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Thank you, Allison. We have a split system unit (actually 5) with the heat being propane. The foam guy said that it needed ventilation, so completely sealing the attic wouldn't be a good idea. It sounds like you are saying that the systems need to be vented out of the attic or replaced with some type of closed system. But I shouldn't bother spraying if the plan is to leave the soffet vents open. Is that correct?
How Much More Expensive Is Spray Foam
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.
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
Although spray polyurethane foam has many advantages over other types of insulation, spray foam installation isn’t foolproof. Some builders have reported problems with sloppy foam insulation. For example, some installers have been known to begin spraying before the chemical components are up to temperature, which can affect component mixing and foam performance. When components are poorly mixed, or mixed in the wrong ratio or at the wrong temperature, cured foam has been known to shrink away from rafters or studs, leaving cracks. Some installers rush through their spraying, resulting in voids.
Spray Foam Polyurethane
I just received this and it worked well for me. It works well for small gaps (around windows, between studs), but probably not the right tool for larger gaps (>1" or 2"). If used in larger gaps, it works OK if it is layered in. Spray a little and wait for it to set, then layer another on top, etc... This is pretty much noted by the seller. It is pretty much exactly as described and priced right, so 5 stars. If you need to do larger gaps, buy 2 part.
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. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtube.be&v=ggLAUsiuI_o
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.