I employed a company to insulate my three story house in 2011. They started Insulating it in August of 2011...They said it would be a 3-4 day job. They installed it in 0.5"-8" lifts all in the same cavity, this left burned insulation and voids. They removed what they told me was the bad insulation and in the process cut many electrical wires. They fixed this. They then reinstalled too thick again in some spots and removed again. They then installed it for a 3rd time. The areas that I thought were good are now separating from the structural members leaving voids. As of October 2012, 1 year and 2 months of dealing with the contractor I told them I want proof that what has been installed carries a warranty or I want my money back and I will fix the problems myself. They have yet to provide me with this warranty. I have spent many hours in the house looking at what is bad and they need to fix. I am frustrated, 14 months of additional rent due to their negligence. I would like to know how I can get proof that the product carries the manufacturers lifetime warranty, or has it been installed improperly throughout the entire house. Desperately awaiting your response.
A. You can use closed-cell spray foam that way if you want, although you should realize that the spray foam will prevent the roof sheathing from drying inward. This approach should only be used if the roof sheathing is bone dry, because it will never dry when sandwiched in this manner. Most building scientists would prefer to see fiberglass rather than closed-cell spray foam under the roof sheathing in this type of assembly.
I used this for the rim-joist in our home. A couple things: I put 1in solid core foam (cut to size) in each bay before using the spray foam. I also was able to do a relatively 'thick' spray to close off any potential gaps that may have existed. I turned off the HVAC and turned on some fans in the windows to exhaust out the fumes, and wore a mask (3m respirator).
Product innovation over the years has seen the introduction of several different types of spray foam insulation. Primarily in residential and commercial construction, open-cell and closed-cell spray foam is used while high-density spray insulation is used as roofing foam in commercial or industrial construction. Open-cell sprayed-in foam insulation, a soft low-density material, is typically used for interior applications such as wall cavities, underside of roof decks, attics, basement walls and crawlspaces. The open cell structure of low density foamed insulation allows for moisture permeability to help contribute to moisture management and bi-directional drying of the wall assembly.
Spray Foam House
If your foam pulled away just a little bit, Jamie, and they were able to fix it with just a little bit of touching up, then it wasn't as bad as the house where I saw this problem. As the last photo above shows, it had pulled away significantly from the studs and rafters, and it was all over the house. This was closed cell foam, and interestingly, it didn't pull away from the horizontal framing members, just the vertical and sloped ones. They did some touch up, but that wasn't enough. I don't know how this one ended up getting resolved. I think maybe the contractor came back and sprayed cellulose on top of the foam.
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.
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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).
I have been looking to have closed cell insulation added through out my attic space. I cant seam to find a installed that wants to install no more than 2 inches, and thats not near my R-valve for South Carolina (Lake Greenwood)please send any advice that will help me to see what installer will perform the correct job. This is a expense that i can only afford to do once. Sandi
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How Much Is Closed Cell Spray Foam
Good article, but it seems like you can chalk up almost all of those problems to the experience level of whomever is spraying the foam. Spray foam isn't an inherently bad product, but it's pretty easy to botch if the hired company is inexperienced. Fiberglass may be foolproof to install, but then again it has a terrible R-Value compared to a good spray foam. People just need to get referrals and do their homework whenever they research a spray foam contractor.
The United States has adapted to using sprayfoam insulation and a new technology called Wall Injection to retrofit existing wall construction by drilling small holes between wall studs in the structures framing and filling the void with a less aggressive expanding water based foam. This allows existing home and business owners to conserve energy by creating a thermal envelope in their existing structure.
a) Make sure that your house has been well heated prior to installation because the foam expands at different rates as it hits surfaces with different temperatures. If it is cold outside the sheathing may be much colder than the studs consequently the foam may expand more from the sides of the wall cavity creating air pockets in the wall cavity. This can be minimized by an experienced installer.
Spray Foam Tanks
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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If you’re not familiar, spray foam is a type of insulation that expands after you spray. The foam expands and seals, avoiding any type of unnecessary moisture (which can create mold) or encouraging pests to eat through your walls. It protects the lining of your house, and even can protect the heating and cooling of your house during those unbearably cold or hot days. https://youtube.com/watch?v=ggLAUsiuI_o
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