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spray in insulation

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by saichele, Feb 10, 2006.

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  1. saichele

    saichele Minister of Fire

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    Anybody know anything about these 2-part (urethane?) insulations you can spray in stud bays and basement framing? Like 'Great Stuff' but with a really big can? Actually more like a paint gun system.

    Any idea what such a can, or service, would cost to insulate a 2-car garage?

    Steve

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  2. Rhone

    Rhone Minister of Fire

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    I've used "Great Stuff". Here's my thoughts.

    It has to be sprayed upside down. That sucks, 90% of the uses of it would benefit tremendously with the can upright. Say, filling in the gap of your sill plate on top of your foundation, I had to get a ladder, climb up, reach out with one hand hold the can upside down, with the other direct the straw where I wanted the stuff to go, while moving both together on the ladder spray it at the joint for oh... 16". At which point, because the can has to be upside down I hit the floor joist and needed to stop. Climb down the ladder, move it over 16", climb back up, put it between the next floor joists, rinse, and repeat. I can do about 8 of them before I need to take a break for a day so pissed off about it having to be upside down. Or, I love the "fill in the gaps around plumbing". You know how hard it is, to hold the can upside down under a sink, trying to keep it high enough, and with your other hand steering the straw where the plumbing penetrates the wall and try to keep the can in a postion it's out of the way of the sink, the drain, the drain plug, the hoses, the valves, and reach to the back wall. I had to have my wife hold my feet down while I stretched as far as I could trying to do it and threw out my back trying to "fill in the gaps around plumbing penetrations".

    You don't want any of it in view. Having so much difficulty trying to do my sill plate on top of my foundation I went around my house and sealed the gap with it between my foundation and shingles of my house. Well, that was all fine and good until the stuff turned flourescent orange in one year and my house looked like it was invaded by a flourescent mold. So, I had to go out with a razor and cut all the stuff out.

    It's a one time use product. About 2 out of 3 times if there's any left, it's unuseable even when cleaning the straw or cutting it back. That, or it's performance and application seriously degrades if you try to use it a second time. Make sure, when you buy it at the store it has the straw attached. More than once I've come home to find I hadn't noticed some fool had taken the straw off it in an attempt to use theirs a second time. I then, have to go to the store and take a straw off another and have it happen to someone else.

    The materials itself costs about 20 percent or more over regular insulation and it MUST be done by a licensed contractor. The stuff is EXTREMELY flammable, last summer a construction crew was insulating and sealing a house. A construction worker was going around with Great Stuff sealing gaps while smoking, and his cigarette lit the stuff on fire as he was applying it and the house caught fire. When it dries though, it's self extinguishing. It will not burn unless there's a constant flame on it. You take that flame away, it goes out.

    All this, and I have to say I don't think it's going to work. A large can of it will probably fill a 2' high section between 16" framing. You have a 9' wall and you'll need around 4 cans... each at about $6 that's a very expensive project. Also, I've never seen the equipment you can rent for it, only professionals own it and you have to pay them to apply it. You're much better off insulating it yourself. Any reason you're interested in the spray foam for the 2 car garage? I know they used it in a barn for "this old house" because the old barn had so many air leaks, had settled, was not square, and the framing members all over the place it would've been extremely tedious to insulate it and make it air tight. They chose to use the polyurethane foam as it filled all the gaps and odd spacing, and then they cut it off with a knife.
  3. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    They used this expanding poly urethane in the mid 70's. Pushed walls, out did all kinda of weird stuff. Then infiltrate the living space with harmefull vapors.
    People started getting sick. It was very flamable, US government banned it. I got so that if you owned a home insulated that way it would not sell. Removing, it meant tearing the home, down then disposing hazzardeous waste. And you want to put this in your home over a garage?? In a can, limited quanities no big deal.
  4. bruce

    bruce Member

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    its big here in the pocono's, many a crawl space is sprayed with it
  5. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    must have removed the harmful vapors and reduced the expansion capacities thank for the info
  6. roac

    roac New Member

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    They did the latest "This Old House" with it. Walls, ceilings everything. R7 per inch.
  7. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

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    I have seen it used on TOH, too. My impression was that it was the kind of thing you called in the pros for as not many people would have the special two-part spray gun used to mix the stuff. I suspect it would cost more, but insulate better than standard fiberglass batting...that's usually the way things go. May try the local yellowpages or targeted internet search for outfits that do the work in your area.

    Corey
  8. djamwolfe

    djamwolfe Member

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    I work in the trades here in michigan, and i,m starting to see more and more houses done like this. A small moving truck with 2 55gal. drums of liquid and a long sprayhose is all they use. Here is a site with some videos of the application. http://www.icynene.com/Icynene Product Videos.aspx
    Devon
  9. G-rott

    G-rott Member

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    Don't let the small moving truck, two drums and a hose fool you. That is one expensive rig. The spray equipment itself runs from $25,000 - 45,000 plus the material cost and the truck.

    It is a good insulation system, one of the best. The two part expanding foam pro's use is pumped at high temptature and pressure. The DIY kits are different... still a good product but the volume and the coverage are different.

    Good luck with your project,

    Garett
  10. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    This can be a good form of retro insulation when done properly. Urea-formaldehyde foam is the product Elk is referring to. If the mix was not done right it could outgas and the vapors can be carcinogenic. I'm not sure if they use the old formaldyhyde mixes anymore.

    I might not recommend it for a house that needs eventual remodeling , rewiring, replumbing. But as an insulation, it can be quite effective if done well. It's important that all wall cavities are filled and there are no voids. Foam is not cheap, but has a high insulation value. Foam is commonly used to insulate fish lockers and cold storage areas on boats. We used a commercial variety of this on a couple boats built new. It is pretty awesome stuff. Adheres like nothing else and can be formulated so that it is rock hard. Once sealed, you can walk on it. Some folks use it in new construction as a sealer before adding the fiberglass bats. I've been in a New England dome house that was insulated entirely by spray foam. It took remarkably little wood & electricity to heat the place even though it was very large (double-joined 30 ft. domes).
  11. djamwolfe

    djamwolfe Member

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    When I was talking to the guy doing the spray install he told me he had about 75k wrapped up into it total. He was also so busy he was thinking about adding a second truck.
  12. got wood?

    got wood? New Member

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    I've asked my carpenter about that stuff before (what you see on TOH) and he claimed it's about 2x the cost of regular batting. He said it's good for older homes that have non-standard spacing between studs or a lot of holes for retro-fitting plumbing/electricity. Wish they made a home kit, or something you could rent for a weekend....
  13. kregars

    kregars New Member

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    All in time I am sure. It took them years to get the blowers for blown in insulation avail for the DIY, but now they are easily locatable at Lowes, Home Depot and even some of the Tool Rental (backhoe's, front loaders, etc) places have them for let.

    It's just not gonna be soon enough. :/
  14. carpniels

    carpniels Minister of Fire

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    Hi Guys,

    I just got a quote about insulation my basement sill plates and the foundation blocks. It is expensive but remember, it is a sealant too (no housewrap needed). Also, it is waterproof.

    Good stuff and worth the money.

    The quote was 1200 for a 26 by 20 crawspace that is really tough to crawl into. (barely 6 inches between the soil and the floorjoists. The sill plates in the 7 ft basement are an extra 300. And that is for 2 inches of foam which is R14.

    Carpniels
  15. joshuaviktor

    joshuaviktor New Member

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    So what if you are not sure about ever remodeling, rewiring, etc? How does it compare to the blown in cellulose insulation? After all, cellulose moved, sweep it up, drop it back.

    Just curious (ok, planning ahead)

    Joshua
  16. hydestone

    hydestone New Member

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    An insulation sub would charge you about $4.00/sf for 2" thick spray urethane. For an additional $1.25 you could get them to install a layer of 1" rigid foil faced polyiso foam sheathing with foil taped seams. 2" spray urethane = R-14 and 1" board = R-6.5 for a total of R-20.5.

    The urethane is closed cell and watertight but will cause a big problem if it catches fire. The icynene is open cell and not watertight but is self-extinguishing in the event it catches fire.

    You can then drywall right over the the top of the board insulation.
  17. dml000

    dml000 New Member

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