Avoid Costly Mistakes with Spray Foam Insulation Austin Tx
Is your home making you sick? Do you have high energy bills? Are you irritated by uncomfortable rooms? How much pest poop is hiding in your insulation?
Stellrr can transform your home into a comfortable, energy-efficient, and healthy place for your family to enjoy life!
The first step is to installing spray foam insulation Austin TX is to…
Attic Insulation "Space Age Cleanse"
Converting your traditional vented attic to a spray foam sealed attic will have the biggest impact on your home comfort and energy efficiency.
The existing allergen infested insulation is removed. Then the space is sanitized. This sets you up for major indoor air quality improvements.
Required gas utility combustion ventilation is installed to prevent carbon monoxide problems.
Then the attic roof deck is spray foamed to R-25 with Icynene GreenGuard Gold Certified Ultra-Low VOC polyurethane. Your thermal and air boundary is moved from your attic floor to the attic roof.
This moves your HVAC unit out of a hostile 135-degree environment and puts it into a 79-degree semi-conditioned comfy space.
The Ignition Barrier Intumescent Coating is installed to create a 5-minute fire barrier as IECC requires in attics larger than 36″ tall and 30 sq ft in space.
Since the HVAC unit won’t run as much, and won’t pull as much humidity out of the air, we install our SaniDry whole home dehumidifier. This add more “load” onto the HVAC system while also mechanically managing the moistiure in your home with a stand alone system.
At last mold will never stand a chance at growing in your attic. The allergens will be blocked from entering your attic. You have a happy, healthy space for you and your family.
Crawlspace Insulation "CleanSpace Cleanse"
Many homes in Central Texas homes with dirt crawlspaces underneath have mold. Crawl spaces without a vapor barrier naturally have critically high humidity. This results in health problems and structural issues.
Did you know that about 40% of the air you breath in your home comes up from the dirt crawlspace under the house? The nastiness hidden underneath, is in your home also!
How? Ground moisture is wicked up from dirt. This results in the dirt appearing dry. For the first few inches it will be dry because of wicking, but the dirt is moist further down.
In homes with a concrete slab, building codes require a 5-mill vapor barrier be installed to prevent moisture infiltration through the concrete, which would ruin wood floors, mold carpet and more.
A vented crawlspace fosters moisture problems even after remediation. Vented crawlspaces enable structural wood framing to be damp. This leads to mold, rot, and is loved by all kinds of critters. The best solution is to transform the crawlspace with the CleanSpace Cleanse:
- Fix groundwater seepage: SmartPipe, Drainage Matting, and SmartSump.
- Isolate the house from the earth: 20-mill polyethelene CleanSpace liner.
- Seal outside air out: EverLast door, seal vents, Icynene closed cell spray foam insulated walls and rim joists.
- Mechanically manage humidity: SaniDry Sedona dehumidifier.
This solution is superioir to spray foaming the subfloor decking. One problem with foaming the subfloor and leaving the crawlspace vented is pier and beam rott. If the subfloor currently lets moisture infiltrate, and then it is blocked on the decking, the infiltration is then amplified in the joists. The joists then soak up significantly more moisture which has led to homes having to replace their entire pier and beam foundation due to rott.
Metal Building Closed Cell Foam
The smartest solution for metal building insulation is closed cell spray foam. In Central Texas, you need R-13 walls and a R-20 (or R25) roof.
Closed cell is the only FEMA Class 5 rated insulation. Meaning it can be submersed in water for 48-hours with no degradation.
When applied in the proper thickness to a metal building, closed cell improves the racking strength on the structure by 400%. If you see a building standing after a hurricane while the others are flattened, it is because of closed cell.
But one important factor that is often overlooked: a proper Thermal Barrier (TB) must be installed for Fire Safety. A TB can be sheetrock, plywood or an intumescent coating covering the foam. Don’t skip this step. If there is ever a fire or insurance claim, the TB can be the difference between life and death.
Commercial Building Spray Foam
Stellrr’s primary focus is on Changing Lives by Cleansing Homes. But we are properly bonded and insured to handle the paperwork and installation on commercial projects.
We know how much of a pain it is to get commercial work signed off and paid out. If we decide to take on your project, you can be sure we will see it through to the end regardless of how long the processing takes the “big wigs” to do.
New Construction Spray Foam
Installing spray foam insulation on a new construction home is where most contractors focus all of their attention. It is pretty easy work compared to retrofitting existing homes.
Stellrr’s focus is primarily on retrofitting homes. But we do new construction work for a few select clients.
If you’re just looking for the lowest price, look elswhere. Someone will always do it cheaper. If you want great work with a team that can failthfully serve you for the long run, let’s talk.
Which Solution is Best For You? Watch...
Questions on Spray Foam
During your consult...
- You will discover precisely what is going on in your home.
- The truth about why you have high energy bills (and how to be energy efficient to lower your utility bills).
- What is the hidden factor in your pest control issues?
- Why are some rooms uncomfortable all the time?
- Where we find the most significant indoor air quality problems.
- The blower door test will reveal air leak locations.
- Your options for fixing the problems (even if it doesn't include hiring Stellrr).
- Thermal imaging shows hot and cold spots.
- Why do Solar, HVAC, & Pest Control pros talk trash about this? (It is incredible how much our work in an Austin home decreases their sales from reduced system requirements.)
- How long it will take to recover your investment (the truth about tax credits).
- And much, much more!
Stellrr is not married to spray foam. We install blown cellulose, Rockwool batt insulation, and other insulation services. Each solution can have a good impact on your energy bills. Many insulation companies only do spray foam or fiberglass. So they only recommend the one they sell. We can get the same results with foam as we can with cellulose. It is about having the whole system installed adequately with quality products.
During your consult, we can compare some of the other options like:
- Installing an aluminum foil radiant barrier.
- Adding a layer of insulation on top of the existing.
- Removing existing traditional insulation materials. Re-blowing new insulation.
- Different types of spray foam systems. How to reduce air leakage with a thick layer of adequate insulation.
- Is foam worth the investment today to lower your carbon footprint?
Most Austin insulation installers make critical mistakes when...
Converting a house from fiberglass into a spray foam encapsulated system. Accidental malpractice is rampant.
Homeowners seldom know of the costly errors until it is too late...
- Homeowners wind up sick with worse allergies and asthma than before.
- Have expensive remediation repairs due to mold or accidentally killing their HVAC.
- Pay serious dough for insulation without improving their comfort or energy bills!
You may have heard the news stories of spray foam insulation poorly done. Bad foam with harmful chemicals is easy to fix in a new build. There is easy access. But correcting a bad foam job with harmful chemicals in an existing home. It is much more expensive for the homeowner.
Stellrr Insulation specializes in converting existing homes into spray foam insulated homes. Most insulation contractors do 95% of new construction. It is simply following the blueprint. But with retrofit homes, we have to redesign everything. And we have to treat the home as a system to impact utility bills, comfort, and make the home healthy. There are...
13-Steps Essential For Success When Converting To Spray Foam Insulation.
I am shocked when I review competitor estimates! I rarely see more than 2-3 of the 13 steps included in the proposal. What does it mean? Other foam insulation installers are missing most of the steps for success. Their solution won't save money in the long run. Plus, it can make your home even more uncomfortable, moldy, and allergy-ridden.
What are the 13 essential steps for converting to spray foam insulation?
The 13 steps are a highly guarded secret. Competitors have plagiarized other solutions I shared. I don't worry that competitors would do the 13 steps. It is very difficult to implement. What worries me is they sound competent, which is very misleading.
When you have Stellrr do a home Diagnostic Consult, we will reveal the 13 steps for Success.
In some homes we do not have to preform each of the 13-steps. But we do have to address each one.
Respecting your home is very important to us. We want to leave it better than we found it. Here are some of our precautions that others forget:
- Block soffit so it doesn’t spray out the soffit onto your siding ruining it.
- Protect the attic access so we don’t mist inside your house.
- Put down protection for your flooring so we don’t leave a trace.
- Block the gable vents, roof vents, ridge vents so foam does not spray onto your roof.
- Build walls to block the house attic off from the porch attic.
- Build walls to block the garage attic off from the house.
- Install sealed access doors to blocked off areas if access is needed.
- Seal down to the top plate on the house perimeter so it fully stops the air leakage.
Let’s talk more about moisture in the air. Austin is a very humid environment, often 80-90% humidity. This creates a great environment for all sorts of things to grow. If we are constantly bringing in humid air from outside, then we are creating a not so healthy environment inside. We need to seal up the house air leaks not only for energy savings & comfort. But we need to seal up the house for our health. Then we can manage the humidity more effectively. And we can stop mold growth, wood rot, and protect the house structurally.
Check out my video on Fiberglass and Owens Corning. OC sells shingles. OC sells pink fiberglass. They do not want you to buy other products. They want the builder to buy their entire product line. And they trash foam.
The truth about foam is that it does raise the shingle temperature about 5 degrees. But that is it. If shingles cannot handle 5 degrees more heat than we get in Austin, then they better not sell shingles in other parts of the country where it is 5 degrees warmer than Austin.
Further, if the foam is “bad” for shingles, why is the owner of the Klaus Roofing franchise network spray-foaming the underside of his roof? I was recently visiting with Klaus Larson at an event and posed this same question to him. He agreed with my statements and shared that the roof on his new, very large home was being foamed as Stellrr does daily.
I foresee that this misinformation that has been spread since the 1980s will begin to change. Why is that? Owens Corning and Johns Manville (the 2 behemoths in roofing) just bought into the foam manufacturing business. I wonder if the old marketing department that trashed foam is still employed?
Does your attic has gas or propane combustion utilities like an HVAC or Water Heater (WH) that use your attic for make-up air to feed the combustion? If yes, then we will have a seperate line item for a Combustion Ventilation Closet for how we handle these items to create a sealed envelope while still bringing in the 1-for-1 make-up air exchange.
If your HVAC or WH flue pipe through the roof is PVC plastic, that is because it is 95% efficient or greater. It means that the unit brings in combustion air through that PVC pipe, and has an inner layer where it exhausts out fumes.
If you have a metal pipe going out your roof from the WH or HVAC, then you probably have an 80% efficient unit, meaning it requires attic make-up air. So we will have a seperate line item to build out a Combustion Air Closet. The closet will have a zip door on it so that the tech can come in, service the equipment and do any needed work. Then zip it back up upon leaving.
Spray foam is a plastic based material and therefore has a lower smoke, and ignition point than do other materials like Rockwool (which is fireproof).
According to International Residential Code (IRC), spray foam is to be coated with an ignition or thermal barrier under certain conditions.
The spray polyurethane foam we install is Class 1 Fire rated which is the safest class. Commercial buildings require Class 1 Fire rating on materials.
- What does the IRC code want and where?
- What is qualifies as a thermal or ignition barrier?
- Why didn’t Stellrr’s competitors notify me about this building code?
- Do I have to install an intumescent coating? What happens if I decline it?
- What are the alternatives to an intumescent coating?
- What about Appendix X foam that has some ignition barrier in it? Is that good enough?
- What if I wait to have the ignition barrier installed later?
The above questions are answered on the intumescent coating section here.
Great question. This is a common confusion. If done wrong it will cause mold. I done right, it will prevent mold.
Where does this idea come from? Let’s take the mystery out of this cliche. An inefficent house has an HVAC unit sized for that leakage. Say, 1 ton of HVAC per 600 sq ft of home. But when you make the home more efficient, you can move toward 1 ton of HVAC per 800-900 sq ft of home.
The HVAC unit manages the temperature AND THE MOISTURE in the air.
As the HVAC unit runs longer, it removes more moisture from the air. If the home becomes more efficient with the same HVAC unit, it doesn’t run as much. It doesn’t pull as much moisture out of the home’s air.
When your home’s air has more moisture in it, that will start to grow fungal stuff among other things.
So if you make the home more efficient (or spray foam it), you then have to take equal meaasures to manage the humidity separate from the HVAC unit.
In every home that Stellrr converts to spray foam, we insist that the client also has us install a stand alone, whole home dehumidifier in the attic and/or crawlspace.
We install the SaniDry Sedona dehumidifier which adds some “load” back onto the HVAC unit, but it also manages the humidity.
But isn’t it better to just leave the house as it is without energy efficiency upgrades? Nope. Look, if your home is leaky right now, you cannot control the humidity right now either.
Sure in the summer your home will have more regulated humidity, but in the mild months when the HVAC isn’t running much, you will have higher levels of humidity in the air.
So that is why it is best to have a SaniDry installed. It will manage the humidity in your home all year long.
So the real solution is to: seal it tight, ventilate it right.
Ideally we want the humidity in the home to hover around 50%, while 40%-60% is acceptable. Mold doesn’t start growing until you get closer to 80%+. But above 60% is where other things start to grow like: dust mites, viruses, and other things.
So the right answer to the question is this: any house, when not properly dehumidified can grow mold. A stand alone whole house dehumidifier should be installed in every central texas home regardless of it being spray foamed or not.
Creating an encapsulated attic addresses the 4 major heat loads on your home that equate to about 50% of the total heat load.
- air seals all attic penetrations
- permanent proper insulation levels
- duct leakage stays in the building envelope
- ducts deliver perfect 55* air in the cooling season (9 months)
Stellrr installs Huntsman (Icynene) OC No Mix. Icynene is now owned by Huntsman, but the formulation is the same. Icynene was started in Canada where the green building and environmental requirements are much higher than in the USA. Which means Icynene formulations are the lowest VOC, healthiest products to have in the home. It is an ultra-low VOC product allowing for 1 hour job site re-entry and 4 hour job site re-occupancy at applicable ventilation rates.
Do you need R-49 foam which is the minimum code requirement for blown insulation on the attic floor? You can read about the difference between Prescriptive Code requirements and Performance Code. With foam we are meeting or exceeding the Performance code requirements, so we are doing well at R-25 open cell spray foam on the roof deck.
On Shawn’s personal home, it was built in 2011 by Meritage Homes. Back then, the code requirements were R-20 for the city of Austin. R-20 is just not enough. Shawn was able to take his thermal camera and get significant variances in temperature with the R-20 foam. So he had one of his sprayers add R-5 of Icynene open cell to the existing open cell spray foam insulation. Now the thermal camera registers the entire attic roof as the same temperature.
First the existing insulation is removed. The attic is updated to allow for effective and safe encapsulation. Ensuring bath exhaust fans are ducted outside. Manage any combustion unit make-up air ventilation rooms, build a mesh wall to foam and seal the porches and garage off from the main attic. Next is sterilizing.
Then we install spray foam to the underside of the roof decking. The roof decking is the wood that your shingles are nailed to from the top side. We cover any ridge vents, roof vents, block the soffits, cover the gable end vents, etc. Then we spray the roof, the gable walls, and everything down to the top plate. This seals your attic.
Seal it Tight. Ventilate it Right. A leaky house is not healthy for you or the house. A sealed house without mechanical ventilation can be troublesome as well. So the answer is to seal it tight so that you can control everything. Then set up the mechanical ventilation so that only “breathes” as much as is necessary.
So what happens if you spray foam my attic, converting it from a vented to a encapsulated attic? Will it be too tight?
No. You will still have leaky walls & windows and bottom plates, and doors opening. This is sufficient. However, you can upgrade your mechanical ventilation, so that you introduce a certain amount of air into your house at set intervals daily. If we are building a combustion closet for you, we are still bringing in fresh (make up) air into that closet, so fresh air will be introduced. But you can also have what is called an Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV). ERVs are a luxury, and rarely installed even in new custom build homes.
Your tight house will now allow you to manage the humidity inside the house. One way of managing the humidity is through our SaniDry dehumidifier system.
My childhood home, mentioned in the paragraphs above, had the roof replaced just before my parents sold it. The house was 20 years old and had been foamed. Of the entire house, there was part of a sheet of decking that needed replacing. The decking was in a valley and had some rot. It came up without damaging the foam, and was replaced. Easy.
I’ve asked several of my roofing friends about their real world experience here. They say that open cell foamed roof DO allow them to find leaks. Open cell is porous and allows moisture to come through close to the leak location.
They say that only 3-5% of roofs need any decking replaced, and at that, it is usually only a sheet of decking regardless if it is a foamed or blown in roof.
If you have to have your roof replaced, it will probably be done with insurance money. So if any foam has to be repaired or replaced, the insurance will cover that as well. But guess how many calls or jobs we have done to repair foam after a roof replacement? We did one job years ago. And it was not because the foam needed repairing. The foam was attached directly to the metal roof. The metal roof was damaged when their carport was blown onto the roof and dented it badly. The roof was able to be removed without damaging the closed cell foam. The building owner wanted to replace the foam because he didn’t like the job my competitor did, and he wanted it to look pretty. So he hired us to re-do the foam 100% since it was a metal building with exposed foam.
Need your HVAC or Water Heater replaced?
Great! Now you can upgrade to a more efficient and smaller unit. That means that the Combustion Air Closet is no longer needed. It can be demolished in less than 2 minutes with a baseball batt or 10 minutes with a hand saw. Very easy. Now your new unit can go in with zero obstructions.
Need your HVAC or WH replaced?
Once your attic is converted from blown insulation on the attic floor, to foam on the attic ceiling, it is a workers dream come true.
The problem with blown insulation on the attic floor is it is always in the way of any work needing to be done. Technicians will damage the blown insulation walking through your attic to run wires, fix plumbing, check the HVAC, or Water Heater, etc. The same thing with pests, they scurry through and damage the insulation.
However, a foamed roof is up and out of the way. There is clean and clear access for whatever work a technician needs to do. It is also a cool safe environment for them to work. If you ever have pests enter the attic, you will hear them loud and clear walking on your Sheetrock. Then with a clean, clear attic, you can find them and get rid of them asap.
Growing up, the house I live in had a spray foamed roof. I had access to storage under that was exposed to the foam roof. Never once did I see any of the foam damaged in my childhood home. My parents sold their home a few years ago, 20 years after building it. When we were prepping it for sale, I inspected all of the foam insulation, still no damage. Perfect condition. But can you imagine if it was blown insulation? It would be a disaster.
We install foam on the underside of the roof deck and gable walls over the conditioned space. We block off the porch and garage. If we are spraying the garage, it will be a seperate line item.
Our quotes are based on the Central Appraisal District footprint of the house, plus roof pitch.
The garage and porches are always a seperate line item on the CAD, and thus if we are insulating them, it is a separate line item there too.
If the house attic is shared with the garage attic, code requires that the house attic be separated from the garage attic even if we are also foaming the garage. Why? They want to prevent any potential vapor from the garage going over into the house. So we build a mesh wall, install a zip door, and then foam the wall to seperate it.
An Office Where You Can Meet Us in Person
SERVICE AREA: Stellrr offices are in South Austin, but we have a wide service area. We regularly take on projects from Taylor to Bastrop to Canyon Lake to Fredericksburg to Marble Falls. So if you are within 60 miles of Austin, we can help you out. There is hope if you are outside the area. We will travel for the right project. Let’s talk about it.