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.)
The guys who sprayed my attic were trained and certified, but I later found out, too late, that they had no experience and my attic was the first they'd ever sprayed. I was also never told to vacate my house for any length of time, and so I (and my pets) were in the house the day they sprayed and the entire time the off ratio foam was filling my home with horrendous vapors. The company kept telling me that it was a good job and I had nothing to worry about, even after I'd had 2 other experienced sprayers from 2 different companies visually examine the foam and confirm that large areas appeared to be off ratio. The 3rd sprayer from yet another company, was also outraged because the company who did my attic had failed to vacuum up all of the old cellulose insulation, and he also noticed areas where the foam was shrinking or pulling away, and this was not even 5 weeks after the spraying.
Due to its relatively large cell structure, low-density foam stays somewhat soft and flexible after curing. This increases the likelihood of its continuing to provide high insulation value even as the building settles and shifts over time. Low-density SPF provides heat insulation and seals airflow through cracks, joints and seams by filling the cavities. In addition, this foam can help absorb sound thanks to its soft texture and open-cell structure.
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
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!
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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.