Tag Archives: Spray Foam Insulation

Pt1 Spray Foam Insulation-St Louis Brick Buildings

Cost Effective:Energy Conservation for StLouis Brick Buildings

As a provider for Free Green Estimates and Advice in regard to Green Building for St Louis Homes.  I get many requests for my opinion on various construction related home and business requests for: improvements, retrofits, rehabbing buildings, energy conservation, and clean energy resources-by the people of StLouis .

Repairing a Stone or Rock Foundation on Typical StLouis Older Home
Repairing a Stone or Rock Foundation on Typical StLouis Older Home

Since education of Energy Conservation in building science is ignored by many builders in the region and what I feel is what led to a couple of requests for free estimate for: Spray Foam insulation for Interior Brick Walls on St Louis Brick Home.

I strongly urge everyone who is involved in remodeling, retrofitting, weatherizing, or any other construction related project with a StLouis Building review and practice these must do activities when working on the typical StLouis brick or masonry building.

Improper Building or Retrofitting Techniques could lead to: Respiratory Problems, Indoor Pollution, Combustion from Natural Gas Appliances, as well as the further deterioration of your brick building.

View Part 1 of the Spray Foam Insulation Series at these links Spray Foam Insulation StLouis Brick Building or View the Google Cloud Document 

Schedule Scotts Contracting to give you a Free Green Property Evaluation by using the Following Contact Form


How Insulation Works-Typical-St Louis Brick Home used in Examples

CAD Drawing-Insulation-St Louis Brick Home-Examples

How Insulation Works
Top View: Brick Home with Zero Insulation
Brick Home Wall Detail with Zero Insulation
Brick Home with Insulation in Wall Cavity

Why Insulate Your House?

Heating and cooling account for 50 to 70% of the energy used in the average American home. Inadequate insulation and air leakage are leading causes of energy waste in most homes. Insulation:

  • saves money and our nation’s limited energy resources
  • makes your house more comfortable by helping to maintain a uniform temperature throughout the house, and
  • makes walls, ceilings, and floors warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.

The amount of energy you conserve will depend on several factors: your local climate; the size, shape, and construction of your house; the living habits of your family; the type and efficiency of the heating and cooling systems; and the fuel you use.

Once the energy savings have paid for the installation cost, energy conserved is money saved -saving energy will be even more important as utility rates go up.

This fact sheet will help you to understand how insulation works, what different types of insulation are available, and how much insulation makes sense for your climate. There are many other things you can do to conserve energy in your home as well. The Department of Energy offers many web sites(http://ornl.gov/sci/roofs+walls/insulation/ins_07.html) to help you save energy by sealing air leaks, selecting more energy-efficient appliances, etc.

How Insulation Works

How Insulation Works
  • Heat flows naturally from a warmer to a cooler space. In winter, the heat moves directly from all heated living spaces to the outdoors and to adjacent unheated attics, garages, and basements – wherever there is a difference in temperature.
  • During the summer, heat moves from outdoors to the house interior.
  • To maintain comfort, the heat lost in winter must be replaced by your heating system and the heat gained in summer must be removed by your air conditioner. Insulating ceilings, walls, and floors decreases the heating or cooling needed by providing an effective resistance to the flow of heat.
  • Reflective insulation or Radiant Barriers works by reducing the amount of energy that travels in the form of radiation. Some forms of reflective insulation also divide a space up into small regions to reduce air movement, or convection, but not to the same extent as batts, blankets, loose-fill, and foam.

Reference> http://ornl.gov/sci/roofs+walls/insulation/ins_01.html

CAD Detail Heat and Cold Loss-2×4 Wall

Rockwool Thermal insulation, scanned @ 1600dpi...
Rock Wool Insulation (Fire Resistant) Image via Wikipedia

If you have the question: Why is my house so Cold? Why are the walls so cold? Why are the outer rooms of my house so cold?  Where are these cold air drafts coming from? Why is it costing me so much to heat my house? Why is my Heating Bill so high? How do I lower my heating bills? What are the recommended ways to lower my heating bills?

Answer: I’ve designed this CAD Diagram to explain how hot & cold temperature seeps into a building and vice-versa

Example: a home with 2×4 walls with 0 (zero) insulation.

You can see by the blue areas how solid materials transfer the hot/cold temperature.

  • Standard Minimum Code Wall Framing consisting of

  • Siding on Exterior of Building
  • 1/2 in Plywood or OSB Particle Board
  • 2×4 Framing Member Wall Stud
  • 1/2 in Drywall or Sheet Rock

The hot/cold temperature (Blue Areas in Diagram) on the Exterior of the Building is transferred to the Interior of the Building by Conduction. This works both

Ways as Interior Temperature in transferred out-wards.

The simplest explanation I can use to demonstrate and explain this is too use this example: when you are using a Metal Cooking Utensil to stir a pot of chili. If the utensil is left in the pot of chilli for any length of time. The heat will eventually transfer up the utensil handle and will usually burn your hand or fingers. Heat and Cold enter a Building in the same way; unless, there is some form of Insulation or Thermal Break to prevent the conduction of energy.

Now that your understand how Energy is transferred thru building materials

I’ll explain the various ways that Insulation:

Slows down and Reduces this form of Energy Loss in an upcoming post.

If you have any questions or comments about this article or schedule an appointment use this link to schedule a

Free Proposal on Weatherizing your Building to save money and reduce your Winter-Time Energy Bills

and Scotty, Scotts Contracting will return your Weatherization request asap. scottscontracting@gmail.com

CAD Diagram courtesy of Scotty, Scotts Contracting explaining how cold temperature is transferred
thru building materials into your home.

Scotts Contracting Latest Website 9/11/11

Check out my new website at > http://stlouisrenewableenergy.com

Feedback, Suggestions, Comments are welcome and much appreciated.  Scotty

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Which Spray Foam Insulation is Best-Open Cell or Closed Cell

Scotty writes: In response to prior questions:

Q:Which Spray Foam Insulation is Best, Open Cell or Closed Cell?

Open-Cell Vs. Closed-Cell

The real distinction between types of foam insulation focuses on whether they are open- or closed-cell. In general, both are made from the same materials and work in the same way, trapping air or gas in a plastic matrix. The differences start with the “blowing agents” used to create bubbles and end with both varied performance and cost.

Open-cell foam costs slightly less for the same thickness, but offers lower per-inch R-values than closed-cell products. In some instances, this is a disadvantage, but where thickness is less relevant, or where higher R-values are not needed, then open-cell can provide the better choice. It also has some green advantages over closed-cell: The blowing agent used to install open-cell insulation is water, which reacts with air to become CO2—while closed-cell products use HFCs.

Because CO2 expands quickly, the bubbles tend to burst before the plastic sets, and hence the “open cells,” which produce a spongy, lightweight foam. The industry describes the foam as “half-pound” material, which simply means the foam has a mass that weighs 0.5 pounds per cubic foot. This density yields an R-value of approximately 3.6 per inch, equivalent to most traditional insulations. Because of the open cell structure, open-cell foam allows some vapor to pass through, making it a good choice in hot, humid climates, and under roof sheathing, such as in conditioned attics, where water vapor caught between insulation and sheathing could promote wood rot.

In short, open-cell foam, tested in accordance with ASTM E 283, provides an air barrier with vapor breathability. Water-blown solutions have less environmental impact than the current HFCs used for most closed-cell spray-foam insulation. And open-cell has about twice the noise reduction coefficient in normal frequency ranges as closed-cell foam. Because the blowing agent in open-cell insulation dissipates as it sets, instead of slowly over time, there is no degeneration of the R-value—a minor point given aged closed-cell R-values still trump open-cell R-values by a magnitude of nearly 100%.

Unlike open-cell foam, closed-cell foam uses chemical blowing agents that come in liquid form and become gasses as they are applied. These gasses expand, but not as quickly as CO2, allowing the polyurethane plastic to set before the bubbles burst. This yields dense foam weighing nearly 2 pounds per cubic foot, and without the capillary characteristics of open-cell, it remains impermeable. The blowing agents used perform like the inert gasses between the panes of high-performance windows, adding to the insulating qualities of the foam. Unlike open-cell foam, closed-cell foam rarely requires any trimming, with little or no jobsite waste.

Closed-cell has more obvious advantages over open-cell, and a slightly higher price tag (20% to 30% for the same thickness). It provides both a vapor and air barrier and offers an aged R-value of a whopping 6.5 per inch. Because of its density and glue-like consistency, it remains very strong, providing both compressive and tensile strength to structure comparable to added sheathing, increasing the racking strength of walls by as much as 300%, according to the NAHB Research Center. Because water does not penetrate or degrade the product, FEMA recommends closed-cell foam as a suitable insulation material for flood regions.

The principle disadvantage of closed-cell foam comes with overkill. If you do not require the extra vapor barrier, structural strength, and R-value per inch, then you may be wasting money. As for the added wall strength, while real and substantial, it’s not acknowledged by building codes currently, so you can’t reduce the structural bracing as a tradeoff.


Information found at: http://www.ecohomemagazine.com

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Scott’s Contracting

Spray Foam-Eco Conscious

On Mon, Sep 20, 2010 at 8:36 AM, Scott’s Contracting <scottscontracting> wrote:

Spray foam for the eco-conscious

June 17th, 2009 in Blogs

RYagid Rob Yagid , associate editor

Hardworking crops. The oil from soybeans, which is also being considered to create alternative forms of energy, is replacing the petroleum in some spray foams.Hardworking crops. The oil from soybeans, which is also being considered to create alternative forms of energy, is replacing the petroleum in some spray foams.

Photo: BioBased Insulation

I’ve gotten a lot of good feedback on an article I wrote for FHB#204 on spray foam. Many folks were concerned about the environmental impact of the foam itself and its toxicity to the resources we’re ultimately trying to conserve. Below, I’ll share a little bit about the make-up of the foam and also describe what makes some foam “green”. For those of you interested in learning more about the various players in the spray-foam market right now, see the source list from my article toward the bottom of my post. And, of course, feel free to comment if you have opinions on the performance of spray-foam or its greater environmental impact.

Spray foam is made of a two-part mixture. The A part is isocyanate, a petroleum-based chemical made by only a handful of companies in the world. The B part contains a catalyst, polyol resin, a surfactant, and a blowing agent.

Consuming fossil fuels to make products intended to conserve fossil fuels makes little sense to a lot of people. All spray foams contain a certain level of petroleum in their A component and in their B component. Manufacturers such as BioBased Insulation, Demilec, and Icynene have created more environmentally benign spray-foam products by reducing the amount of petroleum used in their B component. They replace a portion of the polyol resin, which makes up 20% to 30% of the B component, with a renewable resource such as soybean or castor-bean oil. Apex even has a sucrose-based polyol. Manufacturers say that the transition to bean oil or sucrose doesn’t alter the look or the performance of open- or closed-cell foam in any way.

The amount of soybean, castor bean, or sucrose found in foam varies by manufacturer, so identifying the “greenest” foam might not be so easy. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, only 7% of a spray-foam product needs to be made of a renewable resource to be labeled as a bio-based foam. This, of course, doesn’t factor in the petroleum fueling the crop-cultivation process. I wonder how “green” these foams really are? Sure, they may be a bit more healthful than strictly petroleum based foams, but can manufacturers be doing more to produce a better spray foam product?

Although this is not a complete list of spray-foam manufacturers, it is representative of the larger national companies. For assistance in finding a spray-foam insulation contractor, visit the Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance.

Apex Foam Industries Fomo Products
Great Stuff
BioBased Icynene
CertainTeed NCFI
Chemical Design Tiger Foam
Corbond Touch n’ Seal
Demilec Urethane Soy Systems
Foametix Versi-Foam Systems
Read the complete article…
Spray Foam: What Do You Really Know?
To get the full benefit of this superinsulation, you must understand the difference between open- and closed-cell foams, how they perform, and how they’re installed
by Rob Yagid
Get   the PDF

Is Formaldehyde-Foam Insulation Safe?

On Mon, Sep 20, 2010 at 8:38 AM, Scott’s Contracting <scottscontracting> wrote:

September 15th, 2010 in Blogs

Polyurethane is king when it comes to spray-foam, but some builders are looking at a few not-so-new alternatives.Polyurethane is king when it comes to spray-foam, but some builders are looking at a few not-so-new alternatives.

Getting the facts on phenol-formaldehyde foam

When high-performance builders talk about spray-foam insulation, they’re typically talking about polyurethane. But it turns out there’s more than one kind of spray foam used in residential construction.

Although not as widely known, phenol-formaldehyde and urea-formaldehyde insulation also are available, and that’s the focus of this week’s Q&A Spotlight at Green Building Advisor.

Urea-formaldehyde earned a bad reputation in the 1970s after high levels of formaldehyde were detected in homes where it had been installed. Canada banned the foam outright, and some states in the U.S. continue to prohibit its use.

Some manufacturers turned to a phenol-formaldehyde resin with lower emissions. In the meantime, a urea-formaldehyde manufacturer says newer formulations meet federal formaldehyde standards.

How do these products differ, and how do they compare with urethane foam? The discussion points to the power and potential confusion over words, in this case the difference between “Tripolymer” and “tri-polymer.”

BuildingGreen’s Alex Wilson helps to sort it out, but admits that consumers will find it “remarkably difficult” to get the kind of information they’re looking for.

Read the full article and join the conversation at Green Building Advisor