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Before you decide on spray foam or another method of insulation, it's important to understand the superiority of spray foam compared to traditional materials. When compared to fiberglass batts, spray foam offers nearly double the R-value per inch, achieves air-sealing and insulation in one step, won't be damaged by mold or moisture, and won't settle, compress, or otherwise be damaged to the point it needs replacement.
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. https://youtu.be/ggLAUsiuI_o
Current guidelines recommend up to 10 inches of insulation in your attic . This is usually added to the ground, rather than the roof line, which results in the loss of your storage area, due to not being able to refit floor boards after installation. By implementing spray foam insulation to the roof line, you regain the lost 10 inches, thus increasing storage, height and practicality.
With constant exposure to heat, cold, UV radiation, rain, snow, hail, high winds and possible mechanical damage, a roof can be the most vulnerable component of a building’s exterior. However, a roof’s long-term performance can be enhanced — and major roofing problems avoided — with correct design, quality materials, proper installation and workmanship, and comprehensive care.
I used this for the rim-joist in our home. A couple things: I put 1in solid core foam (cut to size) in each bay before using the spray foam. I also was able to do a relatively 'thick' spray to close off any potential gaps that may have existed. I turned off the HVAC and turned on some fans in the windows to exhaust out the fumes, and wore a mask (3m respirator).
Good article, but it seems like you can chalk up almost all of those problems to the experience level of whomever is spraying the foam. Spray foam isn't an inherently bad product, but it's pretty easy to botch if the hired company is inexperienced. Fiberglass may be foolproof to install, but then again it has a terrible R-Value compared to a good spray foam. People just need to get referrals and do their homework whenever they research a spray foam contractor.
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.
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.
I don't even want to ask this question but... several years ago we hired a local contractor to spray high density foam on the roof deck and walls of our unfinished 2nd floor. We realized that the job was done poorly and cut an access into the attic space to assess things. We realize now that they spray foamed directly to the chimney (no flashing). The chimney is currently used for a woodstove and DHW venting. The DHW will go away but wood stove will remain. My question is, how bad (unsafe) is this? I have found information on foam exposure to fire but have not been able to find anything about temperature ratings in general (i.e. what happens on prolonged exposure to high temperatures).
One of the key differentiators between traditional insulation materials and spray foam insulation is the latter’s ability to insulate and air seal. Foam insulation provides an air barrier to wherever it is applied to help mitigate air leakage from the building. Air sealing the building envelope with sprayed-in foam insulation also helps address moisture ingress to reduce the risk of mold and mildew growth as well as the formation of ice dams in colder climate zones during the winter months. When you compare foam insulation with traditional fiberglass insulation and cellulose insulation, sprayed insulation minimizes air infiltration, it assists in limiting moisture vapor from entering and escaping the home, which in turn reduces the load on heating and cooling systems. Below is a video that compares fiberglass, cellulose and open-cell spray foam in terms of insulating and air sealing value.