Thursday, June 23, 2011

More Insulation

On Thursday of last week, we had visitors from an another planet. At least that's what they looked like once they had donned their gear.  This is how the visitation came about.

Earlier this year, Scott spent three days installing tons of cellulose insulation in the ceiling of the main part of our house. Now that we were nearly ready to raise the straw bale walls, we needed to get the insulation into the ceiling of the kitchen on the north and the sunroom on south sides of the house. Our architect planned for us to use nine inches of Owens Corning Pink Panther rigid foam. That would have involved many, many hours of cutting sheets to size, gluing them in place and then filling any remaining gaps with expandable foam. That's the yellow foam dispensed from spray cans. If you've had even a little experience with the stuff, you know it's a lot like silly string gone mad. Plus, all of this work would have been the overhead sort that is so "fun" to do.

Since Scott had had such a positive experience with the blown-in cellulose insulation, he thought we might be able to use it in the remaining ceiling spaces as well. Unfortunately, when we presented this idea to our architect, Wayne confirmed Scott's fear that moisture condensation could be a problem. Wayne suggested we look into icynene insulation instead.

We had never heard of icynene, but with a little research and a few phone calls we learned that it is a foam insulation which is sprayed over the area we wish to insulate - our kitchen and sunroom ceilings. Once sprayed it expands and fills in every single void it can in just a few seconds. This creates a very tightly sealed space. Icynene is made from a friendly material, castor bean oil. If we were looking for LEED certification for our house, it could also contribute points for that certification. You can learn more at

The deal sealers for us were that using icynene would mean we wouldn't have to cut all of that rigid foam and then do all of that work over our heads. Plus it was less expensive than Pink Panther foam and gave us better insulation value for our money. We were sold and that is why aliens showed up in Torrey last week.

Edwin and Juan arrive.
This is their product.
This is what a room looks like before foam insulation is applied.
Juan encloses this space with plastic.
This room is ready for insulation.
All of their equipment is covered with protective duct tape.
Even their shoes...
Edwin and Juan must each wear a respirator during the application.
Edwin is completely protected in this suit. He has also wrapped his head in plastic wrap to prevent even the smallest molecule of liquid foam from entering his nose, mouth and eyes.
Edwin pushing a ladder in place.
Edwin applying foam to the ceiling.
Edwin applying more foam to the ceiling.
Foam insulation is in place and Juan is cleaning up.
A close-up of the foam insulation.
This entire room is done.
Edwin and Juan give a thumbs up.
Not only can the foam be used for insulation, but it can also make a great party hat!

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