Starting a new build (1 1/2 basement walkout), all 2x6 exterior walls w/ brick veneer in CZ3. Above grade, would like to do spray foam in 2x6 walls, 1/2" or 1" of rigid foam board on the exterior, and a 1" air gap. Will this require a house wrap or can I do w/o the rigid foam and go with a housewrap? Also, any recommendations about insulation strategies for the finished basement. Thanks! http://youtube.com/e/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.
Jennifer, I'm not an expert on the health effects of closed cell foam. A lot of people live in houses with closed cell foam and have no health problems from it, at least not short-term, acute problems. I do know of one person who had it removed from her crawl space because she was convinced it caused her dog to get sick, but I know only what she told me.  
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Acrylic coatings are typically applied in two coats, with the second running perpendicular to the first. 1 gallon per 100 square feet is a good estimate for these coatings, as they do not need to be applied nearly as thick as many other coatings. These coatings can be sprayed or roll-applied. Acrylic coatings generally require a re-coat within 2-3 years of application.
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.
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.
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

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.
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. http://www.youtube.com/v/ggLAUsiuI_o
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 .
I am building a house in Central Texas (Caldwell). Several builders are cautious about using foam insulation and/or a closed attic. I would like to use both. Here in Texas, heat and humidity (except for the past few years of drought) are a continuing problem. Which type of foam would be the best to use in our home, where should the vapor barrier be or should be use one at all, if we are using fans in the exterior walls to supply fresh air to the house, do we need a vented attic or will it cause more problems than it solve? I have printed out your article and the blogs to give to my contractors and architect, but I would really appreciate your comments on the products being used in my part of the US. 
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Spray foam insulation is typically priced by volume, meaning your cost will depend on how much material you need to use to insulate your space, although other factors may influence price as well. In most cases, the cost of spray foam insulation is more than worth it, as it's a once and done upgrade that will not only provide energy savings in your home, but also improve your home's overall comfort.

Spray Foam Attic Ceiling


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.

How Much Is Spray Insulation In Attic


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: http://www.youtube.com/v/ggLAUsiuI_o&feature=share
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.
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.
Light-density open-cell SPF is commonly known as half-pound foam. It is a semi-rigid material with a sponge-like appearance that expands during installation and creates small, open cells that are filled with carbon dioxide. Due to its ability to expand during the application process, it fills cracks, crevices and voids and adheres to irregular surfaces or substrates to form an air sealing insulation.[12]

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.

Where Can I Buy Spray Foam Insulation

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