With constant exposure to heat, cold, UV radiation, rain, snow, hail, high winds and possible mechanical damage, a roof can be the most vulnerable component of a building’s exterior. However, a roof’s long-term performance can be enhanced — and major roofing problems avoided — with correct design, quality materials, proper installation and workmanship, and comprehensive care.
Spray foam insulation helps lower utility costs because it blocks heat and cold from the outdoors. Recent studies by the U.S. Department of Energy state that around 40 percent of all energy is lost through poor insulation. Spray foam insulation is able to insulate homes at least 50 percent more than traditional insulation products. Spray foam insulation can also provide protection against moisture, which otherwise leads to the unwanted development of mold and mildew. And it can also be used for noise reduction as well. In fact, spray foam is good for homes and buildings in which outdoor noise can be a distraction.
Spray foam insulation or spray polyurethane foam (SPF) is an alternative to traditional building insulation such as fiberglass. A two-component mixture composed of isocyanate and polyol resin comes together at the tip of a gun, and forms an expanding foam that is sprayed onto roof tiles, concrete slabs, into wall cavities, or through holes drilled in into a cavity of a finished wall.
Spray Foam Insulation Cost
Spray foam insulation is a great product. Homes insulated with it can be some of the most efficient and comfortable homes built. I've been in plenty of these homes and can tell you that when spray foam is installed properly, they outperform 99% of fiberglass batt-insulated, stick-built homes. (I can also tell you that 73% of all statistics are made up on the spot, so please don't ask for documentation of that statistic.)
R-value is the term given to thermal resistance to heat flow. The higher the R-value of an insulation product, the more effective the insulation properties. Spray polyurethane foam comes in a range of densities and cel structure. Low density foams are referred to as Open Cel SPF while higher density foams are referred to as Closed Cel foam. 1.8-2 pound polyurethane foam has the highest R-value of readily available spray foam insulation used in homes and buildings. http://www.youtube.com/embed/ggLAUsiuI_o
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For example, a hybrid solution of spray foam and fiberglass batts or rolls combines the air-sealing and vapor-retarder benefits of foam with the economical thermal performance of fiberglass. Another option might be to install spray foam in places that are hard to reach or seal, such as rim joists, the attic floor, and eaves, and then install fiberglass batts and loose-fill in the in the open areas, greatly reducing any draftiness while helping the project budget. Incorporating spray foam into hybrid solutions enhances the building envelope and seals efficiently at a reasonable cost.
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.)
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.
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.
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How To Buy Spray Foam Insulation
The average price to cover 200 square feet with a foam insulation kit will run between $300 and $600 (about two to three kits). Inside these kits is something called Icynene, a foam made from two liquids that are heated and pushed through a gun on the can. When Icynene is released, it expands up to 100 times its size as it hits the surface area you're covering. These can contain a lot of gasses, making its installation a dangerous process. Even low-pressure sprayers can be harmful to homeowners' health.
Spray foam can also contribute to more comfortable interior spaces and less costly monthly energy bills. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates homeowners can save an average of 15 percent on heating and cooling costs by air sealing their homes and adding insulation in attics, floors over crawl spaces, and accessible basement rim joints.
After researching this, Im curious about a method called poor mans sprayfoam where foamboard is cut to size between studs and sprayfoamed around the perimeter. Aside from the labour doing the job yourself, the cost seems comparable, is one better than the other? What about the quality of the canned sprayfoam around the perimeter? When i see sprayfoam done, it is never a full depth of the studs, so you would get 2.5-3 inches in a 3.5" (2x4) wall. Any thoughts?
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I believe customer education is a key to understanding what goes on inside your walls; where a mere 6 inches can separate your comfortable living space and the bitter cold of winter. Some structures are slowly being destroyed by way of insufficient or improperly installed insulation products that do not take into account simple building science. This is where we can help; I believe we can make a difference in the lives of people that live and work in this northern climate.
Carefully examine the roof membrane (surface material) for cracks, tears, blisters, evidence of ponding, exposed foam, and open seams. If already coated, evaluate the condition of the coating. Pay particular attention to areas around roof penetrations (vents, skylights, pipes, etc), ponding areas, cracks in parapet walls, and the attachment of roof membranes to parapet walls. Roofs should be in good condition to warrant coating.