Monthly Archives: November 2017

How Much Can DIY Spray Foam Insulation Save You?

Spray Foam InsulationComfort is always a priority, whether you just invested in your first home, have recently moved into a new one, or are renovating your existing property. You want to make the area more comfortable for your household and your guests. One way you can do this is by investing in decent temperature regulation methods to keep you warm during winter and cool during summer.

When you’re looking for something to insulate your home efficiently, consider spray foam kits.

You might find yourself asking, “how does spray foam insulation work?” To put it simply, the product retains heat effectively, consequently lowering energy costs and utility bills. It results in comfortable and energy-efficient homes with quality insulation.

For installation, you may either use DIY spray foam insulation or look for professional installers to do the work, instead. Having said that, you need sufficient knowledge about both methods before deciding which one is more suitable for your specific needs.

Consider DIY Spray Foam Insulation Kits

Homeowners who want to install spray foam insulation themselves look into DIY spray foam kits such as Foam It Green and Tiger Foam.

Foam It Green is a DIY spray foam kit that considerably reduces your household’s heating and cooling costs. The insulating material has a high R-value — or thermal resistance determined by the type of insulation, thickness, and density; it features an R-value of 7 in a mere one-inch layer.

This type of DIY spray foam insulation does not just keep your home warm, though. It also enhances the indoor environment. It improves indoor air quality, eliminates drafts, withstands peak wind loads, and deters mold and pests. It also adds structural support and dulls sounds coming from the outside.

Simply put, Foam It Green is an all-around product that provides both air insulation and acts as a moisture barrier. As such, it saves on construction costs that you can instead use on other home maintenance or renovation-related expenses.

On the other hand, you may consider Tiger Foam’s DIY spray foam insulation products. The brand provides kits that demonstrate high performance which result in savings on monthly energy bills. Its product sprays provide good value for money, to the satisfaction of its customers.

Furthermore, Tiger Foam uses high-quality materials without CFCs, VOCs, PENTA-BDEs, and formaldehyde. You can install the insulation knowing that your family’s health is not at risk.

Whichever product you choose, you will save on the cost of hiring professional installers if you go the DIY way – this is what people find attractive about dealing with insulation on their own.

Catalog the Benefits of Spray Foam Insulation

Spray foam kits are often used for the walls and ceilings of new homes. DIY spray foam insulation, however, is a suitable choice if you need to seal minor cracks and gaps along walls, vents, or other house fixtures. Either way, the product provides financial advantages for your household.

Initially, spray foam insulation possibly reduces the heating and cooling costs that greatly affect your overall utility bills. Energy cost reduction is probably the most common benefit of this insulation type, but it wouldn’t hurt to point out that spray foam reduces the strain on your HVAC system, as well. It keeps warm air inside your home and prevents cold outdoor air from seeping through small cracks and into the indoor area.

On a related note, spray foam kits have no additional maintenance cost. Once you have foamed the walls, ceilings, and cracks of home, you no longer need to worry about maintenance or replacement.

Spray foam has also proven its environmental resilience. This type of insulation addresses moisture damage and can protect homes from changes in the weather, allowing you to save on repairs and weatherproofing.

Moisture damage occurs when the air condenses within the insulation — usually with the external transition from warm, moist air to cold, dry air. But since spray foam is an airtight insulation, it prevents air from entering and causing condensation, which then leads to moisture damage. Furthermore, the material stands as a weatherproofing agent that protects your home during extreme weather.

Additionally, spray foam kits contribute to overall home comfort. This type of insulation reduces outside noise and decreases the amount of dust and pollen that enter your home’s interior.

Ensure the Quality of Spray Foam Insulation Installation

Home Spray Foam InsulationDIY spray foam insulation kits offer the mentioned benefits; and, on top of the common benefits, choosing DIY lets you save on the fees that professional installers typically charge. But, there’s a downside to the DIY route: one wrong move, no matter how minor it may seem, could affect the overall functionality and efficiency of your insulation.

When you do spray foam insulation entirely by yourself, you’re risking installation mishaps. You are also more susceptible to using low-quality products. So, when you’re installing spray foam insulation, take note of the risks you must deal with.

First, the spray foam may not be thick enough. Spray foam insulation comes in two categories: open cell and closed cell, both of which insulate and act as an air barrier of the house structure. With DIY installation, however, you might miscalculate how thick the foam should be. This typically involves closed cell foam because it doesn’t completely fill the framing cavity, but it also happens with the other kind of cell foam.

Second, spray foam insulation should be airtight and if you choose DIY installation, you might miss certain air leakage areas. Even some professional installers overlook small cracks and gaps, causing the humidity in the air to interact with cold surfaces, a process which results in condensation. Consequently, you might have to later spend on otherwise preventable repairs. This likewise highlights the value of considering a reliable insulation company for your needs.

Third, you might spray too little or too much foam. Your home’s building envelope — which is a challenging concept on its own — requires proper alignment with the insulation to avoid excess heat loss and gain. You experience thermal bypass if you miss some areas, but you waste materials if you spray unnecessary extra foam.

And fourth, the material might contract and separate from the frame. When the spray foam pulls away from the base, it will lead to otherwise preventable heat loss or gain. While there is a lower risk of this happening than the first three risks, it is still a potential result of incorrect installation.

These are only some of the risks that come along with DIY installation. Having said that, think about hiring a trusted professional to do the job for you, instead.

Consider Professional Installation

Spray foam kits may be readily available for DIY installation. Nevertheless, because working with spray foam is not a walk in the park, you might want to consider working with professional installers for reliable home insulation. This way, you guarantee that the insulation is effective, cost-efficient, and provides optimum comfort in your home. In the long run, professional installation may be more cost-efficient after all, as you do away with potential damage to your property, wastage of materials, and other costly errors.

Discuss spray foam insulation concerns with your local insulation services provider to figure out exactly what your home needs.

An Overview on the Cost of Spray Foam Insulation

Fiberglass Insulation Old HouseA great alternative to traditional fiberglass insulation is spray foam insulation. This expandable foam substance helps cut down utility costs as it blocks outdoor cold and heat. Additionally, it offers protection against moisture and reduces noise. If you’re looking to install spray foam insulation in your home, note that there are two types available: open-cell and closed-cell spray foam. Their costs vary.

Cost Difference between Open- and Closed-Cell Spray Foams

Open-cell spray foam, otherwise known as half-pound foam, usually costs from $0.44 to $0.65 per board foot. Many consider this type of spray foam as the lighter and less costly option. Having a density of only half a pound per cubic foot, this spray foam insulation results in a springy, light barrier that has sound-dampening capabilities. Do remember, though, that the insulation layer and the efficient air barrier formed by an open-cell spray foam are suitable only for indoor applications.

Closed-cell spray foam, on the other hand, costs about $1 to $1.50 per board foot. This insulation material is more expensive and is four times denser than the open-cell type. Its density, in fact, comes in at two pounds per cubic foot. On top of that, its glue-like, thick structure offers a much higher R-value per inch while delivering a water vapor-resistant seal. A higher R-value, in theory, provides better insulation.

Factors that Affect the Price of Spray Foam Insulation

The kind of spray foam used, while important, is not the only thing that affects the overall spray insulation cost. Some of the factors include:

  • Siding – The siding of the building influences the cost of the insulation project; the property’s siding will make the contractors’ job easy or hard. Professionals who will work with vinyl siding will have an easy time. This material pops off easily, which allows a contractor to drill holes that will serve as the entry point of the spray foam. On the other hand, there’s more work involved when you have a brick siding. Installers would need to drill deep into the mortar just to get to a point where they can inject the spray foam. After injecting the foam and making sure the cavities are full, the contractors would need to use mortar to fill in the drilled holes.
  • Area – The amount of spray foam required for the project will mainly depend on the size of the area. If the entire building, for instance, requires spraying, then it will demand more spray foam. Conversely, it would be less demanding if only a section of the building needs spray foam. Another thing to consider regarding area is that varying quantities of open- and closed-cell spray foam will be required to insulate a square size. When you opt for closed-cell spray foam, for example, you will need more of this foam to cover square feet. The reason is that open-cell spray foam expands more than its counterpart.
  • Climactic Conditions – Another key factor in the cost of spray foam is the condition of the climate. Any change in climatic conditions affects the spray foam. A closed-cell spray foam is ideal for areas where checkmating of floods is required. On the other hand, the open-cell spray foam suits best the locations where flooding is uncommon.
  • Property Location – The location of a building may affect the required total cost as specific regions have their building codes. These codes affect the necessary overall spray foam quantity as well as the spray foam type.

Cost Difference for New and Existing Homes

When planning to use spray foam for insulation, keep in mind that there is a price difference in doing so for a new house and an existing home. It is easier to do a spray foam insulation in new construction than an old one. The installation company working on the new home can design the insulation for optimum defense against heat transfer, utility costs, and sound. Moreover, it makes sure that the insulation will work well.

The story is different when insulating an existing home. It can cost you additional time and money when you install spray foam insulation in homes that have existing insulation. Costs vary broadly, but the range is about $8,000 to $20,000. Given that not every house is the same, the best way to find out the exact amount would be to get a professional to visit your home and obtain an estimate.

Leave the Spray Foam Insulation to the Pros

While there are DIY foam insulation kits on the market that cost less than a thousand dollars, spray foam insulation is not something you should do on your own. It requires a certified professional who can complete the process effectively and safely. Here’s why it’s best to spend your money on certified insulation installers:

  • Safe Installation – Getting rid of old insulation (if doing spray foam insulation in an existing house) and installing new spray foam could pose health risks for homeowners. Leave the installation in the hands of trained installers. They would know how to effectively strip off old insulation that may contain hazardous chemicals and mold. Moreover, they will properly throw away the old insulation and safely apply the new spray foam.
  • Proper Installation – Your DIY insulation project could potentially turn into a big mess when you use improper tools and products or not know how much foam you need to apply. Hiring a contractor qualified to perform the spray foam insulation ensures that the work is finished right the first time.
  • Insulation Product Knowledge – It can be overwhelming to go with the best home insulation product on the market. Instead of you searching for the best products, leave that job to a qualified contractor. Contractors would typically have access to the best spray foam insulation products.
  • Right Tools – Contractors have the equipment necessary to do the job properly. They have specially calibrated machines, coveralls, ventilation masks, air compressors, generators, and other tools that will enable them to apply the right ratio of foam to finish the insulation job.

If you’re looking for professional spray foam specialists in Kansas City, turn to A+ Insulation. We can install spray foam insulation that will help cut down your energy expenses and minimize energy loss. Our on-site project managers will make sure to walk you through a comprehensive before-and-after explanation of the project for your peace of mind.

Contact us today for a free, no-obligation energy evaluation.

Prepping the Upstairs: Ensuring a Winter-Ready Attic

A lot of preparations need to be done in anticipation of the winter months, including decorating homes, checking heating and cooling systems, and fortifying doors and windows. With the to-do list growing longer as the festivities draw near, homeowners might overlook preparations for one area of the house: the attic.

The little space upstairs that stores unused items and keeps ventilation in check plays a big role during the cold weather. It would be unwise to skip the winterizing measures for it. The problems in the attic could spoil the family’s holidays, after all.

Install or Inspect Existing Insulation

The attic plays a key role in maintaining a cozy home temperature. Without an adequate insulation installation, warm air inside the home will rise and escape through the roof. This will force the heating system to work harder and the energy bill to spike. If your attic is not insulated, now is the best time to call an expert in blown insulation in Kansas City.

It pays to have an expert check an already-insulated attic, too. Fluctuating temperatures, high-energy bills, and ice dams may indicate that the house is under-insulated.

Check for Pest Infestations

Some people might not visit their attic frequently, and, as a result, might not notice that pests have infested part of their living space and are damaging the attic. Rodents, for instance, could gnaw through containers and insulation material.

Pests could also put the family’s health at risk. Homeowners should look for signs of an infestation, like dead animals, fur or feathers, droppings, plant materials, nests, strange odors, and holes in the structure. Whether you can confirm the presence of pests or not, call a professional for help.

Plug the Holes

In relation to preventing pests, homeowners should make sure that critters have no more entryways by sealing off the holes. Other than barring pests from the attic, plugging cracks and crevices prevent warm air from escaping. Moreover, people should ensure that the attic door is tightly sealed to keep the warm air contained in the main living area.

For a stress-free holiday, trust us to keep your home warm and cozy. Get in touch with us today and learn about our extensive list of insulating services.

How to Prevent Ice Damming & Other Common Winter Problems

ice dam in the winterMany homeowners welcome the winter full of thrills and anticipation. But without preparation and planning, the weather can be treacherous and cause a series of problems along the way. Cold-weather condensation, ice, snow, and chilly winds bring all sorts of damages and problems in their wake, to which your home is not impervious.

Most household problems that occur during winter almost always have something to do with water and its unique properties. Understanding how water and air interact in your home and preparing early are essential steps to take to keep your family and home safe and comfortable throughout the season.

1. Ice Dams and Icicles

Ice damming refers to the buildup of icicles on the eaves of sloped roofs of heated buildings. More common in areas where deep snow accumulates, it forms when a thick layer of dry snow resting on the roof melts due to the heat coming through the roof’s surface. The melting snow then flows down the roof and freezes when it reaches a point of heat loss, a frozen surface, or an area that has no building heat.

Mitigation:

Ice dams only occur when the snow cover has high insulating properties and when the external temperature and amount of heat loss coming from the house are at the right portions (above and below 32 degrees Farenheit) over sustained periods of time. While a rare occurrence, it’s unwise to let the ice dam grow, as removing it can be dangerous. To prevent it from happening, and damaging your roof, control the heat loss from your home.

Snow is an essential ingredient to form ice dams, so it’s necessary to remove the snow, as well. A roof rake or push broom can do the trick. Just be extra careful when doing this on your own, as snow-covered roofs can be slippery. But a more long-term fix to this problem is to increase the insulation of your ceiling and attic after sealing air leaking paths between the house and attic space.

2. Frozen Pipes

When temperatures outside are below freezing, pipes that run against poorly-insulated exterior walls and unheated areas freeze up. When water freezes, it expands and causes pressure on what contains it, be it a metal or plastic pipe, then breaks. This frequently occurs in water supply pipes in the following areas:

  • Unheated and inadequately-insulated spaces like attics, basements, crawl spaces, kitchen and bathroom cabinets, and garages
  • Pipes that can be exposed to severe cold, such as swimming pool and sprinkler supply lines or outdoor hose bibs
  • Pipes that pass through exterior walls without sufficient insulation

Mitigation:

Insulation is an effective and inexpensive way to prevent interior pipes from freezing. They add a significant layer of protection by allowing warmer air to stay inside. Before the onset of cold weather, drain your pipes externally and consider relocating them in areas that will have higher temperatures. It helps to know which pipes and areas are prone to freezing, which The Balance explains in this guide.

If they are fixed, consider products designed to protect external pipes, such as UL-listed pipe sleeves or “heat” tapes. Newspaper also offers a quick fix to areas that are less exposed to the cold. When it’s very cold outside and you’re going away, it’s wiser to leave the heat in your home. These methods may add up to your heating bill, but the cost doesn’t compare to having your pipes repaired or replaced.

3. Mold

mold in the window cornerMold is more often associated with high humidity, which occurs during warmer months. But it can be a concern during winter, too. In Missouri, for example, where winters are long and can yield high amounts of precipitation and cold-weather condensation, mold spores are likely to thrive. While mold is not a direct threat to human health, it can be burdensome to people with asthma and existing allergies and respiratory conditions.

Mitigation:

A surefire way to prevent mold from building up is by maintaining good air circulation and keeping everything dry inside your home. This entails heating areas in your home where water is present, such as bathroom and kitchen cabinets, kitchen, basement, and other areas where your water supply lines pass through.

Run the main exhaust fan or heat areas where water is present, such as bathrooms, kitchens, and water supply lines. When the weather outside is a not too harsh, don’t be afraid to open the windows to let fresh air in, but make sure that your exhaust fans are on. Before winter comes, have your pipes checked for leaks and early signs of water damage or mold growth, and address them right away.

4. Condensation

Condensation and dew point are common property damage culprits during the winter. When warmer and cooler elements come into contact, the amount of water vapor and relative humidity will increase, reducing the air’s capacity to hold water. Where there is excess water, there is substantial damage to property, including wood decay, mold growth, stained ceilings, and so on.

Mitigation:

The best way to prevent these damages is by expelling the air before condensation occurs. It’s common to find these problems in attics or humid living spaces, or where warm air is present and the temperatures outside are cooler. Effective attic ventilation and sufficient insulation help in mitigating these problems. To prevent condensation in basements or crawlspaces, dry out the rooms completely once you notice excess moisture, and install a vapor barrier. Adding an extra layer of insulation in basement walls will also curb this problem.

5. Structural Damage

Frigid temperatures and high relative humidity levels can cause significant damage to your home. Floods and leaks are quite common, not to mention the snow and ice buildup, which can add weight and excess pressure on your roof. Long before winter arrives, have your whole house inspected for potential structural issues, especially the parts of your roof that will be exposed to snow and ice.

Areas to check:

  • Electrical lines and water supply pipes
  • Hot water tanks
  • Disconnecting hoses
  • Gutters, eaves, and downspouts
  • Wood doors and window frames (see if they need recoating and re-caulking)

Mitigation:

Regular maintenance of your home’s important components and systems is the key to having a safe and comfortable winter. Take the time to check insulation, pipes, or equipment that start to look worn and consider replacing them. It’s more practical to be diligent with potential damages and spend a few bucks right now than to wake up one cold, winter night with a burst pipe or faulty exhaust fan.

Winter comes with an array of seasonal delights, both outdoors and indoors. But to have a safe, warm, and enjoyable winter, you must equip your house and take the necessary measures to ward off winter woes, from frozen pipes to mold growth.