Spray Foam at 99 Cents Per Square Foot?

99 cents per square foot spray foam insulation
.99 per square foot!?!?

How much does spray foam cost? What would you be willing to pay to make sure your foam insulation job is performed correctly? Chances are you have foam insulation sales people telling you everything they think you want to hear. And, when desperate for a quick sale they may even quote prices of $0.99 per square foot, which sounds great at first pass.

When you actually start to include all of their ‘premium add-ons’ which are necessary to do the job right in the first place, sift through their disclaimers, and then pay the price for their inexperience … the $0.99 per square foot for foam insulation jobs are usually the ones EnviroGreen gets called on to diagnose and fix.

Consider this very common example: If your foam insulation company recommends putting open cell foam insulation under your house (raised floor / crawl space), you can plan on it costing you upwards of $3.00+ per square foot to fix it, and install closed cell foam properly. Once that open cell foam starts to absorb moisture and becomes saturated, you will start to see your floors buckle and your home start to feel damp and clammy. There is no “easy way out” or quick fix for some of these commonly-seen poor installations.

Install Spray Foam Insulation Right The First Time!

Now you are not just paying for new insulation, you are paying to have the old open cell insulation scraped out, floors and wall moisture damaged repaired (if you don’t have to replace your floor and sub-floor altogether), then have closed cell foam insulation properly installed. Add it up!

Example: Buckling Vinyl Flooring with Open Cell

Buckling-Vinyl-Flooring-with-Open-CellInstalling open cell under a raised sub-floor regardless of whether or not a vapor barrier coating is applied will greatly increase the risk of puddling water under linoleum or vinyl flooring. LSU’s long-term study on raised houses with different types of insulation installed underneath duplicate these same results. On this St. Bernard Parish home the strong vapor drive from the underlying soil, along with an increased relative humidity due to natural temperature differences, are causing condensation to form inside the open cell foam while turning it into a saturated sponge. As the vapor tries to move inward it is stopped at the vinyl flooring because vinyl is a vapor barrier. The vapor has no where to go and eventually condensates. EnviroGreen proposed to remove the wet open cell insulation from the sub-floor, dehumidify the flooring from the outside which must be sub-contracted to a mold remediation company, and re-install 2″ closed cell spray foam. Approximate cost for 1,460 square feet is $6,250 plus the cost of redoing the damaged flooring. The spray foam company that sprayed the open cel originally now advertises the only closed cell should be used.

Example: Saturated Hard Wood Flooring with Open Cell

open-cell-under-wood-floorInstalling open cell under a raised subfloor regardless of whether or not a vapor barrier coating is applied will greatly increase the risk of puddling water under linoleum or vinyl flooring.

LSU’s long-term study on raised houses with different types of insulation installed underneath duplicate these similar results. On this Northshore home the strong vapor drive from the underlying soil, along with an increased relative humidity, are causing condensation to form inside the open cell foam up against the wood flooring because it can not flow past the polyurethane coating. What we see in this picture is actual water condensing (the white horizontal lines) below the surface of the polyurethane coating because it is acting as a vapor barrier.

EnviroGreen proposed to remove the existing open cell, dehumidify the flooring from the inside and let dry from the exterior and then re-apply 2 inches of closed cell foam. Approximate cost for remediation for $1,200 square feet is $3,800. The wood flooring was able to be salvaged but it requires a new polyurethane coating.

Example: Open Cell to the Exterior Walls With No Vapor and Water Protection

Open Cell No Vapor BarrierMany Greater New Orleans Area types of renovations consist of gutting the walls and installing insulation as the walls are open.

Building Science 101 dictates that in our region of the Unites States the vapor retarder should be facing the outside. In cases where fiberglass batting is used the foil or paper side must face outward (although most local contractors install it incorrectly).

In this New Orleans Uptown home the homeowner received three bids for spray foam. The homeowner stated he chose open cell because it was cheaper than closed cell and the foam contractor explained either would work just fine. In the middle of sheet-rocking the home after the open cell was installed the homeowner noticed numerous sections of damp Sheetrock. At this point he stopped sheet-rocking.

Although the homeowner stated that the exterior weather-boards were caulked this was obviously not enough to stop rain from seeping into the open cell through cracks around windows, doors and corners, wicking under gutters, and through several other areas.

The only way to solve this challenge is to remove all the open cell from the wall cavities and re-install the proper insulation in the correct manner.

Example: Open Cell to the Exterior Walls With No Vapor and Water Protection

Ice in FoamWhen it comes to metal buildings and structures only closed cell foam should be used. Several manufacturers admit that open cell can allow condensation to develop on the insulated side (within the open cell foam) of the wall.

Also, under more extreme conditions with large temperature differentials ice may form from the the crystallization of the water held inside the foam.

Finally, as open cell is not a vapor retarder or a water barrier, potential condensation forming from a hi vapor content and potential water leaks around screws, nuts, and bolts can lead to unknown long-term metal damage.

Although ice in open cell would be observed more often in areas with colder climates slow deterioration of the metal substrate can occur from condensation and leaks in our environment against and within the metal/insulation assembly.

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