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Spray Foam Gone Wrong in Attic

COPat | Posted in General Questions on
Spray Foam Attic NIGHTMARE!
Well, although I’m a seasoned home DIYer I took multiple peoples advice and contracted out the spray foaming of my attic (top side of ceiling drywall, NOT the roof decking) instead of dinking around with the DIY kits.
I spent a solid 20hrs+ preping the space (removing the old fiberglass batts, vacuuming any and all debris to allow proper adhesion, installing 5/8″ polystyrene ventilation baffles from the soffits up 8ft, and installing jump ducts and a new bathroom ventilation fan exhaust complete with a backdraft damper. Things were looking great up there
Then the sprayfoam was added…
Typically customers are happy when given extra product for free right. Well not in this case.
Along the entire eaves ~14″ of spray foam was installed. If I had to guess, all in one go. The outcome, my ceiling drywall buckled under the expansion in all three 2nd floor rooms. I’m talking full on 1/2″ cracks, protruding >2″ down where the spray foam was installed. Between every single ceiling joist.
It gets worse. If my expansion caused the drywall to buckle downwards then you better believe my 5/8″ soffit vent baffles didn’t stand a chance. All of them buckled and  expanded against the underside of the roof sheathing, so now I’m stuck with minimal if any ventilation at all coming from the eaves.
Their management team is coming out this coming week… and I’m at a complete loss of what possible steps should be taken next.
Obviously the drywall ceiling needs to be demo’d, foam shaved to the ceiling joists, and new drywall installed… But what about my attic ventilation. The only way to remedy that would be to literally remove all the spray foam installed and replace the baffles.

Any pointers or insight on how you would personally handle the path forward? Just want to make sure whatever their managent team proposes is proper.

One thing they have already suggested is remiding the ventillation issue by adding 2″ ccSPF to the roof decking to make it a hot deck.. but with ~2″ of spray foam already installed on the ceiling (with 14″ at the eaves) won’t this cause condensation issues?

Thanks gang.
Oh and on the plus side, I got R85 installed when quoted for R13… so there’s that….
Other Info:
-Climate Zone 6 (Mid-West USA)
-Hipped Roof (so adding gable vents won’t fix my ventillation)
-Closed Cell Spray Foam install

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Replies

  1. GBA Editor
    Kiley Jacques | | #1

    Giving you a bump . . . spray foam problems seem to be the theme of the day. Sorry you are dealing with this.

    1. COPat | | #2

      Thanks Kiley,

      The company has since changed their stance and is now wanting to remove the entire 2nd floor drywall and cut out all the ccSPF and start from scratch.

      Is this realistic?

      1. insaneirish | | #6

        This is one of those hard to visualize sort of things, to an extent, but... if they're prepared to demo all the ceilings, are *you*?

        It effectively means moving out of that space (which I hope they're offering to pay for, but doubt it).

        Out of curiosity, how did it even get to the point of proposing to do closed cell spray foam on top of a drywall ceiling? (More bluntly: Don't do that again.)

  2. mdhomeowner | | #3

    Spraying 14 inches for closed cell has to be some kind of record. I'd check the application guide for whatever you had installed. That will tell you pass thickness and maximum thickness.

    They want to alleviate your concerns about a lack of ventilation by completely removing all ventilation - that doesn't sound like a good idea. You will have a half roof and half ceiling insulated attic, that you will still need to condition. Trapping improperly installed spray foam in your house air is a terrible idea.

    You are going to want to completely remove everything in the area where drywall and spray foam is getting demoed, it's going to be a mess.

    How did you find these installers?

    1. jmrtns | | #4

      This is very similar to some of the estimates I received.

      They want to do a hybrid system 2" of closed cell with 9" of open cell. Something doesn't seem right about that, 11"?!

      Why not just use batts at that point along with 3" of closed cell, right?

  3. woobagoobaa | | #5

    I've done exactly one hot roof with CCSP (gambrel/shed ... zone 5). Reluctantly, as I had to put mechanicals in the attic.

    If I understand correctly, the entire attic side of the ceiling was sprayed with 2" CCSP with a wedge at the eaves 14" deep at the inboard edge.

    Based on conversations with several CCSP installers, I am not surprised the ceiling and baffles buckled near the wedge. I am more surprised it did not catch fire if 14" was sprayed in one pass. My installer tactically switched to open cell in the few areas where expansion pressure was a concern.

    What you describe sounds like an installer/advice problem.

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