Spray Foam


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Old 06-28-14, 08:31 PM
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Spray Foam

Does anyone know of any resources to help a DIY'er learn to do this process? I have heard that there are home kits available, but they are still kind of pricy, and the potential for making a real mess of the project is quite real. I would like to insulate my garage and basement and thought this would be a cool project.
 
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Old 06-28-14, 10:43 PM
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I have to tell you..... that is one messy job. I'm an avid DIY'er but that is one job I wouldn't consider. That foam sticks to anything..... including skin.... permanently. You'll need a full protective body suit, gloves and mask.

Maybe someone out there has had a positive experience attempting that type of project.
 
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Old 06-28-14, 11:48 PM
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As you mention, "I have heard that there are home kits available, but they are still kind of pricy". Even if you get past the mess, I know of no reasonably priced source for raw materials. The home kits you see are typically for jobs too small to bring in a large foam contractor.

For a garage and basement there are other solutions that are less expensive and more DIY friendly.

Bud
 
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Old 06-29-14, 05:46 AM
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Well, I guess the DIY route is not the way to go with this. Thanks for your input! Maybe I will just have to time out both the basement and garage so I can call in a contractor to do them both at the same time. The reason I wanted to DIY was so I could do my project in sections to keep the out of pocket cost segmented into manageable pieces, and as mentioned before, it seemed like a cool thing to try.

This leads into my other question(s), how well does the foam alternative suit the basement? Most of what I have heard is hearsay, but does it actually act as it's own vapor barrier? I have a block foundation, below grade. I do have some efflorescence on one wall, but no "visible" wetness. When I moved into the house, the moisture issue was a bit worse, but the inspector's thoughts were that they all could be handled with some landscaping around the foundation, and I am working through that. Would an open cell, or closed cell be better? Would it also help to keep the bugs at bay? I do not have any infestations, but I do get quite a few spiders and the occasional mouse coming in through where the foundation and house meet.
 
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Old 06-29-14, 06:51 AM
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Closed cell foam is the better vapor diffusion retarder. The thicker it is the better it is at vapor control. If you spray the rim joists you will certainly help control bugs from entering but if you have any termite issues and you use an exterminator, ask them about the issues of sprayed foam and how it might impact their warranties.

If your basement is buried almost to the top of the foundation you have to be careful about the frost issue if you are in a cold climate. Too much insulation could lead to frost pushing on the walls which are especially susceptible if they are block construction.

The foam kits are not cost effective for a job as large as you describe.
 
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Old 06-29-14, 07:07 AM
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Rigid foam panels are less expensive and certainly more DIY friendly. They also result in a very flat surface with which to continue improvements. Be aware that exposed foam will need some form of fire rated protection. But piecing in and calking to seal is well suited for a slower pace project. We/I can provide tips to make that easier.

Calverts caution on termite inspection is unfortunately something to consider. In some very termite prone areas the insulation needs to be removable for inspection. That leads to caulking to seal air leaks and then something like Roxul for insulation. I like to also cover that with drywall to prevent critter nesting.

For basement walls, the high priority is the first 2 feet of exposed foundation. Below that the earth retains much of the heat loss. This also reduces the frost "push" concern.

Bud
 
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Old 06-29-14, 07:18 PM
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With rigid panels, I understand you say to glue them right to the foundation. Would they then go between the blocks and the frame for the wall, or would they just go in between the studs after the frame goes up? I have not yet framed the walls, and have heard that you want to maintain separation between the foundation and the frame.

As for the exposed foundation, it runs from 6"-18" of visible block above the grass line. The larger exposed areas are where I am still working the grading issue, so that will grow smaller as I plant more. I don't want to venture too far into the basements topic, but I do understand that this is all relevant to the insulation issue. So the insulation might actually create a problem with frost and freezing outside my foundation?
 
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Old 06-30-14, 02:31 AM
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The old school thinking (which is where I was from) was that the frost could push on the basement walls, thus allowing some heat to escape would reduce that potential. The new thinking is that frost only pushes in the direction of heat loss and with a well insulated and warm basement that is not towards the foundation. Consider the foam block foundations filled with concrete that are not being pushed over. I believe this was discussed here some time ago but could not find it.

The idea of a separation between the foundation and frame is not necessarily good. It provides a circulation path to carry the warmer moist air from the bottom of the foundation up to the very cold area exposed to the elements outside. The better approach is to attach the foam panels in a continuous fashion against the walls and then framing up against them. Photo #4 in the attached link.
BSD-103: Understanding Basements — Building Science Information

Bud
 
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Old 06-30-14, 04:02 AM
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The old school thinking (which is where I was from) was that the frost could push on the basement walls, thus allowing some heat to escape would reduce that potential. The new thinking is that frost only pushes in the direction of heat loss and with a well insulated and warm basement that is not towards the foundation. Consider the foam block foundations filled with concrete that are not being pushed over. I believe this was discussed here some time ago but could not find it.



Bud, I am thinking about this statement.

A poured wall or an ICF wall is usually reinforced and can resist the forces of frost to a greater extent than a wall composed of CMU's which have minimal reinforcement.

Thanks for something to think about today, as if I didn't already have enough!
 
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Old 06-30-14, 05:16 AM
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I dug up the source of this new thinking, below, but I'm only 95% on board. There may still be soil and other issues that might make freezing the soil right next to the house less than a good idea. Just typing that "freezing the soil right next to the house" gives me pause.

Bud

BSI-045: Double Rubble Toil and Trouble — Building Science Information
 
 

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