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A Certified Master Inspector's blog on items of intrest to home buyers

Do it yourself spray foam: ideal for rim joist and other areas it is difficult to seal vapour barrier around.

Do It Yourself Spray Foam for Rim Joists and Crawlspaces.

Do it yourself spray foam: ideal for rim joist and other areas it is difficult to seal vapour barrier around. Where the yellow is in the photos below we should be seeing a line of black or grey acoustical sealant. Acoustical sealant stays flexible and never hardens keeping the seal between the vapour barrier and the home framing or foundation walls.

During a home cottage or commercial inspection in the Orillia, Gravenhurst,Bracebridge and Muskoka area we often find improperly installed vapour barrier . Or During a home cottage or commercial inspection in the Orillia, Gravenhurst,Bracebridge and Muskoka area we often find improperly installed vapour barrier . Or

Sealing the flat areas is fairly easy to do properly, even though here it was not done at all. Stapling the vapour barrier up and expecting it to seal warm moist air from the cold perimeter walls is like expecting a button up jacket to be waterproof.


This is what happens if the sealing is not done properly

During a home cottage or commercial inspection in the Orillia, Gravenhurst,Bracebridge and Muskoka area we often find improperly installed vapour barrier . Condensation in the wall cavity is the result as these photos show.During a home cottage or commercial inspection in the Orillia, Gravenhurst,Bracebridge and Muskoka area we often find improperly installed vapour barrier . Condensation results. which can lead to mould in the wall cavities.


Wet insulation is picking up waterproofing coating off felt paper. This staining is not mould but in these conditions mould can generate quickly when it gets warmer. High level of humidity in basement is getting behind unsealed vapour barrier and condensing on cold surfaces close to perimeter walls. Insulation
is wetted and felt paper on walls is wet


It is not hard technically to fix this issue but it is work.

While this is an issue it is fairly easy to fix. All the vapour barrier must come down and be disposed of, the insulation batts need to be removed from
the wall stud cavities, insulation may be salvaged as fiberglas can dry out but it will need to be kept separated so air can flow all round it. Perhaps on
a close-line. The basement will need a dehumidifier plugged in and run for some time to dry out the walls along with fans to circulate the air.
Walls may not dry entirely until the heating season is over as warm heated air will condense on perimeter cold walls, but, at least by taking down the vapour barrier and pulling out the insulation batts you remove the probability of mould growth in the wall/insulation cavities.


 It is much harder to deal with rim joist insulation and sealing the vapour barrier properly.

 

What is much harder to deal with is insulating the rim joists properly and then sealing it with the vapour barrier, acoustical sealant and tuc tape.

During a home cottage or commercial inspection in the Orillia, Gravenhurst,Bracebridge and Muskoka area we often find improperly installed vapour barrier, especially around the rim joists  . Or

When you have a vapour barrier installation that looks like this you have exactly the same possibility of mould growth conditions as well as the added possibility of wood rot in the joist ends and the sill plates. This can then be very serious and become a major structural issue. If this is in a crawl space such as many we find in our inspections of home cottage and commercial properties in Orillia, Gravenhurst, Bracebridge and Muskoka you will not likely find out till the floor drops from collapsing  floor joists.

There is no seal on vapour barrier at all. All joints should be taped with tuk tape ( the red type ) and all contact areas such as along sill at base of wall anywhere vapour barrier ends on studs and along upper top plate should be sealed with acoustical caulk, taped and stapled to seal.

The alternative fix is to spray foam this space. New building code 2112 calls for
all rim joist spaces to be foamed. Retro fit, repairs, and/or replacement work are not required to follow new building codes.

Do It Yourself Spray Foam Kits are ideal for rim joists and crawl spaces

Do it yourself spray foam is an ideal alternative for rim joist and other areas it is difficult to seal vapour barrier around.  It is relatively inexpensive and can be done following manufacturers directions fairly quickly. It easily moulds itself to rough uneven surfaces to seal properly and best of all it is very efficient as it is both insulation and vapour barrier in one.

During a home cottage or commercial inspection in the Orillia, Gravenhurst,Bracebridge and Muskoka area we often find improperly installed vapour barrier Her we see the process of spraying a rim joist space in a home cottage or commercial building.During a home cottage or commercial inspection in the Orillia, Gravenhurst,Bracebridge and Muskoka area we often find improperly installed vapour barrier Her we see the process of spraying a rim joist space in a home cottage or commercial building In this photo it is finished..

Here we see the spraying process using the supplied DIY products and the next photo is of a completed spray foam rim joist project.  There are several suppliers of DIY spray foam kits and they come in at least two sizes. One for smaller projects like rim joists on small to medium size homes and a size that would suit a more ambitious project like a crawl space or perhaps a cold room, walk in cooler, wine cellar, etc.

I advise clients during our home, cottage, and commercial inspections in Orillia, Gravenhurst, Bracebridge, and Muskoka that the process is fairly simple and following manufacturers directions will give the best results and that rim joist sealing is an ideal  first DIY spray foam project.  Spray foam in basement rim joists works really well and this is why it has become code for new construction.

Spray foam in crawl spaces works even better and for rim joist in crawls it makes this often nasty job of insulating and sealing rim joists a much more pleasant and shorter experience.

During a home cottage or commercial inspection in the Orillia, Gravenhurst,Bracebridge and Muskoka area we often find improperly installed vapour barrier.  Her we see the finished foaming over an old stone foundation in a crawlspace. An ideal use for the DIY spray foam kit.  a home cottage or commercial building.During a home cottage or commercial inspection in the Orillia, Gravenhurst,Bracebridge and Muskoka area we often find improperly installed vapour barrier Her we see a crawlspace that has been fully spray foamed a bit larger job but fully doable for the DIYer.m joist space in a home cottage or commercial building.
 

Here we see the rim joist spray foamed above an older stone foundation. These types of rough stone foundations are almost impossible to insulate and vapour barrier properly and thus many of them are not done. DIY spray foam kits makes short work of this job.
While the entire crawl pictured was likely professionally done, it is entirely possible to do it yourself.

Calculations for the square footage, insulating values, and yield  for the different size kits are on the various manufacturers websites.  Tiger Foam Canada's spray foam is not only an insulation and a vapour barrier it is also fire rated.  http://www.tigerfoam.ca/  and that may be a consideration in your purchase decision.
There are several other Canadian suppliers of spray foam kits so check out the web for further information on these products.
DIY spray foam kits are the ideal answer to some difficult insulation and vapour barrier problems.

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