Keane Insulation Installed Spray Foam Insulation To Renovate An Aging Building Used To Store Sweet Potatoes
By Juan Sagarbarria
Sweet potatoes beget delicious fries and chips, and also constitute the main ingredient of the staple cassarole at many a Thanksgiving table. But in between their harvest and consumption, sweet potatoes must be stored before they are processed. While stored, the quality of the sweet potato can be compromised if the environment is not maintained at the ideal temperature. Bateman Produce Farms, one of the largest producers of sweet potatoes in the country, faced this particular problem.
With over 100 years of farming, Bateman operates several buildings around North Carolina’s Chowan County: barns and storage spaces that are filled up with containers of sweet potatoes during the harvest. One of these buildings, which was one of Bateman’s main holding houses for the sweet potatoes, became unsound over the years and was in dire need of maintenance. This metal sheet building had been constructed and insulated with spray foam circa 1970. The building performed supremely for 40 years before its exterior metal sheeting began to rust. To remedy its deterioration, the owner gave the green light for rejuvenating the 60-foot x 30-foot building; a project that included the reapplication of spray polyurethane foam.
The initial phase of the project entailed stripping the exterior metal sheeting from the building and scraping the metal purlins and stud areas clean. After the exterior metal sheeting was removed, the building was successfully re-skinned with new metal sheeting prior to the insulation phase of the project. The project manager brought in Keane Insulation for the installation, which involved spraying closed-cell SPF to seal the building envelope.
“The owner wanted to maintain the temperature at 65 degrees in order to keep the sweet potatoes fresh,” said Keane Insulation’s Neil Keane. “The trick was to be able to produce an insulated environment that didn’t need as much energy consumption in order to keep that temperature consistent throughout the day. Since more people in the construction industry now know about spray foam, the owner and the project manager knew this to be the best option to retain the desired temperature and to boost the overall performance of the building.”
The two-man Keane crew was meticulous in protecting the site from overspray damage. They used plastic sheeting to cover the concrete floors, the main beams, the doors, and a six-fan system that was located on the corner of the building.
The crew also draped plastic sheeting over wiring that had been left hanging for a future HVAC system installation and placed blue tape in all of the outlets. They also sectioned off their spraying areas as the job progressed to mitigate overspray damage around the building.
“It is always important to consider what’s around you when you’re going to have foam coming out of the spray gun at over 1,000 psi,” said Keane. “So, when it comes to prepping a site, I essentially create a paint booth to keep the foam from going everywhere and sticking to everything. You only want the foam to go where you want it to go. Spray foaming is 70 percent prep and 30 percent spray.”
In addition to overspray damage protection, the Keane crew also constructed a scaffolding system to access the roof, which was 18 feet high from the bottom of the building.
The crew spent a day and a half prepping the site before the foam installation commenced. They wore PPE consisting of 3M 6000 series full-face respirators, Tyvek suits, and gloves. For ventilation, the crew kept the building’s two main entrances open and had a 1,200 CFM fan blowing fresh air in and exhaust out.
During the SPF application, the Keane crew utilized two sets of Foamsulate 210, a closed-cell spray polyurethane foam formulated by Premium Spray Products. They applied two inches of foam to the roof deck and one inch to the exterior walls in between the studs, overlapping the density of foam in the joint areas where the roofline came together with the wall. The total spray area for the foam application amassed 9,000 board feet.
”The spray foam system that was in place gave the building great insulation for 40 years… I’m confident this new system will last a lot longer than that.” – Neil Keane, KEANE INSULATION •
“There was an area between the roofline sheathing to the wall sheathing of 60 feet that I had to bridge by spraying three inches of foam,” said Keane. “This was done to ensure that any seams created over time were completely eliminated and a monolithic seal was created.”
The crew had one rig on site equipped with a Graco H-25 proportioner and a Graco Fusion ClearShot spray gun. It took the crew about three days to complete the application, which provided the building with first-rate, energy-efficient insulation that will effectively maintain Bateman’s stock in an optimal climate for many sweet potato harvests to come.
“Projects like this one certainly put things into perspective of what spray foam can accomplish since you can bring a building back to life for half the price of an actual tear down,” said Keane. The spray foam system that was in place gave the building great insulation for 40 years… I’m confident this new system will last a lot longer than that.”
For more information, please visit www.keaneinsulation.com. •
Photos Courtesy of Keane Insulation