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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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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Most closed-cell spray foam is now formed using hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) blowing agents that have high global warming potential, partially or completely offsetting the climate benefits of the energy savings they can offer. In the United States, HFCs are scheduled to be phased out by January, 2021. A few spray foam suppliers have started supplying spray foam blown with hydrofluoroolefin (HFO) blowing agents without this problem as of early 2017.[14]
Low-density foam is applied as low or high-pressure, two-component polyurethane spray foam. Low-density spray foam can be applied on walls, in unvented attics, to ducts and ceilings, and in vented attics and crawl spaces. It is known as an air barrier, but permeable to vapor and moisture. It is often used to fill cavities in walls during construction.

I used this product to seal and insulate my rim joists as I am finishing the basement. The builder used R13 batt insulation when we built the house 3 years ago. I use a dehumidifier to control moisture in the basement which is below grade. The setting I use is 55%. The dehumidifier kicks on periodically and requires emptying every few days. Since using the foam all around the house on the rim joists and sill plate, the dehumidifier has stayed at 50% for over two weeks since spraying and rarely turns on anymore. I also put the original R13 batt insulation back up after the foam cured. 

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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.

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.


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The Canadian National Building Code references the CAN/ULC S705.2 National Application Standard which must be followed during all installations of 2lb medium density closed cell polyurethane foam. Every installer of CAN/ULC-S705.1 compliant medium density, spray applied foam must be licensed in order to spray foam and hold valid photo ID issued by their Quality Assurance Program (QAP) provider showing their license is in good standing.
This tropic heat actually is the cause that the steel structure, which most roofs in that part of the world are built on, expands and contracts all the time. By doing so, the sun-battered steel structure causes the roof tiles to dislodge and slowly creates small openings between the roof tiles, through which rain water can run into, creating leaks that can cause much damage to plastered ceilings and electric wiring. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ggLAUsiuI_o&hc_location=ufi
I started watching back in the Bob Villa days. It's funny when Bob left the show I thought well that's the end of my favorite show. I couldn't have been more wrong. TOH has gotten better and better over the years. I've gotten so many great ideas for my houses from watching close to every episode of TOH. Also, my confidence in being able to take on more and more complex projects at home has grown thanks to Norm, Tommy and Roger. Sorry Richard, I love watching you and learning about the latest greatest plumbing, heating and cooling tech but I hate doing plumbing stuff. My favorite projects would be #1 Carlisle House in 2004 and #2 Cambridge House in 2005. I've watched those seasons multiple times since becoming an Insider. Kevin is by far my favorite TOH host. His first couple of seasons were rough but once he hit his stride he just got better and better. I absolutely love it when Kevin and Tommy do their 'Sonny and Pops' routine. Who wouldn't want Tommy Silva to be their Pops! Thank you for 40 great years!
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.
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.

I live in Baton Rouge LA with a very old and drafty house. There is no blockages in the walls between the crawl space and attic. Lots of critters just come on in. I would like to used closed cell sprayed under house to warm up floors and block moisture. I would like to spray closed cell into attic, but am afraid of enclosing attic due to moisture build-up. Can I spray closed cell against the attic floor in same way as installing bats, thus leaving my venting the same as it always has been. Other ideas? Thanks.

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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...
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.
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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 Coatings should not be confused with deck coatings. Deck coatings are traffic bearing - designed for waterproofing areas where pedestrian (and in some cases vehicular) traffic is expected. Roof coatings will only waterproof the substrates but will not withstand any kind of on going use by people or vehicles (such as walkways, patios, sundecks, restaurants, etc.).
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.

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Excellent kit for insulating a house. Slow rising foam takes longer to insulate an area as you must do it in layers 1" thick. Any thicker can overheat the chemicals and prevent a proper cure and off-gassing. Recommend purchasing a second suit and nozzles so you can use it multiple days to achieve the thickness desired for the highest R value. Seals up and insulates much better than traditional fiberglass. The sound suppression is noticeably different. Used it to insulate the ceiling above our bedroom. The sound is remarkably more quiet than the fiberglass insulation we had before. The only down side is the weight of the containers. Using a smaller kit would be easier to handle and move around when spraying a ceiling in an attic. A word of caution, use plywood that spans at least 2 joist per container when spraying in an attic to hold the weight.

Where Can I Purchase Spray Foam Insulation

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