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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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?
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.
Medium-density foam is applied as low or high-pressure two-component polyurethane spray foam. Medium-density foam offers specific benefits depending on the climate and the type of building in which it is used. Like low-density foam, medium-density SPF is often used for continuous insulation, interior wall cavity fill, and unvented attic applications. However, medium-density is a closed-cell spray foam; it is often used where there is need for the greatest R-value insulation per inch possible. Medium-density foam acts as an air, vapor, and water barrier, and can even help reduce noise.
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.
Closed-cell spray insulation, a rigid medium-density material, can be used in exterior applications such as continuous insulation applications, as well as interior applications. This type of foam insulation has a higher R-value per inch making it also suitable for small areas that require the highest possible R-value to meet building code requirements. Closed-cell spray foam’s rigidity help reject bulk water making it a recognized flood-resistant material by FEMA.
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For exterior commercial concrete walls or cavity walls, seams and gaps can be a problem. Our continuous InsulBloc® seamless spray foam insulation system is a highly versatile, closed-cell foam that exhibits outstanding air barrier and moisture barrier qualities. Because InsulBloc® is a spray application, it will conform to any geometric shape. This affords architects infinite design freedom since this spray foam insulation product will adhere to any creative feature or curve that your building might have, and seal irregular shapes such as steel I-beams, corrugated roof decks, and dissimilar construction material interfaces.
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.