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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Spray polyurethan foam does effectly prevent all six of these heat transfer methods from occurring. These should be the mechanisms by which you judge insulation, in addition to their R-Value. If you're uncertain about installing spray foam insulation, Energy Star has a map that recommends levels of insulation by R-value and cost-effectiveness in the United States.  

Roof coatings are easy to install. Smaller roofs in good, serviceable condition can be a weekend do-it-yourself (DIY) project. Larger roofs with leaks and ponding water issues should be coated by a qualified professional. Additional roof coating products, such as foam or coatings designed for seams, may be required underneath the main coating layers. Supplement coating products are used to reinforce damaged or leak-prone problem areas.[3] http://www.youtube.com/v/ggLAUsiuI_o&feature=youtube_gdata
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 Basement Walls


Spray foam comes in two flavors, open cell and closed cell, and provides both parts of the building envelope - the insulation and the air barrier. The building envelope should completely surround the conditioned space, and the insulation needs to be in contact with the air barrier. Since spray foam is both insulation and air barrier, proper alignment of insulation and air barrier is guaranteed.


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.)
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. 
Sta-Kool 780 Siliconized Acrylic White Elastomeric Roof Coating Sta-Kool 780 Siliconized Acrylic White Elastomeric Roof Coating is a high quality flexible white acrylic roof coating. Product is enhanced with silicone for improved water resistance adhesion and life expectancy. Product resists cracking peeling while offering tremendous durability and long term life. The coating forms a durable protective barrier which ...  More + Product Details Close
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Sealection 500 is a cutting-edge formula of open-cell spray foam insulation, which expands 120 times its liquid volume to insulate and seal all cracks, gaps, and joints with a single application, and is easy to install and finish. It has dramatically increased energy efficiency for millions of residential and commercial property owners. This translates to a high-performing product for builders, shorter application, and finishing times for contractors, and lower energy bills for homeowners and commercial building owners. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ggLAUsiuI_o
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.
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.
There are several types of reflective roof coatings that impart varied reflectance rates/ values. Typically, the reflective coatings are what are commonly referred to as white coatings and there are also aluminum coatings typically used with asphalt. Highly reflective white roof coatings are typically comprised of acrylics, urethanes, silicones, SBS, SEBS, and other types.

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.
United Coatings™ Roof Coat Elastomeric Coating is an effective coating for providing long-term reflectivity over a wide range of roofing substrates. The high reflectivity of Roof Coat Elastomeric Coating keeps the roof substrate cool, which not only helps prolong its longevity but also helps save on energy costs. Roof Coat Elastomeric Coating’s rich consistency uniformly covers the textured profile of various substrates, forming a flexible monolithic membrane that provides protection from normal weathering, aging, and ultraviolet exposure.

As this example illustrates, it's important to seal the envelope completely. One of spray foam's biggest selling points is its air-sealing ability, but it can't seal places where it's not sprayed. One of the nice things about using spray foam in new construction is that you can do a Blower Door test before the drywall goes in. Even better, you can test for leaks with a fog machine.

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] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ggLAUsiuI_o&feature=kp


I have never used foam insulation before and this was easy for me to use right out of the box. I had a 4'x8"x8" cavity in my basement that houses a waterline. When the previous homeowner installed this they put no insulation in at all and being that it's an exterior wall in the basement and I live in the Midwest that thing was pushing so much cold air in it was incredibly uncomfortable. Out of the box and job completed in about 5 minutes. Stopped all drafts and created a nice 2" barrier on the wall in which I will install some extra bat insulation over it. 4 stars because the spray isn't very good passed 6-8" from the surface. Make sure you can reach the surface you want to coat. Great for small jobs! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ggLAUsiuI_o&app=desktop
Allison--would be very interested in your take on the GHG issues of foams, which have received lots of smart commentary recently. To highlight a few: architect Jesse Thompson's comments on Tom's Good vs Bad post on Energy Circle, the very thorough piece by Alex Wilson on Green Building Advisor and Michael Anschel's cautionary diatribe on Remodeling. 
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 Basement Walls


If you don't have the patience to slowly fill the void with spray foam through holes drilled in one of the studs, you could (if you were an experienced carpenter) use a Sawzall to remove one of the studs and re-frame the corner as a two-stud corner. Then you could either insulate the void with a fiberglass batt or simply present the two-stud corner to the spray-foam contractor as an accessible corner.
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
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.
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.
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've got no argument from me there, Dennis. Getting a good installer if you're going with spray foam is crucial. Many builders or homeowners don't know how to find one, however, and that's where third party inspections come in. Also, even good installers have bad days, but if someone comes in behind them with a measuring probe and a Blower Door, there will be fewer sub-par foam jobs.   https://www.youtube.com/v/ggLAUsiuI_o?version=3
Part of that guidance will be explaining that interior, two component foam is applied with the professional using specific personal protective equipment (high-pressure foam is installed while using a respirator, for example). It is encouraged that professionals explain clearly to customers that this equipment, coupled with certain work and engineering practices, including ventilation, is used to minimize exposures to the chemicals used to make SPF during the job.
KARNAK manufactures a complete line of sustainable roof coatings, sealants, and waterproofing solutions certified to comply with UL, FM, CRRC, ENERGY STAR®, Dade County, Title 24, and Florida’s HVZ building code. Our ENERGY STAR-labeled coatings can help buildings obtain LEED points. With four factories and seven warehouses across the U.S., KARNAK’s dedicated sales and customer service team will deliver the products you need in less time than it takes our quick-dry 535 Envirolastic to cure.
While coatings may potentially stop minor leaks, the roof should be properly repaired and dried prior to coating application. Coatings may be able to seal pinhole leaks, which are leaks not visible to the naked eye. If the roof is leaking, the roof leak will need to be identified and repaired prior to any recoating; do not expect the coating to find and seal the leaks.
Polyurethane is a closed-cell foam insulation material that initially contains a low-conductivity gas in its cells.[5] 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.[5] In comparison, blown fiberglass typically has an R-Value of only R-3 to R-4 per inch.[6]

How Much Does Spray Foam Insulation Cost

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