Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Today's Learning Curve

Today I am learning about insulation for my walls & ceiling.  (A topic I thought I already understood.  Ahhh ha ha ha ha)  I am ready to start installing insulation in my walls and ceiling in the areas where electrical wiring will not run.  

In my floor I used two layers of Polyisocyanurate (polyiso for short) rigid board foam.  It has the highest R-value per inch (R-6.5 to R-6.8) of any rigid insulation. This type of rigid foam usually comes with a reflective foil facing on both sides, so it can also serve as a radiant barrier in some applications.

I planned to use the same material in my walls and ceiling - but I'm having trouble putting my hands on it in Dallas for some reason.  I know we bought it at the Home Depot in California for MAGIC Camp, but now I think Daniel must have custom ordered it because I sure can't seem to be able to walk into a store and buy it.

I called a local manufacturer, and holy cow was the woman helpful.  (Un)fortunately she also added about 5 things to my learning curve.  First, she ran through 3-4 possible products that would work in my space.  And then she rattled off  "15 minute thermal barrier" which made me look that up...  

The International Building Code (2006 IBC) requires foam plastic insulation to be separated from the interior of a building by an approved thermal/fire barrier of 1/2-inch gypsum wallboard or equivalent thermal barrier that will prevent temperature rise to not more that 250 degrees F (121 C) in a 15-minute time period. Codes regulating unoccupied or inaccessible areas, such as attics or crawlspaces, require that combustible building materials be protected against ignition. Other exceptions exist for special constructions and assemblies.

The 15-minute period is thought to typically be a sufficient time for occupants to escape from a building before they can be trapped, or overcome by smoke from burning wood, plastic or other construction and finish materials. Historically, code regulations regarding thermal barriers apply to occupied areas of commercial buildings, but have often been followed as safety guidelines for residential structures by local code officials.  Source:

Details are hazy whether (a) it's required for residential or just commercial buildings; and (b) whether it's required in RVs.  Disclaimer:  I have not made any efforts to research the answer to either of those questions.  Yet.  I did find a handy list of materials that meet the criteria and I printed that.  (You may view it as well via the link above.)

That lead me to Google "RV building code" and I downloaded the NFPA Standards for RVs (2011) since I would like to have my house licensed/registered as an RV.  I am pretty sure I don't want to read those.  I am also positive that I will... highlighter in hand.  This is fast becoming another chapter in my book - I have yet to find this type of data compiled neatly somewhere for us lay persons... 

In general news...

Just learned that my would-be plumber is meeting me at the house tonight to review the project.  YAY!!

No electrical quote yet... but Dave is probably getting questions answered first...

So I'm chugging along! 

1 comment:

  1. Life has been crazy and I've been out of the BA loop -- I love how I jump back in and instantly learn something new! :-) Who knew about this 15-minute-sha-bang? Thanks for sharing!


Thanks for commenting! I love feedback.