EcoRenovator  

Go Back   EcoRenovator > Improvements > Other Improvements
Advanced Search
 


Blog 60+ Home Energy Saving Tips Recent Posts Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 12-05-10, 01:25 PM   #1
Ryland
Master EcoRenovator
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Western Wisconsin.
Posts: 913
Thanks: 127
Thanked 82 Times in 71 Posts
Default Spray Foam Experinces and Tips.

I've been working on sealing up my house for the last two years, about 6 months ago we had an energy audit with a blower door test done and because of that we really realized how much further we had to go.
The sealing that I started out doing was just the basic feeling for cold spots and drafts, filling in gaps that I could see between my foundation and the last row of siding.
Our energy audit showed that our crawl spaces (sand stone foundation) were the worst, on a 30F degree day there were spots in our crawl space that were 37F degrees, there was some fiber glass "insulation" in there but it was acting more as an air filter, rodent nest and was increasing the area for moisture to condense (it was soggy!) so we got 3 bids and went with the one that was in the middle for price but offered 2" of spray foam, the others were 1" and 1.5", we also opted for a vapor barrier on the dirt floor with a humidistat controlled vent fan that pulls air from under the plastic via perforated drain tile (black plastic drainage pipe), this type of vent fan also works for removing radon, radon is not an issue for us but moisture build up around foundations is not good for any foundation.
So because we have rough stone walls ridged foam would not work so the spray foam was really the best option, it was supposed to be 2 part days to get our project done, one for installing the drain tile and plastic the 2nd to do the foam, after having the spray foam installed we were inspecting the work and realized that the enclosed sill boxes where the joist space runs parallel to the foundation had not been done, at all, then I took a thin sharpened wire and checked the thickness of the foam in the areas that they had done and it was only 2" thick in a few spots! as thin as 1/4" thick in others with a 6 foot stretch where they completely forgot to spray any foam... oops! had to convince the contractor to come back to look at it for him self before he even believed us that anything was less then prefect, after checking on their work even more we found that the top of the foundation inside the sill boxes was also an area that had been missed in 80% of the spaces.
Thing is, when you do a quick check it all looked ok, but start climbing around and you find huge holes and gaps.
5 trips back and 3 months later it's finished, the final touch up I choose to do my self with their can of foam instead of trying to explain where I found all the pin hole drafts.
Now I figured this was simply a single contractor that was doing shoddy work, then my boss had spray foam done at his house, his was even worse! done by a different contractor! this time there were holes that I could reach my arm through, see light through and loose a puppy in, again with foam being as thin as 1/4" thick in areas, at his house they came back a 2nd time that same day, but by that time I had to leave work and that 2nd time they were their they still left holes that you could see light out of and feel drafts, it was amazing!

If I were to do this again I would be very very clear with the contractor that they are responsible for quality control and I would still check up on them, it seems like they miss corners that you can't see well, grope around those corners for drafts and bare spots it is seldom the same person that does the bid as who does the work so talk to the person who is doing the work and make sure that they are clear as to what you expect from them and of course do not pay them until everything has been done and checked and check everything.

There are some contractors that do their own blower door test so they can fallow up and seal the areas that they miss, but those contractors are rare and expensive.


Last edited by Ryland; 12-05-10 at 05:42 PM..
Ryland is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to Ryland For This Useful Post:
philb (12-11-10)
Old 12-05-10, 03:59 PM   #2
Daox
Administrator
 
Daox's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Germantown, WI
Posts: 5,519
Thanks: 1,159
Thanked 374 Times in 305 Posts
Default

Dang, that sounds like a huge hassle. I'll have to remember that. I was thinking of spray foaming my upstairs when it comes time to add insulation. Can I ask what you paid and approximately how many square feet they covered?
__________________
Current project -
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.



To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
&
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Daox is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-05-10, 05:33 PM   #3
Ryland
Master EcoRenovator
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Western Wisconsin.
Posts: 913
Thanks: 127
Thanked 82 Times in 71 Posts
Default

It was 100 feet total of sill box and two crawl spaces with a total of around 65 feet of foundation wall to spray, going up a foot to a foot and a half on the stone wall, stone wall they tend to bid higher because it's uneven.
Our bid, for just for the foam and not for the vent fan or vaporer on the dirt of the crawl space was around $950, so it seemed like a really good price because before we got this bid I was looking at the Do It Yourself two part foam kits cost about a $1.15 per board foot, so to give us the 2" thickness we wanted it would be $2.30 per square foot, I figure we ended up with about 400 square feet of area to cover because of the convoluted shapes that they had to go around, so we could have done it for the same price, only they used a setup using 55 gallon drums of the two part foam with a heater for the foam so it sets up correctly and flows consistently, their setup also had compressed air to blow dust and dirt out of the way, add to that the coveralls, goggles, gloves and most of all with their bulk setup there is no waste where if I order it and run out with 3 square feet left to do then what do I do?
I also found out from talking to other people about it that the kits tend to fail as you empty them so you never get 100% out unless you do have a way to keep them warm (they cool as you empty) and altho I enjoy doing alot of things my self, there are some things that I would rather, even if it takes 3 months, be able to call them up and tell them that it is not done right and that they need to come back and fix it or we are not paying.

We did do our attic our selves, air sealing then blown in cellulose, that is not hard to do and we saved a fair amount of money doing the attic, for the air sealing I bought a Great Stuff Pro foam gun, takes 20-24 ounce cans of one part foam, has a pistol grip, a nice long dispenser tip where the valve is so there is nothing to clog and allows you to use 100% of the can or save it for months without worry of it drying up on you, much much better then the single use cans that you normally see, the pro gun also holds up well enough that I would be willing to loan it to friends, so it can be a worth while investment if you plan to do alot of sealing.

Even with the cost and how long it took it seems well worth it, our floors are warmer, our basement is warmer, less of a chance for rodents and bugs to get in and best of all our furnace is not coming on as much.

Last edited by Ryland; 12-05-10 at 05:45 PM..
Ryland is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-05-10, 10:20 PM   #4
strider3700
Master EcoRenovator
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Vancouver Island BC
Posts: 745
Thanks: 23
Thanked 37 Times in 30 Posts
Default

my parents just had the sill plates on their new house done with spray foam while the insulators used pink fiberglass in the walls, rigid on the foundation walls and blown in cellulose in the attic. It cost them $4/sqft to have the spray foam done but I went through there afterwords and the crew did a good job on the first pass.

My parents got back quotes as high as $7/sqft to have the plates sprayed.
strider3700 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-05-10, 10:27 PM   #5
Patrick
Apprentice EcoRenovator
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: East Coast of Florida, USA
Posts: 149
Thanks: 2
Thanked 5 Times in 5 Posts
Default

When is spray foam going to available for DIY at Lowes or Home Depot?
Patrick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-06-10, 12:43 AM   #6
Ryland
Master EcoRenovator
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Western Wisconsin.
Posts: 913
Thanks: 127
Thanked 82 Times in 71 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick View Post
When is spray foam going to available for DIY at Lowes or Home Depot?
Not sure about those stores, but you can buy the kits online (Tiger Foam is one brand, Handi-Foam is another), price is a little over $1 per board foot, but they do not work well, I used one of the two part foam kits about 6 years back, exact same setup as you can get now, two small tanks with a mixing tip, it worked ok for a while but I would not buy one at the price they are at and I haven't talked to anyone who has tried to use the whole thing who liked it or who would buy them again, they are just to finicky.
The $20,000 setup in a trailer with heated metered pumps seems like a better option, but to get that kind of setup you need to hire the crew to come and use it.
Ryland is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-06-10, 09:57 AM   #7
hamsterpower
Apprentice EcoRenovator
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 142
Thanks: 0
Thanked 11 Times in 11 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryland View Post
Not sure about those stores, but you can buy the kits online (Tiger Foam is one brand, Handi-Foam is another), price is a little over $1 per board foot, but they do not work well, I used one of the two part foam kits about 6 years back, exact same setup as you can get now, two small tanks with a mixing tip, it worked ok for a while but I would not buy one at the price they are at and I haven't talked to anyone who has tried to use the whole thing who liked it or who would buy them again, they are just to finicky.
The $20,000 setup in a trailer with heated metered pumps seems like a better option, but to get that kind of setup you need to hire the crew to come and use it.
I just used the Tigerfoam kit in my second bedroom. I had everything set up so I could use all the foam in one shot. I was very pleased. I placed the tanks in the bathroom (smallest nearby space) with a small electric heater for about 4 hours at 80 degrees F to preheat them. During application the tanks were in the bedroom with the heater still blowing on them. It took less than 20 minutes to cover the walls in three layers totaling 3-4 inches. While I was spraying I had my dad helping to keep from getting tangled in the hose and shaking the tanks several times. Clean up was easy, much better than after applying Greatstuff foam. I plan to use this kit again when I remodel my kitchen. Next time should go even better as I now know what to expect and know the proper technique.
hamsterpower is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-06-10, 10:21 AM   #8
Higgy
The Gardener
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Manitoba - Canada
Posts: 492
Thanks: 17
Thanked 8 Times in 7 Posts
Default

So the tanks need to stay heated in order for you to apply the spray foam properly?

It would be nice to be able to do this yourself considering how expensive it is. I mean...especially if you wanted to do one room at a time, one year at a time. You could have your whole house spray foamed in less then 10 years. Just pull down the drywall, get rid of the bat insulation, spray foam, and throw your drywall back up. Tape, seal and paint.

I'd like to spray foam my entire basement...but I know that's going to cost a pretty penny to do seeing as I have 1446 sq feet down there. But I know it should be well worth it if the job is done correctly.
Higgy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-06-10, 10:48 AM   #9
Ryland
Master EcoRenovator
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Western Wisconsin.
Posts: 913
Thanks: 127
Thanked 82 Times in 71 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Higgy View Post
So the tanks need to stay heated in order for you to apply the spray foam properly?
Yep, they are supposed to be "warm to the touch" and you have to keep heating them because the pressure drop in the tank cools it, it sounds like hamsterpower had an ideal situation where he had the space and the help to keep everything working smoothly.
If I was air sealing another attic I might get a foam kit instead of the cans and the gun but I would not want to try to work those tanks and heater and everything in a crawl space.
Ryland is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-06-10, 01:01 PM   #10
hamsterpower
Apprentice EcoRenovator
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 142
Thanks: 0
Thanked 11 Times in 11 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryland View Post
Yep, they are supposed to be "warm to the touch" and you have to keep heating them because the pressure drop in the tank cools it, it sounds like hamsterpower had an ideal situation where he had the space and the help to keep everything working smoothly.
If I was air sealing another attic I might get a foam kit instead of the cans and the gun but I would not want to try to work those tanks and heater and everything in a crawl space.
The hose was plenty long to maneuver, but also long enough to get tangled. Now that I know the tanks need to be between 75-85 degrees F, next time I will pick a hot summer day, not a cool fall day. The real trick, at least with the kit I had, was if you stop spraying for 30 seconds you have to change the nozzle or it clogs. I only stopped long enough to wipe the tip clean.

hamsterpower is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to hamsterpower For This Useful Post:
skyl4rk (12-29-10)
Reply


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:27 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
Ad Management by RedTyger
Inactive Reminders By Icora Web Design