This is more common with closed cell foam, but it happens with open cell foam, too. Since closed cell foam has a higher R-value per inch, installers generally spray 2" in walls and 3" in rooflines to meet the energy code requirements of R-13 and R-19, respectively. (I'm not going to dive into the energy code here, but these numbers apply to many climate zones, the latter being allowed under the UA tradeoffs rule. See the Energy Nerd's blog on this topic if you want to argue.)
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.
I have never used foam insulation before and this was easy for me to use right out of the box. I had a 4'x8"x8" cavity in my basement that houses a waterline. When the previous homeowner installed this they put no insulation in at all and being that it's an exterior wall in the basement and I live in the Midwest that thing was pushing so much cold air in it was incredibly uncomfortable. Out of the box and job completed in about 5 minutes. Stopped all drafts and created a nice 2" barrier on the wall in which I will install some extra bat insulation over it. 4 stars because the spray isn't very good passed 6-8" from the surface. Make sure you can reach the surface you want to coat. Great for small jobs!
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.
I have used the Froth-Pak 200 to air-seal rim joists--the area above the foundation wall in a basement. The first time I used it I did not shake the canisters well enough and the foam did not cure properly. Don't just shake the box for a few seconds. I take the tanks out of the box so I can shake/invert each tank for a minute or two. You will be able to hear the chemical sloshing around in the tanks. Also, don't ignore the recommended temperature for application--around 75 degrees F. http://kvsprayfoam.com/images/KV-Spray-Foam-Denver-Colorado-logo.jpg
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.
Where Can You Find Spray Foam
We had issues with getting this foam to turn green in summertime in the South. We needed up spending an additional $300 on being able to spray this foam: 110 window a/c for shop & a $60 tarp to drape over the top, to keep the temps down. The areas where we had trouble-shooted were sticky & even after we wiped it down, the new green foam wouldn't stick. My husband had to apply Liquid Nails to it. For over $800, I expected alot more, plus the sellers customer service skills were in need of improvement.