Before you decide on spray foam or another method of insulation, it's important to understand the superiority of spray foam compared to traditional materials. When compared to fiberglass batts, spray foam offers nearly double the R-value per inch, achieves air-sealing and insulation in one step, won't be damaged by mold or moisture, and won't settle, compress, or otherwise be damaged to the point it needs replacement.
How Much For Spray Foam
The video below is from a house near Charleston, South Carolina that I visited recently, and you'll see that the homeowner in this case didn't get his money's worth. I knew immediately when I walked into the attic that something was wrong because it was hot up there. In a properly insulated spray foam attic, the temperature won't be much higher than the house temperature.
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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.
I had a hole in the drywall in our bathroom that was about 2 in x 5 in that I used Great Stuff to fix. I am impressed with the characteristics of the filler. It filled the hole completely in a few seconds of application. I will warn anyone using it though to make sure you don't fill the hole entirely flush to the wall because this stuff continues expanding after you apply it. I didn't think about that but no big deal really because you can sand it which is exactly what I did, and then applied spacial and paint and it is almost as good as new. For the price this was a heck of a deal because I only used a tiny amount and now am left with nearly a full can. I guess I will have to find somewhere else to use it now. Great product, ... full review https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ggLAUsiuI_o
In addition, it's difficult for an inexperienced installer to evenly spread the insulation foam over a surface. Miissing spots can leave holes and gaps for cold air to get through. Proceed with this project yourself only if you're doing a small insulation project -- such as installing foam in a crawl space or around your plumbing. Leave larger projects like the attic, basement or garage to the professional insulation contractors. Insulation professionals have the tools, equipment and background knowledge necessary. Moreover, they know how to accurately price insulation, whereas you could inaccurately budget for a DIY project and end up paying significantly more. Don't take the medical, physical or financial risks that come with pursuing this as a DIY project unless you're absolutely certain you have the skills.
Spray Foam Professionals
Water-based acrylic coatings have more than 30 years of proven performance over a wide range of substrates. It is the coating of choice for metal roofs since it is highly reflective, can be easily tinted and is not extremely slippery when damp. When used with our rust primer, even rusted roofs can be saved. TIP: If you have a metal roof or a low slope roof that doesn't pond water, consider acrylic coatings. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ggLAUsiuI_o&feature=share
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.
In general, cantilevered steel beams are a nightmare. If part of the steel beam is in contact with exterior temperatures, then it's best if the interior portion of the steel beam is covered on all sides with insulation. This is generally impossible (because the interior portion of the cantilevered beam generally supports a load, meaning that you can't wrap the steel beam in insulation on all sides).
For maximum durability and leak resistance, we recommend that two coats of topcoat be applied at 100 sq. ft. per gallon, or a minimum of 20 mils dry coating. If two complete topcoats are not applied, always apply two thick coats to problem areas such as scuppers, drain areas, ponding areas, seams, and repaired areas. Avoid using Elastek Solar Magic™ or The Shield™ on ponding roofs. Clean skin and tools promptly with water.
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.