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Show Highlights

Graham and Jake are still in a sans Ashkahn world at Daily Solutions, but they’re not letting it harsh their mellow.

The guys are talking about the different types of spray-in insulation today. It’s a pretty common material in construction and it can be a fantastic insulator for float centers, if you get the right type.

Jake and Graham go over the differences between open cell and closed cell insulation and why, specifically, float centers should avoid open cell insulation. They also provide some excellent pointers on the materials themselves and good conversations to have with a contractor regarding insulation.

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Transcription of this episode… (in case you prefer reading)

Graham: All right. Welcome everybody to our podcast.

Jake: Thank you for joining us.

Graham: I am Graham.

Jake: I am Jake.

Graham: I thought you were going to say, “I am Ashkahn.” I’m like so used to hearing that.

Jake: I thought about it.

Graham: Okay, all right. So today’s question is, “What about spray-in insulation? My contractor recommended it for the building I’m moving into, which is on the older side.”

Jake: Hmm, the building is on the older side.

Graham: I assume not the spray-in insulation-

Jake: Yeah.

Graham: Or the contractor.

Jake: Yeah, I know, right? What’s with this insulation? All right, so I guess we’re talking about on-site spray-in polyurethane, like foam insulation.

Graham: Yeah, so I guess first of all, you can spray almost anything, right?

Jake: Yeah, like you can do blow-in of-

Graham: Denim.

Jake: Roxul, or like rock wool. Like denim, it was a bad idea for a float center-

Graham: It’s a terrible idea-

Jake: Like anything coarse. Like, don’t blow in cellulose. Don’t do those things. It would just retain moisture. If you are going to do a blow-in, like if you have like little crevices and stuff like that, stick to the stone wall blow-in and stuff like that.

Graham: So yeah, let’s assume, I mean, obviously, they’re probably insulating it for thermal barriers-

Jake: Yeah. It’s an older building, they’re drafty. I bet that’s what they’re talking about. I think that’s what they’re talking about.

Graham: Lots of weird joists and stuff-

Jake: Yeah-

Graham: It’s just like weird little-

Jake: Old conduits.

Graham: Areas-

Jake: Yeah.

Graham: Where they’re trying to use something that isn’t spray-in-

Jake: Nooks.

Graham: It’s going to take a ton of time-

Jake: Or crannies. Yeah.

Graham: To have everything.

Jake: Because you got to get it efficient. You don’t want any gaps, basically, like a two percent gap-

Graham: Yeah.

Jake: 20 percent heat loss. So everything should be form fit to your area. If they’re doing bats, and there’s a lot of little nooks, that’s going to be labor intensive.

Graham: Either really hard or impossible-

Jake: Yeah.

Graham: Or just incredibly expensive.

Jake: So, what some people do with older buildings, more single story buildings, where like the top is, it’s like a hot place, or something like that. They will do an on-site application of a polyurethane foam insulation, basically spraying that into the joist base. And it expands. Then it also tightens up the structure, as well. Like, it does serve to tighten up the structure because it expands into every little nook and cranny, which means you’re getting less permeability, less air moving from within a space, and then from the outside of space as well. We do have a distinction here, though. Open cell versus closed cell polyurethane on-site application foam sprays.

Graham: Right, and I was going to say it’s actually the closed cell that does more of the tightening up of the structure, right?

Jake: It does, yeah. It does.

Graham: Like, that’s more of the structural, the structural insulation?

Jake: Yeah, it’s tighter, it blocks more moisture. It’s actually kind of like what we recommend for float centers. So, open cell is a little bit better at blocking out noise.

Graham: And just to backup a little bit, you could almost guess what this means with open cell versus closed cell insulation-

Jake: Right.

Graham: But, it’s basically just the open cell has kind of expanded-

Jake: Fractures.

Graham: Yeah.

Jake: Yeah.

Graham: It’s expanded, there’s little kind of air bubbles in there. Like, it’s an open kind of structure.

Jake: Yeah, air bubbles that pop. So like part circle and then part gash, and real porous. It’s good for thermal resistance and everything like that.

Graham: Good for soundproofing.

Jake: Yeah, good for soundproofing. The problem for us and some southern humid states, is that moisture will pass through it and then get stuck on the substrate. So, moisture will pass through insulation, and then get stuck on the underside of your roof, or get stuck on the underside of whatever. And that’s a problem for float centers. So we definitely say stick to the closed cell. And the closed cell, those bubbles just don’t pop. They’re still expanding. Those gases are inside there, but it’s just a thick, solid layer, so moisture can’t really pass through there.

Graham: Which means it’s not going to as a good job sound proofing, because it will just be kind of rigid and transmit a lot of vibrations-

Jake: Yeah, vibrations.

Graham: Vibrational noise. But it does do a much better job solidifying your structure-

Jake: Yeah.

Graham: Because I have this very tight, solid spray-in that’s-

Jake: Everything is trade offs, right.

Graham: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Jake: It’s all trade offs.

Graham: But specifically for a float center, we kind of don’t even get to think about the trade offs on the good side for open cell insulation just because I mean, it’s so humid. The chances that you’re going to get mold when you do open cell spray-in insulation are just too high.

Jake: Just too high of risk.

Graham: Why risk it?

Jake: Yeah. And this is something that you hire a talented contractor to do. One, because again, you don’t want them to do poorly. And two, the stuff is pretty bad for your health.

Graham: It’s crazy.

Jake: You don’t really want to be in this space when people are doing it.

Graham: They go to like full almost like Hazmat suits-

Jake: Oh, yeah. For sure.

Graham: Your entire-

Jake: Respirators.

Graham: Your entire building is kind of also in a Hazmat suit-

Jake: Yeah, yeah.

Graham: Because if that settles anywhere, it really sticks to it-

Jake: Good reason to be in good communication with your contractor, your general, just making sure that you’re not showing up right after that happened.

Graham: Yeah, it would be terrible, for example, if you accidentally blew expanding foam over into your neighbor’s space-

Jake: Yeah.

Graham: While they were giving a haircut or something like that.

Jake: Mm-hmm.

Graham: Not that we’d know anything about-

Jake: Yeah, and then foam got all over their fancy vest-

Graham: Yeah.

Jake: And their hat. And then we had to buy that for them.

Graham: Yeah, that’d be terrible. You definitely should really be careful with the contractors installing things.

Jake: I will say, that hole no longer exists, for what it’s worth.

Graham: It’s true.

Jake: For what it’s worth.

Graham: Yeah, no we discovered some more places where we could tighten up our own construction as a result of that, yeah.

Jake: Yeah.

Graham: Okay, so spray-in insulation totally makes sense.

Jake: Yep.

Graham: You were closed cell spray-in insulation.

Jake: Mm-hmm. And whenever I’m saying “spray-in” usually on exterior walls or ceilings, you know what I mean? Like we don’t see that a lot in between float rooms, you know what I mean?

Graham: Ah. Good point.

Jake: Yeah.

Graham: yeah, I was assuming that it was going to be on the ceiling-

Jake: Right, yeah. I’m always making these assumptions, and I’m like, “Wait a minute. Is everyone on the same-“

Graham: So, yeah. And the exterior wall, of course, is just a little more important for the stuff because you have the entire environment out there.

Jake: Mm-hmm, yeah.

Graham: So the amount of-

Jake: You’ve got a conditioned space, you have an unconditioned space.

Graham: Yeah, so getting that barrier, and yeah getting some kind of insulation up is really critical. Older buildings-

Jake: Mm-hmm.

Graham: You know, if they did have good insulation at one point, it’s almost certainly gone. They might not have had it to begin with.

Jake: Yeah, and we’ve seen people that have skimmed on some things. Like they’ve cut back a little bit on that exterior insulation, not on the outside of the building, but those exterior walls, and that’s where you see moisture damage. That’s where you see peeling, that’s where you see panels de-laminating from all the like. Every wall is fine except for this wall, and it’s like, well that’s your exterior wall. You should have figured that out. You should have insulated that a little better. You know? You’ve got two more inches in the room, but now you’re dealing with this constant problem.

Graham: So yeah, no and it makes total sense to me. I think your contractor’s recommendation is-

Jake: Yeah.

Graham: Without looking deeply at the plans in your actual building, it definitely makes sense. And I can understand why a contractor would recommend spray-in insulation. Maybe mention to them that you’d like closed cell, if they weren’t planning on it.

Jake: Definitely mention it to them.

Graham: Yeah. Yeah, if they know it’s a humid environment and all the details of your float center, they’re probably already planning on that anyway.

Jake: Be sure to be hip to it, though. Just check. No matter what.

Graham: Always check, yeah.

Jake: Yeah, always check. And on the very likely chance that we’re wrong, and you were talking about like you wanted to blow-in some denim. Don’t.

Graham: Yeah, don’t.

Jake: Don’t do it.

Graham: Yeah, for the same reason, but even more so that you don’t want the open cell insulation-

Jake: Yeah.

Graham: Which is just anything that can collect that moisture-

Jake: Yep.

Graham: Anything that’s permeable at all. It’s just –

Jake: Mold or mildew.

Graham: Yeah, you’re asking for-

Jake: That’s another whole thing-

Graham: Issues.

Jake: You know what I mean, the polyurethane? No food. No mold. No mildew. So, all right cool. Yeah. All right, thanks for submitting that question. I really appreciate it. Long question, short answer. Sorry for that. But if you guys have more questions for us, please send those in at FloatTankSolutions.com/Podcast, and thanks for spending this time for us today. All right, so back to yoga?

Graham: Goodbye everyone.

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