LESLIE: James in Tennessee finds The Money Pit on WNWS. And what can we do for you?
JAMES: Well, my main question is have y’all heard about the BioSeal, which is the foam insulation?
LESLIE: Like a blown-in insulation?
JAMES: Well, actually, it’s not blown-in. They spray it in and it expands and then they come in and they shave it off to where it’s even.
TOM: Oh, yeah. Mm-hmm. I’ve seen that done and I’ve seen it done with good results. It’s an expandable foam insulation. Basically, Leslie, they spray it into the house before the drywall’s up. They spray it on the studs. And so it expands to fill the stud bay.
LESLIE: Oh, it’s like a giant Great Stuff.
TOM: Yeah, it’s like giant cans of Great Stuff. Exactly. And then they saw it off flat and they trim it off and then they put the drywall on top of it.
LESLIE: How does that affect wiring and plumbing and …?
TOM: Well, you’ve got to have that all done ahead of time, obviously. But think about it. Once it’s in it really does a great job of sealing up all of the gaps. And I’m sure it would make for an extremely energy efficient house, James.
JAMES: Is it more efficient than, you know, your conventional insulation?
TOM: I think it would be more efficient than fiberglass insulation. It would also do a better job of sealing up the frame. I think you’re going to get a much tighter house with a product like that.
LESLIE: Plus, it probably doesn’t condense over time like a foam … like the …
TOM: Settle, yeah.
LESLIE: Yeah, it wouldn’t settle.
JAMES: We’re building a house, right now, and that was being presented to us. And my question to you all was would it be beneficial to do it in the long run because it is a substantial amount of cost to it. It’s about $1,800 to $2,500, depending on whether you spray the root (ph) deck or the ceiling deck.
TOM: I have a feeling that for the extra two grand, it’s going to be worth it.
LESLIE: Well plus, also, think over time, in the future as the fiberglass insulation does settle, you’re going to have to replace that or add to it. So there’s additional cost to that as well.
TOM: Yeah, I think there’s going to be a lot of benefit. And you know what? You’re in a good space right now, James, because the house is being built and it’s wide open and you can only do this once.
JAMES: That’s right.
TOM: I think it’s a real good idea.
JAMES: Well, that was my question and I appreciate it.
TOM: Alright, James. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
You know, Leslie, a lot of people are gun shy about foam insulations because years ago – I mean many years ago – the early 80s if I’m remembering correctly – there was a type of foam insulation called urea-formaldehyde foam insulation, where basically …
LESLIE: Ooh, that sounds bad.
TOM: Well, what happened was they’d mix these two components together and they’d inject this foam insulation, which would like expand inside the base between the dry wall and the sheathing, and do a good job of insulating the wall. The insulation wasn’t the issue. The problem was that when it got damp, it would off-gas this urea gas.
TOM: And people were allergic to it and they had to move out of their house. Now, the off-gas …
LESLIE: Wow, and there’s no way of knowing until it happens. And so many things have an off-gas that I don’t think people are even aware of, such as paint.
TOM: Exactly. But the good news is that that would only happen for five years. So even if you have that right now and if you’re living happily in your house, you have nothing to worry about. But that was a big faux pas, that’s for sure. And today, you know the insulations are so much better. You know, we have isonene and we have these bio-fill materials. And they’re just so much better and they’re so well-perfected that I think it’s a really good way to get a really airtight house.