Which tape to secure split foam insulation?

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  #1  
Old 12-24-13, 06:47 AM
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Which tape to secure split foam insulation?

Hi all,

I insulated my steam pipes last spring with the split foam insulation one finds at the big box stores. Trouble is that the built-in sticky tape does not perform well and is coming loose everywhere despite my careful pressing at install time. Some pieces of insulation threaten to fall off as a result. No, there is no steam leakage. And humidity is controlled at 55%.

What kind of tape should I use to remedy? Leaning toward white duct tape. And I'm thinking of wrapping radially every so many inches instead of re-taping the seam longitudinally. Does that sound about right?

Thanks
 
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Old 12-24-13, 06:53 AM
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Nope...use the metal foil tape and tape down the seam. May seem a little expensive, but you'll only have to do it once.

Hopefully you used the smooth black high density foam? The grey pebbled stuff isn't much use.

You may find these items cheaper at a HVAC supply house who sells to the public.
 
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Old 12-24-13, 06:53 AM
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I used black electrical tape. 3 or 4 wraps and it's holding nice and tight.
 
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Old 12-24-13, 07:58 AM
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Making sure the seam is on the bottom not the top or side will help.
 
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Old 12-24-13, 09:37 AM
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If you used the el-cheapo foam insulation, I'm surprised it's not melting from the steam temperatures.

Steam should really be insulated with that white jacketed fiberglas insulation product made for steam.


image courtesy cleanboiler.org
 
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Old 12-24-13, 10:05 AM
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I should have specified that I used the same type NJ Trooper linked a picture to: yellow fiberglass with white jacket. Don't know if that qualifies as the cheap stuff or not. Sadly, as I said, the while sticky flap doesn't stick that well, and where the seam happened to be on top, some pieces have even fallen to the ground.

I happen to have a roll of silver HVAC tape 3350 by 3M product UL181B-FX and wonder if that would do. According to the specification by 3M, it's good to 230F, which is too low for direct contact with the steam pipe, but should be good on the outside of the insulation which is barely warm to the touch. Am I wrong in my assessment? I guess I'm not overly confident that this stuff is any stickier whereas duct or electrical tape wrapped into itself radially would hold.
 
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Old 12-24-13, 10:09 AM
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Ahhh...I missed the steam thing, was thinking hot water. In the Navy when we used the FG with the white jacket, we used a sort of cloth tape and some sort of pink "glue" on top. I'll step back and let the Pro's answer.
 
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Old 12-24-13, 11:16 AM
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Don't know if that qualifies as the cheap stuff or not
No... I thought you meant that 'foam' stuff, as did Vic because you said 'split foam'. That stuff is either black or grayish, and it IS available with double sided tape pre-applied... so you can see why we got mistooken!

Me personally... because I'm a redneck from NJ and love duct tape, but am also OCD about the way things look... would probably use the WHITE duct tape. I think it will be fine. Get a good brand and I think it will stick just fine. I don't think the heat should be a problem on the OUTSIDE of the insulation, but would speculate that a little heat might even make the duct tape stickier.
 
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Old 12-24-13, 12:00 PM
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The flaps are supposed to be stapled every six to eight inches with a staple gun that splays the staple ends outward. After that you can apply a plastic tape specially made for the material over the edge of the flap and the staples. The tape should be available from the same place where you got the insulation as is the staple gun and staples. Warning, the staple gun is around ?$70 as I recall. Don't stretch the tape to any extent whatever kind you use.
 
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Old 12-25-13, 02:54 PM
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Thanks for the info, @Furd. Unfortunately, I've already gone ahead and applied white duct tape along the seams. So I think I'll wait for a bit to see how this performs before moving on to the staple solution. Next time I am at the big box store, I'll go see about staples and gun. I wonder why this was never brought up by the so-called expert there when I purchased the insulation, nearly $500 worth. Go figure.
 
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Old 12-25-13, 07:22 PM
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never brought up by the so-called expert there when I purchased the insulation
Where did you say you bought the stuff?
 
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Old 12-25-13, 08:38 PM
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[SUP]Stuff was bought at HomeD[/SUP]
 
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Old 12-25-13, 08:42 PM
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so-called expert there
I have actually run into a few folks there that seem to know their stuff... but reality is that is not that common, so I'm not surprised.

On the other hand, I didn't know the schtuff is supposed to be stapled either. Who'd a thunk it?
 
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Old 12-26-13, 04:47 AM
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And to finish it off you can buy the white plastic vinyl wrap, and the plastic elbows and tees to really give it that pro look.

Insulating a mech room is expensive and tedious if you want to do it right and have it look perfect.

You might want to try a HVAC or plumbing wholesaler to get better stuff and the right info. They may even give you some good pricing.
 
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