The Magic of Spray Foam Insulation

August 15, 2016

Almost from the very beginning of building, we had planned to use spray foam insulation. So, for quite a while, our goal line was just to get to that point. Just get to the insulation. We kept talking about all the things that needed to be done before we could insulate the house. Many times we would say, “Just get this done so we can spray foam. Just get that done so we can spray foam.” It seemed like we were always motivating ourselves to keep moving forward to reach the magical moment of Spray Foam Insulation. This might seem like a strange target to set for ourselves, but I think it comes down to the fact that once the spray foam goes into the walls, they become unchangeable. Because spray foam is fairly permanent, we knew we had to have everything ready, installed, working, and perfect before hand, and so it became a logical target to work towards.

After a lot of work, it finally became time to insulate the house. We knew spray foam was more expensive than traditional insulation like fiberglass, foam boards, or even stuff like shredded newspaper or denim, but the benefits heavily outweighed that extra cost. And, after our whole experience with the nightmarish foam boards, I was dead set against having anything else to do with insulation. A girl has her limits! Spray foam insulation it is! Onward and upward!

Everything is ready for spray foam insulation.

Everything is ready for spray foam insulation.

Once everything in our house was ready, we called Insultech Spray Foam to take over for us. Eric briefly (for one half millisecond) considered spraying the foam ourselves, but we realized this job was way too complicated for amateurs. (Also, I said, “Absolutely not!”) Spray foam insulation has two options: open cell or closed cell foam. We chose open cell insulation for a few reasons. Open cell foam expands more to fill up walls better and is sound absorbing, which is a nice feature since we will be in such a small space. Open cell has a lower R-value (insulation rating) than closed cell, but it’s still higher than traditional insulations like foam boards or fiberglass, etc. The lower R-value of open cell makes it less expensive than closed cell, which is totally fine by us! Both types of foam make the house sturdier than traditional types of insulations, both form an air seal for the house, and both types don’t hold moisture, eliminating the worry about mold or rotting, which can sometimes be a problem for other types of insulation. All of these benefits make spray foam a great option for tiny houses.

We set up our appointment with Insultech, and they showed up bright and early at 6 a.m. Eric and I drug ourselves out of bed so we could watch our house transform. The crew taped up all of our outlets and covered up the windows with plastic. Then, they turned on the pumps and got to spraying! One guy would spray and another would follow behind shaving the foam to be level with the studs. The crew shaved the foam as it hardened using a long saw and a wide putty knife. By shaving the foam, they make sure that none of the foam expands past the studs, which could make our walls bulge out. The sprayer used short strokes to fill in every space in the house.

Not thrilled about getting up at 6 am. Clearly, we aren't morning people.

Not thrilled about getting up at 6 am. Clearly, we aren’t morning people. But, this is an exciting day!

The Insultech in front of our house starting to get ready for the spraying.

The Insultech truck in front of our house starting to get ready for the spraying.

Covered windows

Covered window

Taped up outlets

Taped up outlets

The scaffolding so the guys could reach everything on the ceiling.

The scaffolding so the guys could reach everything on the ceiling.

Getting the foam ready in the truck.

Getting the foam ready in the truck.

Running the hose from the truck into the house.

Running the hose from the truck into the house. And, the guys are putting on their protective clothing and masks.

About the get started!

About the get started!

Spray Foam!!!

Spray Foam!!!

Scraping the foam off of the studs and evening the foam between the studs so it's level.

Scraping the foam off of the studs and evening the foam so it’s level.

Working from the bottom loft corner through to the rest of the house.

Working from the bathroom corner through to the rest of the house.

Working their way from the bottom level of the house to the top.

Working their way from the bottom level of the house to the top. You can see here the mess that the shaved foam makes.

Our loft is insulated!

Our loft is insulated!

Working from the bathroom and loft towards the other end of the house.

Working from the bathroom and loft towards the other end of the house.

Once all the spraying was finished, they went back over everything with the saw to even out the foam, and then swept up the mess. All of the shaved off foam really added up to quite a bit of mess. The crew was great, and our whole spray foam experience was wonderful. I can’t even begin to imagine the headache of spraying the house by ourselves. From start to finish it only took about 3 hours! Nothing in this house has taken only three hours to finish, so for something so important like insulation to be taken care of so quickly, and so well, was a really nice experience. It almost made me want to hire out the rest of our work! Just kidding…kind of…not really…

The awesome Insultech crew! These guys did a great job! Also, look at the giant bag of shaved off foam on the left. Wowza!

The awesome Insultech crew! These guys did a great job! Also, look at the giant bag of shaved off foam on the left. Wowza!

The foam is finished!

The foam is finished!

The foam is finished!

The foam is finished!

A close up of the foam in the wall. You can see it's bubbly texture.

A close up of the foam in the wall. You can see it’s bubbly texture, and how it covers up the wires already installed.

Here you can see how the foam was shaved to be level with the stud. The texture changed from the rigid bubbles to a more fluffy foam.

Here you can see how the foam was shaved to be level with the stud.

Very happy with our insulation!

Very happy with our insulation!

The house completely transformed after the spray foam was in. Talking inside the house sounded different, it smelled different, and it obviously looked different. It really was magical to see the house change right before our eyes. Below is a video I made right after the spray foam was installed with more details and closer views of the work.

Plus, two more videos showing one last look of the whole house, and how I can make my eyes bulge out when I’m pumped about something (like insulation.) Wooo!

We highly recommend spray foam insulation, and anyone in the Springfield, MO area should consider working with Insultech Spray Foam. They are top-notch guys, and really made this part of building our house such an easy process. A big thanks to them!

Now that the house is insulated, it’s on to putting up our ceiling and walls. Come back soon for more updates! Things are getting real!

 

2 Comments

  • Reply Nicole April 25, 2017 at 7:48 AM

    Great website!! Thanks for sharing your journey 🙂 🙂

  • Reply Bernard Clyde April 28, 2017 at 9:45 AM

    I appreciate you explaining and showing us the process of foam insulating your home. I think it’s important that we make good use of these kinds of methods because they do so much to plug up those little cracks and smaller areas of the walls. I can see how this would add up and have a large impact on the insulation capabilities of your home.

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