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Ask me anything about spray foam insulation

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Jamal79 wrote:
Nov 5th, 2015 4:53 pm
Thank you. I will inquire.

I guess it's quite difficult to really determine energy savings. The only real way would be to build 2 identical homes in the same area, occupied by the same number of people who lead identical lifestyles. Only difference being one with batt and one spray foam.
There is a lot of research already done on building insulation, spray foam is not necessary above grade, but can be used.
To get the best performance you want an air barrier with your insulation (which spray foam can provide but so does wood and drywall if done properly). The advantage to spray foam is that it can compensate for poor construction practices if its installed correctly. If its not installed perfectly then its not compensating for anything.
Air leakage and insulation are related but different concepts.
I posted a fair bit of information on this here
ask-me-anything-about-energy-efficiency ... st23817201

In addition you can model energy requirements of a house, there is free software called Hot2000 that can do this for you (but its meant for professionals so there is a learning curve involved) and there have been duplicate homes built and energy loss and different technologies measured, its been done.
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Quentin5 wrote:
Nov 5th, 2015 5:41 pm
There is a lot of research already done on building insulation, spray foam is not necessary above grade, but can be used.
To get the best performance you want an air barrier with your insulation (which spray foam can provide but so does wood and drywall if done properly). The advantage to spray foam is that it can compensate for poor construction practices if its installed correctly. If its not installed perfectly then its not compensating for anything.
Air leakage and insulation are related but different concepts.
I posted a fair bit of information on this here
ask-me-anything-about-energy-efficiency ... st23817201

In addition you can model energy requirements of a house, there is free software called Hot2000 that can do this for you (but its meant for professionals so there is a learning curve involved) and there have been duplicate homes built and energy loss and different technologies measured, its been done.
You definitely make some valid points both here and on the other thread you referenced.

In terms of actual dollar savings - assuming I were to borrow the full cost of the 23k upgrade (with HST), that would amount to roughly $95 per month on a mortgage of 3% for 25 years. I'm being somewhat liberal and simplistic with these numbers, but if on average SF will allow me to see a monthly reduction in energy costs of greater than $95 then it's worth it. Otherwise it's not.

I'm wondering if anyone else who has built a custom home either as an owner or builder can comment on their experiences.
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Jamal79 wrote:
Nov 5th, 2015 6:52 pm
You definitely make some valid points both here and on the other thread you referenced.

In terms of actual dollar savings - assuming I were to borrow the full cost of the 23k upgrade (with HST), that would amount to roughly $95 per month on a mortgage of 3% for 25 years. I'm being somewhat liberal and simplistic with these numbers, but if on average SF will allow me to see a monthly reduction in energy costs of greater than $95 then it's worth it. Otherwise it's not.

I'm wondering if anyone else who has built a custom home either as an owner or builder can comment on their experiences.
I don't have exact numbers but i will bet its not worth it, a code built house will have decent enough R value that you likely won't pay more then $95 a month in total heating or cooling costs anyways, never mind the possible savings. That said air sealing is where you should focus, and that can be done with proper building practices as long as the builder doesn't skip corners (insist on a blower door test, you want less then 2.5ACH50).
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Quentin5 wrote:
Nov 5th, 2015 7:18 pm
I don't have exact numbers but i will bet its not worth it, a code built house will have decent enough R value that you likely won't pay more then $95 a month in total heating or cooling costs anyways, never mind the possible savings. That said air sealing is where you should focus, and that can be done with proper building practices as long as the builder doesn't skip corners (insist on a blower door test, you want less then 2.5ACH50).
I wonder. I'm currently in a home a 1/3 the size and the summer cooling bills easily exceed $300. Then again this is a 60 year old home with likely no insulation and an inefficient furnace/ac. The new house will most certainly be more efficient but there is also a lot more space to condition.
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Jamal79 wrote:
Nov 3rd, 2015 11:54 pm
Hello Peter and/or anyone else who can answer.

Our home is currently under construction in Toronto. The original quote from our builder includes spray foam in the so-called sensitive areas such as adjacent to the garage. I do not pretend to understand much of the technical discussion here in regards to which areas should be used and what kind of foam etc. What I do understand is money. I asked for a quote on what it would take to spray foam the entire house and received a very detailed break-down for each floor. The net effect is it would cost about 20k + HST extra for the entire house of about 5600 sqf + basement.

The installer claims I should see about a 45% savings on my energy bills. I could probably assume a combined average hydro+gas bill of $400 per month without it. If 45% is an accurate number then we're looking at 8+ years to recapture my investment. We do not intend to sell this home anytime soon and I don't believe this will increase comfort levels (as we're already doing the 'sensitive' areas).

What do you think? Do these numbers make sense? Anything else I should consider? Thanks!
Hi Jamal,

Sorry, I'm a bit late to the party here. Yes, spray foam can cost approximately 3 times more then conventional insulation. Installers claim all sorts of numbers of how much savings there will be. I myself have never conducted a scientific study on exactly how much you can save. The closest that I have come is when we sneaked into my brother's home while it was being built by a large subdivision developer and spray foamed it entirely during the frame walk which was over an Easter long weekend about 8 years ago. Now, I can tell you the builder was not too thrilled about this because technically my brother did not own the house until it was finished but once the inspector saw our work his words were "all these damn homes should be done this way!". A few years ago I did compare the gas meters of each neighbour and my brother's was considerably lower. This however is not scientific since the layout was not the same, square footage is all different and different amount of people living with different comfort levels. My brother has a young family of four and his house is kept warmer then mine (also young family of four).

The point is that foam will out-preform any other insulation on the market. It makes for a much stronger (studies show it adds ~400% strength) and a much quieter and healthier home since it will help keep out outdoor pollutants. There are many befits to having foam installed beyond just the cost savings, for example, even if your siding or basement develops a leak, the resulting damage will not be anywhere near as bad as with fiberglass batts.

But the best way I can explain the benefits of a properly spray foamed insulated home would be:

If you were responsible for the cold beer at a summer party where would you want to store them? A soft cooler (fiberglass) or a rigid foam
insulated one?

Or

If you like to drink a hot cup of coffee, what will keep it warmer and not burn your hand? Paper or Styrofoam cup?

In the end there have been many studies done and like any study there will be flaws and multiple variables. What we do know for sure is what works, like in the examples I have provided. So if you are building your home or renovating then you have an excellent opportunity to do it once and have the piece of mind that it will be there forever. Most people I talk to are more concerned with finishing touches like flooring, cabinets and counter tops...which are pretty to look at but fall out of fashion every 15 to 20 years. Foam is not pretty nor will you see it....except on your energy
bill for as long as you own your home (whatever the exact number ends up working out to be). If you are on a strict budget then yes addressing the"sensitive areas" would be a great start, ie: all the headers and and cantilever areas.

As far as comparing a fiberglass house to a foamed one...you can't compare apples to oranges. Throwing our percentage saving numbers based on random studies is not a salesman pitch I would use But I sure know which home I would prefer to own and live in.

Ps: also Jamal, the 23K your being quoted, is the builder going to credit you for not having to install fiberglass and vapour barrier? That should be a good chunk of money.

--
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Hi Peter,

Thanks for your detailed response. BTW, that 23k is after taking into account all savings from not having to install fiberglass and vapour barriers. The actual SF bill is around $33k all-in.

I am leaning towards not doing SF simply because of the cost. To my understanding (please correct me if I'm wrong), the biggest noticeable difference between SF and batt is on the extremely cold days or extremely hot days. I'm no meteorologist. but there aren't too many days like that in Toronto. I fully understand the benefits of SF in a renovation or older home that might be leaky and have limited space for proper batt. I definitely agree that SF will outperform batt, but it's a pretty hefty expense. I have about 6 weeks before we'll be ready for insulation so I'm certainly susceptible to being swayed one way or another.
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Jamal79 wrote:
Nov 6th, 2015 9:22 am
Hi Peter,

Thanks for your detailed response. BTW, that 23k is after taking into account all savings from not having to install fiberglass and vapour barriers. The actual SF bill is around $33k all-in.

I am leaning towards not doing SF simply because of the cost. To my understanding (please correct me if I'm wrong), the biggest noticeable difference between SF and batt is on the extremely cold days or extremely hot days. I'm no meteorologist. but there aren't too many days like that in Toronto. I fully understand the benefits of SF in a renovation or older home that might be leaky and have limited space for proper batt. I definitely agree that SF will outperform batt, but it's a pretty hefty expense. I have about 6 weeks before we'll be ready for insulation so I'm certainly susceptible to being swayed one way or another.
Jamal, it seems you've made up your mind and are happy wit the decision. Honestly, if that's what works for you and your finances, I would stick to it. Building a custom home is no cheap or easy feat.

Personally I would spend the money on foam and worry about finishing touches later.

Everyone is different. Fiberglass does have its place and is better then nothing at all. Newer homes these days are more air tight then the one built 20 years ago. Obviously, if you ask me, your decision is a lot like comparing a Hyundai to Mercedes. They are both cars, have four wheels and take you place when you put in gas. The difference is the performance, occupant comfort and efficiency.

One last thing I would recommend if you're still mulling it over is to read "the R value fairy tale": http://www.monolithic.org/blogs/preside ... ion-values

--
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Hi
I saw your thread, and had a few questions. I'm in Gatineau.

I'm wondering if spray foam is a good idea in my case. It's a new house from 2013. Basement is "insulated" as follows : 15lbs black paper on the lower part of the basement wall. Framing 1.5-2 inches away, batt insulation, 6mil poly. No batt insulation on the bottom 2 feet.

Rim joists with batt insulation and 6 mil poly which of course cannot be airtight.

Is it a good idea to rip it all out and replace with foam? I have a contractor prepared do it for around 3800$ (1000 sq ft ish, + rim joists) with PolarFoam 7300.

He seems good, has his cards, can install according to the company (called them) but just wondering about installation warranty. He says he does not write any warranty on the bill, never did, and that the product is warrantied for life. No need to "worry"

Then I watched that damn CBC marketplace with talks about "removal guarantee". Do some suppliers provide that?

He says he puts big fans in the basement, shuts off the furnace, seals what need to be sealed (door as well), and therefore it is not necessary to leave the house if not going in the basement for the 24 hrs.... I think that makes sense.
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ck01 wrote:
Apr 19th, 2016 2:20 pm
Hi
I saw your thread, and had a few questions. I'm in Gatineau.

I'm wondering if spray foam is a good idea in my case. It's a new house from 2013. Basement is "insulated" as follows : 15lbs black paper on the lower part of the basement wall. Framing 1.5-2 inches away, batt insulation, 6mil poly. No batt insulation on the bottom 2 feet.

Rim joists with batt insulation and 6 mil poly which of course cannot be airtight.

Is it a good idea to rip it all out and replace with foam? I have a contractor prepared do it for around 3800$ (1000 sq ft ish, + rim joists) with PolarFoam 7300.

He seems good, has his cards, can install according to the company (called them) but just wondering about installation warranty. He says he does not write any warranty on the bill, never did, and that the product is warrantied for life. No need to "worry"

Then I watched that damn CBC marketplace with talks about "removal guarantee". Do some suppliers provide that?

He says he puts big fans in the basement, shuts off the furnace, seals what need to be sealed (door as well), and therefore it is not necessary to leave the house if not going in the basement for the 24 hrs.... I think that makes sense.
From what you describe it sounds like you just have the standard builder’s minimum code. They will only insulate to the frost line to save on costs. In my career I have only seen rim joist properly sealed with poly once! The gentleman cut extra pieces of 6 mil poly, overlapped each cavity and sealed it with acoustical sealant and red tuck tape.(this obviously took him a long time and he had very easily accessible rim joist). Personally I would replace it all with foam because not only will it out preform conventional insulation and save you money but also because of the health aspects. If you trap moisture in fibrous insulation it will stay there, eventually turning into mold and mildew. People nowadays convert basements into family/media rooms where they spend majority of their awake time at home whereas originally basements were creepy places used only for storage and scaring the children.

The price you got appears to be fair and you have the right material in mind (Polarfoam Soya). If the contractor is truly installing Polarfoam Soya, they must be a member of CUFCA. Every job done be a CUFCA certified company gets a 3 year $50,000 warranty on the foam. And yes the CBC Market Place episode is a wonderful comedy everyone should watch. That foam in the show was not CUFCA approved; furthermore it was NOT installed according to CAN/ULC 705.1 (the standards for installing spray applied rigid thermal insulation). So in that Market Place show two things went wrong: A cheaper product and, more importantly, the fact that they did not focus on at all was the contractor’s greed! That foam was installed too thick and too quick - I personally had my hands on samples from that house and you can clearly see that the CAN/ULC 705.1 standards were ignored.

As for foam removal, I do not know of installers that remove it too. Basically it would not make sense to pay a foam installer to do the grunt work of a laborer. If a job were to get really butchered then it would go through the installer’s insurance company and a demo crew would be hired for the work. Do not be afraid to ask for a valid copy of a $2,000,000 liability insurance slip before they start the job.

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Thank you! He is a member of CUFCA. I saw his valid card.
PeterLN wrote:
Apr 20th, 2016 11:13 am
From what you describe it sounds like you just have the standard builder’s minimum code. They will only insulate to the frost line to save on costs. In my career I have only seen rim joist properly sealed with poly once! The gentleman cut extra pieces of 6 mil poly, overlapped each cavity and sealed it with acoustical sealant and red tuck tape.(this obviously took him a long time and he had very easily accessible rim joist). Personally I would replace it all with foam because not only will it out preform conventional insulation and save you money but also because of the health aspects. If you trap moisture in fibrous insulation it will stay there, eventually turning into mold and mildew. People nowadays convert basements into family/media rooms where they spend majority of their awake time at home whereas originally basements were creepy places used only for storage and scaring the children.

The price you got appears to be fair and you have the right material in mind (Polarfoam Soya). If the contractor is truly installing Polarfoam Soya, they must be a member of CUFCA. Every job done be a CUFCA certified company gets a 3 year $50,000 warranty on the foam. And yes the CBC Market Place episode is a wonderful comedy everyone should watch. That foam in the show was not CUFCA approved; furthermore it was NOT installed according to CAN/ULC 705.1 (the standards for installing spray applied rigid thermal insulation). So in that Market Place show two things went wrong: A cheaper product and, more importantly, the fact that they did not focus on at all was the contractor’s greed! That foam was installed too thick and too quick - I personally had my hands on samples from that house and you can clearly see that the CAN/ULC 705.1 standards were ignored.

As for foam removal, I do not know of installers that remove it too. Basically it would not make sense to pay a foam installer to do the grunt work of a laborer. If a job were to get really butchered then it would go through the installer’s insurance company and a demo crew would be hired for the work. Do not be afraid to ask for a valid copy of a $2,000,000 liability insurance slip before they start the job.

--
Peter
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Hi Peter
I have received another quote from a Walltite Eco v3 installer, charging 2.80$+tx for R17 (2.7 inch) and 5.50$ for R24 (4 inches) for rim joists. He supposedly does just that. I noticed Walltite and CUFCA don't go together, but has (I did not see it) a Morrison Hershfield card.

His price is not bad I think. A bit above my Polarfoam guy who was charging 2.85$ +tx for 2.5 inch (about R17) but 4.20$+tx for 4 inch for rim joists. That guy I saw his CUFCA card and he's not, though, only a foam sprayer, but more of a general contractor. Does not mean he does not do things right though.

It will all depend how many square feet they actually measure when they come make an estimate. If they measure the same thing, Polar foam will end up cheaper.

Of course the ECO walltite guy was saying his product was the best... and he, contrary to the other one, really insisted about leaving the house 24 hrs. Also mentioned he provides for "warranty purposes" the bill and also a sheet that I keep but also goes to BASF, with the result of a test. However, the test is taken in only one spot.

Any insight?

PeterLN wrote:
Apr 20th, 2016 11:13 am

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ck01 wrote:
Apr 21st, 2016 6:07 pm
Hi Peter
I have received another quote from a Walltite Eco v3 installer, charging 2.80$+tx for R17 (2.7 inch) and 5.50$ for R24 (4 inches) for rim joists. He supposedly does just that. I noticed Walltite and CUFCA don't go together, but has (I did not see it) a Morrison Hershfield card.

His price is not bad I think. A bit above my Polarfoam guy who was charging 2.85$ +tx for 2.5 inch (about R17) but 4.20$+tx for 4 inch for rim joists. That guy I saw his CUFCA card and he's not, though, only a foam sprayer, but more of a general contractor. Does not mean he does not do things right though.

It will all depend how many square feet they actually measure when they come make an estimate. If they measure the same thing, Polar foam will end up cheaper.

Of course the ECO walltite guy was saying his product was the best... and he, contrary to the other one, really insisted about leaving the house 24 hrs. Also mentioned he provides for "warranty purposes" the bill and also a sheet that I keep but also goes to BASF, with the result of a test. However, the test is taken in only one spot.

Any insight?
I don’t really have anything bad to say about Walltite Eco, after all it’s a good product and would be my second choice after Plarfoam. Everyone will tell you their Product is the best but the way to check is on the technical data sheets of each product which I have discussed in the past. If you do go ahead with the Walltite then just make sure V3 is written on the drum and not V2. Also I am not 100% sure of Morision Hersfeild Warranty is or the amount they cover; I do know that CUFCA is the industry leader.

In the end what it comes down to is not beating down the installer for the best price but your comfort level with them, the product they use and their ability. The one guy might not be only focused on spray foam but might be the guy doing the actual work. All too often I hear of slick/flashy salesmen representing a company and a very questionable crew showing up to do the work. I would be asking about experience and who will be the one who has the spray foam gun in hand (spray foam is not a typical trade, we are actually your onsite thermal plastic manufacturing team). I am not trying to scare you off from the process just do your reasurch and follow your gut instinct.

--
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Hi,

I am currently doing a full reno in Mississauga (3 floors), but its a back split. I would estimate the house is about 2000 sq ft. Built in 1975 so it had no insulation.

We gutted the whole house, re-framed and just finished electrical and plumbing. Next step is insulation and drywall.

I know it might be hard to give online, put roughly, what would the cost to spray foam be? ceilings too since we raised the main floor to 10'.

I think i'd like the 2lbs spray foam.

Thanks,
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I cant give you a price but contact these guys - http://www.foamit.ca

I used to work for them and they are pretty good and good reviews.
ekcivichb wrote:
Apr 28th, 2016 9:16 am
Hi,

I am currently doing a full reno in Mississauga (3 floors), but its a back split. I would estimate the house is about 2000 sq ft. Built in 1975 so it had no insulation.

We gutted the whole house, re-framed and just finished electrical and plumbing. Next step is insulation and drywall.

I know it might be hard to give online, put roughly, what would the cost to spray foam be? ceilings too since we raised the main floor to 10'.

I think i'd like the 2lbs spray foam.

Thanks,
0_o
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sickcars wrote:
Apr 28th, 2016 9:29 am
I cant give you a price but contact these guys - http://www.foamit.ca

I used to work for them and they are pretty good and good reviews.

Ok thanks. Will do.

I know its hard to price out online, don't expect anything firm, but was just looking for ballpark. Is it $3000-$5000 or $10,000-$15,000?

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