Monday, September 2, 2013

Foam Insulation - Roof Encapsulation

Last week, I mentioned our insulation dilemma and our plan of attack to solve the comfort issues. 

We have a second floor that we barely used. It was hot during the summer and cold during the winter. The insulation in the attic against the second floor walls was not sufficient. We couldn't leave the AC running because it would never shut off. It worked hard to keep the air comfortable.

We finally decided to do something about it. I wanted to be able to live upstairs, too! We decided to use spray foam insulation. And instead of doing just the walls of the second floor, we applied the foam to the underside of the roof in the attic. There wasn't much cost difference between just the walls or the whole roof. And having the entire roof done, meant the HVAC units located in the attic, wouldn't be put under stress trying to perform in 140 degree temperatures.

I recommend researching the team you will have doing the install. There is a science to applying this stuff right. I had seen where spray foam was installed to existing walls and I asked the company if they could do that to our house.

They immediately held up a red flag and said, “No.” Doing so would compromise the strength of the walls and would jeopardize the structure of the house. Spray foam expands as it dries. They kept telling me how they would never do that.

The guys quoted this as a two-day job. A day for removing insulation and prepping, and a day to apply foam. They recommended we find a place to spend the night because there was a smell right after install. Luckily, we were going out of town for a night, and it would have worked perfectly, but they were delayed. We waited until the following Monday to start the install process. I was hoping by removing the insulation ourselves, it would save them time, but it did not. They took 2 days to complete the job. Because of our high-pitched roof, they needed a 24-foot ladder to finish on Day 2.

Icynene Spray Foam - Roof Encapsulation

I can already tell an amazing difference with the temperature of the whole house!!! We don’t have to go upstairs and turn on the thermostat ten minutes before we want to go up there. We’ve already installed a programmable thermostat.

Icynene Spray Foam - Roof Encapsulation
Day 2 - Spraying the top half of the roof
Now I don’t have to tell Little JCrew we can’t go upstairs because it’s too hot.

Fan used during install

We just received our first full-month electric bill after installing the spray foam. We didn't expect our bill to go down. For the last five years that we have lived in the house, we have not run the AC/Heat upstairs on a regular basis. If we had, our bill would have been astronomical. For August, we felt comfortable leaving the upstairs AC unit on 24/7.  Running both HVAC units for an entire month only used 100Kw more than one HVAC unit in June. (We couldn't use July as a comparison, because we spent the entire month without insulation and our bill was on the high side because of that.) We can already feel and see the difference.

Icynene Spray Foam - Roof Encapsulation

This was a hard decision to come to because it costs more than a copper coin. But we did as much as we could to keep our costs down and I’m a very satisfied customer!

I've researched a lot of "green" and "efficient" building practices that I would definitely use if I ever were to build a different house. I only wish I could have been involved in the building process for this home so that it would be truly "green." However, I am happy with the progress we are making. 

There is not a lot of information out there about this and people are scared of the cost. But when I saw the numbers to add blown-in insulation to our house, spray foam was not that much more!! If you are going to build your own house, look into ICF framing and Icynene Spray Foam. It's not out there much because a builder has to be certified to use the products, but if the customers know about it and request it, more and more builders will have to become certified. They really are a difference and I can't wait to see it used more.

Now that the attic is comfortable in the middle of the summer, I have more projects to tackle!!!


  1. That was a lot of work, Lindsay, but I commend you for a job well done. From removing the old foam to installing the new ones, you were so coordinated; just like the pros! Will you still pursue the additional room? If you do, I'm pretty sure you'll end up with another place to love in your home. :)

    Ernestine Wollard @

    1. Thank you for the kind words. It was a lot of work, but a lot of satisfaction came from it. Now that the weather is turning colder, we continue to love the new insulation. We haven't had to turn the heat on at all. It was a great investment!

  2. WOW! Thats looking great! Good job, Lindsay! That didnt looks so easy but you nailed it!


    1. Thank you so much, Mary! It really has proven to be a great investment.

  3. Impressive! You found a way to utilize your second floor while keeping your bills low. It must really be fulfilling on your part, isn't it? Ernestine's right. You guys did a great job, like you were professionals. Kudos also to your installation team for refusing to compromise your house's structure.

    Mark Baker @

    1. Thank you, Mark! We are still very satisfied. This winter was very harsh and people in our area were having higher than normal bills. Our bill remained below what we have budgeted. We are happy.


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