The guys who sprayed my attic were trained and certified, but I later found out, too late, that they had no experience and my attic was the first they'd ever sprayed. I was also never told to vacate my house for any length of time, and so I (and my pets) were in the house the day they sprayed and the entire time the off ratio foam was filling my home with horrendous vapors. The company kept telling me that it was a good job and I had nothing to worry about, even after I'd had 2 other experienced sprayers from 2 different companies visually examine the foam and confirm that large areas appeared to be off ratio. The 3rd sprayer from yet another company, was also outraged because the company who did my attic had failed to vacuum up all of the old cellulose insulation, and he also noticed areas where the foam was shrinking or pulling away, and this was not even 5 weeks after the spraying.
Spray foam is a fully adhered insulation that is spray applied into wall cavities, providing a continuous air and moisture barrier. Spray foam allows efficient use of your HVAC system and helps regulate the temperature fluctuations and humidity in your home. Spray foam effectively seals the building envelope, filling in any cracks and crevices, the common source of air and moisture infiltration as well as temperature variations. http://kvsprayfoam.com/images/closed-cell-wall.jpg
Most closed-cell spray foam is now formed using hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) blowing agents that have high global warming potential, partially or completely offsetting the climate benefits of the energy savings they can offer. In the United States, HFCs are scheduled to be phased out by January, 2021. A few spray foam suppliers have started supplying spray foam blown with hydrofluoroolefin (HFO) blowing agents without this problem as of early 2017.
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.
Note: A board foot is defined as a 12" x 12" square at 1" thick. Actual output can be affected by a number of factors including temperature and humidity. The theoretical yield has become an industry standard for identifying certain sizes of two component kits. Theoretical yield calculations are performed in perfect laboratory conditions, without taking into account the loss of blowing agent or the variations in application methods and types.
The problem was that the installer was doing his first spray foam job ever, and the thickness of the insulation varied from zero (visible roof deck) to about 9". Unfortunately, good average thickness doesn't cut it. The coverage needs to be uniform because a lot of heat will go through the under-insulated areas. (See my article on flat or lumpy insulation performance.)
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.
Where Can You Buy Foam Spray
This high R-value of 4.45 at 1 inch, polyurethane insulation expands to seal cracks, gaps, and voids in attics, walls, crawl spaces, and ceilings. Agribalance is a three-quarter pound density foam that reduces air leakage by improving energy efficiency, and reducing moisture intrusion and outside contaminants such as dust, dirt, and allergens. As a result, builders can generally install smaller, more energy-efficient HVAC systems and achieve similar, or superior comfort compared to traditionally insulated structures which require a larger, less efficient HVAC system – resulting in higher energy costs.
Spray Foam Sealant
If you're chemically sensitive, it's probably not a good idea to get it installed, but it's also not a good idea to breathe musty air from the crawl space either. In addition, your house and its contents are made of lots of materials that affect your indoor air quality. If you're really concerned about this, hire a company to test your air and tell you what you can do about it.
RE: my June 12 post...We went ahead and had the attic sprayed with a Soy-based product. Stayed in a hotel for 3 nites. Still smelled a little bad but that's gone away over time. I'm very glad we didn't use the other foam as even that much outgassing of a petrochemical could have sent my wife to the hospital. Unfortunately, the spray crew didn't speak English(at least not to me) and were kinda lazy, so they ended up spraying over some can fixtures from the kitchen below that were not insulation-contact rated. So I hired an electrician to come out, pull down the cans, pull out what he thought was an appropriate amount of foam to create a big enough air space and then re-install the cans. I billed the firm for the electrician plus an extra night we had to stay in the hotel and they paid, no questions asked. Guess they knew they had screwed up.
Polyurethane is a closed-cell foam insulation material that initially contains a low-conductivity gas in its cells. As a result of the high thermal resistance of the gas, spray polyurethane insulation typically has an initial R-value around R-3.4 to R-6.7 per inch. In comparison, blown fiberglass typically has an R-Value of only R-3 to R-4 per inch.
Spray Foam Cost
I recently did a remodel project for my basement using spray foam insulation. The original builder has used fiberglass, but I wanted the best insulation i could find. We chose closed cell foam because it blocks moisture from getting into the house. It took one day to install and was fumey for about 3 hours. It was pretty cool watching it being done. It comes out as a liquid and then expands rapidly into a foam. It's quick! Then they took a types of saw to shave it flat with the wall studs so we could then go ahead and drywall. https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ggLAUsiuI_o
Loctite TITE FOAM Window and Door is a Loctite TITE FOAM Window and Door is a new generation of polyurethane-based insulating foam sealant that expands to fill seal and insulate around window and door jambs. Loctite TITE FOAM is a minimal-expanding foam based on purified and concentrated ingredients that provides four times more density versus conventional window and ... More + Product Details Close
How Much Is Spray Foam Insulation Installation
To avoid the expense re-roofing a house that is simply suffering from nail fatigue, and to obtain optimum insulation, an 85mm layer of polyurethane foam can be sprayed onto the underside of the slates or tiles of a pitched roof. This stabilises and weatherproofs the roof by fixing the nails, battens and roofing felt. As the foam is a superior insulant, coupled with just 100mm of insulation at joist level, your roof will also meet the stringent thermal performance standards required for a new home. A typical roof can be insulated using the polyurethane treatment for around half the cost of re-roofing.