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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.
We are turning our roof into an unvented roof assembly by raising the roof and blowing in SPF. We are planning to leave the existing vapor barrier down but remove the fiberglass batting and then adding 6" of SPF in all the cavities, to completely seal and insulate the house. Should we have any concerns about doing it "upside down" and not spraying the foam directly to the underside/sheathing of the roof?
Spray Foam Under House
Polyurethane is a closed-cell foam insulation material that initially contains a low-conductivity gas in its cells. As a result of the high thermal resistance of the gas, spray polyurethane insulation typically has an initial R-value around R-3.4 to R-6.7 per inch. In comparison, blown fiberglass typically has an R-Value of only R-3 to R-4 per inch.
How Much Does Spray Foam Insulation Cost
Closed-cell (aka two-pound foam) is denser than open-cell at about 2 pounds per cubic foot. Its R-Value is between 6-6.5 per inch. As a result, this kind of foam is much more expensive than its counterpart. The reason closed-cell doesn't need a vapor retarder is because it already has one. It's permeance is 0.8 perm, which means it can handle cold climates without the use of an additional board or drywall. Closed-cell uses hydroflurocarbons (HFCs) as part of its makeup. However, this material has been known to have a high global warming effect. If you want a green insulation solution, this is not the material to use. A way to avoid this and still use closed-cell is by installing it alongside fiberglass batts. http://www.youtube.com/embed/ggLAUsiuI_o
Today, each of the 50 states follows a different set of building codes making navigating these codes confusing, particularly for architects or builders that have projects in multiple states. In some cases, the building code changes significantly between the state and certain cities or counties within the state. For example, at the time of writing Arizona had adopted the 2015 IRC Building Code, however, Phoenix was on the 2012 IRC, IBC and IECC code. With the majority of states either on the 2009, 2012 or 2015 code, below are some high-level points to consider and about how spray foam insulation contributes.
Q. "I talked to a building product supplier for WALLTITE spray foam, he is suggesting to use 2" or 3" of closed cell-spray foam in the joists areas instead of the batts insulation. He says it will work with outboard rigid insulation. There is a location of a cantilevered floor area with steel beam so I may need to use spray foam to protect the steel beam. It would then be convenient continue to spray in the floor joist cavities and then apply 5" of polyiso outboard of the bottom cantilever floor sheathing."
Foam is very sticky; you'll need to wear disposable coveralls with a hood, and gloves, a face mask, and eye protection. It takes some practice to spray foam evenly and, because it expands so dramatically, to control its depth; 2 inches is all you need to seal the joist cavities. You need a clear area so that you can work without interruption; any pause longer than 30 seconds will clog the nozzle and require putting on a new one. It's also critical that the air temperature stays between 75 and 85 degrees.
As mentioned above elastomeric coatings can be used to fix almost all types of roofs. Examples of common roof types that will work well with elastomeric coatings include; wood, polyurethane foam, single-ply roofing, modified bitumen, metal roofs, concrete and built-up roofing. If you aren't sure your roof type will work well elastomeric coatings, do not hesitate to contact us. Our experts are always willing to help.
SPF insulation applied by professionals is usually described as either a high- or low-pressure foam and is available as either open- or closed-cell. Each type has advantages and disadvantages depending on the application requirements. The comparison chart below can be helpful in explaining or understanding which type of SPF insulation is best suited to a specific application.
Today’s “third generation” of blowing agents have a GWP of 700 to 1000 which is still remarkably high considering water/CO2 has a GWP of 1. However, innovation from some chemical manufacturers like the Chemours Company have introduced the next generation of HFO blowing agents such as Opteon 1100, which significantly reduces the GWP impact when using closed-cell spray foam insulation products.
Spray Foam Walls
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). https://www.youtube.com/v/ggLAUsiuI_o&feature=youtube_gdata
In the early days of insulating attics, people believed the insulation was a heat source. That’s not the case, as the insulation is actually a barrier between two areas of different temperatures. As for the “hot roof” theory, the unvented attic system could make the temperature of the roof go up a little, but this increase won’t cause damage to your shingles.
Open-cell is also known as half-pound foam. It has an R-Value of 3.5-3.6 per inch, and its density is bout 0.5 pounds per cubic food. Low-density foams like these are made partially from raw biological materials Carbon dioxide or water is also used in the makeup. Open-cell uses far less material than closed-cell, but its R-Value is lower. Also, open cell requires a vapor retarder (like gypsum wallboard) and is riskier when used for roof sheathing. It's not highly recommended that you use open-cell insulation if you live in a cold climate unless you have that extra barrier. You should also compare how much money you spend versus how effective the open-cell insulation is wherever it's installed.
Builders often turn to high-density SPF when high insulation values and strength are needed. As its name implies, this foam has a denser structure than either of the other SPF types. Therefore, it does not expand as much as lower density foams and requires more material to cover and insulate any given space. This spray foam is often an excellent choice for roofing or other exterior insulation because of its seamless, monolithic nature. High-density SPF can also help reduce energy costs significantly over a roof’s lifetime due to its thermal resistance properties. It also offers increased protection against air and water infiltration and strengthens the structure to which it is applied. The bond that SPF forms to the roof can increase a building’s resistance to wind uplift, which can help reduce damage experienced during periods of high wind.
Spray foam insulation, when properly installed is both an air barrier and when closed cell foam is used at the proper depth a vapor barrier! Before hiring any contractor you should establish the brand of foam being used and verify that with the named manufacture. Please ask for ESR reports and MSDS sheets on any foam being installed in your home. A couple areas where you might consider spray foam insulation include:
Yes, you're right that all of the problems mentioned above are related to the installer. I didn't try to hide that and even used the word 'installer' in two of the four headings. I can see how you'd think that the title is misleading, but in the end you can't separate spray foam insulation from its installation. Some people have the mistaken impression that if you get spray foam in your house, your home will outperform all others. My point here is that that's not true.
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The roof must be thoroughly cleaned, and allowed to dry thoroughly. This is a critical step to ensure a successful coating application. Be careful not to damage the lap seams. Care should be taken when pressure washing not to disturb the integrity of the underlying roof membrane particularly where there are adhered seams. Refer to the specific coating manufacturer you are using for their specific requirements for roof preparation.
Although spray foam insulation has been in use since the 1940s, primarily for aircraft, for the past 30 years, continual product innovation has seen the increased adoption of spray foam insulation in residential and commercial construction. The rapid growth of sprayed foam insulation in building construction, thanks in part to its immediate and long-term benefits, has allowed the insulation material to sit confidently alongside traditional insulation types in providing thermal comfort for building occupants. https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtube_gdata&v=ggLAUsiuI_o
I am an Architect in Toronto. I am designing a new roof addition to a row house building. Because of existing conditions and the shape of the new roof. It may be easiest to use closed cell spray foam within the areas of the joists. My question is when spray foam is used in this situation do I need to worry about how the joist members may be thermal bridges? It is not common to provide a little bit of rigid insulation to protect the joist members? The additional layer of outboard insulation will require an extra layer of plywood above the insulation which will add to cost.
If you cut the nails holding one of the corner studs to the bottom plate and the top plate with a Sawzall, you can use a flat bar (or a flat bar plus a wrecking bar) to pull the stud off the sheathing nails. Either re-use the stud, or buy a new stud, and install the stud with toenails as shown in the link I provided in Comment #51 (this link: Outside corner detail).