Nochyo Granmama’s Spray Foam Insulation

Insulation.  I have fond memories of crawling into the attic as a child and thinking I had landed in a heaven made of pink cotton candy clouds.  I also have memories of picking out the almost microscopic strands of fiberglass that had imbedded in my fingers.  Trickery. This was not cotton candy heaven.


This is a topic I will take on slowly. One, because my brain is showing all signs of resistance to understanding it.  And two, there’s quite a few options in terms of materials and strategies, so we’re still weighing it all out.  All feedback is greatly welcomed on this one.

The one material that we have settled on is Icynene spray foam.  All this kind of stuff has some funk to it, but Isynene is hydroflourocarbon free and often polybrominated diphenylether free (big words, big yuck, good thing to not have).


Why else?…

1. Energy efficient: Can reduce heating and cooling bills by up to 50%.

So… insulation is usually described in terms of its “R-value.”  This value describes the insulation’s ability to limit heat coming though it (conduction).  The main mode of heat transfer though, is not by conduction, but rather convection-the heat leaking out.  The R-value is obviously important, but so is creating a seal as to avoid losing heat.  Isynene addresses both of these issues.

2. Improved air quality: keeps out dust, mold, radon and carbon monoxide.

3. Noise reduction: Cuts down on “airborne noise” (TV, talking, etc.) and “flanking noise” (noise within walls such as plumbing runs)

4. Potential tax deductions = more money in the latte fund.

Insulation 101, class adjourned.  See you next time for the debate over open-cell vs.close-cell Icynene options and then on to batt insulation!  Don’t get too excited.


3 thoughts on “Nochyo Granmama’s Spray Foam Insulation

  1. Icynene won’t improve air quality in terms of radon and mold mitigation. If you have a carbon monoxide problem, you need better ventilation… I considered getting icynenein the house we’re remodeling. The attic had r19 and we had to put in r38 to be up to code. I weighed the costs of the icynenevs the regular stuff, and it just didn’t make a lot of sense to me. We ended up doing our own insulation. I don’t think I’d be up to doing icynene myself, and that’s where the added cost came in. It would be extremely difficult to spray this in the attic… It’s basically like spraying epoxy into your attic and then it expands. Are you thinking of using this in the exterior walls or the attic only? You’ll get a tax deduction (possibly) just for insulating the house. Getting that r value up will, possibly. What kind of heating and air are you going to use? I’ve found the seer rating of the heat pump is more important than the kind of insulation. Have you thought of something a little different like cotton or sheeps wool?

    1. We are not looking to improve air quality in terms of radon and mold mitigation, we just do not want either one of these things in our home, so Icynene helps prevent this a bit. We will not have a carbon monoxide problem either as we will be ventilating the home with the same types of small fans used in bathrooms for ventilation. We are also not going to have an “attic” and will be spraying the foam between the rafters and against the inside of the container walls. There is NO WAY I would do the Icynene myself either… leaving that to the guys in the hazmat suites!

      We are going to (eventually) have radiant heat from the 20’x24’x6″ concrete floor, but for now we are weighing our options for heating/cooling the home. Any advice on this would also be greatly appreciated.


  2. No one wants radon or mold… haha. But I wouldn’t consider the idea that the type of insulation you use will prevent that in any way. Considering you’re talking about a cargo container, spray on is probably a very wise choice unless you plan on framing.

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