Foam

One of the goals of this phase of the renovation is to tighten up the house and step towards a more energy efficient home. We chose open cell foam insulation to fill the void between the roof substrate and the interior finishes. It will fill in between the rafters and give us a well insulated cozy home. With the bulk of the framing behind us, it was time for the foamers to come invade the house. Let me preface these next statements with this one final thought. Foam insulation is great! It yields a wonderful sound and air tight space. The process to get to the finished result is not so great.  If this was being done on a vacant home then by all means proceed ahead. For one like ours that is occupied by two people, a dog and some fish it isn’t so great. Maintaining Matt’s home office environment was next to impossible. We both ended up taking days off to deal with the homelessness.

Basically, there are a couple of chemicals that combine together in midstream while being sprayed into place and initially cure in a matter of 20 seconds or so.  If you have ever used “Great Stuff” in a can to fill a void it is very similar times 5. So let me walk you through the process. First a crew of 5 of so descend upon your home. They plastic wrap and tape up everything you don’t want to have oversprayed. This stuff gets everywhere. Then they pull back any loose insulation around the exterior edges of the house that was already in place so they can get the foam down to the sill plate. The chemicals get delivered through a series of hoses and nozzles. It is a toxic, smelly and messy job.  The workers are all in protective gear with respirators. The part that we had the most difficult time with was leaving the house. We abandoned the home for a less smelly environment as we were directed. It was the most unpleasant part of the renovation to date. The crew worked diligently but was unable to finish the entire attic in one day. They finished the work early on the second day. With every window and door open for full ventilation, we were able to sleep in our home on the second night.

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Once the foam goes through its initial cure. Then it is shaved even with the rafters in places that will act as a support for finishes, plasterboard in our case.

20140420-0105 20140420-0168The product does its job as advertised. But homeowners must be ready to evacuate during the work and for 24 – 48 hours after the spraying stops. While the toxic part of the curing process is over relatively quick. The smell is present for up to 30 days after the job is complete. On certain days I can still catch a whiff of the foam. I would recommend taking a long vacation while this process ventilates.

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