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...

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.

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.
I did a LOT of prep before using this product. Cleaned, vacuumed, installed additional insulation etc etc etc. This spray foam was easy to work with, and did it's job as it was supposed to. If you are curious, this kit was purchased because - every "foam insulation company" I contacted either did not call back (due to no interest) OR this was too small of a job. That is why I went DIY on this one, that and: I was advised by one of these companies that they have a minimum $2k job because ... (insert your answer here, but I will choose that everyone needs to eat).
I don't know if it's common or uncommon, but installing a layer of rigid foam above your roof sheathing in order to interrupt thermal bridging is always a good idea, and is preferable in all respects to a roof assembly without any rigid foam above the sheathing. If you decide to install rigid foam above the roof sheathing, you shouldn't use closed-cell spray foam under the sheathing; either use open-cell spray foam (which is vapor-permeable) or a fluffy insulation like cellulose, mineral wool, or fiberglass (any of which will allow the roof sheathing to dry to the interior).
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.)

Spray foam insulation systems effectively seal walls, roofs, corners and other surfaces, creating a more comfortable household because it provides a barrier against drafts and associated pollen and dust. Long-term, properly installed spray foam won’t change its form or shape, meaning it will deliver the same benefits that it did years—or even decades—after being installed, while other insulation materials may settle and create future gaps in the insulation. 
JM Corbond® Open-Cell Appendix X Spray Foam is a lower-density, nonstructural foam that offers most of the thermal performance and installation benefits of closed-cell spray foam at a lower cost. It provides an exceptional air and sound barrier as well as R-value, and meets AC 377 NFPA 286 Appendix X requirements for application without an ignition barrier in attics and crawl spaces. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ggLAUsiuI_o&feature=youtube_gdata
RetroFoam of Michigan has more than 15 years of experience insulating thousands of homes and pole barns across the lower peninsula. We hear a lot of misconceptions about foam insulation and work to make sure we clear up any wrong ideas about foam insulation. Our staff helped us put together this list of misconceptions adding their insights to dispel any misinformation.
The process by which heat energy in the form of light (usually IR unless the substrate is hot enough to glow in the visible range) is emitted more strongly by warm surfaces and absorbed by other materials especially those of low IR reflectivity (think matte black finish). Radiant heat transfer does not require a medium. Foam insulation materials, such as spray foam insulation, are opaque to thermal radiation, like most solid materials. http://www.youtube.com/v/ggLAUsiuI_o

One of the key differentiators between traditional insulation materials and spray foam insulation is the latter’s ability to insulate and air seal. Foam insulation provides an air barrier to wherever it is applied to help mitigate air leakage from the building. Air sealing the building envelope with sprayed-in foam insulation also helps address moisture ingress to reduce the risk of mold and mildew growth as well as the formation of ice dams in colder climate zones during the winter months.  When you compare foam insulation with traditional fiberglass insulation and cellulose insulation, sprayed insulation minimizes air infiltration, it assists in limiting moisture vapor from entering and escaping the home, which in turn reduces the load on heating and cooling systems. Below is a video that compares fiberglass, cellulose and open-cell spray foam in terms of insulating and air sealing value.

The problem was that the installer was doing his first spray foam job ever, and the thickness of the insulation varied from zero (visible roof deck) to about 9". Unfortunately, good average thickness doesn't cut it. The coverage needs to be uniform because a lot of heat will go through the under-insulated areas. (See my article on flat or lumpy insulation performance.)

Check with the coating manufacturer who may be able to suggest applicators who have used their products and have familiarity with the application. Another option would be to interview contractors and ask specific questions about their proven ability to install roof coatings. Contractors affiliated with the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) or local roofing contractor trade associations typically are more knowledgeable. Consult those groups’ websites for contractors.
The complete line of JM open- and closed-cell spray foam insulation solutions provide superior thermal and energy performance, as well as advanced air, moisture and sound control in any climate. These products can be used in interior and exterior walls, unvented and vented attics, floors, ceilings and crawl spaces. Plus, using spray foam can reduce air leaks and create a more comfortable, energy-efficient home – meaning you could see more energy savings every month.
I've seen this only once, and it was with closed cell foam, but I've heard of it happening with open cell foam, too. I don't know the details, but I've heard it could result from a bad batch of chemicals, improper mixing, or too high a temperature. Whatever the cause, it's not a good thing. The photo below shows how the spray foam pulled away from the studs. A little bit of uninsulated area like that adds up to a lot of heat loss/gain when the whole house has that problem, as it did here. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ggLAUsiuI_o&feature=youtube_gdata
There is a significant price difference when it comes to using foam insulation to insulate a new versus older home. Spraying insulation inside a newly constructed home is easier because the installation company can ensure the insulation will work effectively and design it for optimum defense against sound, heat transfer and utility costs. Installing spray foam in older homes that contain existing insulation can cost additional time and money -- it is not usually recommended as compared to weatherization or an energy aduit.

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This coating is also efficient with a coverage area reaching between 42 and 46 feet. And regardless of the weather, you can apply and use it in your roof to achieve the protection for it you need. Just as what you can read in RV rubber roof coating reviews, this product can work in all temperatures. Regardless it is hot or cold outside, you can easily apply and ensure of its adhesion on your recreational vehicle roof.
Sta-Kool 800 15-year White Elastomeric Roof Coating is Sta-Kool 800 15-year White Elastomeric Roof Coating is a high quality very flexible white acrylic latex roof coating. Coverage is 50-75 sq. ft. per gallon per coat. Two coatings are recommended. This performance product resists cracking and peeling while offering tremendous durability. This long lasting formula forms and excellent highly ...  More + Product Details Close

Spray Foam Roof Insulation

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