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Home | Chemistry and Innovation | Ty Pennington Chooses Spray Foam
Ty Pennington opted to use the latest in spray foam technology in his own home.
Ty Pennington opted to use the latest in spray foam technology in his own home.

Ty Pennington Chooses Spray Foam

When insulating his own home, Ty Pennington selected spray polyurethane foam with the latest NextGen improvements.

By Jen Kramer

Famed for hollering, “Move that bus!” to reveal beautifully made-over homes to deserving families on his Emmy-Award-winning television show, “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” Ty Pennington recently had the chance to yell his famous catchphrase to reveal his own home. Actually, the circumstances were more in keeping with his NextGenHomeTV.com program, “The NextGen First to the Future Project,” as Pennington constructed his new-build, 6,500-square-foot Florida home with the latest in cutting-edge, energy-efficient technology. He wanted to continue the trend of high-tech savings – both economic and environmental – with his insulation. Given the home’s location, he also wanted something that would withstand the Florida coast’s mercurial weather. And, most importantly, he wanted to use a product that would ensure that the interior air quality was the very best that it could be.

When asked about his choice, Pennington explains that he had already turned to spray foam for use in a very important house: “For me, its personal. I grew up with my mother suffering from asthma, so I built her home with spray foam to help ensure that the air quality of the home is the best it can be.” Naturally, when it came time to build his own home, he again placed a premium on air quality and turned to a known product for help.

Working in the construction industry, Pennington knew that spray polyurethane foam would provide the answers to his insulation needs. As he explains, “I’ve been in construction for many years, starting as a carpenter back in the day. We built hundreds of homes on ‘Extreme Makeover,’ in front of millions of people. Besides being personally committed to quality, it was the only way to build and build right, especially with some of the personal challenges our families were experiencing. Often, Lapolla spray foam provided the solution needed that the other technologies could not.”

Given his history with spray foam, and his penchant for cutting-edge construction technology, it is not surprising that Pennington decided to use Lapolla’s Foam-Lok™ 2000 4G featuring Honeywell’s Solstice® LBA – the NextGen in foam.

Foam-Lok™ 2000 4G with the Solstice® LBA technology represented the greenest, most advanced foam on the market – Pennington’s absolute “NextGen” insulation solution. In fact, at the time of application, the technology was so cutting-edge that Pennington’s home would be the first large-scale installation.

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Lapolla was the first manufacturer in the industry to launch a product, Foam-Lok™ 2000 4G, containing the Solstice® liquid blowing agent. Both Lapolla and Honeywell describe key features of the Solstice® LBA as including an ultra-low global warming potential (GWP) of 1; improved thermal performance; a slightly lower molecular weight so less can be used in a system; and a higher boiling point combined with lower vapor pressure to improve handling and yield smoother surfaces. Further, Solstice® is not a VOC; is nonflammable; is listed on the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) inventory; and is listed under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program to replace O-zone depleting substances.

This means no more HFCs and a friendlier, more efficient foam. But would it be too good to be true?

It had performed superbly in small-scale trials, but how would the cutting-edge product handle when it came time to pull the triggers “in reality” for the home of a reality star?

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION!

Pete Scharf, the Managing Partner at BMP Spray Foam LLC, was Lapolla’s trusted Florida technician on the project. Scharf assembled a three-man crew for the six-day project. He admits that, although the act of spraying the house itself was fairly standard, the job itself was unique. “We were spraying new product for our main manufacturer’s spokesperson,” Scharf says. “There were people from Honeywell and Lapolla and there were cameras. It was a very busy jobsite.”

Fortunately, Scharf’s crew is seasoned and did not let the pressure rattle them.

“We had almost 18,000 square feet to spray, so we got right to it.”

Since the house was new construction, there was no landscaping to worry about. The BMP crew was able to pull their rigs right up to the house for easier access.

Once all of the windows had been masked, the crew donned their Lapolla-branded Tyvek coveralls, goggles, and North-brand respirators (cartridge or fresh air depending).

“The house is a split level – part frame and part block,” Scharf explains. “We sprayed the closed-cell 4G onto the wood roof deck, the wood frame walls, and the lower floor block walls.”

The closed-cell Foam-Lok™ 2000 4G is EPA-approved to provide an integral component of a “systems approach” to building envelope construction. The 4G is designed to minimize heat transfer, moisture gain, air leakage, and to improve racking strength.

In the interior, to create the completely sealed air barrier that Pennington desired, the crew applied Lapolla’s open-cell Foam-Lok™ FLX 500 to the walls and ceilings. As an ignition barrier, the open-cell insulation was top coated with Lapolla’s Fire-Lok.

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“We used both our Graco H-25 Reactor and our Graco E-30 on this project,” says Scharf. “We also used Fusion guns – a Clear Shot for the closed-cell and an air-purge for the combo.”

But how did the 4G foam spray through those guns?

“At first, the speed at which it expanded was slower than we were used to,” Scharf responds. “But we quickly adjusted, and because it expands a little slower than some other systems, it was easier to control. It worked really well, especially on the framed walls. The consistency was great. It sprayed the same from the first pull all the way through to the last.”

MOVE THAT BUS!

Perhaps most importantly, given the attention paid to the project, Scharf adds, “The crew liked working with the foam and there were no problems.”

And the home’s famous owner? Now that some time has passed, is he still happy with his NextGen choice or is it time for an Extreme Makeover?

“Although the air quality, in my personal case, was the priority, all of the other benefits were immediately evident. The comfort and energy efficiency have made a huge impact on my home. Every home has warm spots, or cold spots, often near the common walls to attics or garages. Lapolla spray foam has stopped that from happening in my house in every possible situation,” Pennington states. •

Photos credit of Diana Simonetta and Lapolla Industries, Inc.