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.
For example, a hybrid solution of spray foam and fiberglass batts or rolls combines the air-sealing and vapor-retarder benefits of foam with the economical thermal performance of fiberglass. Another option might be to install spray foam in places that are hard to reach or seal, such as rim joists, the attic floor, and eaves, and then install fiberglass batts and loose-fill in the in the open areas, greatly reducing any draftiness while helping the project budget. Incorporating spray foam into hybrid solutions enhances the building envelope and seals efficiently at a reasonable cost. http://youtube.com/e/ggLAUsiuI_o?app=desktop
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.
DID YOU KNOW? Spray FOam insulation out-performs conventional insulation materials because they (conventional insulation materials) trap still-dry air and if that air moves or becomes wet, the thermal resistance can drop by 50%. Spray Foam protects against air infiltration, which can increase energy costs in buildings by 10 to 40%. Eliminate these drafts and live in a more energy-efficient, comfortable and healthier building by choosing spray foam insulation.
I am on my third project with foam it green. I like the simplicity of it, the color blending to make it green, it alerts you quickly if something is wrong with the blending so you don't waste alot of valuable material. Follow the instructions closely, put in the prep time and you will have no issues. It seems most people's negative comments have to do with not following instructions or guidelines. It is about as close to point and shoot as you can get but there are still some essential details that need attention. The only complaint I have is the fragility of the gun, last project I cracked one on accident but luckily needed two kits to finish the project so I had a back up, but I was more careful to gently lay the gun down between applications.
Spray Foam Metal Building
The guys who sprayed my attic were trained and certified, but I later found out, too late, that they had no experience and my attic was the first they'd ever sprayed. I was also never told to vacate my house for any length of time, and so I (and my pets) were in the house the day they sprayed and the entire time the off ratio foam was filling my home with horrendous vapors. The company kept telling me that it was a good job and I had nothing to worry about, even after I'd had 2 other experienced sprayers from 2 different companies visually examine the foam and confirm that large areas appeared to be off ratio. The 3rd sprayer from yet another company, was also outraged because the company who did my attic had failed to vacuum up all of the old cellulose insulation, and he also noticed areas where the foam was shrinking or pulling away, and this was not even 5 weeks after the spraying.
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.
Low-density foam is applied as low or high-pressure, two-component polyurethane spray foam. Low-density spray foam can be applied on walls, in unvented attics, to ducts and ceilings, and in vented attics and crawl spaces. It is known as an air barrier, but permeable to vapor and moisture. It is often used to fill cavities in walls during construction. https://www.youtube.com/e/ggLAUsiuI_o
As this example illustrates, it's important to seal the envelope completely. One of spray foam's biggest selling points is its air-sealing ability, but it can't seal places where it's not sprayed. One of the nice things about using spray foam in new construction is that you can do a Blower Door test before the drywall goes in. Even better, you can test for leaks with a fog machine.
R-value is the term given to thermal resistance to heat flow. The higher the R-value of an insulation product, the more effective the insulation properties. Spray polyurethane foam comes in a range of densities and cel structure. Low density foams are referred to as Open Cel SPF while higher density foams are referred to as Closed Cel foam. 1.8-2 pound polyurethane foam has the highest R-value of readily available spray foam insulation used in homes and buildings.