DIY Home Improvement, Remodeling & Repair Forum > DIY Home Improvement > Insulation and Radiant Barriers > Blown in Cellulose Insulation





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Old 04-21-2010, 12:09 PM  
Vicbowling
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Does anyone know about doing spray foam insulation yourself? This site sells something called "Foam-it green" spray foam insulation as a do it yourself option. Is this something that somebody should do themselves or just hire professionals to do? I don't want to deal with anything hazardous and I don't know what a green spray foam insulation would contain. I suppose if it's just cellulose it would be okay though -right?



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Old 09-07-2010, 03:02 PM  
AtticCare
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A: I install insulation for a living and this is sad, for what you paid in bags alone, you could have hired a contractor to install it for you for LESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You DIY people think you have it figured out, but this is hilarious, 6.5 hours of blowing time, WITH their "upgraded machine" Fact is, I would have saved you money, and been in and out in an hour! LOL Thanks lowes and home depot, for selling another customer a wild dream of savings through DIY..........Call a professional and AT LEAST check the pricing.
B: This is for Vicbowling, residential spray foam is a scam, the diy foam is an even bigger scam. Get the most R-value for your dollar, fiberglass, cellulose, blue jeans, whatever, just don't use foam.



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Old 12-13-2010, 09:13 AM  
Roark
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Vic, the greatest thing about DIY is that you know that it was done right, assuming that you've done your home work ahead of time. Thanks to myriad years of "professional" insulation contractors ripping off customers we now have a situation that even the dunderheads at HUD and the FHA realize is something of an epidemic. Now this may sound hard to believe but there are actually a large number of "professional" contractors who sell one thing and deliver another. Blown in insulation is one of the areas where the greatest ripoffs have occurred. I would also add that while fiberglass is still one of the "professionals" first choices, it is one of the worst overall performers in terms of real world performance. Research thermal drift for example.

Fiberglass that has been tested in a lab for its lobbyist supported 'R' value is not exactly the value that most folks have been led to believe. Fiberglass makes a pretty good air filter, but pretty much sucks as an insulator relative to the alternatives available. One problem is that when subjected to real world wind loads its lab generated 'R' value plummets. Another is the way that its 'R' value deteriorates when subjected to extreme temperatures...such as in the midst of the summer heat when you need it the most. Combing the two is bad but it gets worse. An icy or iso foam board or spray will not allow water vapor to condense within it, so it maintains its 'R' value to a much greater degree under a wider range of conditions than the air filter stuff. An attic with inadequate ventilation for example will frequently see the dew point of the humidity escaping from the living spaces below occur somewhere close to where the cool air and warm air come together...like right in the middle of their fiberglass. The resultant condensation further degrades the "R" values and at the same time helps to support the establishment of mold where the temperature, humidity and carbon source present themselves.

The type and application of foam is critical to its performance, but it's certainly not brain surgery. Were this the case you would likely not see such a prevalence of non-English speaking laborers working for minimally Spanish fluent "professional" contractors. You can likely hire from the same pool of talent with just a quick trip down to your local convenience store, (a kind of unofficial illegal alien hiring hall for many contractors today). The best spray foam products on the market right now are in fact not directly available to the DIY public, but there are some very functional and cost effective alternatives that are. The spray foam actually represents the best performance value when used in conjunction with other less expensive materials.

For example a typical attic install may be an inch or two of spray foam to provide a base of air tight sealing and impermeability covered with a layer of blown in cellulose that is a much cheaper provider of higher 'R' value for the package. The foam's impermeability helps to protect the moisture sensitive cellulose and all is well. More remarkably...without the profit and overhead of a "professional".

One last note regarding "professionals" in the home improvement industry as a whole. There is a very good reason that most States have found it necessary to license this group, and it isn't just about revenue. There are few industries where people get ripped off as often or for as much, many times without ever realizing, or at least until much later, that they've been had.This is where many General Contractors and home owners are now finding themselves vis-a-vis the insulation contractors who did a cruddy job. The government estimates BTW run as high as 75% of all attic work having been deficient relative to what the installer was supposed to have done. So much for professionalism eh?

Don't let the superior minded fast talkers intimidate your willingness to be self sufficient. Unless you feel that an illiterate illegal immigrant has some sort of intellectual edge on you I would suggest that the more conscientious job that you will likely do on your own castle is always going to be a superior value where low skill improvements are concerned.

It's still tough to beat a man at his own game, but the learning curve on much of this is just not that severe and even a noobs mistakes from a lack of experience are usually more than offset by the fact that they will posses more integrity than the guy trying to make a buck off of them.

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Old 01-15-2011, 07:17 AM  
AtticCare
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how would a diy know if it is done right? Do they own a blower door? Duct blaster? Thermal Camera? Do they have a copy of REMrate available to calculate savings? Do they spend every work day fixing air leaks in homes and knowing where to find them and the best way to seal them? I don't think this thread has anything to do with illegal immigration, but yes, the foam industry like much of the construction industry is full of it. Anybody that talks about r-value not being important is a foam salesman. They don't test air tightness of homes and find out for themselves, they are told lies at their foamers conferences. I test homes almost daily and find that many homes are right where they need to be, and the ones that aren't are easily sealeable. You do realize that drywall is the air barrier? You can seal any penetration in drywall with a few cans of foam, to add an entire layer of foam is retarded and would be air barrier number two, the one that isn't needed. Walls in a house are required to have an air barrier on both sides, if there is air leaking into the fiberglass insulation cavities, THAT IS THE PROBLEM, not the insulation itself. If built right and tight (.35ach) fiberglass, like all insulations will provide the EXACT R-VALUE IT IS RATED AT. You talk like vapor barriers are a good thing....maybe you should do some research....NOBODY recommends vapor barriers for 90% or more of the climates in the USA. Lumber must have vapor transmission, or it will rot. The only places vapor barriers are even allowed are in the extremely cold dry north where moisture vapor is like gold and they have to run humidifiers to keep their skin from cracking. If you want to talk real world, we build over 25 houses a year and can give you REAL utility bills. We can show you the bills from the houses our friends in the building community used foam in. There is no difference other than foam was far more expensive. BTU useage is the REAL WORLD, not some website that told you something based on old leaky houses. You have to exchange the air in your house once every three hours, you cannot build any tighter than that, that is a CODE/STANDARD. Most of the homes we build w/out foam test too tight and have to have more fresh air input or they will be unhealthy for the occupant. I have been in and out of side by side houses, one foam, one fiberglass, with a thermal camera.....THE EXACT REAL WORLD DIFFERENCE IN INSULATIONS......there was no difference in wall or ceiling temperature with both houses set at 72 in the middle of summer, similar colors, and identical roof material. Neither foam or fiberglass are radiant barriers, and radiant heat from the sun can create more of a btu load than conductive heat. Most of the foam here is installed on the roof deck voiding all OSB warranties, and adding your attic to your conditioned load actually creating the need for a larger HVAC unit if calculated properly using ASHRAE standards. The bottom line is, if your house has exactly .35ach, r-value performance will be consistant across all types of insulation. Insulation is not there to seal your home, simply for conductive heat trasnfer=resistance value=r-value. That is it, if you don't know how to seal a home w/out spray foaming the whole thing, you must be blind or dumb. And if you seal your home, the only way to make sure you are still getting enough fresh air is by having it tested.......by a professional. Don't let companies selling diy products convince you that you can do it, ofcourse you can, you could build your own car if you want, but could you do it as well as Honda..........I highly doubt it. Spray foam is a con, I don't think REMrate has anything to gain from any particular insulation manufacturer. Download a free trial of REMdesign if you are not a licensed energy auditor, plug in the numbers for foam, and the numbers for fiberglass, you will find one of the most accurate answers out there for this debate, $/r-value is far more important than type of insulation if you are looking for a return on your investment you won't find it with foam using any roi calculator made. Just try it, it is free and non-biased. Like the foam salesman roark, I could have bought a foam spray rig instead of a loose-fill rig, but like many that did, it would have ended up for sale on craigslist because is does not make sense and I could never take pride in selling something that costs 400$/year extra on a mortgage, and saves little to nothing vs. competing insulations with similar r-values.

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