Site preparation includes covering all windows, outlets, fan and light boxes, electrical panels, and other items that could be affected by overspray particles from the spray foam. We also seal with caulking all joints and seams where spray foam insulation cannot be applied and use low expansion foam around window frames. In some cases site preparation can include drilling and filling inaccessible locations such as corners where two walls meet or where floor joists are close to the band board. Hidden behind places like these are voids that traditional insulators often leave un-insulated.
Insulation Problem Area
Today’s building contractors and modern construction techniques allow homes to be built to code efficiently, quickly, and cost effectively. Even when a home meets code little concern has been paid to how well the home envelope is actually insulated. Buyers see and hear that they are getting the latest in batt insulation in the walls, cellulose in the attic and double pained low E Argon filled windows and they think that everything will be just fine. Unfortunately, we hear every day from consumers that their new house feels drafty or that they just can’t seem to get warm. In the gallery that follows we show you typical insulation related problems we see every day.
Open Cell Foam
Open-Cell Polyurethane Spray Foam is soft – like a foam cushion in a pillow and is an excellent air and sound insulator. Unlike Closed-Cell Foam, Open-Cell Foam is less dense, with each cell in the foam being broken, thus allowing air to fill all of the spaces in the material. Upon spraying Open-Cell Foam expands up to 150 times its original liquid volume, thereby filling all nooks and crannies in the wall cavity. When spraying is complete, the excess foam is shaved off the studs, leaving a flat surface over which dry wall or other material can be applied. With an R-value of 3.9 per inch Open-Cell Foam gives you an air barrier @ 5 inches of thickness. Uses for Open-Cell Foam include spraying directly to all walls of a house, and as sound proofing for media rooms.
Closed Cell Foam
Virginia Foam Insulators installs more Closed-Cell Polyurethane Foam than any of our other products. As you will see in the pictures in this gallery, the foam rarely extends beyond the outside of the stud. The reason for this is that with closed cell foam at one inch you have an air barrier and at two inches a moisture barrier. At this point no additional insulation is needed as the product will outperform the thickest of traditional insulations.
Attic Roof Decks
Your attic represents one of the greatest losses of energy in your home. In the summer it can be up to 150 degrees in a traditional attic making your upstairs hot. In the winter time your’ can lights, fans, and other outlets bleed heat into your attic from the house making your furnace work longer and harder. The hot roof system can solve all of these problems. Whether a new construction project or a retrofit job, these problems can be solved by insulating your attic with Open or Closed Cell Polyurethane Spray Foam.
Attic Down Spray
A down spray is an insulation method that utilizes Closed-Cell Polyurethane Spray Foam. Spray Polyurethane Foam is directly sprayed down onto the floor of the attic as opposed to the roof deck and is typically overlaid with blown-in Cellulose or Fiberglass so as to meet local R-value requirements. When using this method, the installer will cover all light fixtures, fans, vents etc. with protective boxes. The primary benefit to doing a Down Spray is that it is significantly cheaper in cost as compared to spraying the roof deck.
The following pictures are of a late 1800s cabin that was used strictly as a summer vacation home. Since the cabin was never occupied in the winter, none of the walls or attic had any insulation. Recently the cabin was bought by a family who wanted to turn it into a permanent home. Virginia Foam Insulators was called in to insulate the home using our open-cell polyurethane foam.
In this gallery we have removed the exterior siding of the home as well as the exterior sheathing (OSB/plywood) that would prevent accessing the complete wall cavity. At first glance this may seem extreme, but to a homeowner who is considering getting new siding, or who really has a significant air infiltration problem, or who may be renovating the exterior of a very old home, this is a fantastic opportunity to address the inefficient insulation in the homes walls and leaks around windows without affecting the interior living space. After completion of the project the exterior sheathing can be reapplied and new siding installed. This last service would be accomplished by a siding contractor.
Closed-Cell Polyurethane Spray Foam is an excellent insulator for refrigerators and freezers. In the following pictures Virginia Foam Insulators insulated the entire exterior of an outside freezer unit at a small meat processing facility along the Blue Ridge that was having problems keeping the interior at the proper temperature.
Metal tanks that are exposed to the weather are ideal candidates for Closed Cell Polyurethane Spray Foam. As the temperature drops outside many chemicals and liquids lose their viscosity making them difficult to work with and extract from the tanks. By insulating the tanks companies are able to mitigate and in many cases eliminate this problem. In the gallery that follows we show before and after shots of a number of tanks that have been sprayed with spray foam insulation and then painted.
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
On Sunday, August 23, 2009 the design team from ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” demolished The Fishing School in order to build a bigger and better school for the youth of Washington, D.C. The design team and Burch Builders called on Lapolla to offer an energy-efficient insulation system for the new school. Lapolla donated the spray foam insulation material and local AirTight contractors; Select Builders, Virginia Foam Insulators, and AirTight of Western PA donated the labor.
Description:The following pictures are of a number of our recent projects in Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina and Washington DC. As you will see, the kind of projects range from smaller homes to those that are 5,000 to 6,000 square feet and the occasional circular home. Our largest residential project to date is 18,000 sq. ft.
Metal buildings are excellent structures for spray foam insulation. At Virginia Foam Insulators we have insulated many small and large metal buildings. A typical application is a two inch average of our Closed-Cell Polyurethane Spray Foam to the interior of the metal walls. This insulates the building and as a result also prevents the metal from conducting heat and cold into the building structure thus preventing condensation, a common problem with metal buildings.
A thermal imaging camera is a useful tool that provides a unique perspective to the energy auditor and to the homeowner as to where air is infiltrating the home envelope. At Virginia Foam Insulators our home auditors have been thoroughly trained in the use of the equipment and the interpretation of the thermal imaging results. When used in conjunction with a blower door test thermal imaging allows our auditors to clearly identify problems within the home envelope and to make suggestions as to how to correct them. The first five pictures were taken during a blower door audit in a 6,000 sq. ft. home from a high end national builder in late fall. The last three were taken from a 3,500 sq. ft. home during the summer time.