Monday, September 15, 2008

Insulation, Part two.

Still no electric at the house.... so here I go with another installment of Insulation and You.

This time it's insulation for the walls for the main purpose of keeping the warm side warm and the cold side cold.

Priority One spray foam insulation came last Thursday with a big trailer and long hoses to start the process. They're spraying 2# foam on the brick exterior walls, and 1/2# (quick expanding, but more flexible) foam on the roof rafters. We were barely a step ahead of them, finishing up the furring on the windows and walls from all those times we knocked off at 9PM thinking, "I'll get that tomorrow" and then promptly forgot to finish it until now.

The stuff, once sprayed, hardens within a minute, doesn't smell bad at all, and it really very cool.
They sprayed it inbetween the 1x3 and 2x4 furring strips on all of the walls, and then, when it hardened, would scrape off the excess off of the wood.

It's a light, pale yellow color and when they finished a room, it looked like they buttered the house.

The guys wore full body coverings and masks, and if you decide to do this yourself, I also recommend you do the same.

It took them all of Thursday and Friday to spray the exterior walls and the rafters of the third floor. They'll be back on Tuesday with smaller tanks fill in the small missed areas with slower rising foam that they can use to get in the tiny cracks.

They suggested we get a can of spray paint and mark all the areas they missed in order to speed up the process.

They would've been here today, but apparently a few of them have to repair tree damage to their homes and cars.

I understand completely.

See you tomorrow, guys. ;-)

(Addendum by DH: I am going to recommend these guys, from what I've seen so far. Dilligent and responsive management and lots of responsibility. They WANT you to have a tight home. By doing this process I get significant insulation in my walls without losing a full 3 1/2" on all four walls. That's more than 70 square feet (and nearly 600 cubic feet), if my math is correct -48' long house 16' wide, 2 1/2 stories- I get a perfect vapor barrier and insulation that never settles, never falls out of place, never lets cold air through it, and provides R7 per inch. The alternative without building out the walls is not much insulation at all.

Without spray insulation on the walls, I can't imagine that we wouldn't pay $100/mo. more in utilities. Probably more. Plus, we'd STILL be spending a goodly penny insulating and building out the attic and basement to try to get some decent insulation. At $1200 year, the whole job pays for itself in 5 years. Not the price differential--the whole job. It's a no brainer. The house is sealed up tight like a big igloo cooler and it's done. We can move on once the last holes and missed spots are foamed in.

Now, I COULD have done this myself, but my estimate was not that much less (maybe 20%) than my bid to have someone else do it, take all the risk, and do all the work and all the clean up. I'm an optimist, but I'm pretty confident that I'd waste quite a bit and that I might underestimate things. It's possible that I'd screw up badly too. I don't have to worry about that and I've got time to push other aspects of the job forward.

I think that anyone who's insulating bare walls needs to consider this. If you're local, know that I found this company's bid to be the most competitive, too.)


Deux Hirondelles said...

My DS' trade is insulation and she HATES working with Roxul as it wears the skin off her knuckles cutting it. Also, the spray-on foam is a really good choice: it avoids all the teeny-tiny gaps that can be left by less-than-conscientious trades. We'd like to think that everyone works as if the place were their own, but the reality is far from that...

Glad to see you escaped the worst of Ike's wrath in your area.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the comment and validation.

As for Ike, well, we're a long, long way from the Gulf, but we still got a LOT of wind damage. 600,000 are still without power. About every silver maple over 30 years old with any crotch rot is split or down. The same with all the pear trees.

All this with no rain. We're lucky about that, as had the soil been saturated, even more trees would have tipped over.

I'm really glad we didn't have any electrocutions. There were a ton of bare wires hanging on Sunday.


Amanda Moran said...

MMMM. Butter.

This is big excitement!

Shane said...

I wish I could have done as big of a swatch as you did! How thick did you spray it on?

Were you at any time tempted to lay your body against it? It just looks so soft and comfy...

Anonymous said...

We laid our 2x4's on their sides in order to conserve floor space. So, everywhere but the stair well got 1.5". The stair well got about 1" which is as much as we dared.

Actually, with more time and planning, I think I would have knocked all the plaster off the stair well wall and then done 2x4's on side rather than 1x3's. That way we would have kept our elbow room and gotten some more r's there.

But we just didn't think of it during demo and we ran out of time.

In these old narrow houses, you can't afford to do 2x4's on edge, as is often done.

We also did the roof decking and made what little is left of the attic a conditioned space. That got about 8-9" of open cell foam.

So far, I like it, but it's not quite as fully cozy as I'd have liked. I think I'd do 2x2's next time as some walls are a bit cooler than I'd like.

Actually, the closed cell stuff is pretty hard. Sort of soft on the surface, and hard underneath. We leaned on it a lot. It was fun. The open cell stuff in between the rafters was really soft.