Building My House

I have always wanted to build my own house. I am retired now, so I have the time. I found some land, designed a house that would fit the land and my needs and got started. I am doing all the work myself, so progress will be fairly slow. To read this blog from the beginning, start with the oldest archive and read posts from last to first.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

70: DIY Foam Alternatives

After lots of research on the internet I chose Soythane foam for my insulation. Though they advertise it’s “green” because it uses soy as a major ingredient, that’s not why I chose it. So, why did I choose it?

First off – why spray the foam myself, why not hire it done? Pretty simple answer – cost – hire it done and we’re looking at $13,000 or so to do the whole house with 2 pound, closed cell foam. Do it myself and it will run about half that. $13,000 is more than half of all I’ve spent so far, more than a little sticker shock. And since I’ve built everything else, spraying my own foam seems like the right way to go.

For this to work for me there can’t be any really negative aspects related to equipment, delivery method or cost. The “propane tank” companies like Tiger Foam send your foam in tanks similar to the propane tanks you use with your barbecue grill. There is no equipment to buy or rent. You just hook up the hoses and start spraying. When through, throw away the cans, no hazardous waste to deal with. Disadvantage: cost. It runs about $1.00 per sq ft per inch of foam thickness. As I want about 3 inches of foam in my roof, that is more cost than hiring it done. Disadvantage2: your “pressure limited”. The cans come pre-pressured. If you lose pressure for any reason, the foam is lost, and that’s a $600 loss per set of cans. Other alternatives were cheaper on materials, so I ruled out the “propane cans”.

Method #2 - from a company named Source of Supply. They send you foam in 17 gallon drums or 55 gallon barrels. A 55 gallon barrel weighs in at around 500 lbs, so moving one around by yourself is pretty much out of the question. Because the barrel sets weigh over 1000 lbs total, you get into hazardous material shipping charges, which are not cheap. Equipment cost: you have to buy anywhere from $2500 to $3500 of equipment to spray the foam. The higher cost amount is for heated hoses. For my one-time, one-house use of the system, it would not be cost effective. For a home-builder or contractor who didn’t want to have to sub out his foam work, this might be a good system. Disadvantage2: To buy the system, the company requires you to pay for training, about $400-$800. From a safety standpoint I have no problem with the training. From a cost viewpoint, I do. Disadvantage3: This “system” has only been out on the market a couple of months. I wasn’t convinced they had all the bugs worked out yet.

Soythane, the method I chose will be discussed in the next post.


At 10:42 AM, Blogger Crystal said...

Thanks for breaking this down like you do. I've been trying to catch up on your posts but saw this today and went ahead to read. It's hard finding people building out of pocket by themselves that really get into the meat of what they're doing. I look forward to hearing about the soy foam you're going to use.

At 1:47 PM, Blogger Ed said...

That's what I've found out too. I can't wait to see the next post.


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