I live in Atlanta, GA and will be insulating my attic with spray foam and there are a handful of manufacturers such as Iceynene, LaPolla, etc. Does one stand out from the other? I've also been going back and forth between open and closed cell. From the research I've done open cell seems to be the more appropriate application. Agree?
Rocky ~ Atlanta, Georgia
Hi Rocky, I don't know that there is any one spray foam company that stands out as being better than the rest or markets a product that is superior to the others. I think with national companies that market their products through local distributors and contractors it often comes down to the customer service the local company offers. It's much the same as fast food restaurants; even though the corporations would like to think that you can go into any of their locations and get the same high quality food and the same excellent service, in my experience that is not always true.
In an area like Atlanta, Georgia you should have plenty of spray foam companies to choose from and you may even have a number of different contractors who handle the same brands such as Iceynene and LaPolla. I would go about the process the same way as any remodeling project; get estimates for the work and get referrals from past customers. Don't settle for square foot prices over the phone; have each company send a salesperson or estimator out to your home to see the area they will be spraying and have them give you a total price for the job. Make sure your estimates are for the same R value and the density of the insulation is comparable.
When you have narrowed it down to a couple of companies I would call past customers to determine how happy they were with each company's work. Applying spray foam insulation can be a very messy job so I would be concerned with how neat the company was, how thorough they were, and if they cleaned up after themselves. Keep in mind that if this company is installing attic insulation, they are probably going to be walking through your home and depending on whether you have any windows in your attic, may be dragging hoses through the house as well.
As far as whether you should use open cell insulation or closed cell, that is a decision your budget may decide. Closed cell spray foam is more dense and you can get a higher R value with less insulation, but it is also more expensive than open cell spray foam. My understanding is that closed cell spray foam hardens enough after it dries that you can walk on it. If you are planning on having the contractor spray the floor of your attic where many people have blown insulation installed, you might want to consider closed cell so that you can walk across it.
If you are spraying the underside of your roof sheathing where batt insulation might be installed between the roof trusses, then I believe I would go with open cell spray foam. If you have any thoughts that you might want to finish all or part of your attic in the future, spraying the underside of your sheathing might be the best way to go. I would check with the company doing the installation to ensure that their application to the underside of the sheathing doesn't allow condensation to be trapped between the foam and the plywood over time.