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.
Polyurethane is a closed-cell foam insulation material that initially contains a low-conductivity gas in its cells. 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. In comparison, blown fiberglass typically has an R-Value of only R-3 to R-4 per inch.
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 on my third project with foam it green. I like the simplicity of it, the color blending to make it green, it alerts you quickly if something is wrong with the blending so you don't waste alot of valuable material. Follow the instructions closely, put in the prep time and you will have no issues. It seems most people's negative comments have to do with not following instructions or guidelines. It is about as close to point and shoot as you can get but there are still some essential details that need attention. The only complaint I have is the fragility of the gun, last project I cracked one on accident but luckily needed two kits to finish the project so I had a back up, but I was more careful to gently lay the gun down between applications.
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.