In the heart of Downtown Minneapolis, a new luxury high rise takes spray foam to new height
By: Jourdan Porter
In Minneapolis, Minnesota lies the downtown district of the metropolitan area, full of bustling business men and women, construction crews building sky-scrapers that fill the horizon, and historic nightclubs and theaters that entertain the nightlife scene. As the larger of the two Twin Cities, Minneapolis is the primary business center between Chicago and Seattle, so for those who do not mind noise, but do mind a long commute to work, it is a prime spot to reside in. Recently, a 17-story high rise apartment building named HQ Apartments, located two blocks away from the U.S. Bank football stadium, was developed for luxury downtown living. Yet, with temperatures that range from below zero to above 100 degrees during the year, it was imperative that the general contractors, Kraus-Anderson Construction (KAC), found an insulation material that could withstand these extreme environmental conditions.
Having used spray polyurethane foam (SPF) before, the HQ Apartments’ developers knew SPF would be the leading product to ensure comfortable living spaces, energy efficiency, as well as minimize the noise level that derives from city life. In order to get the job done, they brought in Olympic Companies, Inc. (OC), who had previously worked with KAC before on many projects. Assured that OC would deliver a topnotch job, they were hired to install the framing, sheathing, spray foam insulation, and the dry wall for the project.
As there were separate crews from the OC team for each installation during the 10-month-long project, the first OC crew built the 17- story building structure from a six-inch steel stud material. Once the formation was stable, a second OC group was brought in to install two-inch Dow THERMAX sheathing as the substrate.
The fireproof properties of the Dow THERMAX foam boards provide a thermal barrier to the structure and are designed to have a Class A fire rating. To ensure there were no open joints in the sheathing, the men sealed all penetrations with tape and caulk. Once this was done, it was time to foam.
First, the third OC spray crew, consisting of two crewmemebers, prepped the work site by masking off the windows, fixtures, and plumbing that had previously been installed to mitigate overspray damage. Since many other crews were working in the building at the same time, the OC team made sure to mark off their work site with red tape and “Warning” signage to caution others to keep out of the area. Individuals from other trades who were close to the application site wore respirators as an extra safety precaution. The OC group wore protective suits and 3M half-mask respirators at all times, as well as safety harnesss to have complete fall protection in place whenever close to an edge.
Beginning the 80,000 square-foot SPF job in the wintertime, the crew had to endure the transition of harsh winter months into the chilly spring season. These environmental elements required the team to maintain warm surface areas and temperatures of the foam at all times, logging the results three times a day, in order to ensure proper adhesion. The OC crew sprayed 2.5 inches of Dow STYROFOAM CM 2030 closed-cell foam with a Graco E-30 reactor in each of the 306 apartments. Proper cross-ventilation was provided using industrial fans to bring new air in and exhaust large amounts of air out of the building.
“Spray foam was the best insulation product to use for this project because the longevity of the cost effective material. The individuals who will live in these apartments, will be already paying to heat or cool their living spaces, and the Dow closed-cell foam will help keep that temperature at a constant flow, while reducing their energy costs,” explains OC’s Mark Cardoni.
Following the SPF application, the fourth OC crew was brought in to install dry wall as the final step of the construction phase of the project. As long-time proponents of spray foam insulation, Kraus-Anderson Construction were more than happy with the final result. So much that they have decided to use OC once again to provide the same services in another building next door to the 17-floor high rise. Looks like spray foam brings more than buildings and homes together, it brings people together too.