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.   https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ggLAUsiuI_o

Simple – we’ve seen experienced contractors work with the separate nitrogen tanks and spray foam rigs and have one heck of a time. These spray foam insulation kits are quick to learn and simple to use. They’re designed to be easy so you get results the very first time you spray. Thorough Instructions, 24/7 Product Support, and videos make it easy to install.

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We had issues with getting this foam to turn green in summertime in the South. We needed up spending an additional $300 on being able to spray this foam: 110 window a/c for shop & a $60 tarp to drape over the top, to keep the temps down. The areas where we had trouble-shooted were sticky & even after we wiped it down, the new green foam wouldn't stick. My husband had to apply Liquid Nails to it. For over $800, I expected alot more, plus the sellers customer service skills were in need of improvement.
These coatings are emulsified asphalt and consist of asphalt particles dispersed in water; they utilize clay as the emulsifying component. These coatings also contain many types of organic and/or inorganic fibers and fillers to provide extra strength to the coating. These coatings are available in black, brown, or as a reflective coating when titanium dioxide or aluminum pigments are added.

One of the key differentiators between traditional insulation materials and spray foam insulation is the latter’s ability to insulate and air seal. Foam insulation provides an air barrier to wherever it is applied to help mitigate air leakage from the building. Air sealing the building envelope with sprayed-in foam insulation also helps address moisture ingress to reduce the risk of mold and mildew growth as well as the formation of ice dams in colder climate zones during the winter months.  When you compare foam insulation with traditional fiberglass insulation and cellulose insulation, sprayed insulation minimizes air infiltration, it assists in limiting moisture vapor from entering and escaping the home, which in turn reduces the load on heating and cooling systems. Below is a video that compares fiberglass, cellulose and open-cell spray foam in terms of insulating and air sealing value.
Thank you, Allison. We have a split system unit (actually 5) with the heat being propane. The foam guy said that it needed ventilation, so completely sealing the attic wouldn't be a good idea. It sounds like you are saying that the systems need to be vented out of the attic or replaced with some type of closed system. But I shouldn't bother spraying if the plan is to leave the soffet vents open. Is that correct?

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Water-based acrylic coatings have more than 30 years of proven performance over a wide range of substrates. It is the coating of choice for metal roofs since it is highly reflective, can be easily tinted and is not extremely slippery when damp. When used with our rust primer, even rusted roofs can be saved. TIP: If you have a metal roof or a low slope roof that doesn't pond water, consider acrylic coatings.
a) Make sure that your house has been well heated prior to installation because the foam expands at different rates as it hits surfaces with different temperatures. If it is cold outside the sheathing may be much colder than the studs consequently the foam may expand more from the sides of the wall cavity creating air pockets in the wall cavity. This can be minimized by an experienced installer.

OK, Peter, I finally went back and read Alex Wilson's article on what he perceives as a serious problem. I haven't seen the full report, but based on the summary he wrote on the Green Building Advisor website, I question the science. It seems to me that he's chosen the wrong metric and he's basing his conclusion on too many assumptions because he doesn't have enough data. You can see my comments at the end of his article.
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.[4]

However, coating asphalt shingles and built-up composition roofs requires more caution. The National Roofing Contractors Association’s (NRCA) director of technical services has stated "The roofing industry is aware of a number of issues that could have negative consequences for field application of coatings over asphalt shingle roof systems. Anyone considering this type of application should be aware of the concerns so they can weigh them against the benefits claimed in coating product promotional materials."[2]
In general, cantilevered steel beams are a nightmare. If part of the steel beam is in contact with exterior temperatures, then it's best if the interior portion of the steel beam is covered on all sides with insulation. This is generally impossible (because the interior portion of the cantilevered beam generally supports a load, meaning that you can't wrap the steel beam in insulation on all sides).
Henry 587 Dura-Brite White Elastomeric Roof Coating is Henry 587 Dura-Brite White Elastomeric Roof Coating is a premium high solids formula offering better weather protection solar reflectivity and longevity than economy grade reflective roof coatings. Cured coating forms a permeable membrane which prevents liquid infiltration but allows moisture vapor to vent or breathe out of underlying substrate. Recommended ...  More + Product Details Close
Though foam insulation has a higher upfront cost than fiberglass or cellulose, it recoups this expenditure in a relatively short period of time. Additionally, the insulation’s permanence means that it will continue to generate savings over the life of your structure. The durability of this insulation means that you can rest easy in the knowledge that at least one component of your structure will stand the test of time. https://youtube.com/v/ggLAUsiuI_o
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