Spray Foam Insulation

I’ve come to learn that people in the construction industry have very strong opinions about insulation. There are basically two categories, people that love spray foam insulation and people that hate it. Adam is firmly in category A, while our builder is firmly in category B. It seems that builders either exclusively use it or won’t touch the stuff.

Reasons people hate spray foam –

  1. It has been known to have issues with rot and mold
  2. Price (it’s about twice the cost of regular batt insulation)

Reason people love it –

  1. It expands to fill every nook and cranny making for a very efficient house
  2. Results in lower energy bills

Personally, if the decision was mine, I probably would have gone with regular batt insulation. I want the most energy-efficient house possible, but when people throw around the words “rot” and “mold” it scares me a little. But Adam has a friend in the spray foam insulation business, and he (and plenty of other people) assured us that the problems spray foam had with mold and rot are in the past and have been worked out many years ago.

And so, we foamed.

open cell spray foam insulation

It’s a fairly quick and straight forward process. First they covered all the windows,  fireplace, and everything that you don’t want to get overspray on with plastic, then they start spraying.

spray foam insulation in new construction home

Here is a 30 second clip of how it works, it’s actually pretty cool. It goes on as a liquid and immediately expands to fill the space (we used open cell spray foam).

Both my boys thought this was the coolest thing ever…and I think it’s great that they are really interested in the process and are learning how a house goes together.

watching and learning

It’s kinda funny actually, Elijah is in kindergarten and his school work will be something like a worksheet that says “write three words that start with the letter F” and he will put “frog, framing. foundation”  (or at least try to spell those words). We kinda have a one track mind over here.

So after the foam is in the crew comes back and cuts off any extra foam that stick out past the studs.

open cell spray foam on an exterior wall

They did a great job, and even did things like seal off at the joints between studs in a corner. That’s some attention to detail right there.

spray foam attention to detail

We had everything foamed, the ceilings, walls, attic…everything.

open cell spray foam

It’s standard protocol to only insulate interior bathroom and plumbing walls, and that’s exactly what they did (with batts, because you can’t foam interior walls – there’s nothing for it to stick to.)

exterior spray foam and interior batts

We also paid a little bit extra to have the ceiling insulted below the attic space. That way the noise will be kept down if/when we turn that into livable space. Here is the boys bathroom with all three types of insulation.

insulated bathroom

(That room is definitely the cave of the house with only one small window.)

Here is the attic in all it’s foamed glory…according to our builder we will be able to store chocolate in here. (aka – it won’t turn into a furnace in the blistering Texas heat.) I guess that means the attic is where I’ll do all my hiding from the kids.

insulated attic space

They also foamed the stink out of any unused eaves in the house, covering the studs and everything.
extra thick spray foam in attic

Looking in there reminds me of living in upstate New York for six years. I can’t say I miss the weather.

open cell spray foam 2

Next week the sheetrock starts going in, which feels like a big turning point. Can’t wait to see this baby with some walls!

 

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Comments

  1. And now Elijah will have frog, framing, foundation AND foam in his “f” repertoire. Awesome! The foam looks great. And sheet rock?! That is going to start looking like a house! Love all the updates.

  2. That’s so cute and funny! Elijah and the boys, I’m sure will all be DIYer’s (learning from the best)! Gary is a real stickler for the details and loves the sealed corners! Our house is post and beam with a pretty decent crawlspace and because our wood floors have no subfloor underneath, he sprayfoamed under the whole house. It was one of the worse DIY jobs he took on, can you imagine? It was so hot and he suited up and crawled and scooted around on his back spraying overhead and his face shield would be covered with that stuff, which then made it hard to see, it was a mess, but we have cozy floors now and no bugs gettin’in, that’s for sure! I felt bad for him, but it was well worth the effort! Money well spent Ashley, they did a great job, looking forward to seeing the walls too!
    Cindy Goins recently posted..Welcome to my little “Garden of Eatin’” ;) and What Gonzales Master Gardeners can do for you!My Profile

  3. Great job, the house is slowly coming along…fabulous…Millie from http://www.frugaliciouschick.blogspot.com

  4. Wow!! That is so impressive. I can’t believe (from my vantage point of course) how fast it’s coming together! I am in awe of those vaulted ceilings – wowowow! It looks so neat. Thanks for continuing to share all the progress! I’ve never really known how a house is built and it’s really fun to see which order everything goes in and all of the choices you’re making. :)

  5. Jan Elizabeth says:

    Cute videos! :) The house is looking great. What a big step, getting the insulation in. I think you guys made a great choice with the foam and the extra insulation. Future you will be glad you spent the extra time and money on this!

  6. Spray in foam IS amazing! Totally looks amazing in your house too. To me it seems like it’s going up so fast but I’m sure to you it’s taking forever. Looks great so far and I can’t wait to see the drywall!

  7. I’m not sure if you covered this in another post, but I’d love to know about the financial side of building your own home. I know you guys are debt free and have paid off your house, but how do you pay for a custom built home? Do you buy the land first? Do you pay cash or finance it? We’d love to do this but don’t know how. Any info you can share would be appreciated.

    • I haven’t written a post about it yet, but I do plan to. The builder is almost done with his part of building, and then I will know exactly how much we have spent so far and have a detailed budget breakdown.

  8. Brandi in NB says:

    OMG, Ashley! It’s really coming together now. Can’t wait to see the sheetrock on the walls. Once “the builder is done with his part of building” as you say, then what?

    • Then it’s all up to us. The builder is just building the shell of the house, and we are doing all the interior stuff like painting, trim, cabinets, flooring, electrical and plumbing fixtures… the works. Personally, I think we’ve bitten off a little more than we can chew, not because we couldn’t do it but because it will take us forever. I’m trying to talk Adam into hiring some of it out.

  9. I’m so glad you saved all my favorite house exterior photos!! and really glad you took the plunge first. Thanks for all the
    great info you pass on — the good the bad and the ugly.
    Having built 2 houses (shell by contractor — rest done by us — elec and plumbing roughs too)
    I will vote with you on hiring out some — the electric needs to be done super perfect and fast and hiring it out will
    make that happen and then you will have plenty of lighting and electric to get the rest done. Even if you have to throw
    up a few light fixtures yourself or cheap out it will be one headache off the list and it has to be inspected I assume so
    if you hire out that will be someone else’s headache .
    Painting is easy with lots of chocolate and friends and a great sprayer and some scaffold.
    Trim you can live without for years , many years , tooo many years. Toilets and sinks and faucets — those are
    are fun and the kids will love helping.
    Can’t wait to see more —

  10. Elizabeth says:

    We built a house last summer and were going to do spray foam until I heard about the off gassing for years and years and allergies from a friend. We happily went with batt insulation.

  11. You’re going to love the foam insulation. It’s so quiet, and yes, the attic will stay within 5-10 degrees of the interior temperature. You’ll also see some additional energy savings due to the fact that the HVAC ducts won’t be pumping cool air through an oven (or, in the winter, warm air through a refrigerator/freezer), and any duct leakage (which is inevitable) stays within the thermal envelope.

  12. That is a lot of insulation, should definitely help with your energy costs. Great project Thank you for sharing!

  13. This is a great post, thanks for sharing! Your home will definitely be very energy efficient! Do you have any concern about the chemical off gassing of the spray foam? Have newer products addressed this?

  14. I’m surprised “foam” wasn’t one of the words that start with the letter “F” that your son wrote! You guys certainly used a lot of spray foam for you insulation. I thought that it was only used for attics, but I guess spray foam insulation can be used for exterior walls as well. Thanks for sharing your story!

  15. It is a great idea to have the ceiling insulated below the attic space. It would help with noise issues, but also with warmth! With it being so easy to spray foam into the crevices, it seems like a worthwhile add-on.

  16. Hi ASHLEY,

    Nice post, I really like the blog and enjoyed reading. Great information that may help people determining what they really need to maintain health and house belongings. Thanks for sharing!

  17. The spray foam insulation looks like it does a good job. I can see why people love it, in the pictures you have here, the spray foam covers every inch of the walls and ceiling! That is pretty impressive. When I build my home, I will probably look into spray insulation.

  18. Spray foam insulation is something I had never heard of but your post gave enough detailed information and I was able to figure everything out clearly! Thanks so much for sharing, I’m sure the spray foam insulation was something else to try!

  19. An amazing read! We’re currently doing some work with our home and insulation is our main objective for now. We are currently undecided which to choose. This really helps us decide. Thanks a lot.

  20. Innisfree says:

    We used spray foam for a small renovation– we lifted the ceiling of kitchen/dining area to follow shed roofline– an area about 12×30 feet. Kinda had sticker shock at the price– about $3000. Can’t imagine doing a whole house– but the house is in the Mid-Atlantic coastal area where construction costs are high. Hope it will be worth it…

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