The video below is from a house near Charleston, South Carolina that I visited recently, and you'll see that the homeowner in this case didn't get his money's worth. I knew immediately when I walked into the attic that something was wrong because it was hot up there. In a properly insulated spray foam attic, the temperature won't be much higher than the house temperature. 

How Much Is Attic Spray Foam


Steve: If your spray foam installer leaves the vents open, he will be committing the 2nd of the 4 problems I described above. You will most likely have comfort and efficiency problems. You may well have condensation problems. You will be spending a lot of money on a product that likely won't perform as it should. Don't let him leave the vents open. If the installer you've chosen doesn't understand this, you may want to choose someone else. 
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. http://m.youtu.be/ggLAUsiuI_o
Roof coatings are easy to install. Smaller roofs in good, serviceable condition can be a weekend do-it-yourself (DIY) project. Larger roofs with leaks and ponding water issues should be coated by a qualified professional. Additional roof coating products, such as foam or coatings designed for seams, may be required underneath the main coating layers. Supplement coating products are used to reinforce damaged or leak-prone problem areas.[3] https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtube.be&v=ggLAUsiuI_o
Open-cell is also known as half-pound foam. It has an R-Value of 3.5-3.6 per inch, and its density is bout 0.5 pounds per cubic food. Low-density foams like these are made partially from raw biological materials Carbon dioxide or water is also used in the makeup. Open-cell uses far less material than closed-cell, but its R-Value is lower. Also, open cell requires a vapor retarder (like gypsum wallboard) and is riskier when used for roof sheathing. It's not highly recommended that you use open-cell insulation if you live in a cold climate unless you have that extra barrier. You should also compare how much money you spend versus how effective the open-cell insulation is wherever it's installed. http://y2u.be/ggLAUsiuI_o
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.  https://youtube.com/v/ggLAUsiuI_o?version=3
This tropic heat actually is the cause that the steel structure, which most roofs in that part of the world are built on, expands and contracts all the time. By doing so, the sun-battered steel structure causes the roof tiles to dislodge and slowly creates small openings between the roof tiles, through which rain water can run into, creating leaks that can cause much damage to plastered ceilings and electric wiring.

Spray Foam Contractors


This is more common with closed cell foam, but it happens with open cell foam, too. Since closed cell foam has a higher R-value per inch, installers generally spray 2" in walls and 3" in rooflines to meet the energy code requirements of R-13 and R-19, respectively. (I'm not going to dive into the energy code here, but these numbers apply to many climate zones, the latter being allowed under the UA tradeoffs rule. See the Energy Nerd's blog on this topic if you want to argue.)
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.
Fill and seal expanding foam sealant is urethane Fill and seal expanding foam sealant is urethane foam designed to fill large areas quickly and permanently. Uses include filling holes cracks or gaps that require a complete airtight and waterproof seal but are too large to be filled with ordinary caulk. The foam expands approximately 3 times its original ...  More + Product Details Close
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.[4]
In the case you have above the installer wasn't reading his foam. They must be trained to do that as they spray. Temps and conditions are constantly changing thru out the day. Either he wasn't properly trained or if he was,he wasn't doing his job! This is a serious problem with people jumping in to the foam business. A lot of homeowners and builders are looking the best price and end up with someone who doesn't know what they are doing. Hope this info helps. Foam insulation is a great product. It just has to be done right by someone who knows what they are doing.

Spray Foam Sealant


Spray foam comes in two flavors, open cell and closed cell, and provides both parts of the building envelope - the insulation and the air barrier. The building envelope should completely surround the conditioned space, and the insulation needs to be in contact with the air barrier. Since spray foam is both insulation and air barrier, proper alignment of insulation and air barrier is guaranteed.

How Much For Spray Foam Insulation


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. https://youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ggLAUsiuI_o
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.
Touch ‘n Foam Pro System 600 is a completely self-contained 2-component foam system that is portable and disposable. Complete with color-coded hoses, ergonomic foam applicator, and all the necessary tools to get started, the System 600 provides up to 600 board feet* (theoretical) of polyurethane spray foam. Designed for larger insulating (up to 2 inch fills), sealing, patching and filling applications, the System 600 provides a quick, consistent flow of foam with rapid curing (60 seconds) to insulate stud wall cavities, gaps, cracks, expansion joints, and other sources of air leakage.
Please Note: Prices, promotions, styles and availability may vary by store and online. Inventory is sold and received continuously throughout the day; therefore, the quantity shown may not be available when you get to the store. This inventory may include a store display unit. Online orders and products purchased in-store qualify for rebate redemption. Mail-in Rebate is in the form of merchandise credit check, valid in-store only. Merchandise credit check is not valid towards purchases made on MENARDS.COM®. By submitting this rebate form, you agree to resolve any disputes related to rebate redemption by binding arbitration and you waive any right to file or participate in a class action. Terms and conditions available at www.rebateinternational.com®
This is in great contrast to my friend's experience. Her attic spaces were sprayed and the foam is actually pretty, and I was in her attic 6-7 days after it was sprayed and could hardly smell anything when I stuck my face up to the foam. And she did not have to clean up one speck of dust during or after the spraying. I got the name/number of the guy from her who managed her attic project, but between the time he did my house and the time he did her house, he was let go from the company who did her attic and hired by another company. He assured me everything would be the same, etc., etc., and I had no reason to believe anything had changed, but the sprayers who did my house later admitted they had never sprayed an attic before and I also found out that the foam used in my attic was from a different manufacturer. Neither my friend nor I had any idea this guy was with different company then, until the week after they filled my attic with off ratio foam, and my home with toxic vapors.   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ggLAUsiuI_o&feature=youtube_gdata
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.
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.

How Much Is Spray Insulation In Attic


Repair and seal roof penetrations, tears, open seams, etc. using Elastek 103 Crack & Joint Sealant and reinforce with polyester roof fabric as necessary. In larger or deep ponding areas, apply Elastek 500 Puddle Plaster to fill in areas that hold water. Avoid using plastic roof cement. Serious ponding should be referred to a roofing contractor. Blisters in previous coatings may be opened but these areas must be allowed to dry-out completely. Blisters in the roofing ply should be left alone unless likely to break. Caulk and reinforce open seams, roof penetrations, cracks, and tears. These are potential leak points so work carefully and thoroughly. Use fabric to build flashings around roof edges or roof penetrations, and to reinforce various coating repairs. A polyester fabric is used because it will stretch with the coatings. (Fiberglas fabric is not recommended.) Fabric is normally cut to extend three inches beyond the repaired area in all directions. The coating is applied to the roof surface and the fabric is immediately pushed into the wet surface. An additional coat is applied over the fabric and the patch is allowed to dry. If your roof has stucco parapets, examine them for cracks along the sides and top. These areas often permit water to enter the wall and can cause blisters and wrinkles in the roof surface. Repair with Elastek 103 Crack & Joint Sealant. If you do not have parapets, examine the metal drip edge for a tight seal with the roof membrane. Use 4″ or 6″ roofing fabric covered under and over with Crack & Joint Sealant to seal cracks along drip edges, penetrations, and open seams. https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ggLAUsiuI_o
Starting a new build (1 1/2 basement walkout), all 2x6 exterior walls w/ brick veneer in CZ3. Above grade, would like to do spray foam in 2x6 walls, 1/2" or 1" of rigid foam board on the exterior, and a 1" air gap. Will this require a house wrap or can I do w/o the rigid foam and go with a housewrap? Also, any recommendations about insulation strategies for the finished basement. Thanks!

Roof Coating

×