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.
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.
Repair and seal roof penetrations, tears, open seams, etc. using Elastek 103 Crack & Joint Sealant and reinforce with polyester roof fabric as necessary. In larger or deep ponding areas, apply Elastek 500 Puddle Plaster to fill in areas that hold water. Avoid using plastic roof cement. Serious ponding should be referred to a roofing contractor. Blisters in previous coatings may be opened but these areas must be allowed to dry-out completely. Blisters in the roofing ply should be left alone unless likely to break. Caulk and reinforce open seams, roof penetrations, cracks, and tears. These are potential leak points so work carefully and thoroughly. Use fabric to build flashings around roof edges or roof penetrations, and to reinforce various coating repairs. A polyester fabric is used because it will stretch with the coatings. (Fiberglas fabric is not recommended.) Fabric is normally cut to extend three inches beyond the repaired area in all directions. The coating is applied to the roof surface and the fabric is immediately pushed into the wet surface. An additional coat is applied over the fabric and the patch is allowed to dry. If your roof has stucco parapets, examine them for cracks along the sides and top. These areas often permit water to enter the wall and can cause blisters and wrinkles in the roof surface. Repair with Elastek 103 Crack & Joint Sealant. If you do not have parapets, examine the metal drip edge for a tight seal with the roof membrane. Use 4″ or 6″ roofing fabric covered under and over with Crack & Joint Sealant to seal cracks along drip edges, penetrations, and open seams.
The local foam installer that I used here in Hilton Head told me he looked for some peeling back of the foam. This was ensuring that it was at the perfect temperature which helped them maximize their yield (profit). I have open cell foam and it pulled away a little, and did so immediately (within minutes). They went back after they were done to any spots that pulled away too much and filled them with the touch up kit; they were looking for the top edge to roll just a little bit. http://youtube.com/v/ggLAUsiuI_o
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.
Although spray polyurethane foam has many advantages over other types of insulation, spray foam installation isn’t foolproof. Some builders have reported problems with sloppy foam insulation. For example, some installers have been known to begin spraying before the chemical components are up to temperature, which can affect component mixing and foam performance. When components are poorly mixed, or mixed in the wrong ratio or at the wrong temperature, cured foam has been known to shrink away from rafters or studs, leaving cracks. Some installers rush through their spraying, resulting in voids.
Spray foam insulation or spray polyurethane foam (SPF) is an alternative to traditional building insulation such as fiberglass. A two-component mixture composed of isocyanate and polyol resin comes together at the tip of a gun, and forms an expanding foam that is sprayed onto roof tiles, concrete slabs, into wall cavities, or through holes drilled in into a cavity of a finished wall.
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.
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.
Demilec, a company located in Texas, has invented a type of insulation foam that can help all of the cracks and uneven pavement problems. Geolift can help to lift existing concrete surfaces and fix those problem areas around your house with much less labor. Geolift works for driveways, sidewalks, patios, garage floors, even pool decks. And yes, it is a foam, just like your beloved spray foam!
Today’s “third generation” of blowing agents have a GWP of 700 to 1000 which is still remarkably high considering water/CO2 has a GWP of 1. However, innovation from some chemical manufacturers like the Chemours Company have introduced the next generation of HFO blowing agents such as Opteon 1100, which significantly reduces the GWP impact when using closed-cell spray foam insulation products.
Spray Foam Walls
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