R-value is the term given to thermal resistance to heat flow. The higher the R-value of an insulation product, the more effective the insulation properties. Spray polyurethane foam comes in a range of densities and cel structure. Low density foams are referred to as Open Cel SPF while higher density foams are referred to as Closed Cel foam. 1.8-2 pound polyurethane foam has the highest R-value of readily available spray foam insulation used in homes and buildings.
Roof Spray Foam Insulation
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.
Spray Foam Cost
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.
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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.
Installations present a number of considerations and recommendations in order to provide a safe environment for application and to avoid overexposure through inhalation. Appropriate ventilation and protective gear is required when applying insulating foam sealant. Installers should wear protective gear, often referred to as “personal protective equipment” (PPE), such as protective clothing, gloves, and eye protection. Direct skin contact should be avoided, and recommendations by the product manufacturer should be followed.
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.
OK, Peter, I finally went back and read Alex Wilson's article on what he perceives as a serious problem. I haven't seen the full report, but based on the summary he wrote on the Green Building Advisor website, I question the science. It seems to me that he's chosen the wrong metric and he's basing his conclusion on too many assumptions because he doesn't have enough data. You can see my comments at the end of his article.
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.
We have a 22 year old home located in southeastern georgia where the humidity is very high. In the past 2 weeks our floors have started buckling all over. We have a vented crawl space and the old insulation is drooping from moisture and the wood is wet. We are debating between the "encapulation" method or the spray foam method to repair this issue. Which would you recommend?
Note: A board foot is defined as a 12" x 12" square at 1" thick. Actual output can be affected by a number of factors including temperature and humidity. The theoretical yield has become an industry standard for identifying certain sizes of two component kits. Theoretical yield calculations are performed in perfect laboratory conditions, without taking into account the loss of blowing agent or the variations in application methods and types.