once the foam is installed correctly, it is a inert plastic not much different than the foam cushions you sit on. there is not a health rick unless you have off ratio uncured foam that has not mixed properly. the foam is absolutely a health risk in its raw forms before it is mixed and cured. You should not be in the building without proper respirators and eye protection. The spray foam industry should be controlled and regulated by the same standards, testing and inspections that framing ,electrical and plumbing are. until that happens then you will have idiots with spray rigs ruining peoples homes and ruining the market for honest foam contractors that know how to price a job fairly and complete it correctly. http://www.youtube.com/embed/ggLAUsiuI_o
The average price to cover 200 square feet with a foam insulation kit will run between $300 and $600 (about two to three kits). Inside these kits is something called Icynene, a foam made from two liquids that are heated and pushed through a gun on the can. When Icynene is released, it expands up to 100 times its size as it hits the surface area you're covering. These can contain a lot of gasses, making its installation a dangerous process. Even low-pressure sprayers can be harmful to homeowners' health.
The guys who sprayed my attic were trained and certified, but I later found out, too late, that they had no experience and my attic was the first they'd ever sprayed. I was also never told to vacate my house for any length of time, and so I (and my pets) were in the house the day they sprayed and the entire time the off ratio foam was filling my home with horrendous vapors. The company kept telling me that it was a good job and I had nothing to worry about, even after I'd had 2 other experienced sprayers from 2 different companies visually examine the foam and confirm that large areas appeared to be off ratio. The 3rd sprayer from yet another company, was also outraged because the company who did my attic had failed to vacuum up all of the old cellulose insulation, and he also noticed areas where the foam was shrinking or pulling away, and this was not even 5 weeks after the spraying.  
Heatlok®, is a high-performance, versatile spray foam insulation designed for residential construction. Its unique formula incorporates recycled plastic bottles and renewable oils to create high-performance, closed-cell spray foam insulation. This polyurethane insulation combines multiple control layers into a single application, saving homeowners both time and money in construction costs. With our innovative technology, Heatlok is developed with 14 % renewable and recycled content, and is the ideal choice for residential construction. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtube_gdata&v=ggLAUsiuI_o
The insulation at eaves level will leave your loft area comfortable for use and free from condensation. By installing the insulation at rafter level, it keeps the loft void warmer and prevents condensation build-up, which can otherwise occur when increasing insulation at ceiling level. The warmer, drier, cleaner roof space eliminates the risk of pipes and tanks freezing. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtube.be&v=ggLAUsiuI_o

As this example illustrates, it's important to seal the envelope completely. One of spray foam's biggest selling points is its air-sealing ability, but it can't seal places where it's not sprayed. One of the nice things about using spray foam in new construction is that you can do a Blower Door test before the drywall goes in. Even better, you can test for leaks with a fog machine.


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There is a significant price difference when it comes to using foam insulation to insulate a new versus older home. Spraying insulation inside a newly constructed home is easier because the installation company can ensure the insulation will work effectively and design it for optimum defense against sound, heat transfer and utility costs. Installing spray foam in older homes that contain existing insulation can cost additional time and money -- it is not usually recommended as compared to weatherization or an energy aduit.

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.

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For 2×4 stud walls, the fiberglass insulation will have to be split to fit. In this case, we sprayed just under 2 in. of foam (R-10.8), and split 3-1/2-in. R-13 batts in half (R-6.5) to achieve an R-17.3 insulation value. Never cram oversize batts into a wall cavity because fiberglass insulation loses R-value when it’s compressed. You could save money by spraying 1 in. of foam and adding more fiberglass, but don’t spray less than 1 in.—the foam will no longer serve as an air barrier. This particular foam creates its own vapor barrier if sprayed 2 in. thick.

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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).

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The average price to cover 200 square feet with a foam insulation kit will run between $300 and $600 (about two to three kits). Inside these kits is something called Icynene, a foam made from two liquids that are heated and pushed through a gun on the can. When Icynene is released, it expands up to 100 times its size as it hits the surface area you're covering. These can contain a lot of gasses, making its installation a dangerous process. Even low-pressure sprayers can be harmful to homeowners' health. https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtube_gdata&v=ggLAUsiuI_o

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Also, I'm wondering... Is this website is being regularly updated? A local installer (in Oct, 2010) in MA quoted over twice the price you list here. "Open cell alone ~$1.35 per sq ft for R-13. Or a 'hybrid method' using 2inch closed cell for R-13 followed by 1.5inch open cell for R-6. Hybrid is $2.85 per sq foot for R-19 rating". Maybe installers are charging higher prices to profit from those trying to meet government energy rebate by Dec 31?

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We live in middle TN and had our house foamed last year. We noticed recently that some of the foam was shrinking and seperating from the floor joists. We contacted the installer and he informed us that the manufacturer had a problem with a batch of foam during the time frame we had our house sprayed. The contractor wasn't sure if we had the recalled batch installed in our house or not. He said he would check the batch numbers and let us know. He seems like a nice guy promising to do whatever it takes to fix any problems. Do we trust him, however, to be truthful about the batch number? Do we have any options for finding out the information ourselves? I inspected the entire crawl space of the house and noticed approximately (5) areas that were seperating and a couple areas where the foam didn't adhere to the block. Do I assume by it being so infrequent that it is nothing to be concerned about? My concern is the walls that are not capable of being visually inspected because of sheetrock.


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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I used this product to seal and insulate my rim joists as I am finishing the basement. The builder used R13 batt insulation when we built the house 3 years ago. I use a dehumidifier to control moisture in the basement which is below grade. The setting I use is 55%. The dehumidifier kicks on periodically and requires emptying every few days. Since using the foam all around the house on the rim joists and sill plate, the dehumidifier has stayed at 50% for over two weeks since spraying and rarely turns on anymore. I also put the original R13 batt insulation back up after the foam cured.

Sealection® 500 has been Demilec's flagship product for more than 20 years, and has positioned Demilec as an industry-leading spray foam insulation manufacturer. As an environmentally-friendly product, it delivers superior performance, energy savings, and is an excellent return on investment for architects, builders, contractors, and homeowners, making it the ideal choice for insulation. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ggLAUsiuI_o&app=m

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Thanks for asking for our input. I have enjoyed the 'Future House' episodes that you folks have created. And, I think that the amount of segments-per-season seems just about right - any more and it might begin to take the shows into an area that moves away from their core meaning (i.e. - home repair/rehab/construction, etc). Though, it's easy to understand how new and upcoming technologies fit well into TOH/ATOH's overall picture. Also, Ross Trethewey is a good sement host - very knoledgable and enthusiastic - and, as well, he gives the TOH/ATOH audience some 'younger blood' to continue forward with the show's traditions. My thoughts are to stick with 'Future House' segments.And, thanks for all of the good work you folks do in continuing to present to us each year such wonderful productions as TOH and ATOH, which we get to enjoy and benefit so greatly from!
Staple plastic to the framing around the windows (and doors). Don’t worry about covering the gap between the window and the framing because you’ll want to fill those with low-expanding canned foam specifically designed for windows. Cover all the switch and outlet boxes with masking tape so you don’t fill them with foam. You don’t need to use gasketed electrical boxes when you insulate exterior walls like you would if you were using fiberglass—the foam will air-seal around the box.

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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]

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Steve: If your spray foam installer leaves the vents open, he will be committing the 2nd of the 4 problems I described above. You will most likely have comfort and efficiency problems. You may well have condensation problems. You will be spending a lot of money on a product that likely won't perform as it should. Don't let him leave the vents open. If the installer you've chosen doesn't understand this, you may want to choose someone else. 
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 these homes and can tell you that when spray foam is installed properly, they outperform 99% of fiberglass batt-insulated, stick-built homes. (I can also tell you that 73% of all statistics are made up on the spot, so please don't ask for documentation of that statistic.)
Yes, you're right that all of the problems mentioned above are related to the installer. I didn't try to hide that and even used the word 'installer' in two of the four headings. I can see how you'd think that the title is misleading, but in the end you can't separate spray foam insulation from its installation. Some people have the mistaken impression that if you get spray foam in your house, your home will outperform all others. My point here is that that's not true.
Johns Manville has partnered with No-Burn, Inc. to offer No-Burn Plus ThB. This tintable white, thin film intumescent coating can be applied over JM open- and closed-cell polyurethane foams. When exposed to high temperatures and flame it intumesces, which creates a char-barrier to reduce heat transfer and surface burning in the event of a fire. This nontoxic, water-based coating complies with IRC and IBC and can serve in lieu of otherwise code-prescribed thermal barriers. 
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.
Before filling the wall cavity, spray the perimeter with a 1/2-in. layer, which will expand to a 1-in. layer. These layers are called “lifts.” This will ensure that the foam penetrates any voids where the studs meet the sheathing. This also reduces the risk of bulges in the sheathing. If foam is sprayed into a large gap between the stud and the sheathing and is immediately covered by a thick layer, the pressure of the expanding foam can actually push out any sheathing that isn’t securely fastened. Wait a few minutes after picture-framing the cavity before you go back and lay down the first layer in the center of the wall.
If your foam pulled away just a little bit, Jamie, and they were able to fix it with just a little bit of touching up, then it wasn't as bad as the house where I saw this problem. As the last photo above shows, it had pulled away significantly from the studs and rafters, and it was all over the house. This was closed cell foam, and interestingly, it didn't pull away from the horizontal framing members, just the vertical and sloped ones. They did some touch up, but that wasn't enough. I don't know how this one ended up getting resolved. I think maybe the contractor came back and sprayed cellulose on top of the foam.

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Spray foam is a fully adhered insulation that is spray applied into wall cavities, providing a continuous air and moisture barrier. Spray foam allows efficient use of your HVAC system and helps regulate the temperature fluctuations and humidity in your home. Spray foam effectively seals the building envelope, filling in any cracks and crevices, the common source of air and moisture infiltration as well as temperature variations.

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Sean, thanks for jumping in and answering John's questions. About choosing the right foam, I intentionally avoided the open cell vs. closed cell foam debate. I did this partly because it's worthy of an article all by itself, but mainly I didn't include it because, despite all the warnings the two sides issue about the other, I've never personally seen a problem caused by using open cell where they should've used closed cell or vice versa. I'm sure things like that happen; I just haven't seen it yet. http://www.youtube.com/e/ggLAUsiuI_o?app=desktop
Polyurethane is a closed-cell foam insulation material that initially contains a low-conductivity gas in its cells.[5] As a result of the high thermal resistance of the gas, spray polyurethane insulation typically has an initial R-value around R-3.4 to R-6.7 per inch.[5] In comparison, blown fiberglass typically has an R-Value of only R-3 to R-4 per inch.[6] https://youtu.be/ggLAUsiuI_o
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