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 Post subject: To foam or not to foam upon installation
PostPosted: Sat Sep 28, 2013 3:45 pm 

Joined: Sun Jul 28, 2013 4:47 pm
Posts: 27
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I am getting Softlite LS-got a good price--all the bells and whistles (Triple pane with Krypton,and Solarban 70XL ,super saver spacers) (9 double hung and 2 bathroom double hung--11 total) plus installation for a bit over $9,000.00.
My installer said he is not using the low expansion foam, just the foam wrap that comes with it and I was saw that this site recommends the low expansion foam to fill in the empty gaps. Well I confronted my installer and he said it is not needed for my window frame is 30 inches and he got a 29 3/4 window and there will be no big spaces (it will be a tight fit) for there will only be 1/8 on either side of the window. Just wanted to check with you guys. 1/8 inch DOES sound like a tight fit from a laymanes prospective. He will be using the foam wrap that came with the window and caulking inside and out only.
Any comments???


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 Post subject: Re: To foam or not to foam upon installation
PostPosted: Sat Sep 28, 2013 4:06 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2005 11:27 am
Posts: 830
Location: Texas - Houston & Austin
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Using closed-cell minimal expanding foam around replacement windows is the best practice - always. The foam wrap that can be taped to the perimeter of windows is basically useless; it's not a certified air or vapor barrier.

Since you've already chosen a contractor who is still using the caulk and walk method, I'd let it go and just have him install in the manner he's comfortable with. Pushing him to use something he has no experience with could lead to trouble.


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 Post subject: Re: To foam or not to foam upon installation
PostPosted: Sat Sep 28, 2013 6:19 pm 

Joined: Sun Jul 28, 2013 4:47 pm
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If it is 1/8 inch space, how can you squeeze the low expanding foam in there in the first place? The head would have to be the size of a needle, let alone the foam going thru that "Needle". I understood this foam to be thick and sticky like chaulking and difficult to work with. At least I was told that at Morningstar where I bought the windows. I understood this low expanding foam was basically used to fill in larger gaps... Why do window manufactures (Softlite in my case here) sell the windows with this foam wrap attached and around the windows in the first place if it is useless?
You chaulk an aquarium to hold water with one side, with windows you do two sides. How can wind get thru that when you seal that 1/8 inch on both sides with chaulk plus that so called "useless" foam wrap" that DOES take up space making the 1/8 even smaller with chaulk on both sides???
Brick is permeable too you know. Our Condo is converting to gas and we muct by NYC law install a stainless steel (or aluminium) chimney liner because carbon monixide and gas exhaust can permeate thru brick ...


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 Post subject: Re: To foam or not to foam upon installation
PostPosted: Sat Sep 28, 2013 7:50 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2005 11:27 am
Posts: 830
Location: Texas - Houston & Austin
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Quote:
If it is 1/8 inch space, how can you squeeze the low expanding foam in there in the first place?.


While having a "tight fit" sounds good, it rarely is. First, very few openings are perfectly square. Therefore that 1/8" gap isn't likely to be the same all the way around the window. So, according to your installer, every single window opening in your house is so square that he can cut the replacement back by 1/4", providing a perfect 1/8" even gap on all four sides of every window? Possible? Yes. Likely? No.

Personally, I'd rather size the window appropriately for using a certified air and moisture barrier around the perimeter, rather than relying on caulk and useless foam wrap.

Quote:
Why do window manufactures (Softlite in my case here) sell the windows with this foam wrap attached and around the windows in the first place if it is useless?


You would have to ask them that question. I stand by my assertion; that window wrap foam is not certified as an air barrier nor vapor barrier. If it's so great, why not get it certified and prove it's worth?

Quote:
Brick is permeable too you know. Our Condo is converting to gas and we muct by NYC law install a stainless steel (or aluminium) chimney liner because carbon monixide and gas exhaust can permeate thru brick ...


I don't see the relevance at all. We're not discussing brick, we're discussing windows, caulk and foam.


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 Post subject: Re: To foam or not to foam upon installation
PostPosted: Sat Sep 28, 2013 8:27 pm 

Joined: Thu Apr 18, 2013 7:42 pm
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I just had windows installed in my home and this is how I look at this topic...

If there is enough room to get the low-expansion foam nozzle in between the window frame and the stud....you use the foam. With careful pressure on the button, he can use enough to bridge the gap but not enough that it comes out of the gap. This way there is no foam mess and the gap can also be caulked.

I INSISTED the installer use foam on my windows when I found out he didn't plan to use it. Afterwards, the installer agreed that it was a good idea. He said he planned to use it on all his installs that had a gap wide enough for the nozzle. It only took 30 seconds longer and about $2 worth of foam for each window. Really a no-brainer in my opinion.

If the gap is so small that the installer CAN'T use foam, then a high quality caulk...like OSI Quad...will do.

Of course, if the installer is 5 stories up above a concrete sidewalk, he may not want to spend any more time up there than he needs to.


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 Post subject: Re: To foam or not to foam upon installation
PostPosted: Sat Sep 28, 2013 8:48 pm 

Joined: Sun Jul 28, 2013 4:47 pm
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Also I forgot to mention and I don't think they do that in private homes, but in our condo and all coops and condos I know of, they also put a 1/4 inch thick by 2 inch slab of wood all around the window frame on the inside. I guess that compensates for any non squared window frame or a frame that is off a bit. They do it on every window regardless, then they chaulk it. I would assume that IS better than any foam, putting 1/4 thick wood slabs all around the window and frame.

Isn't chauking a silicone a rubbery substance? That sounds pretty air and water tight to me . I know when some windows in our condo leaked,the contractor doing our facade work on our building used chauking to stop any leaks...When chaulking gets old, windows leak, foam or not. Well I am getting new windows and completly new chaulking...
If that foam wrap IS so useless, wouldn't window companies save money by NOT including it? They are out for a profit....
Like I said, My installer is getting 29 3/4 inch windows for a 30 inch frame(you can't get tighter), plus with the foam wrap and the 1/4 inch thick slab by 2 inch all around the window where it meets the frame then chaulking, I am not too worried....

.


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 Post subject: Re: To foam or not to foam upon installation
PostPosted: Sun Sep 29, 2013 7:30 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2006 1:32 pm
Posts: 638
Location: Delaware, New Jersey, Philadephia Area
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The biggest asset of ether foam frame insulation wrapping is actually to the exterior stop removal type of installation and not having the window accidentally dropping out of the hole prior to anchoring. The wrapping is a decent secondary layer of protection in addition to low expansion spray foam, but that's it. It's open cell and will hold water and allow air to sort of pass if exposed if the window isn't sealed right.

I'd guess that about 80% of the retrofit vinyl industry is installed by speed oriented sub contractors that aren't policed regarding best install practices. You could hand them all the insulation (foam or glass) in the world and many are try to get away with what they can to get the job done faster. How many are even going to apply it correctly? The wrapping is a way to provide some sort of insulation for these types of outfits and butchers from not doing justice to the homeowner.

Randy is correct regarding the sizing and out of square openings. I don't personally downsize my ordering measurements to accommodate foam due to the types of existing window opening back here in the east. Most vinyl windows that I deal with have interior accessory grooves, and I don't want that groove visible and not well hidden behind the interior stop which then would require it to be filled with interior latex caulking. If we have a planned 1/8" gap on each side of the window, it typically at one corner of the opening will be squeezed tight to the wood framing and gapped at the opposing side. Thus, one side is ideal for foam and the other would require addition insulation (fiberglass stuffed in with 4" putty knife) and then sealed with silicone prior to capping. Keep in mind this is on an exterior style installation.

I think a good mechanic would take into consideration future thermal imaging, bug/water/air penetration, and noise with regards to protecting any gaps around his work and perform the very best methods to set their work apart from the rest of the jokers out there. When a homeowner sees you doing this and you explain it to them you wind up looking like a hero instead of a chump. Make it right every time..............


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 Post subject: Re: To foam or not to foam upon installation
PostPosted: Sun Sep 29, 2013 8:08 am 
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Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2007 11:21 pm
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Location: DC Metropolitan Area-Maryland/Virginia/DC
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Well said Mike.

That is the perfect explanation.


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 Post subject: Re: To foam or not to foam upon installation
PostPosted: Sun Sep 29, 2013 9:21 am 

Joined: Sun Jul 28, 2013 4:47 pm
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Windows are installed here in the interior way, not exterior (with buildings in our area--6 stories). I would assume that the 1/4 inch thick (By 2 inches)slab of wood surrounding the window that they put in seals any gap, it is put in a right angle to the window, then it is chalked at that right angle where the wood and window meet.That is what I have now and all windows have it, also that was what the installer said he would be doing-put new slabs of wood there along with the new windows. That is what they do in condos and coops in NY.. I can't speak elsewhere. The windows are chalked both inside and out with a silicone type sealent.

I would assume if you push the window to one side and fill the gap with foam or whatever, that side is the weaker side, more likely to leak... ...(my laymen's opinion).

BTW the reference I made to Brick was just to show that even walls can leak gases (and water)-nothing is perfect.. During heavy downpours for long periods of time (hours) water can seep thru building walls, we have had that experience in some instances especially last year during hurricane Sandy--I reiterate nothing is perfect....


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 Post subject: Re: To foam or not to foam upon installation
PostPosted: Mon Sep 30, 2013 11:52 am 
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Location: Milwaukee, Madison areas
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condolady, Randy and Mike have given very thorough and educated answers to your questions. By your description, your carpenter is not using best practices, and in fact, in my own personal opinion, the perimeter foam wrap on the window does not even meet the criteria of what is minimally acceptable on its own. The wood trim being installed around the interior perimeter will not seal anything. If he is not going to use foam in that gap between the new window frame and opening, that void should at least be filled with caulk. There is a difference between filling that void with caulk and simply caulking interior and exterior trim. The former will seal the opening just like if you had used foam, the latter will not.
You have done a great job finding a product that is well-built and about as air-tight as a window can be, so it would really be a shame to have the installation fall short. Hopefully there is simply a disconnect in communication, and the carpenter will indeed get thing sealed properly for you. I would just articulate to him that if he does not want to use foam that is fine, but you would then like that gap filled with caulk, in addition to the caulking used on the interior and exterior trim.


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 Post subject: Re: To foam or not to foam upon installation
PostPosted: Mon Sep 30, 2013 1:08 pm 

Joined: Sun Jul 28, 2013 4:47 pm
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I know you guys are trying to help. I called My installer up and he said it really isn't necessary. He will be putting in the wood slabs(No carpenter)--seems all the windows in coops and condos use this method of wood slabs around the window. He will show me why upon installation. It is NOT easy to get an installer to install windows in a condo on the 5th floor
He did come highly rated from Home Advisor from customers(all really liked him and his work--no complaints).
I am speaking as a laymen. You guys mentioned to fill in the spaces with foam. As long as you can get a nozzle in the space to use the foam. Still all around the window there will be MANY MANY areas you cannot get the nozzle foam into. These spaces still have small openings.
If if you push the window to one side as one you you mentioned, (In MY opinion )the window would be somewht lopsided for you are moving the window 1/4 inch, the other double hung twin "might" not need that OR if the window space is not "squared" you cannot do that in the first place... (space on top ,but not on bottom)
The windows just came in and he will install them next Monday.
I know another window guy who installed my 2 aluminum windows fire windows (By NYC law you have to have metal windows with wiring on the window when the building is on the borderline)and see what he has to say. I had them to close to 20 years and no problem with them.
I didn't want aluminium for my other 11 windows.


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 Post subject: Re: To foam or not to foam upon installation
PostPosted: Mon Sep 30, 2013 5:39 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2005 3:58 pm
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Location: Northern & Central Illinois, Chicago suburbs
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You seem to be dead set on having this installation done your way and not the way the board pros have advised is best practices methodology. That is definitely your choice as you are paying the bill. So, my advice is to go ahead and do it your way.
Who is it going to hurt if you don't get the very best installation after all? Only you, and if you are fine with that then all is good.


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 Post subject: Re: To foam or not to foam upon installation
PostPosted: Mon Sep 30, 2013 7:36 pm 

Joined: Wed Feb 01, 2012 9:14 pm
Posts: 399
Location: New Jersey Window Pro- Northern NJ and Central NJ
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[quote="RnRJefro"
"If the gap is so small that the installer CAN'T use foam, then a high quality caulk...like OSI Quad...will do."


Although i always use quad, i dont see why you would use a high VOC sealant on the inetrior. Quad is really meant for the outside.
By the way, Home advisor/ service magic- should not be a litmus test for quality.


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 Post subject: Re: To foam or not to foam upon installation
PostPosted: Mon Sep 30, 2013 8:31 pm 

Joined: Sun Jul 28, 2013 4:47 pm
Posts: 27
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It's not that I am SET on having it my way, this IS the way the installer installs. I am trying to find justification to it as apposed to all of your advice.

I did speak to My general contrator who is doing my renovation in the unit I bought to expand my unit for he also installs windows and he and his men said what my installer doing is fine and no foam is needed because he will be siliconing both the inside and outside (both sides )so it is not necessary..... I do feel more comfortable for him saying that...
What can I say... but I wlll watch the installation closely. I do have layman's logic.


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