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A Sweet Duet

SPF insulation and a Tiny Home combine in a symphony of savings for a world-renowned musician.

By Jen Kramer

The tiny home trend is sweeping the nation. According to the U.S. Census, the average size of an American home is 2,600 square feet, while the average size of a tiny home is 500 square feet. That’s a noticeable difference. A difference that capitalizes on a desire, not only to downsize, but to de-clutter, to simplify, and for many, to live with creativity rather than accumulation. Tiny house advocates are passionate about their small spaces, maintaining that they still live in total comfort, despite – or perhaps because of – the “coziness.” As one spray polyurethane foam crew proved on a popular television program, this comfort comes, in part, from SPF.

Tiny House Nation

Airing on the FYI™ Channel at 9/8 central on Saturday, “Tiny House Nation” follows renovation experts and hosts John Weisbarth and Zack Giffin as they travel across America to show off ingenious small spaces and the inventive people who live in them. During the course of each episode, Weisbarth and Giffin, and teams of local contractors, help families design, build, and downsize into tiny homes – each no larger than 500 square feet. The popularity of this trend is highlighted by the fact that the show consistently ranks as the network’s top-rated program in the home programming space.

A recent episode featured the use of Icynene’s spray polyurethane foam insulation. Daniel Krummen, the General Manager of Arkansas Insulation, was the contractor who participated in the installation. As it turned out, the fact that the job was being filmed for a television show wasn’t the project’s only brush with fame. As Krummen says, “The home’s owner is a famous musician, Asha Mevlana.”

Asha_Violin

Mevlana explains her decision to build a downsized base on the East Coast: “I am a professional musician and travel quite a bit for work and for fun. After years of traveling and living out of a suitcase, I wanted a place to call ‘home’ but didn’t want a crazy mortgage. Having a tiny house seemed like the perfect option. I have lived in NYC for many years and I am used to living in small spaces, so going tiny didn’t seem like too far of a stretch for me.”

This wasn’t a decision that she made lightly. In spite of her busy schedule, Mevlana was very involved with the design and construction of her tiny home – wanting it to be as efficient as possible. This ultimately led to spray polyurethane foam insulation. As she recounts, “I did a lot of research before building my tiny house and many of my friends who had built houses recommended spray foam. What I like about spray foam is that you get more insulation for less space. And in a tiny house, space is a huge commodity. So the less space the insulation takes up, the more room for other things. We were also on a really quick timeline and turnaround for the build. Spray foam is much quicker to put in and is much less messy, which was very appealing to me. I also love that spray foam lasts indefinitely compared to regular insulation, which loses its value over time. And while it can be more expensive than regular insulation, I have found out through the building process there is a greater R-Value for less space and you end up saving on energy costs over time.”

And so, the cutting-edge musician collaborated with “Tiny House Nation,” Icynene, and Arkansas Insulation – among other companies – to design and build the tiny house of her dreams.

Tiny House, Huge Innovation

“The home was a new build, on a concrete slab foundation,” explains Krummen. Some tiny homes are mobile, but this one is located right on a corner lot of a beautiful, tree-lined street. “The construction was standard. Traditional framing, OSB wood stud walls.”

To maximize space, the floor plan is open, with a loft bedroom upstairs.

He continues, “The specifications called for three inches of closed-cell spray foam on the exterior walls, three inches on the crawl space floor, and five and a half inches on the ceiling.”

Tiny-Spray

The three-man crew was able to pull their rig right up to the tiny house and get started.

“When we arrived, there were no other trades on-site, we just had to pay attention to the cameraman. We had to make a point to tell him that he could not be in the building while we were spraying, especially because the house is so small. It has two access points, but we were not going to run any risks. Nobody but our crew was allowed in the building while we were actively spraying,” Krummen says.

This potential problem for the film crew; however, was easily solved. “The cameraman set up the camera and covered it with a camera box and lens cover when we were spraying.”

Tiny_Living Room

First, the Arkansas Insulation crew prepped the windows, floor, loft area, and stairs – protecting them from overspray. Then, after putting on their Tyvek suits, 3M respirators, and nitrile gloves, they began the foam insulation installation.

Using a Graco H-25 Reactor and Fusion gun, they spray-applied Icynene’s ProSeal closed-cell, low-VOC SPF to the specified thicknesses. With a higher initial pass of three-inches, ProSeal achieves R-21 in one pass, making it perfect not only for a tiny space, but also for a project with a quick turnaround time, while also providing the crucial high R-Value that Mevlana desired. Additionally, the low VOC content allows for re-entry in one hour, and re-occupancy in two hours – important factors when you are trying to follow a tight television production deadline, as well as a tight construction schedule.

ProSeal is also air impermeable and a Class II vapor retarder at 1.5 inches. This means that in spite of its small size, this house has mighty air and vapor barriers – thanks to spray polyurethane foam.

Krummen chuckles when he says, “The house was so small and we were able to park so close that we only had to run out about 50 feet of hose to do the job.”

Small House, Big Love For Foam

“Although it was on a smaller scale,” Krummen says, “Generally speaking, this was a normal spray. There was nothing odd to spray. It just happened to be for a famous lady on a TV show.”

Tiny_Kitchen

What does that famous lady think?

When asked, Mevlana enthuses, “I am so glad I went tiny and am completely in love with my new house!”

NOTE: Tiny House Nation airs on FYI™ at 9/8 central on Saturday. It is produced for FYI by Loud Television LLC. This episode is #405. For more information on Asha Mevlana visit: www.ashamevlanamusic.com.

For more information, please visit www.arkansasinsulation.com and www.icynene.com.

Photos courtesy of “Tiny House Nation”/FYI Channel and Asha Mevlana •