A.Corresponding Editor Paul Fisette responds: Not that I know of. Allowing interior air (that is usually full of moisture, especially in the humid summer months) to touch cold surfaces will cause condensation and wetting, rather than the desired drying. The advantages are multiple: Floors running atop will feel warmer to bare feet in the winter. New versions of the code specifically allow the use of foam sheathing to meet energy code requirements. When properly constructed, it provides a tight, dry, warm, and durable structure. Then cover … Building codes restrict the use of unprotected foam in habitable or accessible spaces. Cover The Spray Foam With Fire-Retardant Spray. This type of insulation may be faced with silver foil , with the foil facing inward toward the crawl space. Different code jurisdictions may have particular code sections that deal with this issue. Dow Styrofoam and Owens Corning Foamular are two products that pass the burn test and can be left unprotected in an isolated crawlspace. Foam board insulation is easy to use and is a great DIY way to add some insulation. Unfortunately for most homeowners paying high energy bills, that conventional thinking was wrong. What are the effective system R-values for the THERMAX™ Wall System? All XPS and EPS foam must by law be covered by a thermal (fire) barrier and if that is all you're putting in there for insulation, then you need furring sticks between the foam and the drywall. 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BUILDING AMERICA (BA) has been advocating the use of rigid foam sheathing insulation for years as a means to improve the home’s thermal envelope, by increasing R-value while minimizing thermal bridging in wood-framed walls. This ONLY applies to DOW foam, not other manufactured brands of foam or insulation products. In some cases, there’s an obvious case where only one type is appropriate for the job that you are doing. Dow Builder’s Guide to Continuous Insulation, Energy Efficiency and the Modern Home Builder’s Business, Renewed and Retroactive Tax Credit for Builders, Michigan Energy Code Update: Part 2 Compliance Paths. As far as I know, most types of rigid foam insulation can’t be left exposed, but need to be covered with a layer of drywall for fire resistance. Some codes say that if your crawlspace is connected to a basement, you need to cover the foam with an ignition barrier like 1/4-inch plywood or particleboard. This includes foam board, spray foam, ICF blocks and any other “foamed plastic” products. Any one of the rigid board insulations will work, but polyioscyanurate has the best R-value (6 to 7 per inch). Most of the materials used to protect the foam eventually get damaged by lawn mowers, baseballs, or just normal wear and tear at the ground level. Basement walls should be insulated with non-water sensitive insulation that prevents interior air from contacting cold basement surfaces—the concrete structural elements and the rim joist framing. Yes, absolutely. Products provide superior insulating properties; R-value (5- in. Adding a layer of rigid foam to the walls of any building is somewhat labor intensive. Styrofoam™Brand Wallmate Insulation can be installed to the outside or inside edge at corners of interior basement walls. Consider 210 square feet to be the entire amount of rigid foam insulation … Cover the insulation with a vapor barrier before you install it; all foam boards absorb water vapor. © 2014-2020 Great Lakes Home Performance LLC x 4 ft. x 8 ft. R-5 Scored Square Edge Rigid Foam Board Insulation Sheathing FOAMULAR Extruded Polystyrene (XPS) Rigid FOAMULAR Extruded Polystyrene (XPS) Rigid Foam Insulation offers a comprehensive line of products - choose the strength you need, from 15 to 60 PSI and exceptional moisture resistance. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. The problem with that application has always been that the foam board needed to be covered with a “thermal barrier” or “flame spread barrier” like drywall in order to meet local fire codes. A 2-inch thick sheet of this rigid foam board insulation provides thermal resistance, or R-value, of R-10. Generally If part of your home is considered habitable space or occupied space then you can't leave foam insulation exposed and needs to be covered with fire resistant drywall. Since you already have foam insulation in place, however, you will need to find a suitable retrofit product to protect it or remove the above-grade foam (and add interior foundation insulation). The International Residential Code (IRC) and Internation Building Code (IBC) both include requirements for thermal barriers (and ignition barriers, too; see below).Th… Application without Prescriptive Thermal Barrier: Application without Prescriptive Ignition Barrier, For more information about specifics and installation best practices, consult the. Adding rigid foam insulation to your crawl space is one of the smartest things you can do to your house. When installing the foam, use caulk or tape for maximum insulation between the … However, most building codes allow the installation of … These coverings will ensure a good long life for the foam insulation by keeping moisture from its surface. 2. It is available in several thicknesses and R-values. Where inspectors draw the line often depends on whether or not there is a mechanical system in the crawlspace. In other cases, though, the best choice is a bit more of a flexible decision. Measure the entire wall area to figure out the amount of rigid foam to purchase. For example, the wall may be 30 feet long by 7 feet high. This can lead to … At this point, we’ve covered the different facets of your rigid foam insulation options. The quick answer is: it … Insects. The problem with that application has always been that the foam board needed to be covered with a “thermal barrier” or “flame spread barrier” like drywall in order to meet local fire codes. I plan to install rigid foam insulation in a crawlspace. FOAMULAR 150 1 in. Press drywall corner bead over outside corner of wall covered with Styrofoam™Brand Wallmate™Insulation. The foam provides a vapor-barrier so the ductwork won’t sweat. Does Fiberglass Insulation Have to Be Covered in Tampa? Rigid foam insulation, whether it is expanded or extruded polystyrene, does have to be covered if it is installed in the interior of a building. It’s not uncommon for Tampa homes to have exposed fiberglass insulation in the basement or attic. You will likely meet some “resistance” from your local code officials, but DOWNLOAD THE CODE REPORT and look for the sections described below, For more information about specifics and installation best practices, consult the Dow Builder’s Guide to Continuous Insulation. If there's a fire in the building, a thermal barrier keeps the combustible spray foam from the flames to increase fire resistance. Paul Fisette is a wood technologist and former director of the Building Materials Technology and Management program at the University of Massachussets in Amherst, Mass. Rigid polyisocyanurate insulation is foamed from freon gas, a fluorinated hydrocarbon often used as a refrigerant and until the early 1980's, as a propellant in aerosols. With spray foam, unlike with loose fill or batts, you must cover the soffit vents (they aren't needed to keep the roof cool). Mineral fiber batts or blankets do curve and may be used in wall cavities including curved surfaces. Rigid foam insulation works for any type of masonry wall: concrete, block, brick, and even stone. A.Corresponding Editor Paul Fisette responds: Not that I know of. Maryland & DC Area Rim Joist Insulation Installers. Once the foam board is in place it can be covered with waterproof concrete board or specially treated sheet rock. Website Designed With Stu. Foam blocks airflow needs no vapor barrier and has a higher R-value per inch than loose fill or batts, so you'll get more protection with less depth. Although insects can tunnel through foam boards, if you read about this as a potential problem, it usually refers to foundation installations. How to Install Rigid Foam Insulation Between Studs Measure the Project Area . More effective insulation, better at controlling moisture, and … The structural elements of below grade walls are cold (concrete is in direct contact with the ground)—especially when insulated on … Air traveling in an out will bring moisture with it. Half-inch thick gypsum board is commonly used for that purpose. That's what separates it from the occupied spaces. As a result, air passes though these areas. If insulating sheathing is to serve as the drainage plane, all seams must be taped and flashing installed at all penetrations and openings. If the foam board is installed properly, the rigid material can create an air barrier. Most local building codes require that rigid foam boards made from polyurethane or polystyrene be covered with a 15-minute fire-rated thermal covering if they are used on the inside of the house. Tyvek is NOT designed as a product for older homes. Those are all viable options, but perhaps the most sought after option is to insulate with foam board on the INSIDE of the foundation wall so you don’t have to worry about the above grade exposure. It can be installed on the exterior of the foundation walls, but in order to be effective, needs to be installed to the full height of the wall which means protecting the above grade portion. Get notified of new posts and changes that affect your home or business. What are the benefits of outsulation? However, they do not provide the same performance in terms of insulation level per inch, water resistance, or air resistance. The thinking here is that a fire could be set off by either the equipment or activity of people in the space. If the attic is only for storage your local building inspector May approve it exposed. However, code officials and rigid foam manufacturers have made progress since 2005. Insulation Foam Board Problems Rigid Insulation Is Rigid! You can use rigid foam panels or do as Tom Silva does with nearly all houses these days: Hire a pro to install spray foam insulation. Some types of thicker foam board insulation are available, but they may need to … It's now rare for local code officials to question exterior foam sheathing. Required fields are marked *. Two common methods are to install a product like Nudo Groundbreaker or Protecto Bond. If you put spray foam insulation in a building, it needs a thermal barrier. Tyvek is designed for new homes ONLY. There are other reasons to cover it with drywall, but it may not need to be done at the time of construction. Pink, fluffy batts wedged tightly between studs, rafters, and joists insulate the space against exterior temperature changes. Those are all viable options, but perhaps the most sought after option is to insulate with foam board on the INSIDE of the foundation wall so you don’t have to worry about the above grade exposure. The good folks at Dow have had their material tested and approved for installation on the inside of foundations for certain spaces without the requirement for drywall. Conventional thinking was that foundations did not need to be insulated since they are primarily below grade and not subjected to the full load of outdoor temperatures. [Currently non HFC gases are used for foam insulation production --DF] Once foam insulation catches on fire, it burns rapidly. However, most building codes allow the installation of unprotected rigid foam in a crawlspace that has no open connection to a basement, as long as the foam has passed alternative testing procedures. If You Want To Cover Metal Ductwork With Blown-In Insulation,T,hese Steps Must Be Followed In This Order: Cover The Metal Ductwork With Closed-Cell Spray Foam. Serving the Washington, DC metropolitan area, Accurate Insulation is a good company to call when you need to insulate all parts of a new home or need more insulation for your rim joist, basement or crawl space. It comes in standard-size 4×8 sheets, and smaller sizes, in many different thicknesses from 1/4 inch to 2 inches. When adding insulation to concrete applications such as foundations, walls, and slabs, one of the more highly recommended forms is rigid foam insulation. Current building codes require foundations to be insulated. We plan on making the basement a 2nd living room and it will really help if it’s properly insulated and won’t moist. When in doubt, it always pays to talk to your inspector during the design stage. The Ontario Building Code requires foam insulation products to be protected with a 15 minute thermal barrier if they are inside the building envelope. Insulating the basement or crawlspace walls of a home is a crucial step in lowering energy bills. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Also, the smoke that comes from rigid foam is thick and full of toxic gases. Outside (Figure 7) 1. Re-siding an existing home presents an opportunity to upgrade the home’s energy performance. A curved surface for example would be very difficult if not impossible to cover properly with rigid foam board insulation. There are a few options home owners and contractors have to conform to this requirement. Capstone Communities Announces Cottage-Style Build-to-Rent Homes in Summerville, S.C. Landsea Homes Will Ring Upcoming Nasdaq Closing Bell in Celebration of Going Public, The Surprising Hiring Lessons of a $4 Billion Company. Builder's Business, Performance Professionals, Recommended | 2 comments. Is there a type of rigid foam insulation panel available that can be left exposed? Once the board is cut to size and fit in place, spray foam seals gaps around the edges. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! Use an insulation that resists damage from water (not fiberglass or cellulose). One advantage to the novice, who has neither the equipment, the tools, nor experience to install foam insulation, is that rigid foam insulation can be installed very simply. Rigid foam boards used in ceiling insulation are often made of either cellulose fiber, fiberglass, polystyrene, or polyurethanes. And fyi, people seem to be so unaware of this, but depending on your climate zone you may be required by code to also install a vapor barrier on the warm side of the wall, so check with your local code. Basement Foam Board Insulation Pros: Some rigid foam products are water-resistant that can help limit moisture buildup and mildew growth. Because foam board insulation isn't flexible, it does a poor job filling the gaps and cracks that exist in walls. Do not subtract studs. One of the preferred products for insulating foundations is Dow XPS extruded polystyrene foam, commonly called “blue board” in the trades. When the initial covering is installed then tile or fiberglass medium can be installed to complete your bathroom. We haven’t done our plans for the basement so this article will really help. We are currently planning on building our first home and we’re making sure that everything is settle first before we start building. Thank you for this very informative article. For that reason, you will need to use a fire barrier. There are also some scratch coat materials which are troweled over the insulation like a stucco coating. Your email address will not be published. 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