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Thread: Spray Foam Insulation

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    Near Colorado Springs, CO
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    Spray Foam Insulation

    Has anyone used any of the spray foam insulation in their construction projects that was done by a professional? I know that it cost more then batt and blown in insulation, but I want to know if it is really worth the 2 to 3 times the cost.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Tokyo Japan
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    The inside of our house was done, completely, all the wall, and the ceiling (not the floors, as the floors have drains in them on the slab.

    Yes, were are in a concrete 7 story building.


    Before...........


    After

    The hardwood floors are about 6" off the slab, so there is an air space there for plumbing etc.

    When the guys were getting ready to spray the foam, I happened to be there, they had the kitchen area all masked off to spray, I asked why they were only doing the kitchen, they said that was all it called for.

    I called the architect, and asked hime why??? He said it does not get cold enough in Tokyo to bother......

    I asked the spray foam insulation guys how much more it would cost me to have the whole thing done, they said maybe $1000, so I called the architect and told him to do so. Boy was I glad we did, the house, even on a "Cold" day, like today, getting down near 0C is not so cold inside, and in the summer, even without the AC the place is a LOT cooler. On the tenants floors (2F - 5F) they were not sprayed, and you can really tell the difference.

    If done right, it provides a really good moisture barrier as well, I understand.

    Cheers!
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Mountain Home, Arkansas
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    There is a fellow named Doug Rye, from Arkansas, who is a home energy saving guru. He advises and lectures on the subject. And, he is adamant that cellulose is the best available. Foam does have some ease of installation advantages. According to Rye, it is less effective than cellulose. It can shrink with time creating spaces that allow the escape of heat. Rye can be located with a Google search.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  4. #4
    I've heard the same thing Frank. It was all the rage around here just a few years ago, but then the foam started to shrink and pulled away from the studs. That was its one claim to fame...a monolithic stretch of insulation. Instead it ended up being drafty every 16 inches (on both sides of the studs.

    There was a couple of insulation people that bought all the specialized gear and went head-long into it, but now they are out of business. The cost was so expensive and with a shrinking housing market, and a technology that proved unreliable...the jobs are just not there.

    Now maybe this is just because our temps go through so many degree changes. (-20 in the winter to +90 in the summer) (f). The stuff just can't move enough with the studs and walls contracting and expanding. Maybe other states it will work out fine?
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

  5. #5
    Yes, we had spray insulation installed when we built. I our case we had Icynene foam sprayed in the attic side of the ceiling, and in those parts of the outer walls that were not SIP R-30 walls. The icynene seals the applied area, and provides an R value of R3 to R4 per inch. The advantages are that it is insect proof, and does not degrade over time and pull away from the applied surfaces. On top of the attic Icynene we have 12+ inches of blown in fiber glass.

    I also looked at sprayed urethane foam but back in 2002, it had shrinking problems. I have heard that that problem has been solved and the shrinkage is no longer a problem. (I know Holmes on Homes uses it on just about every project.)

    Frankly Frank, I think your expert is peeing on your shoes and telling you it is raining. From what I have read, cellulose has an R of 3.2 to 3.8, a little better than fiberglass at 2.7. However, urethane foam is in the neighborhood of R-6 to 7. Another problem with cellulose is that it settles over time. Settling reduces the air space between the fibers and as a result reduces the R value.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    535
    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Garlock View Post
    Another problem with cellulose is that it settles over time. Settling reduces the air space between the fibers and as a result reduces the R value.
    The rated value for cellulose takes settling into account, so you're not really losing something you paid for. You might get a few "bonus" R the first few years, before it settles into the rated range.

  7. #7
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    Dec 2006
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    Floydada, Tx
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    My freind had icynene sprayed in the attic and basement and has no problem with shrinkage. It was sprayed in the fall and as they where spraying the attic you could feel it getting warmer in the house. Maybe the shrinkage is only from one kind of foam. It seems to be popular around here with the old farm houses.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by John Downey View Post
    The rated value for cellulose takes settling into account, so you're not really losing something you paid for. You might get a few "bonus" R the first few years, before it settles into the rated range.
    OK John, that is good to know. Is it used in walls? BTW, back in the late 1970s we built a home south of Akron Ohio. The contractor had at least a foot of treated ground newspaper blown in the attic. It seemed to do a good job then, and the product most likely has been improved since the "stone age."

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    535
    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Garlock View Post
    Is it used in walls?
    I only used it in the ceiling, but it may be used in walls.... this is where the compaction problem really would be a problem, leaving some kind of insulation gap at the top after it settles. How much of a problem it would be is one for the "experts".... I think I'd only use it in walls in a retro-fit where the interior wall surface wasn't going to be removed, new construction or a more complete remodel I'd be using foam or batting in the walls, and foam or cellulose in the ceiling depending on the specifics of the roof/ceiling.

  10. #10
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    Nov 2006
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    Southern Louisiana
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    this is just what i have heard of the foam...but it is being sold as the "best thing going" right now. because it seals as it insulates. no one i know who has it has had any shrinkage issues, and the guys installing it are still working, so maybe it does have something to do with the drastic temp change in travis' area.

    as for cellulose, yes they put it in walls here. but if you do you need to be prepared to have up to 10% settling from what i am told. i have heard of people tearing out sheetrock 5 years later to find a 12" gap at the top of the wall.

    alot of people are big on the rock wool around here. it is blown like cellulose but is not as dense so it doesn't settle.

    just the knowledge i have gained from talking to people who build houses around here. not an expert opinion.

    chris

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