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To Icynene or Not?


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My best friend is building a house, and is trying to decide how best to insulate the attic. He's leaning toward Icynene, which I've researched in the past, and which he's researching now.

It hasn't actually caught on in a big way in my area, so I haven't been able to observe whether foam insulation has any adverse effects over the long haul RE condensation forming on a roof deck, venting, and all else. There was a recent thread about this very subject, but I've been unable to locate it.

So . . . I'm wondering if anyone has seen any yuck associated with the stuff, as well as whether incorrect installation practices can muck things up, as they so often do in other areas of houses.

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I don't know about this specific product by I bet installation practices are one of the most important aspects.

Messing up some products can be relatively easy to fix. When it comes to botched of spray foam installation, I would not want to think about having to straighten that out.

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He plans to insulate the attic ceiling. We've both been Googling, and people claim to have had trouble with closed cell foam, or products that weren't, indeed, Icynene.

But . . . it's the internet, and it's difficult to separate fact from fiction. Except for when I'm here, of course.

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We've both been Googling, and people claim to have had trouble with closed cell foam, or products that weren't, indeed, Icynene.

Fiction.

I'm doing a lot of new construction....ahem....."consulting" lately; I'm on retainer on a half dozen multi mil cribs....essentially, I walk around and make sure nothing really stupid happens.

They're all closed cell, on my recommendation. Every one of them is brilliant. Any argument against closed cell is fatuous.

If there's a problem, someone did something wrong.

If the installer is competent, nothing goes wrong.

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Well, we just had a bunch of work done in our condo building, and we passed on Icynene. Ours is a strange marriage of a 19th century building to a 21st century addition. When it was condo'd about 10 years ago, the contractor took every conceivable shortcut.

The contractor we hired to make some repairs tried hard to sell me on changing our cold roof to a hot one, using Icynene and I ultimately put the kybosh on it.

Sure it can be done well, but it isn't easy to retrofit into a funky space and since I didn't have 100% confidence in the guy, I figured better safe than sorry.

Henri de Marne wrote an article touching on the issue for The Journal of Light Construction 10 or so years ago. I'm pretty sure it's archived on TIJ. It's worth reading, especially because he works in VT, a similar climate to mine.

Maybe I'm just too stubborn, unenlightened, and prejudiced, but I couldn't justify the risk of getting it wrong on this one. Plus, it's expensive and we'll be moving shortly. Even if it worked out just fine, we wouldn't break even on the outlay of cash.

Jimmy

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Our pal, Chad, was kind enough to spend some time on the phone with me this morning to 'splain the ins and outs of foam insulation. I now have a better grasp of what works and what doesn't, and much more.

Thank you!

(But don't mistakenly think, my brother, that I won't be back to breakin' your balls every chance that comes along, once the sun rises anew.)

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I'd definitely go closed cell too.

For the record, Icynene is a brand name for open cell foam, and it's the most expensive open cell foam you can buy. If I were going to use open cell foam, it wouldn't be Icynene.

By the way, I just posted a blog on my web site discussing the different options for insulating an attic - http://www.structuretech1.com/blog/2011 ... -an-attic/

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Jimmy,

You are absolutely spot on about your project-funky retrofits can go horribly, horribly wrong-but Bain is talking new work, and for that foam is the only way to go. Foam insulation is one of the few trends in new construction that is actually extending the useful life of a building, the current thinking places the life span of a modern building at 25 years.

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