Spray polyurethan foam does effectly prevent all six of these heat transfer methods from occurring. These should be the mechanisms by which you judge insulation, in addition to their R-Value. If you're uncertain about installing spray foam insulation, Energy Star has a map that recommends levels of insulation by R-value and cost-effectiveness in the United States.
R-value, the thermal resistance measure of insulation, varies between all insulation products whether they are fiberglass, cellulose, open-cell spray foam insulation or closed-cell sprayed-in foam insulation. Generally speaking the rule of thumb is the higher the R-value, the greater the insulating power. Focusing on spray foam insulation materials, there is a difference between the two main types. According to industry publication, Fine Home Building, the R-value for open-cell spray foam is between R-3.5 – R-3.6 per inch. However, there are open-cell spray foam insulation products actually offer R-3.7 per inch such as Icynene Classic and Icynene Classic Max. The open cell structure of low density foam insulation means the R-value is lower than its closed-cell counterpart. Nevertheless, open-cell spray foam does offer superior and consistent thermal insulation and air sealing properties.
While the R value will vary, most ocSPF products have an R value of around 3.8 per inch. Unlike medium-density closed-cell SPF, ocSPF is not a vapour barrier. When installed at 5.5 inches or more, ocSPF does act as an air barrier. It is often used for interior walls because it provides sound reduction by blocking and absorbing air leakage. It is usually only recommended for indoor applications.
“It’s been scientifically proven that the temp of the shingles rises only a couple of degrees when there is an unvented attic compared to a vented attic,” said Garry Barlow, estimator at RetroFoam of Michigan. “If we lived in a southern state it has been proven that the longevity of the shingle did diminish by only one year. In the northern states there was no difference in the life span of the shingles.”
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. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ggLAUsiuI_o&feature=youtube_gdata
I don't even want to ask this question but... several years ago we hired a local contractor to spray high density foam on the roof deck and walls of our unfinished 2nd floor. We realized that the job was done poorly and cut an access into the attic space to assess things. We realize now that they spray foamed directly to the chimney (no flashing). The chimney is currently used for a woodstove and DHW venting. The DHW will go away but wood stove will remain. My question is, how bad (unsafe) is this? I have found information on foam exposure to fire but have not been able to find anything about temperature ratings in general (i.e. what happens on prolonged exposure to high temperatures).
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?
OK, Peter, I finally went back and read Alex Wilson's article on what he perceives as a serious problem. I haven't seen the full report, but based on the summary he wrote on the Green Building Advisor website, I question the science. It seems to me that he's chosen the wrong metric and he's basing his conclusion on too many assumptions because he doesn't have enough data. You can see my comments at the end of his article.
Spray Foam Insulation is simply the best insulation you can install in your home or building in Texas. It is estimated that up to 40% or more of your home's energy loss is due to air leakage through holes, cracks and gaps in the building structure. SPF can seal your home from air and moisture leakage, save on costly utility bills, strengthen your home, and help to protect your family's health from dangerous mold and airborne pollutants.
The Canadian National Building Code references the CAN/ULC S705.2 National Application Standard which must be followed during all installations of 2lb medium density closed cell polyurethane foam. Every installer of CAN/ULC-S705.1 compliant medium density, spray applied foam must be licensed in order to spray foam and hold valid photo ID issued by their Quality Assurance Program (QAP) provider showing their license is in good standing.