Tuesday, April 11, 2006

All Wrapped Up in a Warm FOAMY Blanket

Today we finished the installation of the closed-cell polyurethane insulation...Now we are completely wrapped up in a warm foamy blanket... We can already tell the difference in warmth and the downstairs is now much, much more quiet. This is going to make the downstairs incredibly comfortable...and should keep those energy costs down.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Foam Alone

Today we made a big step forward--we started the installation of our sprayed in place, close-cell, polyurethane spray foam in our gutted downstairs space. This is not our first experience with foam--About a year and half ago we installed it upstairs as well.

The upstairs installation was a trial of sorts--Closed cell foam is not inexpensive, and, quite frankly, I wasn't sure it was worth the expense...As you can tell by the picture, we felt the foam was more than worth the extra cost and decided to use it downstairs as well...

All through this renovation, we have taken steps to create a more energy efficient home and the foam has certainly lowered our gas and electric bills...before foam we were running extremely high PG&E bills during the winter months and still freezing our pa-tooties off. After foam (and some other energy efficient items) we have seen a decrease of 50%-even with the downstairs gutted. Granted this was a mild winter (although tons of rain), it nevertheless is a significant savings since energy prices are also higher than last year.

But it is not the savings alone that made us go back to foam...the house is incredibly comfortable--at least the upstairs portion--and we expect nothing less of the downstairs when it is finished. Closed cell foam also creates its own vapor barrier, provides structural rigidity to the old walls, doesn't absorb moisture (like rodent piss) like fiberglass, provides no nutritional value to insects, provides good sound protection, and is considered a "green" product to boot.

We have also been quite happy with our installer (American Services in Dublin CA --ask for James) and the product itself--which is Insulstar from North Carolina Foam Industries (NCFI) http://www.insulstar.com/ . Both of these companies have been top notch--with the NCFI rep (Jim Francisco) keeping in touch with us regarding our process, answering our questions, and providing invaluable information. James Morsehead, from American Services was also fantastic--providing thoughtful suggestions and ideas--while at the same time not trying to sell me things that were not needed. I recommend both to anyone interested.