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.
Note: The practice of foam insulating the attic has raised eyebrows in the building industry because "standard" roofing techniques call for the attic to be ventilated; however, in a vented attic situation it will become approximately 130 degrees in the summer. There's no reason for an air-conditioning and vent-ductwork to have to work in that type of severe conditions. By applying Icynene right on the underside of the roof deck, the severe temperatures no longer exist in the attic. In short, the attic is now a "conditioned" space of the house that is just as comfortable as any other room in the home. This is called a "Compact Roof", which means you can frame right up against it. The one drawback of using expanded foam on the inside of the roof is that this will cause the temperature of the shingles to rise, but how much is not yet known. And how much damage a rise in temperatures could cause is debatable.
Allison--would be very interested in your take on the GHG issues of foams, which have received lots of smart commentary recently. To highlight a few: architect Jesse Thompson's comments on Tom's Good vs Bad post on Energy Circle, the very thorough piece by Alex Wilson on Green Building Advisor and Michael Anschel's cautionary diatribe on Remodeling. http://youtube.com/v/ggLAUsiuI_o
Spray foam is available in two different types: open-cell spray foam which is usually $0.44 to $0.65 per board foot and closed-cell spray foam which is about $1 to $1.50 per board foot. The average cost to have spray foam professionally installed is about $2,314. This number can vary depending on whether the home being insulated is newly constructed. However, finished homes are not a good candidate for spray foam insulation but great for weatherization or an energy audit.
We are turning our roof into an unvented roof assembly by raising the roof and blowing in SPF. We are planning to leave the existing vapor barrier down but remove the fiberglass batting and then adding 6" of SPF in all the cavities, to completely seal and insulate the house. Should we have any concerns about doing it "upside down" and not spraying the foam directly to the underside/sheathing of the roof?
How Much Is A Board Foot Of Spray Foam
Although spray foam insulation has been in use since the 1940s, primarily for aircraft, for the past 30 years, continual product innovation has seen the increased adoption of spray foam insulation in residential and commercial construction. The rapid growth of sprayed foam insulation in building construction, thanks in part to its immediate and long-term benefits, has allowed the insulation material to sit confidently alongside traditional insulation types in providing thermal comfort for building occupants.
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.