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.

Spray Foam Roofing


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.


In the case you have above the installer wasn't reading his foam. They must be trained to do that as they spray. Temps and conditions are constantly changing thru out the day. Either he wasn't properly trained or if he was,he wasn't doing his job! This is a serious problem with people jumping in to the foam business. A lot of homeowners and builders are looking the best price and end up with someone who doesn't know what they are doing. Hope this info helps. Foam insulation is a great product. It just has to be done right by someone who knows what they are doing.
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.
Both high and low-pressure, two-component spray foam are applied by professional contractors who are trained to use and apply SPF with the required equipment (protective gear, full eye protection, respirators, and gloves). Contractors should follow the ventilation recommendations by the product manufacturer to avoid overexposure through inhalation, and instruct those without protective gear (homeowners or building occupants) to stay away from the work area during exposure times and to not return until instructed by the professional contractor.
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.
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

Silicone based coatings can be spray or roller-applied, and should utilize a medium-nap roller when rolled. These coatings are applied anywhere from 2 to 3.5 gallons per 100 square feet, depending on the substrate. Silicone has two major advantages over the other four types of coatings that should be considered when searching for the best roof coating: 1) it can resist ponding water for extended periods of time and 2) it can adhere to most substrates without a primer. Because of these two major advantages, silicone is the best roof coating that satisfies both quality and cost-effectiveness.
Polyurethane Spray Foam Insulation is used in industries ranging from mining to movies, from cold storage to marine flotation. Spray Foam Insulation’s ability to seal out air and insulate quickly means it’s always in high demand for residential and commercial applications. Spray Foam Insulation is critical for solving our nation’s energy challenges because it dramatically reduces the energy needed to heat and cool our homes and offices.

If you're chemically sensitive, it's probably not a good idea to get it installed, but it's also not a good idea to breathe musty air from the crawl space either. In addition, your house and its contents are made of lots of materials that affect your indoor air quality. If you're really concerned about this, hire a company to test your air and tell you what you can do about it.

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. https://youtube.com/embed/ggLAUsiuI_o

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://m.youtu.be/ggLAUsiuI_o
R-value is the term given to thermal resistance to heat flow. The higher the R-value of an insulation product, the more effective the insulation properties. Spray polyurethane foam comes in a range of densities and cel structure. Low density foams are referred to as Open Cel SPF while higher density foams are referred to as Closed Cel foam. 1.8-2 pound polyurethane foam has the highest R-value of readily available spray foam insulation used in homes and buildings.[4]
Silicone based coatings can be spray or roller-applied, and should utilize a medium-nap roller when rolled. These coatings are applied anywhere from 2 to 3.5 gallons per 100 square feet, depending on the substrate. Silicone has two major advantages over the other four types of coatings that should be considered when searching for the best roof coating: 1) it can resist ponding water for extended periods of time and 2) it can adhere to most substrates without a primer. Because of these two major advantages, silicone is the best roof coating that satisfies both quality and cost-effectiveness.

Some states, municipalities and utilities have programs. Check with your coatings manufacturer for further information. As a membership benefit, RCMA provides maintains a database of current information on rebates and tax credits for installing reflective roofs. RCMA’s customized search tool can be used to find the most up-to-date listings of reflective roofing financial incentives available.

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.


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


I was hesitant to buy this because many reviews stated that it didn't cover as advertised, but after reading/following all directions, everything turned out perfectly. It even seemed to apply slightly more than the 650 bd/ft that was advertised. The application process was very easy to learn and I applied all of the product in about 1 hour and 10 minutes- prep time included. I couldn't be happier and I purchased another kit this morning.

How Much Is Spray Foam Insulation Per Sq Ft


This depends on the geographic location, insulation, and cost of electricity. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA), and several roofing material manufacturers have computer programs that can estimate the savings. A growing number of energy consultants are available to provide environmental regulation compliance information.
One of the high-tech insulation products being utilized these days is a foam-spray product called "Icynene," which is a foam that starts as two liquid components (a and b, if you will) that are heated up and sent through two hoses and meet at a tip of a gun where the magic begins. This is a thin film that expands to 100 times its volume in eight seconds, when it's permanently set up.
The problem you saw with the closed cell foam pulling away like that is due to the heat of the foam was to hot. It was actually curing out and making foam before it could adhere to the wood. The installer wasn't reading his foam correctly. He should of stopped and turned down the heat on his hose temp. Also installers have to be aware that as the sun rises and the temp in attics rises the subtrates get hotter as well. This will cause the installer to adjust his heat when installing the foam as the temp changes thru out the day.  
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. 
However, coating asphalt shingles and built-up composition roofs requires more caution. The National Roofing Contractors Association’s (NRCA) director of technical services has stated "The roofing industry is aware of a number of issues that could have negative consequences for field application of coatings over asphalt shingle roof systems. Anyone considering this type of application should be aware of the concerns so they can weigh them against the benefits claimed in coating product promotional materials."[2]

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. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ggLAUsiuI_o&feature=youtube_gdata
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.
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.
As mentioned above, These coatings can work with almost any roof type. Another advantage is they are long-lasting. The coatings are resistant to fungi and mildew among other common materials that damage roofs with time. Another advantage of the coatings is that they are seamless, providing a neat uniform coating. Elastomeric coatings offer individual benefits to certain roof types. For instance, polyurethane foam roofing benefits greatly from the coatings by getting great ozone and UV light protection. The heat reflexive properties also offer great benefits such as lowering cooling costs. This advantage is enjoyed regardless of the rooftype. The heat reflexive properties also offer anti-aging properties when coatings reflect harsh sun rays which age roofs with time. Elastomeric roof coatings are also simple to use, VOC compliant and nontoxic.

For large jobs, professionals such as Dr. Energy Saver use two-part foam, which comes in larger containers. With 2-part spray foam, it's necessary to mix separate resin and catalyst compounds at the application nozzle. Combining these ingredients starts a chemical reaction that creates expanding foam. Contractors use small 2-part foam "kits" to air-seal an attic or to seal and insulate ductwork. To insulate an entire attic or wood-framed wall with spray foam, the resin and catalyst compounds are pumped to the application nozzle from 50-gallon drums in a specially equipped truck.
I just received this and it worked well for me. It works well for small gaps (around windows, between studs), but probably not the right tool for larger gaps (>1" or 2"). If used in larger gaps, it works OK if it is layered in. Spray a little and wait for it to set, then layer another on top, etc... This is pretty much noted by the seller. It is pretty much exactly as described and priced right, so 5 stars. If you need to do larger gaps, buy 2 part. http://www.youtube.com/e/ggLAUsiuI_o?app=desktop
This high R-value of 4.45 at 1 inch, polyurethane insulation expands to seal cracks, gaps, and voids in attics, walls, crawl spaces, and ceilings. Agribalance is a three-quarter pound density foam that reduces air leakage by improving energy efficiency, and reducing moisture intrusion and outside contaminants such as dust, dirt, and allergens. As a result, builders can generally install smaller, more energy-efficient HVAC systems and achieve similar, or superior comfort compared to traditionally insulated structures which require a larger, less efficient HVAC system – resulting in higher energy costs.
Spray polyurethane foam, or SPF, is the main type of 2-part, closed-cell spray foam used by insulation contractors. Large-scale insulation jobs require special equipment as well as safety gear to protect the installer from chemical fumes during installation. When the foam cures and hardens just several minutes after application, it's completely safe for as long as it stays in place.
You probably have some familiarity with spray foam insulation, and you may have even used the foam that comes in pressured spray cans at home improvement retailers. This foam is know as one-part foam, meaning that it is one continuous mixture that is simply applied to the area in need. One-part foam is frequently used for sealing small gaps and cracks.

Spray Foam Basement Walls Cost


We live in middle TN and had our house foamed last year. We noticed recently that some of the foam was shrinking and seperating from the floor joists. We contacted the installer and he informed us that the manufacturer had a problem with a batch of foam during the time frame we had our house sprayed. The contractor wasn't sure if we had the recalled batch installed in our house or not. He said he would check the batch numbers and let us know. He seems like a nice guy promising to do whatever it takes to fix any problems. Do we trust him, however, to be truthful about the batch number? Do we have any options for finding out the information ourselves? I inspected the entire crawl space of the house and noticed approximately (5) areas that were seperating and a couple areas where the foam didn't adhere to the block. Do I assume by it being so infrequent that it is nothing to be concerned about? My concern is the walls that are not capable of being visually inspected because of sheetrock.
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.
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:

One thing I wanted to mention was that I think your price point is a little high and that might deter people from considering spray foam. As a project manager for a spray foam company for years I can tell you that we offer 0.5 Lb. open-cell foam at around $.25/board foot. We even offer a 1.0 Lb. open-cell foam for less/the same cost as you quoted the 0.5 Lb. foam for above. The 1/0 Lb. open-cell foam has an R-value of almost 5.

Loctite tite foam is a new generation of Loctite tite foam is a new generation of polyurethane-based insulating foam sealant that expands to fill seal and insulate gaps and cracks inside or out. It is white polymer foam based on purified and concentrated ingredients that provides 4 times more density versus conventional foams for better durability and insulation. ...  More + Product Details Close
I'm in the process of redoing my basement and read through the posts. I took out one inch styrofoam covered by 1/4 " beadboard and installed 2X4s and plan on putting in fiberglass batts between them(r-13) with 1/2 in drywall over top of that. Do you think I will see a significat increase in heat control? Should I have done more?... it's a little after the fact, but still curious to know if I will see a big difference based on your experience.
We have a 22 year old home located in southeastern georgia where the humidity is very high. In the past 2 weeks our floors have started buckling all over. We have a vented crawl space and the old insulation is drooping from moisture and the wood is wet. We are debating between the "encapulation" method or the spray foam method to repair this issue. Which would you recommend?
c) Make sure that the over expanded access is properly removed from the walls. We had a junior cutter taking too much off by bending his saw into the cavity. Look closely at the inside wall corners, and ceiling/wall corners to make sure that the foam is properly removed flush with the studs. If it has not been cut back flush it may lead to uneven drywall finishes .
Spray foam insulation, like other insulation, saves on energy costs and lowers utility bills. Studies by the US Department of Energy show that 40% of a home's energy is lost as the result of air infiltration through walls, windows and doorways. Buildings treated with spray foam insulation insulate as much as 50% better than traditional insulation products.

Spray Foam Cost


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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://m.youtu.be/ggLAUsiuI_o
Fill and seal expanding foam sealant is urethane Fill and seal expanding foam sealant is urethane foam designed to fill large areas quickly and permanently. Uses include filling holes cracks or gaps that require a complete airtight and waterproof seal but are too large to be filled with ordinary caulk. The foam expands approximately 3 times its original ...  More + Product Details Close
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. 

This is more common with closed cell foam, but it happens with open cell foam, too. Since closed cell foam has a higher R-value per inch, installers generally spray 2" in walls and 3" in rooflines to meet the energy code requirements of R-13 and R-19, respectively. (I'm not going to dive into the energy code here, but these numbers apply to many climate zones, the latter being allowed under the UA tradeoffs rule. See the Energy Nerd's blog on this topic if you want to argue.)

Spray foam insulation works by sealing the building envelope to stop conditioned air from escaping and prevent unwanted outside air from entering your home. It allows efficient use of your HVAC system and helps regulate the temperature fluctuations and humidity in your home. It's a lightweight, durable, and versatile insulation solution boasting the industry’s strongest performance in energy efficiency and energy cost savings. https://youtube.com/e/ggLAUsiuI_o?app=desktop
Carefully examine the roof membrane (surface material) for cracks, tears, blisters, evidence of ponding, exposed foam, and open seams. If already coated, evaluate the condition of the coating. Pay particular attention to areas around roof penetrations (vents, skylights, pipes, etc), ponding areas, cracks in parapet walls, and the attachment of roof membranes to parapet walls. Roofs should be in good condition to warrant coating.
During colder months, 2 component foam is very sensitive to temperature variances. Per product instructions, both tank temperatures need to be above 70°F (21°C) for at least 24 hours prior to use. All application surfaces should be clean/dry and above 60°F (16°C) prior to application. Variance outside of the recommended temperature can affect foam yield and performance.
We service the entire Central Texas Area including Waco, Abilene, Fort Worth, as well as Granbury, Aledo, Weatherford, Eastland, Hico, Hamilton, Brownwood, Comanche, Glen Rose, Meridian, Cleburne, Mineral Wells, Graham, Breckenridge, Decatur, Eastland, Ranger, Gorman. We have done work as far away as Colorado, so don't hesitate to call if you're outside this immediate area.
Henry 587 Dura-Brite White Elastomeric Roof Coating is Henry 587 Dura-Brite White Elastomeric Roof Coating is a premium high solids formula offering better weather protection solar reflectivity and longevity than economy grade reflective roof coatings. Cured coating forms a permeable membrane which prevents liquid infiltration but allows moisture vapor to vent or breathe out of underlying substrate. Recommended ...  More + Product Details Close
I'm in the process of redoing my basement and read through the posts. I took out one inch styrofoam covered by 1/4 " beadboard and installed 2X4s and plan on putting in fiberglass batts between them(r-13) with 1/2 in drywall over top of that. Do you think I will see a significat increase in heat control? Should I have done more?... it's a little after the fact, but still curious to know if I will see a big difference based on your experience.

Roof Coating Colorado

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