Spray Foam Insulation Protects Tennessee Homeowners from Harsh Winter Temperatures
By Juan SagarbarriaAs the grueling wintertime sets in, homeowners are reminded that building their homes with robust, energy-efficient insulation allows them to stay one step ahead of the weather. The residents from Jackson, Tennessee have been motivated to take proper steps to stay warm since meteorological forecasts suggests that this winter will bring Jackson 50 percent more snow than usual. One Jackson family decided that having optimal insulation protecting the envelope of their newly constructed home would be an effective shield from the fierce temperatures of the season. Moreover, they wanted to be comfortable inside their home without overburdening their HVAC equipment.
During the planning process, Fisher Construction Company, the builder, educated the homeowners on the benefits of spray foam insulation that directly fit with their energy-saving goals. Upon the homeowners’ nod, Fisher Construction brought in Apex Building Co. for the spray foam insulation installation, which consisted of applying SPF in the attic and to the exterior walls. Hunter Clement, project manager of the Apex crew, noted that the homeowners’ ultimate goal was to offset their heating and cooling costs and they learned that spray foam could provide that and more. Clement explained that the homeowners wanted to winterize their home and deemed the SPF installation a long-term investment.
“We understood that they wanted the kind of energy efficiency that leads to low utility bills,” said Hunter. “We knew we could come in and give them just that with spray foam. It’s an easy decision for homeowners who become educated on SPF’s benefits.”
The crew prepped the home before proceeding with the SPF project. Since the HVAC units had already been installed in the attic prior to the foam application, the Apex crew carefully protected the mechanical units with plastic sheeting to avoid overspray damage. The crew also masked off the furnace, the air handler, and the windows. Additionally, the crew draped plastic on the floor surface of the designated spray area to mitigate overspray damage.
The interior doors were not yet installed, so they opened all exterior doors to allow for plenty of ventilation for the Apex crew. Furthermore, the crew placed boxed fans around the house to provide added ventilation throughout the home. The crew wore PPE that included Tyvek suits and full-face respirators through the duration of the project. While working in the attic, the crewmembers utilized supplied-air respirators. The crew also erected Baker scaffolding to get to the attic and the higher areas of the exterior walls. With a Graco H-25 proportioner and 310 feet of hose, the crew was able to apply foam in the higher areas of the home with ease.
The foam application included the use of two different brands of foam: Icynene’s Classic Max open-cell foam for the attic and Gaco Western 052N open-cell foam for the exterior wall application. According to Clement, applying 0.5 lb., water-blown Classic Max foam to attic assemblies, where space is limited to occupants, is beneficial because no ignition barrier is required. The crew used a Graco Fusion air-purge gun to install 7.5 inches of foam to the underside of the roof deck assembly and gable ends of the home.
“We typically use Classic Max for the areas that will be left exposed,” said Clement. “It is always important to approach each spray foam application with a high degree of safety consciousness.”
For the exterior walls, the crew installed 3.5 inches of Gaco 052N foam between the cavities. Clement said that the use of 0.5 lb. Gaco 052N was Apex’s preferred choice for the exterior wall application due to its high yielding properties. Between both applications, the total spray area totaled 10,800 square feet.
“It’s no secret that open-cell spray foam is a cost-effective solution, but it is also unbelievably efficient in residential applications,” said Clement. “These two types of foams working together to seal the envelope and create a monolithic air barrier is a long-lasting and winning combination.”
The two-man Apex team was able to complete the SPF application, at which point the drywall was installed. The home gradually came together to provide its owners with the utmost indoor comfort during what is forecasted to be one of Jackson’s coldest winters to date.
“We were told that they were really impressed by the quality of the insulation and that they are very satisfied with their choice,” said Clement. “Spray foam is the right choice. Basically, the investment you make today will pay dividends regarding energy savings in the long run. More than just savings, these homeowners are going to experience a stable air quality home, which improves the overall standard of living. It’s a good feeling to know that Apex helped provide that for them.” •
Photos Courtesy of Apex Building Co.