By Ryan SpencerIn the current business environment, you can’t afford to sit still. The spray foam industry is growing quickly and competition is increasing, all while the economy at large is plodding along, slowly but steadily upward. In a situation like this, complacency will lead to stagnation. Companies that make concerted efforts to improve and/or grow operations will be the ones that thrive. That sentiment isn’t relegated to just SPF contracting companies, but rather any contracting company that deals with insulation. On one hand, SPF contractors must always look to make their operation more efficient, while traditional insulators and weatherization specialists may seek to expand their services by bringing spray foam into the fold. In either case, a company can attain newfound success by choosing the right SPF system, a decision that can largely be dictated by application size and type. Low-pressure systems, whether in the form of disposable kits or high-performance units, provide insulation contractors with cost-effective options to profitably perform small and mid-sized jobs, respectively.
I want to have an air-sealing solution along with an insulation solution, but I hear about getting a high-pressure spray foam rig and the high cost of doing business.
This is a common line of thinking for traditional insulation and weatherization professionals who are considering spray foam. Their sentiments aren’t without merit, as a standard high-pressure spray foam rig can cost tens of thousands of dollars, and even reach six figures. Still, spray foam is all too enticing to pass up, and in many cases, a professional’s only option by which to offer SPF is to incorporate low-pressure foam systems into their operation.
“It’s the people who understand the value of insulating and air-sealing a home that want to take the next step forward,” says Convenience Products Vice President Eric Lowenstein.
The biggest advantages for low-pressure systems are the lower upfront and operating costs relative to high-pressure systems. Low-pressure systems can be transported in virtually any truck or utility vehicle, so there’s no need to buy a trailer or box truck, and additional equipment like generators or air dryers isn’t required. From an expense standpoint, low-pressure foam systems make it more affordable to enter the SPF market.
Beyond capital investments, contractors with high-pressure rigs must devote time for training, which can cover a broad range of topics from spray technique and safety to equipment operation and ongoing maintenance. With a low-pressure system, training is minimized to simply adhering to straightforward instructions that entail everything from setup to cleanup. As for safety, low-pressure delivery presents a lower risk of exposure and a significantly shorter reentry time than high-pressure delivery. With fewer hoops to jump through, professionals can focus on what matters most: installing effective insulation and air-sealing applications.
“What professionals tend to do on attic floors and in rim joists is a hybrid system by installing spray foam to air seal and getting the rest of the insulation value from batt or blown-in insulation,” says Lowenstein.
Hybrid insulation like flash-and-batt applications, which can be accomplished by using one of Touch ‘n Seal’s line of Foam Kits, show how low-pressure systems can enhance current service offerings. Moreover, low-pressure systems can also allow insulation professionals to expand their service offerings. For example, a contractor might utilize Touch ‘n Seal’s CPDS (Constant Pressure Dispensing System) to tap the encapsulated crawlspace market. Whatever route insulation professionals decide to take, new streams of revenue can open up simply by incorporating low-pressure foam systems.
I’ve already wrapped up a big project, and I don’t want to take my rig back for small touch ups.
Smaller jobs and touch-up work can be a nightmare for any current spray foam operation with a high-pressure rig, as operational costs can and will eat into profits. Sometimes this can be factored into a bid, and sometimes it can’t, but is it really better to just bite the bullet? Not when low-pressure foam systems can fit the needs of smaller projects.
A true one-size-fits-all solution is rare, even when considering a seemingly do-it-all product like spray foam. While high-pressure foam systems are the workhorses of the industry, they’re not without potential hang-ups. Specifically, the feasibility of high-pressure systems correlates directly with the size of a project: the bigger the project, the more feasible it is to operate a high-pressure system. Of course, not every project is going to be big enough to warrant a high-pressure rig, and the inevitability of touch-ups further compounds the issue. Low-pressure systems literally and figuratively fill those gaps.
For minor applications like re-sealing penetrations after wiring work, Foam Kits offer not only lower operating costs, but also enhanced portability. A single crewmember can bring a kit to a job site in a pickup and complete the work in a matter of hours. With minimal reentry times, it’s not out of the question that multiple touch-up jobs could be completed in the same day, if need be.
For mid-sized applications, there exists a gray area where a low-pressure kit is inadequate and a high-pressure rig is infeasible. Some examples: air-sealing a finished basement or insulating a new room addition. High-performance low-pressure systems like the CPDS offer a happy medium of affordability and capability that enable SPF professionals to better allocate resources. For instance, an SPF operation could delineate a high-pressure crew and a low-pressure crew to operate independently of one another, thereby completing major and minor projects simultaneously.
In the end, it’s really up to the insulation professional how they want to define the future of their business. Do they stick with the status quo, or do they opt for a new direction? With the latter decision, no matter what direction they go in, low-pressure systems provide a wide array of options for capturing opportunities in the spray foam market. •
Contact Touch ‘N Seal
Direct any questions you have about expanding your spray foam business with low-pressure foam to Touch ‘N Seal:
Phone: 1-800-325-6180 | Website: www.touch-n-seal.com
Photos Courtesy of Touch ‘N Seal