Shingle Warranty After Spray Foam Attic Insulation
Shingle warranty after spray attic insulation is a very confusing subject and has come up surrounding Roofing shingles and the warranty they carry when spray foam attic insulation is used. This question has even been confusing inside the construction industry. Does spray foam attic insulation void your shingle warranty from your manufacturer? Well, the answer to that is yes, and no, depending on what shingle you have on your roof, you may or may not have warranty on your shingles.
Roofing Shingle Warranty: Do I Have It or Not?
OK, now that I have thoroughly confused everyone reading this let me try and explain who does and who does not have a roof warranty from their shingle manufacturer. Your shingle warranty after spray foam attic insulation will vary depending on what type of roofing shingle you have and the size of your roof you may or may not have a warranty. We will discuss the technical parts of each major shingle manufacturer later in this article. Owens Corning will extend its full roofing shingle warranty up to a certain number of squares but not over, again very confusing. Why would Owens Corning give shingle warranty up to a point? Probably in case of shingle failure adding a size limit would help mitigate the financial loss.
Shingle Warranty After Spray Foam Attic Insulation: Shingles with Warranty
The main concern with spray foam insulation and shingle warranty is proper attic ventilation. Most people do not realize the requirements for proper venting of an attic. An attic that is properly vented has a 50% intake of fresh air and 50% exhaust of the hot air. If you do not have proper ventilation you are in essence cooking your shingles. Remember on a 98-degree day your home’s roof will be around 140 degrees. On a hot day in south Tennessee on a home without proper ventilation, you are slow roasting your roofing shingles. Another statistic most people do not know is that on average home without proper ventilation will get 50% less life out of their shingles.
Reasons to Void a Shingles Warranty After Spray Foam Insulation
You can now see a few reasons that some roofing shingle manufacturers void your warranty if you add spray foam attic insulation. The last bulletin I read from Atlas Roofing Corporation is that any improperly vented attic will void any warranty from Atlas. Owens Corning has limitations on their shingle warranty and Owens Corning pretty much warrants all their shingles after spray foam insulation. Why do some shingle companies extend the warranty and others do not? Simple, it’s all about the money. Owens Corning makes a foam attic insulation so they would have a hard time voiding a warranty on their roofing shingles due to another product that they sell. What about Atlas? Atlas is one of the smaller players in a big game and they do not have a so-called dog in the hunt. Atlas does not produce any attic foam insulation and has no reason other than Owens Corning and Owens Corning warranties to contend with. Owens Corning, on the other hand, is a big boy and must be competitive in all situations. If Owens Corning is going to give warranty so is Owens Corning, up to a point.
Benefits and Pitfalls of Spray Foam Insulation
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), spray foam is recognized as a premier alternative to the batt insulation of years past. Serving as both an air sealant and an insulator, spray foam is estimated to reduce the standard HVAC sizing by about 35%, on average.
There are two types of spray foam: open cell and closed cell. Each provides both parts of the building envelope — the air barrier and the insulation. Since spray foam is both insulation and air barrier, the proper alignment of the air barrier and insulation is guaranteed.
But even though spray foam has a huge number of benefits — and is, in fact, the preferred insulation of today’s modern contractors — there are a few pitfalls that are common with spray foam insulation, including:
- Spray foam installers missed several of the air leakage sites.
- Spray foam installers didn’t understand the building envelope and either sprayed too little or too much.
Spray foam can contract and pull away from framing.
Spray foam is not thick enough
This requires a bit of a technical explanation. As noted above, there are two types of spray foam, and each has a different insulation value. Closed-cell foam has a higher R-value per inch, and installers generally spray 2″ in walls and 3″ in roof lines to meet the energy code requirements of R-13 and R-19, respectively. It doesn’t fill the cavity, though, so spot checks may be required to check you don’t get shorted. However, the open-cell foam should fill the entire framing cavity, therefore making it easier to determine whether the installer has sprayed enough.
Depending on the type of spray foam you get, you may be able to determine how thick, or thin, to apply the spray foam. But without the knowledge and experience that’s required of an experienced spray foam installer, you will inevitably compromise insulation.
And speaking of compromised insulation:
Spray foam installers missed some of the air leakage sites
This is a common mistake made by inexperienced installers: missing the air leakage site can compromise the integrity of the insulation. Compromised insulation means that the home will not be properly heated or cooled and the shingle warranty after spray foam attic insulation will be voided.
Spray foam contracts and pulls away from framing
Believe it or not, with a few basic fixes, you can solve the most common problems with spray foam. For example:
- Climate considerations. Believe it or not, the climate outside can affect the quality of insulation on the spray foam. If it is too cold, the spray foam will contract; if it is too hot, it will expand. Either way, this can cause gaps in the spray foam. In some cases, a vapor retardant layer over drywall may be required if you are applying the spray foam in colder climates.
- Improper mixing of chemicals: if the chemicals of the spray foam aren’t mixed properly, the spray foam will not form a solid barrier. This means that it can fall apart quickly and easily.
- Improper installment: put simply, you cannot install spray foam yourself. And what’s more, if you get an unlicensed contractor or one that’s inexperienced in spray foam installation, you may be stuck with a home that’s not properly insulated.
How to Overcome the Most Common Spray Foam Pitfalls
Here’s a list of things to do to avoid the most common spray foam pitfalls:
- Keep the temperature in mind. If you’re working in a cold climate, make sure that you put a vapor retardant layer over the drywall before you install the spray foam.
- Keep an eye on the chemical admixture. Finding the right mixture of chemicals is an exercise in patience and caution. But it’s necessary for the proper investment in your home. Keeping your home safe, insulated, and warm in the winter and cold in the summer is essential.
- Make sure you get the right contractor for the job. It’s not enough to simply get a contractor that’s licensed — you need to get one that’s experienced with installing spray foam, in particular. That’s the only way you can ensure that you will get the quality installation that your home deserves.
Shingle Warranty After Spray Foam Attic Insulation: Shingle Warranty of Each Roofing Shingle Manufacturer
Each roofing shingle manufacturer has a different warranty for a roof that has spray foam insulation under the decking. The following is each major shingle manufacturer and the latest stated warranty. Owens Corning Roofing and Asphalt, LLC’s latest technical services bulletin starts off with an adjustment to their warranty for certain unvented attics. Owens Corning states that they feel confident their laminate and premium shingle products will perform well in certain unvented attics. This warranty includes the terminology unvented decks, sealed decks, and radiant barriers.
Owens Corning shingle warranty after spray attic insulation states that you must stay within all other stated terms and conditions for this warranty. The Owens Corning products you can use and retain your warranty are, Berkshire, duration including all designer colors and premium cool series, Oakridge, WeatherGuard HP which is a class 4 impact resistant shingle and the Woodmoor and Woodcrest shingles.
There are however guidelines you must follow to get this warranty. Your roofing system must be approved and compliant with all local building codes. Your home’s decking must be 3/8” plywood, 7/16” OSB (oriented strand board) or 6” wide by 25/32” wood sheathing, these are all minimum thickness. All spray foam insulation, radiant barrier, and other components of the roof deck must be installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s installation instructions. The last requirement is the installation of your shingles must be performed in strict accordance with the Owens Corning installation instructions. Any deviation from these guidelines will void any warranty on the roofing shingles.
Not properly venting an attic can introduce moisture and moisture-related problems in your attic. Owens Corning’s position has always been that a properly vented attic and rafter space is the preferred design. Moisture problems in your attic can lead to mold as well as damage to the home’s internal structure. One last point Owens Corning makes about spray foam insulation is that it can make detecting a roof leak harder.
Atlas Corporation technical bulletin for what they call under deck sprayed-in-place foam insulation. Atlas Corporation is very clear with their warranty for spray insulation, they don’t give one at all. Atlas has a very length technical bulletin and the entire document is why they void their warranty and making it very clear there is none. The Atlas statement all points to improper ventilation and the shingle damage it causes. Atlas makes many good points for overheated shingles, they will blister, crack and curl. When this type of shingle damage occurs, there is no way to fix it, you can only replace and it will not be at their cost.
The GAF technical advisory bulletin could be read as ambiguous, they state many ways that spray in foam insulation will void their shingle warranty however state in the document that their warranty will remain in effect. GAF is very clear on the need for a properly vented deck and the benefits of it for your attic as well as your home’s roofing system. According to FHA/HUD, the 1/300 rule applies. The 1/300 rule is for a properly vented attic, which calls for 1 sq. ft. of net free (open) soffit to ridge ventilation for every 300-sq. ft. of attic floor space. GAF states that just because you added spray in foam insulation it does not automatically void the GAF warranty on the shingles. GAF, however, does state very clearly that if the roofing system or shingles are damaged, show damage due to overheating, or they can pin it back to the fact that the shingle damage appears to be from overheating they will not cover this type of damage.
Even though spray foam is one of the best products on the market out there today — not to mention the most revolutionary — it is by no means perfect. Like any other product on the market today, it has its pitfalls. The shingle warranty after spray foam attic insulation is a very concerning question. Therefore, before you commit to putting spray foam in your home, make sure you have a proper consultation with a qualified professional to ensure that this is the right choice for you. You should also contact your local roofing contractor and make sure your manufacturer’s shingle warranty will not be voided.