thanks for jumping in and answering John's questions. About choosing the right foam, I intentionally avoided the open cell vs. closed cell foam debate. I did this partly because it's worthy of an article all by itself, but mainly I didn't include it because, despite all the warnings the two sides issue about the other, I've never personally seen a problem caused by using open cell where they should've used closed cell or vice versa. I'm sure things like that happen; I just haven't seen it yet.
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.

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. 

How Much Does Spray Foam Insulation Cost

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