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. 
Polyurethane Spray Foam Insulation is used in industries ranging from mining to movies, from cold storage to marine flotation. Spray Foam Insulation’s ability to seal out air and insulate quickly means it’s always in high demand for residential and commercial applications. Spray Foam Insulation is critical for solving our nation’s energy challenges because it dramatically reduces the energy needed to heat and cool our homes and offices.

How Much Does Spray Foam Weigh


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. 

Spray foam insulation helps lower utility costs because it blocks heat and cold from the outdoors. Recent studies by the U.S. Department of Energy state that around 40 percent of all energy is lost through poor insulation. Spray foam insulation is able to insulate homes at least 50 percent more than traditional insulation products. Spray foam insulation can also provide protection against moisture, which otherwise leads to the unwanted development of mold and mildew. And it can also be used for noise reduction as well. In fact, spray foam is good for homes and buildings in which outdoor noise can be a distraction.
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. 
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. http://youtube.com/watch?feature=youtube_gdata&v=ggLAUsiuI_o
We have a 22 year old home located in southeastern georgia where the humidity is very high. In the past 2 weeks our floors have started buckling all over. We have a vented crawl space and the old insulation is drooping from moisture and the wood is wet. We are debating between the "encapulation" method or the spray foam method to repair this issue. Which would you recommend? https://youtube.com/watch?v=ggLAUsiuI_o
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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.
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If you’re not familiar, spray foam is a type of insulation that expands after you spray. The foam expands and seals, avoiding any type of unnecessary moisture (which can create mold) or encouraging pests to eat through your walls. It protects the lining of your house, and even can protect the heating and cooling of your house during those unbearably cold or hot days.


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How Much Better Is Spray Foam Insulation


If you haven’t considered spray foam insulation, now may be the time to start looking into it. As you know, having proper insulation will help reduce your heat and air conditioning bills. In specific, spray foam insulation can be particularly helpful during renovations. It can provide a barrier between outside walls, and even a sound barrier for the inside.

a) Make sure that your house has been well heated prior to installation because the foam expands at different rates as it hits surfaces with different temperatures. If it is cold outside the sheathing may be much colder than the studs consequently the foam may expand more from the sides of the wall cavity creating air pockets in the wall cavity. This can be minimized by an experienced installer.


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.

Spray Foam Basement Walls


You've got no argument from me there, Dennis. Getting a good installer if you're going with spray foam is crucial. Many builders or homeowners don't know how to find one, however, and that's where third party inspections come in. Also, even good installers have bad days, but if someone comes in behind them with a measuring probe and a Blower Door, there will be fewer sub-par foam jobs.   http://m.www.youtube.com/embed/ggLAUsiuI_o
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.

Where Can I Purchase Spray Foam Insulation

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