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Spray Applied Foam Keeps the Weather Outside

Spray Applied Foam

By: Ben Skoog ~ 509.999.3243 ~ sunvekwa.com

 

Conventional batt, loose-fill, or board insulation, just cannot stack up against closed cell spray foam insulation. When insulation is tested for it’s R-value, the process is completed in a laboratory setting at a mean temperature of 75 degrees without wind, humidity, or thermal bridging as a factor. A single factor in describing thermal resistance isn’t fair. It would be kind of similar to selling a truck based on a single test. Pick one of them… safety, horsepower, torque, speed, efficiency… can a single number accurately rate the vehicle’s performance?

Convection in all the wrong places

Spray foam completely seals the wall cavity, where fiberglass and blown in insulation leaves gaps for energy loss.

One of the biggest factors in energy loss is air movement. Remember when Mom or Dad would get mad when you left the door open, saying “What, are we heating the neighborhood now?!”? This is what happens to most walls in buildings now. Small gaps between your insulation and substrate (the underlying layer) creates convective loops within the insulated cavity. On a warm day the substrate warms up and heats the void within the cavity, causing the air to rise and bring in dust, pollen, and other nasty particles from outside. Many have seen old fiberglass or loose-filled insulation during a remodel. Due to convective heat loops within the wall cavity, it is typically full of dust, pollen, mold or other unpleasant particles that have been brought in from outside. As the heated air gets to the top of the wall cavity, it cools and falls down the other side, creating what is called a convective loop. This happens year round, except in reverse on a cold day. All conventional insulation materials used today can experience this, except spray applied foam insulation. Foamed in place insulation is applied directly to the substrate and cannot possibly allow for a convective loop to develop around it.


No one likes a draft

Wind pressure is a powerful force that can reduce the r-value of an unsealed wall. Wind forces itself through gaps of the exterior wall and sifts through the insulation into your building. The r-value of an unsealed wall can drop dramatically, up to 50% of advertised r-value! When foam is sprayed in place, it bridges and seals gaps or holes, thereby creating an airtight seal in your wall.


Condensation formed on the bottom side of the metal roof deck has saturated this fiberglass insulation.

Mugged by mugginess

Moisture and humidity can reduce your r-value. When conventional systems get wet, serious reductions to the efficacy of the insulation can result. Spray polyurethane foam is a closed cell, thermoset plastic. 2 inches of closed cell foam classifies as a vapor barrier. In environments that experience higher humidity, spray foam is the only way to go. Even foam board cannot compete with a manufactured in place foam system. Consider a small gap or hole in a foam board system (perhaps from mechanical fasteners) this can allow for humid air to get behind and cause corrosion or unhealthy environments to survive. While it can be possible to create an air-tight board insulation system, sprayed in place foam is bonded to the substrate and cannot allow for air/moisture infiltration. Mechanical fasteners of a board insulation system represent a lot of thermal bridges, which lowers it’s r-value. In most cases, a home with closed cell insulation that has been flooded, only needs drywall replaced.


It’s not a level playing field

Conventional insulation has it’s limits. These issues have been known for a long time and building codes are designed around them. In order to mitigate energy loss through air movement, air barriers are installed. In order to mitigate convective loops, floating exterior wall panels or board insulation can help keep the substrate cooler. R-value codes have been established, but it isn’t fair to foam. At only 3 inches (R19.2) closed cell foam is already 95% effective at stopping heat flow. This is because the convective loop and humidity values are inherently eliminated from the equation without mitigation. Yet foam is expected to comply with antiquated R-value data. Some building codes require an r-value of up to R42 (6.5 inches of closed cell foam). Super cooled freezers are known to be insulated with 5-6 inches of closed cell foam on the ceiling and 4 on the walls. NASA used spray foam for insulating the liquid fuel tank of the space shuttle. Light, durable, and only 1 inch, it helped keep the contents cool and stable for launch. Conventional systems just cannot compare!


It’s all about how it’s applied

All of our applicators are well trained to give you a top quality product the first time around! Got Foam?

A big factor in choosing spray foam insulation is to choose a qualified applicator. Spray foam is manufactured in place rather than off site, and then installed. For a quality job, it is imperative to choose a contractor who follows good manufacturing practices. Ensure the company you choose has extensive experience in the field and/or has industry certifications. Spray foam has a higher initial investment, however, it comes back in excellent energy savings and is a permanent solution. A spray foam insulated building is comfortable, draft free and quiet. Sunvek is committed to ensuring you will receive a job well installed. Keep the weather outside, choose Sunvek!

Sunvek also installs spray foam roof systems. We guarantee you will be satisfied with the superior efficiency of our spray foam insulation and roofing systems. We have over 30 years of experience in the industry and a dedication to a job well done. Our roofing systems come with a free annual roof inspection. We believe in taking a proactive approach to ensure long lasting service.


Benefits of closed cell spray foam insulation include:

  • Healthier living (Allergens aren’t brought in from outside, mold cannot form from moisture condensation in walls.)
  • Structural rigidity (Closed cell foam is a sprayed in place thermoset plastic. It effectively bonds to the substrate, ‘gluing’ everything together.)
  • Permanent long term solution (Properly applied spray foam insulation will not lose dimensional stability, conventional insulation can sag or shrink.)
  • Closed cell foam is a vapor/air barrier (Closed cell foam will not allow air or moisture to pass through it.)
  • Spray foam bonds to it’s substrate (No thermal shorts or air leaks from fasteners.)
  • Rebates from energy companies

sunvekwa.com / linkedin.com/company/sunvek

Ben Skoog 509-999-3243 / Linkedin.com/in/finiteman

Josh Skoog 509-638-2282 / linkedin.com/in/josh-skoog-0760b5b6

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Common metal roofing problems in Spokane, Washington

To say there are a lot of metal roofs in Spokane, Washington would be an understatement.

Since the 60’s pre engineered metal buildings have been installed in Spokane, Washington at a high rate. Metal buildings are cheap, durable, low maintenance and can withstand harsh weather quite well. In one study, metal buildings have an average life expectancy of 77 years.

A old rusted and leaky metal roof in Spokane

Spokane metal roof

There are however, some downsides to the metal roofing on these buildings. The biggest downfall we have seen hasn’t been failures of fasteners, but condensation on the underside of the metal. Condensation occurs when the interior heated air contacts the colder metal and hits the dew point. The moisture will then gather on the underside of the metal and either “run” along the underside until it finds a drip point or soak into the insulation. In some cases where the metal building has blanket insulation, the insulation is squeezed between the framing and the metal roofing, virtually removing all insulative value. In addition, the fasteners used to secure the metal roofing create thermal shorts and allow for another condensation point. The end result is a poorly performing building envelope.

Fortunately, these problems can be fixed!

There are several ways to fix the problems associated with condensation, I will address the 3 I feel would work the best in no particular order.

  • Unheated attic space and insulating with blown in insulation.
  • Apply 2# closed cell spray foam insulation to the inside.
  • Apply 3# closed cell spray foam roofing to the exterior.
drop ceiling

Unheated attic space.

Depending upon the framing of your building, this method could be cheap or fairly expensive. If you have rafters, it would be quite simple to install drywall and blow in some insulation. If you have an open style ceiling this would be quite a bit more challenging and costly.

closed cell foam to metal

2# closed cell spray foam insulation to metal

2# closed cell foam also known as medium density foam can be applied directly to the underside of the exposed metal roof. As it is sprayed the foam will expand roughly 50 times its size, sealing all air leaks and thermal shorts. 2# spray foam has an average R Value of 6.5 per inch. This is a far superior insulation method than a drop ceiling.

Metal spray foam roof

3# closed cell spray foam roof

3# high density spray foam is fluid applied and rises approximately 30 times its size after it is sprayed on. This seals all seams, cracks and fasteners permanently creating a watertight seal. The foam is typically applied in 1/2″ to 1″ “lifts” to the desired thickness. A typical spray foam roof will be 1 1/2″ but can be applied as thick as necessary depending upon the needs and goals desired. Closed cell 3# spray foam has a R value of 6.5 per inch, giving the building tremendous energy savings. In fact, a typical spray foam roof has an average payback of 4.5 years. After the spray foam is applied, a UV protective coating is applied to protect the foam.

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Yearly inspection on a coated roof in Spokane, WA

Spokane Elastomeric Roof Coatings

Do elastomeric roof coatings in Spokane WA really work?

On Feburary 11, We inspected a elastomeric coated roof installed by Sunvek 3 years ago. Part of the original scope of work was to remove some old skylights, cover the holes with plywood and apply spray foam around and over the repaired area. In addition, we applied spray foam roofing to all perimeter walls where the original roofing had pulled away and created large cracking. The roof had a ponding area near the back, Sunvek applied spray foam in the ponding area to “build up” the area and reduce the ponding. 2 Coats of elastomeric coating at the rate of 1.5gal per 100ft were then applied. The work was completed in a timely manner with the owner (a local Spokane contractor) very pleased.

All of the spray foam has remained in place and no cracking has developed, also the old ponding area shows no signs of standing water and drains freely.

The coated roof is reported to be leak free and performing excellently. The owner can expect a lifespan of around 10-15 years before a recoat may be needed.

 

This particular elastomeric coated roof carries a 5 year labor warranty by Sunvek.

 

 

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