Exclusive: New insulation method helps save time and money

February 9, 2021

By Sadia Badhon

In an exclusive interview, Maxime Duzyk, director of building science and engineering, North America, with Huntsman Building Solutions, spoke to Construction Canada about a new insulation application method that can save building owners both time and money. Photos courtesy Huntsman Building Solutions[1]
In an exclusive interview, Maxime Duzyk, director of building science and engineering, North America, with Huntsman Building Solutions, spoke to Construction Canada about a new insulation application method that can save building owners both time and money.
Photos courtesy Huntsman Building Solutions

A new insulation application method, where all the spray foam is done from the inside of a large building, can save building owners both time and money. With this method, there is no need to work outside in the cold Canadian weather.

When thinking about the insulation application process on the exterior of the building, with scaffoldings and weather conditions, it is more difficult and costlier in the winter months than in the heat of summer. First off, when applying building envelope products in cold temperatures, while there are many steps one can take to ensure the successful application of the product, the job simply takes longer. Climatic conditions are an important factor that must be considered when selecting building materials. This is not the case with spray foam and this new application process where it is all installed from within the building.

In an exclusive interview, Maxime Duzyk, director of building science and engineering, North America, with Huntsman Building Solutions[2], spoke to Construction Canada about the new insulation application method.

Tell us more about this new method of insulation application. How is it done?

Duzyk: This new method of insulation is a new way of building. This application method is done in combination with  closed-cell spray-applied foam (ccSPF), where the wall is composed of regular steel studs, but instead of installing the exterior sheeting directly on the steel studs, a Z-girt is installed horizontally on the studs and then the sheeting is installed on top of the Z-girts. This allows for a space between the studs and the sheeting, which facilitates the foam to insulate between the two, thus removing the thermal bridge. It is like the insulation is on the exterior of the building, but it is actually applied from the interior.

The ccSPF along with this new application method removes the need for the spray foam applicator to work outside, leaving other building envelope trades to work faster on the exterior of the building and to complete their part of the project. It saves time spent onsite, is more economical, and provides a higher building envelope quality and durability.

The spray foam used in the interior application replaces four materials including the exterior insulation, the full-surface membrane, fibreglass insulation in the cavity, and the poly. Spray foam acts as an air barrier, vapour barrier, and insulation, so it can replace all these materials. It is not affected by water and is also mould resistant.

What are some of the other benefits of this application method?

Duzyk: As mentioned, every step of winter construction takes longer. Materials will be exposed to rain, snow, and wind. The adhesion of some products will be diminished in colder applications.

When it comes to winter building, there are so many considerations for project success. Temperatures must be constantly monitored. Substrates should have less than 19 per cent moisture content. There might be too much rain, wind, snow, or ice on the substrate. Since insulation products are often sensitive to water, the complete building needs to be watertight before installing the insulation, thus creating delays in sequencing. The exterior air barrier should also be applied before the interior insulation and vapour barrier. Winter projects cost more time, labour, and money to install a building envelope than it does in the warmer months.

This new insulation application method, where all the spray foam is done from the inside of a large building, can save building owners both time and money.[3]
This new insulation application method, where all the spray foam is done from the inside of a large building, can save building owners both time and money.

This new application method makes large building construction in winter easier for builders and contractors. It can be as cold as -20 C (-4 F) outside and one can apply the ccSPF as soon as the exterior sheeting is installed on the first floor of a building. As ccSPF is resistant to water, there is no need for the building to be completely watertight before applying insulation. This saves on heating costs during construction as the insulated floor can be heated right away. There is no need to have heating without insulation, which often creates condensation or frost issues.

Also, there is only one product to install, so it is easy.

This application method is getting a lot of traction with building projects as it easily meets new insulation requirements regarding U-value or effective R-value and it can be done with an hydrofluoroolefin (HFO)-based ccSPF. Other advantages include:

Are there any downfalls to this application method?

Duzyk: In order for this method to be successful, it cannot be applied by just anybody. It must be done by a certified ccSPF installer. For those on the work site, it provides many more benefits in term of addressing thermal performance, air leakage control, and moisture management when successfully applied by a qualified ccSPF installer.

What kinds of construction products are good for this application? 

Duzyk: The construction products that should be used in this application are:

What are the benefits to the builders and contractors for using this method?

Duzyk: It provides time and labour efficiency and budget savings.

Endnotes:
  1. [Image]: https://www.constructioncanada.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Opener-5.jpg
  2. Huntsman Building Solutions: https://www.huntsman.com/https:/huntsmanbuildingsolutions.com/en-CA/
  3. [Image]: https://www.constructioncanada.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Opener2.jpg
  4. article 3.1.11.2: https://codes-guides.nrc.ca/IA/15NBC/intentframe.html
  5. Standard Methods of Fire Endurance Tests of Building Construction and Materials: https://www.scc.ca/en/standardsdb/standards/23507

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