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Foam insulation is very effective in the development of a super tight building enevelope. It will stop air leakage and enable more total control of the interior living space. This present potential problems in that our living and breathing in the living space generates moisture.
Traditional building construction practices are precisely the opposite and utilizes the concept of venting in the attic and in the crawl space whereby the area above and below the living envelope allows for the eveporation of moisture.
In designing a super tight envelope that is totally sealed there should be careful thought and concern for moisture in the enclosed area. Because foam is so effective at sealing drafts, the space should be thoughtfully designed as a whole house system, with exhaust vents for all areas of the house that generate moisture, and consideration should be given to installing an Energy Recovery Vent (ERV) to normalize the humidity between exterior and interior, to avoid the potential of developing a sick hoiuse syndrome.
Open cell is advisable in attic applications where you want moisture to freely move through when a roof leak developes, to avoid major structural damage over time. Close cell is most advisable in the peremeter of the crawl space or basement area where concern is for a more dense insulation product with more structure. (I have seen it done but advise against, applying foam on the bottom side of flooring since doing so seals all of the mechanical systems into the muck and makes maintainence profoundly troublesome and wretched for the future).
Bob Windom, Windom Construction Co. Inc. Atlanta
Here is a good website to reference for foam insulation:
Types of Liquid Foam Insulation
Today, most foam materials use foaming agents that don't use chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) or hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), which are harmful to the earth's ozone layer.
There are two types of foam-in-place insulation: closed-cell and open-cell. Both are typically made with polyurethane. With closed-cell foam, the high-density cells are closed and filled with a gas that helps the foam expand to fill the spaces around it. Closed-cell foam is the most effective, with an insulation value of around R-6.2 per inch of thickness.
Open-cell foam cells are not as dense and are filled with air, which gives the insulation a spongy texture. Open-cell foam insulation value is around R-3.7 per inch of thickness.
The type of insulation you should choose depends on how you will use it and on your budget. While closed-cell foam has a greater R-value and provides stronger resistance against moisture and air leakage, the material is also much denser and is more expensive to install. Open-cell foam is lighter and less expensive but should not be used below ground level where it could absorb water. Consult a professional insulation installer to decide what type of insulation is best for you.
Available liquid foam insulation materials include:
Some less common types include Icynene foam and Tripolymer foam. Icynene foam can be either sprayed or injected, which makes it the most versatile. It also has good resistance to both air and water intrusion. Tripolymer foam—a water-soluble foam—is injected into wall cavities. It has excellent resistance to fire and air intrusion.
Liquid foam insulation -- combined with a foaming agent -- can be applied using small spray containers or in larger quantities as a pressure-sprayed (foamed-in-place) product. Both types expand and harden as the mixture cures. They also conform to the shape of the cavity, filling and sealing it thoroughly.
Slow-curing liquid foams are also available. These foams are designed to flow over obstructions before expanding and curing, and they are often used for empty wall cavities in existing buildings. There are also liquid foam materials that can be poured from a container.
Installation of most types of liquid foam insulation requires special equipment and certification and should be done by experienced installers. Following installation, an approved thermal barrier equal in fire resistance to half-inch gypsum board must cover all foam materials. Also, some building codes don't recognize sprayed foam insulation as a vapor barrier, so installation might require an additional vapor retarder.
Liquid foam insulation products and installation usually cost more than traditional batt insulation. However, liquid foam insulation has higher R-values and forms an air barrier, which can eliminate some of the other costs and tasks associated with weatherizing a home, such as caulking, applying housewrap and vapor barrier, and taping joints. When building a new home, this type of insulation can also help reduce construction time and the number of specialized contractors, which saves money.
I would also reccomend that you look at James Hardie webstie and look at their specs. In our market I have yet to see another contractor follow the specs (frankly not even close). By not following this the price can be quite a bit cheaper. That said it will void any waranty from James Hardie.
Also I would make sure it is a pur Hardie job. Again in our market many substitute James Hardie trim with a much cheaper(frankly much easier to install) miratek trim. They will still call it a Hardie job but it is not. They also will replace actul Haride siding with a chepaer version called Cemplank.
Just a few thoughts.
RGS Exteriors and Construciton
I agree with the first two comments, very good advice.
Here's some other things you might to consider:
You want to make sure that are able to make an apples to apples comparison with each of the estimates you receive. If one estimate is more detailed for example, ask the other contractor if their estimate includes these details that their competitor is offering & will they be willing to include it in writing?
Ask for 10 references instead of 3. The reason I say 10 is because this will give you a better sample size of the contractor's experience and track record. Anybody who has been in the business (especially siding which has many annual clients) should have no problem giving you 10 satisfied, recent clients. Granted you don't have to call all 10 but even the worst contractor can probably scrape together 1-2 "positive" references.
Go to their website. This day and age they should have a website. This should have pictures of their siding projects to view. They should also list their certifications and which products their install.
Go with your gut! If a deal seams too good to be true it probably is. After you do your due dilligence be honest with yourself and choose the contractor that you feel you can trust and will provide the best product. Don't just use price to make your decision.
I strongly suggest go to James Hardie wedsite, download their installation instruction and get familiar with the process. We witness so many fiber cement siding that was done wrong. It may be wised to have a clause in the contract that the work will be done according to James Hardie's installation instruction.
Problem may not arise in few years and contractor's warranty on paper is a joke if he has no intension to honor it.
I totally agreed Mr. Jim Myers' suggestion to check on the contractor throughly.
The key is doing the job right the first time will save you a lot of headach down the road.
Good luck with your project.
If you are unsure check with the BBB. your state licensing board, and go look at several references where they have done instalations. Talk to the owners if you can and see how they were treated. These three things should tell you a lot about who you are dealing with. also have them give you the name of the brand of cement board and have them describe exactly what they propose to do. also look to see if one is prefinished and one is not. Prefinished are more expensive Good Luck.
About 6 years back we installed replacement shutters on a 1930's era home. The origonal wood shutters were painted black but had serious rot issues after years of enduring the wet conditions of the Pacific Northwest. We decided to construct the new shuters with Azek PVC. Our Azek Rep. recommended that we use Sherwin Williams VinylSafe Paint. It resists UV heat gain and the shutters we installed still look great. Good Luck!
As a Denver roofing and siding company, we would suggest using a hardie board product. This would ultimately come down to your project budget, as insulated vinyl siding will be about 50% cheeper than a hardie board product.
James Hardie Fiber cement siding would be the best option for the new siding on your home. Hardie House Wrap will help to create a thermal envelope for the exterior of your home. Foam sheathing can be installed on the exterior walls to increase the insulation R-Factor of your walls. The insulation issues you are having might also be related to problems with your windows in the addition. We recommend that you have the windows inspected as well. The James Hardie materials have an excellent return on investment as well as beauty. It will give your siding the look of real wood without the maintenance. Vinyl siding has serious issues with fading and doesn't provide the long term beauty that James Hardie products will give you.
Please feel free to contact us for additional information.
Yes vinyl can be painted! My recommendation is to make sure that all of the previous paint is removed, if any exists, and that the surface is smooth and dry. Also priming and sealing is the best way to make sure that your shutters stay in great shape for long periods of time. Hope this helps and good luck!
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