Yes, you're right that all of the problems mentioned above are related to the installer. I didn't try to hide that and even used the word 'installer' in two of the four headings. I can see how you'd think that the title is misleading, but in the end you can't separate spray foam insulation from its installation. Some people have the mistaken impression that if you get spray foam in your house, your home will outperform all others. My point here is that that's not true.
Solvent-based polyurethane coatings have excellent adhesion and when used as a base coat over asphalt, EPDM, TPO or PVC, it eliminates the need for a primer. The resulting savings on labor and material more than offsets the higher cost of the product. When top coated with silicone, it gives you the best of both worlds. It's also an excellent gutter and RV coating.
If your foam pulled away just a little bit, Jamie, and they were able to fix it with just a little bit of touching up, then it wasn't as bad as the house where I saw this problem. As the last photo above shows, it had pulled away significantly from the studs and rafters, and it was all over the house. This was closed cell foam, and interestingly, it didn't pull away from the horizontal framing members, just the vertical and sloped ones. They did some touch up, but that wasn't enough. I don't know how this one ended up getting resolved. I think maybe the contractor came back and sprayed cellulose on top of the foam.
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Spray Foam Sealant
This depends on the geographic location, insulation, and cost of electricity. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA), and several roofing material manufacturers have computer programs that can estimate the savings. A growing number of energy consultants are available to provide environmental regulation compliance information.
OK, Peter, I finally went back and read Alex Wilson's article on what he perceives as a serious problem. I haven't seen the full report, but based on the summary he wrote on the Green Building Advisor website, I question the science. It seems to me that he's chosen the wrong metric and he's basing his conclusion on too many assumptions because he doesn't have enough data. You can see my comments at the end of his article.
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.
As mentioned above, These coatings can work with almost any roof type. Another advantage is they are long-lasting. The coatings are resistant to fungi and mildew among other common materials that damage roofs with time. Another advantage of the coatings is that they are seamless, providing a neat uniform coating. Elastomeric coatings offer individual benefits to certain roof types. For instance, polyurethane foam roofing benefits greatly from the coatings by getting great ozone and UV light protection. The heat reflexive properties also offer great benefits such as lowering cooling costs. This advantage is enjoyed regardless of the rooftype. The heat reflexive properties also offer anti-aging properties when coatings reflect harsh sun rays which age roofs with time. Elastomeric roof coatings are also simple to use, VOC compliant and nontoxic. https://youtube.com/watch?v=ggLAUsiuI_o
Light-density open-cell SPF is commonly known as half-pound foam. It is a semi-rigid material with a sponge-like appearance that expands during installation and creates small, open cells that are filled with carbon dioxide. Due to its ability to expand during the application process, it fills cracks, crevices and voids and adheres to irregular surfaces or substrates to form an air sealing insulation.
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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 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://m.youtu.be/ggLAUsiuI_o
What do you mean by "our AC units require fresh air ventilation"? Fresh air doesn't come from the attic. If there's an atmospheric combustion appliance in the attic, such as an 80 AFUE furnace, then you shouldn't be encapsulating the attic anyway. If that's the case, you don't want spray foam on the roofline at all. You can either change out the furnace to a sealed combustion unit or do your insulating and air-sealing at the flat-ceiling level.
In the early days of insulating attics, people believed the insulation was a heat source. That’s not the case, as the insulation is actually a barrier between two areas of different temperatures. As for the “hot roof” theory, the unvented attic system could make the temperature of the roof go up a little, but this increase won’t cause damage to your shingles.
If you cut the nails holding one of the corner studs to the bottom plate and the top plate with a Sawzall, you can use a flat bar (or a flat bar plus a wrecking bar) to pull the stud off the sheathing nails. Either re-use the stud, or buy a new stud, and install the stud with toenails as shown in the link I provided in Comment #51 (this link: Outside corner detail). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ggLAUsiuI_o&app=mobile
Spray foam insulation, when properly installed is both an air barrier and when closed cell foam is used at the proper depth a vapor barrier! Before hiring any contractor you should establish the brand of foam being used and verify that with the named manufacture. Please ask for ESR reports and MSDS sheets on any foam being installed in your home. A couple areas where you might consider spray foam insulation include:
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.
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 Tanks
There are two main types of spray foam to consider: open-cell and closed-cell. Open-cell spray foam has a lower R-value per inch and because of this, typically a lower price tag. The soft, low-density material is used for interior applications. Its high permeability allows for moisture to pass through, which contributes to bi-directional drying of the assembly, but it may not be ideal for all applications or climates.
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.
What more is that we also think it is one of the most durable among liquid roof coatings on the market. It can last for several years, working continuously in protecting your roof from outside elements, such as dust, leaves, twigs and debris that would otherwise damage your roof. When it happens, your roof might have leaks and cause discomfort inside your RV.
Closed-cell (aka two-pound foam) is denser than open-cell at about 2 pounds per cubic foot. Its R-Value is between 6-6.5 per inch. As a result, this kind of foam is much more expensive than its counterpart. The reason closed-cell doesn't need a vapor retarder is because it already has one. It's permeance is 0.8 perm, which means it can handle cold climates without the use of an additional board or drywall. Closed-cell uses hydroflurocarbons (HFCs) as part of its makeup. However, this material has been known to have a high global warming effect. If you want a green insulation solution, this is not the material to use. A way to avoid this and still use closed-cell is by installing it alongside fiberglass batts. https://youtube.com/v/ggLAUsiuI_o?version=3
One of the best ways to achieve it is to use the Heng’s rubber coating that can protect it from the elements, including sleet, wind, rain, and snow and UV rays. The product also does well in keeping our roof protected from dirt, leaves and twigs. With such protection received, our roof won’t degrade and we prevent ruining our recreational vehicle investment.