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Spray Foam - Worth it?

posted by: Improv241 on 04.14.2011 at 10:31 am in Building a Home Forum

I've been asked by several members of my family if I am going to consider spray foam for insulation throughout the house.

What are the pros/cons of going this route?

I have no idea about the expense of doing this, but I'm curious about its value versus regular fiberglass rolled insulation.


clipped on: 03.19.2013 at 09:02 pm    last updated on: 03.19.2013 at 09:02 pm

RE: Spray Foam - Worth it? (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: energy_rater_la on 04.14.2011 at 11:03 am in Building a Home Forum

foam for the roofline is a good investment.
foam for the walls is not a good investment.
instead of foaming the walls, add the foam to the
exterior of the wall by sheathing the house with
rigid foam sheathing. tape and seal all the foam sheathing boards, caulk sole plate to slab.
insulate walls conventionally.
incorperate air tight drywall approach through out the house. this will stop air movement through walls and allow conventional insulation to perform.
it will also drop the 25+ year ROI to half.

an unvented attic (foam on roofline) will keep
mechanicals and ducts in semi conditioned area.
this will also make attic to living space air infiltration
less of an issue.

check out for your location
and educate yourself with unbiased information rather
than mfg's websites that are selling products.
your state's dept of energy will also have climate specific
info for you.

there is another thread on this site that covers this info
in greater detail.

best of luck.


clipped on: 03.19.2013 at 08:53 pm    last updated on: 03.19.2013 at 08:53 pm

RE: Energy efficiency upgrades � what is worth it? (Follow-Up #14)

posted by: energy_rater_la on 02.01.2013 at 03:58 pm in Building a Home Forum

Attic insulation - Upgrade from R 30 to R 38 for $600

prior to insulating attic air sealing should be done, or
insulation performance is lessened to a great degree.
one point in case...recessed lights. not everything counts as $$ back. Insulation Contact recessed lights not only allow extreme attic temps into the house, but insulation is
installed next to the cans & the holes in the housing.
one IC can de-rates 1 sq ft of insulation around it to R-0
because of air infiltration through the insulation.
so, instead of IC lights, buy ICAT (insulation contact
air tight) and install them everywhere. including outside,
cause the electrician will mix IC & ICAT up when installing.
it is very cost effective to purchase ICAT as compared to the cost of installing air tight inserts & trim kits.
approx cost of inserts & trim kits are $17 PER light.

stopping air infiltration from the extreme attic temps
just makes common sense. but don't count on trades to do this. without you pushing air won't get done.

AC Unites (two) - Upgrade from seer 13 to 16 for $1,500
I find that 15-17 SEER is a good investment. lower SEER
is not cost effective, nor is higher. without knowing if
you are all electric or a combo of elec w/gas furnace..
advice is general. if all electric Heat Pump.
if elec/gas then upgrade to higher efficiency gas furnace.
even in my hot humid climate people who understand that the efficiency cost is upfront are installing 96% gas furnaces.
works well for us, because we put our equipment & ductwork in the attic. so once furnace is upgraded,we can foam insulate the attic. this turns the attic into a semi conditioned space, allowing temps leaving equipment to remain same temp when entering the living space.
I don't recommend spray foam in walls, but if equipment
& ducts are in the attic..its a no brainer.
again...roi comes into this conversation. depending upon
size & pitch of roof your upgrade varies.
on an average 2500 sq ft house with a 10 on 12 roof
pitch, you are looking at an approx.8-10 year payback.
for walls...putting a 1" foam sheathing board on
exterior of walls works towards air tightness of wall &
adds R-7 in insulation value. then insulate with conventional insulation, and use an air tight drywall
approach to interior.

Exterior Wall Insulation - Upgrade from R 13 to 21 for $2000 (we have 4x6 construction) see above and don't you
mean 2x6?

Windows - Upgrade all windows to argon filled windows with better solar co-efficient rates (Milgard Vinyl 3D with low e glazing vs Milgard Vinyl standard with low e glazing) $2400
learn what makes a window efficient. shop for windows
with this label. solar heat gain coefficients & ufactors
of .30 or less. low e and argon gas.
understand that the frame has a direct effect on the
glass. non conductive frames..vinyl, wood, metal exterior with wood interior all contribute to low shgc & ufactors.
metal windows conduct heat & cold. avoid metal even with thermal break.

Furnace - 95% efficiency included
see a/c

you can put the best hvac system,the best windows
and upgrade the insulation. but if the house is leaky
and the ducts are'll never achieve the
efficiency you can with the attention to air sealing
& duct sealing.
in Ca. they do blower door testing & duct testing I believe.
these are important. a tight house is affordable
to heat & cool.
just because a house is new, does not mean that it is
tight. build tight, ventilate right.
if the house tests below .25 air changes..then you
add fresh air, as per ASHRAE's 62.2 ventilation strategy.

here is a link to the spec sheet that I give my clients.
note that it is for hot humid climate, so make allowences for your climate mandates.

best of luck


clipped on: 03.19.2013 at 07:45 pm    last updated on: 03.19.2013 at 07:45 pm

Small things that get forgotten

posted by: loribug26 on 03.05.2013 at 12:28 pm in Building a Home Forum

I know this has been visited numerous times, but thought I would resurrect it with a new thread since the last one is dated 8/2012 and has this disclaimer at the bottom:

Please Note: This thread has reached the upper limit for the number follow-ups allowed (150). If you would like to continue this discussion, please begin a new thread using the form on the main forum page.


clipped on: 03.19.2013 at 10:52 am    last updated on: 03.19.2013 at 10:52 am

RE: Fixtures Vendors Online? (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: bevangel on 06.26.2012 at 10:40 am in Building a Home Forum - Great prices on faucets and tubs - especially if you like the "old house" look. I got all my faucets and a gorgeous cast-iron clawfoot tub from them. They're not selling the "brand names" but every single faucet I got was solid heavy brass and beautifully made. No plastic parts in any of it. Plumber said it was all as nice as anything he'd ever installed. SignatureHardware had great service too. When one faucet arrived with a scratch despite their packing efforts (the outer box everything came in had been totally CRUSHED by the shipper but only this one faucet had any damage), they just had me email them a picture of the damage and then they shipped a replacement part right out. I had it within just a few days. Told me not to bother to ship back the scratched part as they couldn't resell it anyway. SignatureHardware also carries a lot of other things besides bath fixtures but prices on other items tend to be closer to prices you'll find at local stores. - I bought about a dozen light fixtures and several Hunter ceiling fans from them. No problems at all. Everything arrived on time and well packaged. Lighting Direct tells you the name of the manufacturer so you can easily compare prices with local stores and/or other on line sellers. You never know what they'll have in stock but it never hurts to look. And they will price match if you find something you like cheaper at another online vendor whose reputation may be a bit questionable. I got some great deals on Tiffany style mini-pendant lights for my kitchen. ($29.95 each). sometimes doesn't tell you the brand names when you shop but my pendant lights turned out to be Kichler lights that had been discontinued. They were still in their original Kichler boxes and had Kichler warranty cards enclosed. After getting mine I found a very similar Kichler fixture (slightly different Tiffany glass design but otherwise identical - same size, same pendant holder, etc.) at a local light shop for almost $200! I know it sounds funny but sometimes people are selling brand new building supplies on Craigslist. Maybe they ordered something for their homes and then changed their minds. You just have to keep an eye out and be ready to jump on it when you see something you like and can use. I got three brand-new Blanco Silgranite sinks via Criagslist, each for about 1/3rd of the suggested retail price! You do want to carefully inspect anything you're thinking of purchasing from a Craigslist seller because you don't get any warranties.


clipped on: 03.19.2013 at 10:09 am    last updated on: 03.19.2013 at 10:09 am

Things to avoid

posted by: MrsPete on 03.09.2013 at 04:59 pm in Building a Home Forum

This morning as I was cleaning, it occurred to me that a good thread topic would be things to avoid when building -- I'm thinking of things that appear to be good on the surface, but end up being high-maintenance or expensive to keep in other ways. Hopefully we can help one another avoid future problems.

My thoughts:

Paneled doors. Yes, they look great, but dust collects on the bottom edge of the panels. Ditto for furniture or cabinets with deep carving; for example, I have to use q-tips and furniture oil on my bedroom furniture because the carving is so deep.

Double sinks. Two sinks to clean for no real benefit. I want to change the hardware, and that means buying two sets. One set on a clearance table is easy to find; two, not so much.

Sweet gum trees. Ours is absolutely gorgeous, but every year it drops a thick layer of what we call porcupine eggs, and they're a real hazard -- they'll throw you down on the ground.


clipped on: 03.18.2013 at 11:44 pm    last updated on: 03.18.2013 at 11:44 pm

Opinions on first draft [floorplan]

posted by: jbher on 11.06.2012 at 02:44 pm in Building a Home Forum

Hi everyone!

Been a long time lurker and I'm posting this for my sister and brother in-law. They are getting ready to build and just got back their first draft of the floorplan. Would love feedback and thoughts on any changes you all see/recommend.

They have 4 children, however, 3 are adults and just 1 is home. They're building a rambler in a heavily wooded lot. Their inspiration floorplan is this:

Their floorplan is increased to just over 1,700 sq ft on the main level. There will be a 3-season porch off the dining room with a wood burning fireplace.

Thanks and look forward to hearing the feedback!


clipped on: 11.06.2012 at 02:44 pm    last updated on: 11.06.2012 at 02:45 pm