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...
Yes, you're right that all of the problems mentioned above are related to the installer. I didn't try to hide that and even used the word 'installer' in two of the four headings. I can see how you'd think that the title is misleading, but in the end you can't separate spray foam insulation from its installation. Some people have the mistaken impression that if you get spray foam in your house, your home will outperform all others. My point here is that that's not true.
Air infiltration and exfiltration within a home contributes to almost 99% of moisture migration. Restricting air movement stops moisture accumulation so that the possibility of mold growth is less likely. Combined with a properly sized HVAC system, spray foam insulation helps control the indoor humidity levels to minimize moisture and condensation. Reducing moisture and controlling humidity can also add years to the life expectancy of a home, plus contribute to a healthier indoor environment. Finally, it also deters pests, making it difficult for them to nest.
I used this product to seal and insulate my rim joists as I am finishing the basement. The builder used R13 batt insulation when we built the house 3 years ago. I use a dehumidifier to control moisture in the basement which is below grade. The setting I use is 55%. The dehumidifier kicks on periodically and requires emptying every few days. Since using the foam all around the house on the rim joists and sill plate, the dehumidifier has stayed at 50% for over two weeks since spraying and rarely turns on anymore. I also put the original R13 batt insulation back up after the foam cured.
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.
For large jobs, professionals such as Dr. Energy Saver use two-part foam, which comes in larger containers. With 2-part spray foam, it's necessary to mix separate resin and catalyst compounds at the application nozzle. Combining these ingredients starts a chemical reaction that creates expanding foam. Contractors use small 2-part foam "kits" to air-seal an attic or to seal and insulate ductwork. To insulate an entire attic or wood-framed wall with spray foam, the resin and catalyst compounds are pumped to the application nozzle from 50-gallon drums in a specially equipped truck. http://kvsprayfoam.com/images/spray-foam-insulation-.jpg
When it comes to insulating the house, fiberglass tends to be the common form of insulation. However, after comparing fiberglass and spray foam insulation, it’s shocking how fiberglass tends to be the lesser of the two. Although it has deemed reliable over the years, there are way more benefits to insulating your home with spray foam. One of those benefits includes regulating the temperature of your house. http://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ggLAUsiuI_o
Today, each of the 50 states follows a different set of building codes making navigating these codes confusing, particularly for architects or builders that have projects in multiple states. In some cases, the building code changes significantly between the state and certain cities or counties within the state. For example, at the time of writing Arizona had adopted the 2015 IRC Building Code, however, Phoenix was on the 2012 IRC, IBC and IECC code. With the majority of states either on the 2009, 2012 or 2015 code, below are some high-level points to consider and about how spray foam insulation contributes.
SPF, a spray-applied cellular plastic, is made by mixing chemicals to create foam. Those chemicals react very quickly, expanding on contact to create foam that insulates, air seals and provides a moisture barrier. When properly installed, SPF forms a continuous barrier on walls, around corners and on contoured surfaces. It resists heat transfer very well and is an effective solution for reducing unwanted air infiltration through cracks, seams, and joints.
Amanda previously has worked as a breaking news and crime reporter, TV news producer, and editor in Flint and Detroit. Throughout her career as a journalist, she has won several awards from the Detroit Chapter of Society of Professional Journalists and the Michigan Press Association. As part of the RetroFoam of Michigan family, Amanda uses her experience as a journalist to write content that will help educate homeowners on the benefits of foam insulation. When Amanda isn’t writing, she’s spending time with her husband and rescued huskies. She also loves knitting, making art, cooking, and hosting dinner and a movie night for friends and family.