Cementitious Foam Insulation

Kevin Brown

Cementitious Foam Insulation is a type of insulation that is formed by mixing cement and foam. This type of insulation offers several advantages over other types of insulation, making it a popular choice for many homeowners and builders. One of the key advantages of cementitious foam insulation is its high thermal resistance.

This means that it is highly effective at preventing heat transfer through walls and ceilings, helping to keep the interior of a building cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Additionally, cementitious foam insulation is also highly resistant to moisture and fire, making it a safe and durable option for both residential and commercial buildings.

When it comes to installing cementitious foam insulation, it is important to hire a professional contractor who is experienced in working with this type of insulation. The installation process can be complex and requires specialized equipment and knowledge. A professional contractor will be able to ensure that the insulation is properly installed and that all safety precautions are taken.

In addition, hiring a professional contractor can help to ensure that the insulation is installed in a timely manner and that it meets all building codes and regulations.

Overall, cementitious foam insulation is a highly effective and durable option for insulating buildings. It offers many advantages over other types of insulation and can help to improve energy efficiency and comfort. If you are considering installing insulation in your home or building, it is important to consider cementitious foam insulation as an option, understanding its benefits and advantages.

Cementitious Foam Insulation

Cementitious foam insulation, also known as Airkrete, is a decades-old cement-based insulation product. Despite its advantages, it is not widely known or used. However, this may soon change.

Cementitious foam insulation, or Airkrete, is an old product made from cement that can be used as insulation. Although it has many advantages, it is not well-known or commonly used. However, this might soon change.

Cementitious Foam Insulation

Cementitious foam insulation is made from magnesium oxide derived from seawater, not mined limestone. During manufacturing, small amounts of ceramic talc, water, and a foaming agent are added. Before hardening, Airkrete has the consistency of shaving cream.

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Once cured, Airkrete becomes a light non-structural cement that does not sag or shrink. It is an ideal insulation for walls, roofs, and wood-framed floors, such as those between suites in apartment buildings. Cementitious foam insulation does not expand, making it excellent for insulating existing walls without removing drywall.

The dried insulation can easily be scraped out for plumbing or electrical repairs, or when relocating wires and pipes. It comes out as a powder instead of chunks. The resulting voids can be refilled with low-expansion spray foam insulation.

These products do not react with each other.

Cementitious foam installation is a great choice for renovation projects because it is non-expanding. It is installed by drilling small holes in the wall, either interior or exterior, to access a hose. The foam fills every stud, rafter, or joist cavity, sealing all gaps, cracks, and encasing electrical wires, boxes, plumbing, and ducting without leaving any uninsulated areas.

Airkrete is installed in new construction and complete retrofits before drywall is applied. A retention fabric supplied by the installer is stapled onto the insides of the studs, and Airkrete foam is then sprayed between the fabric and the exterior. Unlike polyurethane foam, it doesn’t expand, allowing for direct application of drywall.

Cementitious foam is less messy and can be easily cleaned up with water before curing. Family members can stay at home during installation, as there is no harmful off-gassing or hazardous fibers to inhale.

Cementitious foam insulation offers several advantages over other products, making it a strong choice. Some reasons to consider using it include:

– R-value of R-3.9 per inch, which doesn’t degrade over time.

Mold: Resistant to growth even in high-humidity locations. Fireproof: Does not burn or smoke. Can be used as a firestop. Seals: Completely fills cavities without leaving voids around obstructions. Fills gaps and holes.

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Seals edge to edge. Does not settle or shrink. Vapor Barrier: Does not require a vapor barrier. Pests: Insect and rodent resistant. Insects do not survive burrowing through it because it is abrasive and will kill them.

Versatile: Can be used in walls, ceilings, and vaulted roof cavities. Suitable for new construction and renovations.

Soundproofing: Good soundproofing qualities. Quiets plumbing sounds. Can be used in interior walls of bedrooms, home theaters, and bathrooms. It is best to drywall one side of the wall first if it is new construction.

Renovation installation requires drilling holes into each stud cavity.

Environmentally Friendly: Cementitious foam is an inert insulation that is environmentally friendly. It does not contain CFCs, formaldehyde, or fireproofing chemicals, and it does not off-gas any Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC). It is also recyclable and can be ground up and used as compost or directly in gardens.

Disadvantages of Cementitious Foam Insulation:

1. Cost: Cost and availability are the two main disadvantages of cementitious foam insulation. The lack of availability increases the cost.

Cementitious foam insulation costs approximately 20% more than closed cell spray foam insulation, which is roughly $3.00 per board foot. Additionally, consider the added cost of travel if there are no local installation companies available.

When it comes to availability, Airkrete is responsible for training, licensing and certifying all installers who work with their product. They claim to have installers in various countries worldwide, but this may still pose an issue in some regions. For example, currently there is only one installation company in Canada, despite the fact that Canada is only 2% smaller than all of Europe, covering around 4 million square miles (approximately 10,000,000 square kilometers).

Availability of Airkrete in the US may improve through partnership with Dr. Energy Saver, expanding county-wide coverage. The training and certification process will take time to complete.

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Cementitious foam cannot be installed as a DIY project. Only Airkrete-certified installers can do the installation. DIY kits are unavailable.

Metal Contact:

Cementitious foam has been reported to damage steel when in continuous contact. The alkaline nature of concrete-based material accelerates the corrosion of galvanized steel and aluminum.

Alternative insulation, like spray foam, mineral wool batt, cellulose loose-fill, aerogel, or Icynene, can eliminate corrosion in metal buildings such as shops and barns.

Cementitious foam is installed in enclosed wall cavities with pressure, and it remains slightly pressurized after installation, forming a tight bond with everything inside without any shrinkage.

Open cavities using retention fabric cannot be blown under pressure, causing slight shrinkage. Insulation that does not adhere to studs can allow air penetration. New construction framing retains moisture that may pull away from the insulation as it dries.

Wood expands and contracts with changing temperatures, potentially causing gaps.

Terry Schutz is a freelance writer with over 30 years of experience in the construction industry. He specializes in home renovations, DIY advice, and construction topics, having worked as an installer, manager, salesperson, and business owner.

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