spray foam

Spray Foam Insulated Homes Need Ventilation

Posted on January 30,2015 by ab3 in air sealing

Most installations of spray foam insulation, when properly installed, act as an air barrier. When you use it instead of the fluffy stuff (fiberglass, cellulose, cotton), a house will be more airtight. That's good.

When a house is airtight, the nasties in the indoor air tend to stick around. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs), water vapor, odors, radon, and other stuff you don't want to immerse yourself in make the home's indoor air quality worse.

The Best Way to Insulate a Floor

Posted on January 30,2015 by ScottG in cold floor

Jim Wright's house in western Arkansas has a pier foundation that elevates floor framing about 40 inches off the ground. Unlike a house with a basement, crawl space, or slab foundation, there is no enclosure at the bottom of the house, so the floor is more or less like another exterior wall. How, Wright wonders, should this be insulated?

Icynene Has a New Foam With a Higher R-Value

Posted on January 30,2015 by ScottG in Icynene

Icynene is now offering a low-density polyurethane foam insulation with a slightly higher R-value, which the company says will help builders meet stricter energy code requirements. The product is called Icynene Classic Plus. The manufacturer says that the two-part spray foam insulation has an R-value of 4 per inch, compared to R-3.7 per inch for its Classic and Classic Max open-cell foam products.

Does Open-Cell Spray Foam Really Rot Roofs?

Posted on January 30,2015 by ab3 in attic

Murmurs and hearsay about open-cell spray foam insulation have been gaining traction for a while. It rots roofs, people have told me. Not long ago, someone even told me that in Florida, roofing companies won't let their workers go up on roofs with open-cell spray foam because the roofs are so spongy, the guys fall right through. Open-cell spray foam is getting a bad reputation among some people in the construction industry. But is it deserved?

Thermal Barriers and Ignition Barriers for Spray Foam

Posted on January 30,2015 by user-756436 in building code

Do building codes require spray foam insulation to be protected with a layer of drywall or a comparable barrier for fire safety? The answer is yes, usually — but not always. There is no simple answer to the question, for several reasons. The first reason is that the code is complicated. The second reason is that the code is poorly written. The third reason is that the code is subject to interpretation by local code officials.

Flash and Batt in the Roof

Posted on January 30,2015 by ScottG in attic insulation

"Flash and batt" is an insulation technique that combines the air-sealing superiority of spray foam insulation with the cost benefits of fiberglass batts. An inch or two of polyurethane foam seals the cavity and the batt insulation adds R-value without costing an arm and a leg. That's roughly the plan Dave Frank is considering for the roof of a house — presumably his own house — in Climate Zone 5. But his plan contains a twist: He wants to spray the underside of the roof deck with foam and install the batts between the joists at ceiling level.

Fine Home Building You Don’t Know Foam

Justin Fink’s Canned Spray Foam Tip

Posted on January 30,2015 by user-756436 in canned spray foam

I've been paying attention to energy-efficiency and air-sealing tips for many years, but I still learn something new every week. This week, I learned a very useful tip from my fellow Fine Homebuilding editor, Justin Fink. Justin wrote a great article on canned spray foam, “You Don't Know Foam,” that appeared in the current issue of Fine Homebuilding.

Dealing With Cold Weather in Climate Zone 3

Posted on January 30,2015 by CarlSeville in cold weather

We had some serious cold weather down here in Georgia recently, and although it didn’t come close to Martin Holladay’s recent experiences in Vermont, the low temperatures were a bit of a shock and caused a lot of problems.

Open-Cell Spray Foam and Damp Roof Sheathing

Posted on January 30,2015 by user-756436 in closed-cell spray foam

Now that insulation contractors have been installing spray foam insulation on the underside of roof sheathing for several years, we’re beginning to accumulate anecdotes and data on successful installations and failed installations. The anecdotes and data are enough to provide a few rules of thumb for designers and builders who want to install spray foam on the underside of roof sheathing.

Sticking With Spray Foam for My Renovation

Posted on January 30,2015 by CarlSeville in atlanta

Over the past dozen or so years my opinion on spray foam insulation has evolved from being a strong advocate to being slightly skeptical. I have come to the conclusion that any well-designed new building can be insulated with any properly installed insulation. When it comes to renovations, however, spray foam often has some distinct advantages.

Air Leaks in Homes Insulated With Spray Foam

Posted on January 30,2015 by user-1072052 in air barrier

If you’re retrofitting a vintage brick building without an air barrier, don’t count on the spray foam to create a perfect air seal. If you plan to use the spray foam as your air barrier, it's important to test your work before you cover it with drywall so you can seal any air leaks.

Spray Foam Insulation Is Not a Cure-All

Posted on January 30,2015 by ab3 in air barrier

Spray foam insulation is a great product. Homes insulated with it can be some of the most efficient and comfortable homes built. I've been in plenty of homes insulated with spray foam and can tell you that, when done well, those homes are airtight and comfortable. I’ve also seen homes where the spray foam was a waste of money.

Rescuing a Problem Cathedral Ceiling

Posted on January 30,2015 by ScottG in air leak

You could call it the $6,500 problem, because that's what it's going to cost Kacey Zach to re-insulate a cathedral ceiling with closed-cell polyurethane foam and hang new drywall. Writing at Green Building Advisor's Q&A forum, Zach explains the situation: a cathedral ceiling framed with 2x12s and insulated with fiberglass batts to R-38 "with no regard to air sealing."

Spray Foam Insulation Does Not Work with All HVAC Systems

Posted on January 30,2015 by ab3 in atmospheric combustion

Earlier this year I got a question about a home that had spray foam insulation in the attic. There's nothing unusual about that. A lot of builders and homeowners are going with spray foam insulation because of the airtightness benefits. But then the questioner mentioned that the spray foam contractor had intentionally left big holes to the outside by not sealing the gable vents.

Spray Foam in Cold Climates

Posted on January 30,2015 by user-1048334 in cold climate

Spray foam is a great tool for insulating and weatherizing. It can be applied to horizontal and vertical surfaces. Once it is cured, it can be the air barrier and vapor and thermal control layers (at least closed-cell foam can), and it provides some of the highest R-values per inch available. It slices! It dices! It makes great sushi!

Spray Polyurethane Business Expected to Grow

Posted on January 30,2015 by ScottG in insulation

According to a market consulting company, the use of spray polyurethane foam (SPF) insulation in residential construction could grow 14% a year through 2015, to a total of $1.1 billion, as long as the industry minds its manners. "The future of the SPF business looks bright but not assured," Ken Jacobson, a partner with Principia, said in a summary of the firm's findings.

Getting the Biggest Bang for Your Air-Sealing Buck

Posted on January 30,2015 by user-756436 in air leakage

Most new homes are leaky. In the typical new home, significant volumes of air enter through cracks near the basement rim joists and exit through ceiling holes on the building’s top floor. These air leaks waste tremendous amount of energy.

How to Insulate a Flat Roof

Posted on January 30,2015 by ScottG in flat roof

Most of the houses that Atlanta architect Scott West designs are contemporary, and they typically come with flat roofs. Construction often consists of 12-in. deep I-joists or open-web 2x4 trusses capped with oriented strand board (OSB) sheathing. Roofs are unvented, and the use of recessed can lights is probably unavoidable.

Spray Foam Insulation Is Not a Magic Bullet

Posted on January 30,2015 by CarlSeville in foam insulation

In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve been pretty hard on batt insulation in the past. I feel that my complaints and concerns are well justified, but no matter which insulation product is chosen, it has to be installed properly or it just doesn’t work. Many people mistakenly believe (myself once among them) that spray polyurethane foam (SPF) is the perfect product, is always installed right, and tightens up homes every time.

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