What I'm Seeing Now

head_left_image

Stopping Air Flow With Spray Foam - A Best Practice!

I see this very seldom - stopping air flow with spray foam - a best practice!

Slowly builders are coming around to the idea that spray foam over the rim joist helps a whole lot toward controlling temperatures between floors.  After all, the area between the floor and ceiling is a space that is typically not insulated.  Rim joists are insulated, but, in my opinion, badly, with a small piece of fiberglass poorly fitted into the space.  Air infiltration is common and poorly managed.

Since that area is so large, not controlling the temperatures in there will do a lot to affect the environment indoors, and the efficiency of any HVAC system.

Controlling air flow before it can get into the space is a huge contribution toward HVAC efficiency.

Spraying the rim joist in this way is, in my opinion, a Best Practice.  I have posted on this before.

Covering it with insulation afterward provides a great R-value in addition.

In a recent new construction inspection I saw something I have not seen before!

This is certainly a

 

Best Practice

 

I would love to see this catch on!

You are looking at part of the ceiling of a three-car garage.

What is the most frequent complaint in rooms over garages?

THEY ARE VERY COLD!  IT IS HARD TO HEAT THEM!

Over this garage is the master bedroom, master bathroom and a bonus room, separate with its own staircase.

The entirety of the underside of the sub flooring, and the rim joists, have been sprayed with icynene foam.

BUT THIS IS A VERY THIN COAT.  IT LOOKS TO BE ONLY ABOUT 1/2".

Icynene foam has an R-value of about 2.5 per inch.

So, obviously, this coating is not to lend much to the R-value under those rooms.

THIS THIN COAT IS INTENDED ENTIRELY TO CONTROL AIR FLOW.  OVER THIS WILL BE THICK, BATT FIBERGLASS, WHICH WILL CONTRIBUTE AN R-VALUE OF 30 TO THE SPACE.

This is a builder/architect/designer thinking ahead! 

Icynene foam is very expensive if sprayed to a depth intended to provide sufficient R-value. 

But as a thin coat, combined with fiberglass, an EXCELLENT thermal barrier is provided and much more cheaply!

This was impressive to see and explain to my clients.  I even complimented the supervisor when he stopped by on this fabulous

 

Best Practice

 

Again, I hope this is a Best Practice that catches on!

My recommendation:  when you are buying what will be called an "Energy Saver" home, find out what criteria will be followed.  This home is constructed to meet RESNET standards.  In addition to that, find out pre-construction what things will be done to the home to help with compliance.  This kind of spray foaming would be an excellent thing to see before you buy the house!

 

 

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 20 commentsJay Markanich • August 23 2012 02:51AM

Comments

Hi Jay, excellent post and great idea to improve energy efficiency.

Posted by Bob Miller, The Ocala Dream Team (Keller Williams Cornerstone Realty) almost 6 years ago

Thanks Bob.  This is a big deal I think.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 6 years ago

Gosh I wish my parents had done this.  I grew up in the coldest room of the house over the garage.  I'm permanently damaged...now I need it to be cold when I go to sleep.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) almost 6 years ago

Jay, I've often wished the builders of our home had done a much better job insulating the home.  We've done things to improve it, but it's still not ideal by any means.

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com) almost 6 years ago

That's some training Debbie!  I bet the floor under you wasn't insulated at all, or very minimally.

Bliz - my home is very leaky too and we have added insulation all over the place.  I bet inside the cavity between ceiling and floor could be much, much better.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 6 years ago

Having owned homes in cold weather areas for a number of years, this sounds like a huge improvement.

Here in the tropics many of our homes are constructed of concrete so it does not create the same concerns but keeping heat out and I find there is les attention given to the areas around doors and windows than I think there could be. The are areas where a lot of hot air gets in and affect the environment inside the home adversely. Sounds like the spray foam would be effective here too!

Posted by Tanya Van Blake-Coleman, Improving the Quality of Your Life (Van Blake-Coleman Realty, St. Thomas/www.talk-to-Tanya.com) almost 6 years ago

Tanya - you getting inundated today?  Around here they are spray foaming around windows and doors too.  It is a huge improvement.

http://activerain.com/blogsview/2552369/best-practice-window-and-door-insulation

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 6 years ago

Jay, have not seen this but am making a note about it...very interesting...i grew up on a slab floor with carpeting...hated it and would never live that way again...talk about cold..

Posted by Ginny Gorman, Homes for Sale in North Kingstown RI and beyond (RI Real Estate Services ~ 401-529-7849~ RI Waterfront Real Estate) almost 6 years ago

Depending on where it is, I bet that is cold Ginny.  There are many slab homes here now, especially in the Active Adult communities, with single-level homes.  I have not heard the complaints though.  Maybe it isn't so cold here as to make a difference.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 6 years ago

I have seen this done in attics. A thin layer of foam is sprayed with loose fiberglass put on top. Kind of like a layer cake. As I remember like cake. Is that a best practice? :)

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) almost 6 years ago

Morning Jay I'm with you lets hope this is a start anyway to the builders and cross your fingers.  Lets hope Uncle Bob doesn't show up with his duct tape.

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty AR LLC) almost 6 years ago

Beats duct tape...and looks energy efficient...hooray !

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) almost 6 years ago

Have seen many home remodeling shows to see how effective spray foam is.  If only it was used on a more wider scale...

Posted by Peter Matyko, Keller Williams Realty (Keller Williams Realty Advantage) almost 6 years ago

Jim - I think anything like cake would be a best practice...

James - duct tape would always be the second step.  With colors to match the foam and insulation.

S&D - it does, and not much beats duct tape, as you know.

Peter - as it gets used the price will come down.  As with any new product, the price starts high and demand increases bring it down.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 6 years ago

Hi Jay, thanks for sharing this great advice on insulation. Helps to cut down on utility

bills as well.

Have a great day.

Posted by Irene Durocher, homesweethome4u@att.net (Coldwell Banker BUYERS AGENT) almost 6 years ago

That's the idea Irene.  And the comfort can't be beat.  Temps stay reasonable and manageable.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 6 years ago

I was just out with a contractor Monday that is moving toward spray foam.  He tends to be a little better than most.  So, it didn't surprise me at all.  It's a pain to follow behind as a sub-contractor doing work much later, but it is a good practice up front.

Posted by Mike Cooper, Your Winchester, VA Real Estate Sales Pro (Cornerstone Business Group Inc) almost 6 years ago

Mike - agreed, this is great to see.  It is not only easy now, but lends so much to the house when clients walk through and are explained what is going on.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 6 years ago

Jay, One day I will build my own home (or rather, have it built), and I will go back and review so many of the best practices and passive use of solar energy and other techniques to create a comfortable and sustainable home.

Posted by Chris Smith, South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta (Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage) almost 6 years ago

And hire a good inspector Chris.  Careful with the solar.  You'll never break even.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 6 years ago

This blog does not allow anonymous comments