GBA Logo horizontal Facebook LinkedIn Email Pinterest Twitter Instagram YouTube Icon Navigation Search Icon Main Search Icon Video Play Icon Audio Play Icon Headphones Icon Plus Icon Minus Icon Check Icon Print Icon Picture icon Single Arrow Icon Double Arrow Icon Hamburger Icon TV Icon Close Icon Sorted Hamburger/Search Icon

Community and Q&A

Mineral wool over open-cell spray foam

Chad Torrice | Posted in Energy Efficiency and Durability on

I’m finishing up a 1980sqft single story house. I have 5.5″ of OS spray foam on the roof deck (conditioned attic) that needs to be covered for fire code reasons.
My options are:
Drywall  under $500
Sprayed on thermal barrier $2120
R15 mineral wool   $2000
I’m leaning to the mineral wool over spray foam. Is this a smart/safe assembly?
Will water vapor be a problem in the small gap between the foam and the mineral wool
I’m in zone 4A central NC

GBA Prime

Join the leading community of building science experts

Become a GBA Prime member and get instant access to the latest developments in green building, research, and reports from the field.


  1. User avatar
    Dana Dorsett | | #1

    Rigid rock wool at 1.5" is recognized as a thermal barrier for foam, I suspect 3.5" batts would be as well but can't point to a document for that.

    With or without voids/gaps between the rock wool and foam, open cell foam and rock wool are both vapor permeable, and potentially risky to the roof deck if installed without an interior side class-II vapor retarder or "smart" vapor retarder. Installing 2x4s perpendicular to the rafters and installing the R15s between them would reduce thermal briding, and give something to hang gypsum board onto painted with vapor barrier latex (about 0.5 perms, a class-II vapor barrier)

  2. User avatar GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #2

    Your description of what is "over" and what is "under" is a little confusing. I'm going to assume that the open-cell spray foam is under the roof sheathing, and that you are planning to install mineral wool under the cured spray foam.

    I agree with Dana Dorsett that this type of conditioned attic may have moisture problems. From a moisture perspective, drywall with taped seams and vapor-retarder paint would help. So would the installation in your attic of a supply register connected to a forced-air heating and cooling system. For more information, see "High Humidity in Unvented Conditioned Attics."

  3. Chad Torrice | | #3

    Martin and Dana, let me just first say both of you are a huge asset to the building community.
    Thanks and yes, I'm now a subscriber.
    Martin, your correct mineral wool under OC spray foam.

    I should have added that I have attic room trusses. My concern is if I apply drywall with vapor barrier to the designed "room" I have essentially created 3 different rooms and only one will have a supply register. I assume since I have air circulation in the attic "room" its relatively safe. What is best practice in this situation? Also what happens in the spaces towards the eaves?

Log in or create an account to post an answer.


Recent Questions and Replies

  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |