One of the high-tech insulation products being utilized these days is a foam-spray product called "Icynene," which is a foam that starts as two liquid components (a and b, if you will) that are heated up and sent through two hoses and meet at a tip of a gun where the magic begins. This is a thin film that expands to 100 times its volume in eight seconds, when it's permanently set up.
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?
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. http://www.youtube.com/v/ggLAUsiuI_o
We have a 1950's ranch in Atlanta and are interviewing foam contractors to spray open cell under the roof, with an "ankle wall" out towards the eaves to seal the attic. My wife and daughters are chemically sensitive, so I'm trying to figure out how to minimize the fumes coming into the house. Additionally, at least one contractor has offered (for > $900) to remove our existing rock wool & R-13 fibreglass from the attic floor to "increase cross-ventilation into the attic". Seems to me I can't both minimize fumes AND increase cross-ventilation. They also offered to spray a fire-retardant on for >$600. Would ventilation during installation help any or woud the retardant seal off the foam and help that way? Thanks...

The process by which heat energy in the form of light (usually IR unless the substrate is hot enough to glow in the visible range) is emitted more strongly by warm surfaces and absorbed by other materials especially those of low IR reflectivity (think matte black finish). Radiant heat transfer does not require a medium. Foam insulation materials, such as spray foam insulation, are opaque to thermal radiation, like most solid materials.

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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. https://youtube.com/watch?v=ggLAUsiuI_o

Spray foam can be used for a variety of applications, including attics, crawl spaces, walls, and more. At Dr. Energy Saver, we specialize in spray foam installation that makes your home more efficient and comfortable. If you're interested in learning more about how spray foam can help your home, call Dr. Energy Saver for a consultation and estimate. https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ggLAUsiuI_o


once the foam is installed correctly, it is a inert plastic not much different than the foam cushions you sit on. there is not a health rick unless you have off ratio uncured foam that has not mixed properly. the foam is absolutely a health risk in its raw forms before it is mixed and cured. You should not be in the building without proper respirators and eye protection. The spray foam industry should be controlled and regulated by the same standards, testing and inspections that framing ,electrical and plumbing are. until that happens then you will have idiots with spray rigs ruining peoples homes and ruining the market for honest foam contractors that know how to price a job fairly and complete it correctly. https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtube_gdata&v=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.  http://kvsprayfoam.com/images/KV-Spray-Foam-insulation-Denver-Colorado.jpg

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. 
There are several types of reflective roof coatings that impart varied reflectance rates/ values. Typically, the reflective coatings are what are commonly referred to as white coatings and there are also aluminum coatings typically used with asphalt. Highly reflective white roof coatings are typically comprised of acrylics, urethanes, silicones, SBS, SEBS, and other types.
Small imperfections in the building envelope (holes, cracks, gaps) not properly sealed will eventually lead to poor building performance or worse, moisture accumulation, allergen/pathogen growth, and very possibly structural failure. The solid nature and sealing capability of closed-cell spray foam, inhibits moisture-driven elements. Two inches of closed-cell spray polyurethane foam insulation will minimize air infiltration, exfiltration, convection, conduction and control solar driven moisture in the building envelope.
c) Make sure that the over expanded access is properly removed from the walls. We had a junior cutter taking too much off by bending his saw into the cavity. Look closely at the inside wall corners, and ceiling/wall corners to make sure that the foam is properly removed flush with the studs. If it has not been cut back flush it may lead to uneven drywall finishes .

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Open cell spray foam consists of cells that do not completely seal themselves. This makes for a softer and less dense final product. Closed cell foam cells are completely sealed and closed compressed together, creating a denser and firmer final product. This also gives closed cell foam a higher R-value (measured unit of thermal resistance). These differences also affect the cost difference between the two types of insulation.

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There is a significant price difference when it comes to using foam insulation to insulate a new versus older home. Spraying insulation inside a newly constructed home is easier because the installation company can ensure the insulation will work effectively and design it for optimum defense against sound, heat transfer and utility costs. Installing spray foam in older homes that contain existing insulation can cost additional time and money -- it is not usually recommended as compared to weatherization or an energy aduit.

Water-based acrylic coatings have more than 30 years of proven performance over a wide range of substrates. It is the coating of choice for metal roofs since it is highly reflective, can be easily tinted and is not extremely slippery when damp. When used with our rust primer, even rusted roofs can be saved. TIP: If you have a metal roof or a low slope roof that doesn't pond water, consider acrylic coatings.
Water-based acrylic coatings have more than 30 years of proven performance over a wide range of substrates. It is the coating of choice for metal roofs since it is highly reflective, can be easily tinted and is not extremely slippery when damp. When used with our rust primer, even rusted roofs can be saved. TIP: If you have a metal roof or a low slope roof that doesn't pond water, consider acrylic coatings. https://www.youtube.com/v/ggLAUsiuI_o&feature=youtu.be
This coating is also efficient with a coverage area reaching between 42 and 46 feet. And regardless of the weather, you can apply and use it in your roof to achieve the protection for it you need. Just as what you can read in RV rubber roof coating reviews, this product can work in all temperatures. Regardless it is hot or cold outside, you can easily apply and ensure of its adhesion on your recreational vehicle roof.

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Apply coating when the roof is dry and the sealant has set. You will be using a 9-inch heavy-duty frame, ½-inch paint roller for spreading coating on roof or 1-1/4-inch roller for dipping in pail, and a 5–to-6-foot extension pole. Use a 3/4-inch roller with basecoats and emulsions. Map out your roof and make each pail fill that area. See Elastek Product Sheets for recommended coverage. An inexpensive 3-inch or 4-inch brush should be used to reach areas not possible with a roller. Use a stiff paintbrush for applying 103 Crack & Joint 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.
You probably have some familiarity with spray foam insulation, and you may have even used the foam that comes in pressured spray cans at home improvement retailers. This foam is know as one-part foam, meaning that it is one continuous mixture that is simply applied to the area in need. One-part foam is frequently used for sealing small gaps and cracks.

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