Skyrocketing energy costs have been increasingly affecting all facets of construction for the past five years. Whether it is distribution and travel costs or utility costs at a manufacturing plant, the entire industry is feeling the pinch. Energy expenses alone are creating huge spikes in the cost to build a new home, putting increased pressure on contractors.
As energy issues continue to escalate, home buyers are becoming well-educated in the composition of their homes, and they’re looking for more ways to save energy and reduce utility costs. According to a recent survey from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), home buyers are willing to spend additional costs upfront on a home if means cutting utility bills in the future. As more and more end-users are becoming aware of spray foam insulation and its energy-efficient benefits, the spray foam industry is adapting to the consumers’ growing needs and wants. On a cost scale, traditional fiberglass insulation is undoubtedly one of the most inexpensive and popular options. Although fiberglass insulation creates a significant R-value and is a suitable solution, the facts still stand – it does not prevent air infiltration and does not control moisture vapor drives, which are, of course, both addressed with polyurethane foam insulation methods.
The hybrid solution, also known as “flash and batt”, consists of a flash of spray foam in wall cavities combined with a batt of fiberglass insulation. A spray of ½ to 2 inches of polyurethane foam creates an air barrier to lock out pollutants and moisture. The foam maximizes the effectiveness of traditional insulation, which is laid on top of the flash of foam. Contractors can feature the hybrid solution as an alternative option for insulation, combining energy- and cost-efficiency. HandiFoam® has introduced a system that alleviates many of the challenges builders face when installing hybrid insulation. The Magnum™ Heated System offers numerous benefits when it comes to a hybrid insulation job. Magnum™ is a low-pressure heated hose system with refillable tanks that produce spray foams. A low-pressure system can solve many of the obstacles and challenges that spray foam installers frequently incur, including cost, portability, foam thickness, safety, training and time restraints.
Depending on the manufacturer, a low-pressure system often offers more control in terms of spray thickness, making it easier to achieve the standard ½ inch of foam needed for hybrid applications. If the foam is sprayed on too thick, the cellulose or fiberglass insulation might not fit in the wall cavity, causing an excess.
High-pressure systems are great solutions for intense, large jobs; however, it is well-known that these systems take an ample of time to setup and tear down (approximately 1 hour for each), and other on-site workers, like plumbing and electrical contractors, have to vacate the construction site while the rig is in use and for an additional 24 hours after the foam is sprayed. Safety precautions with a high-pressure system are much higher and more complex than with a low-pressure system. With a low-pressure system, there is less worry about workers breathing in chemicals while the foam is curing. This allows the fiberglass installer to work nearly immediately after the foam is sprayed. When using a low-pressure system, setup and teardown take just minutes, and other tradesmen on the construction site can work in tandem because a low-pressure system dispenses foam in a controlled area.