November 2017

Atlantic Spray Foam: Mission Accomplished

Author: Kitty Bartell | Photographer: Pixel Freez

Sleeping soundly, knowing your home and roof are sealed up tight, is something TJ Anderson appreciates on a personal and professional level. “During this past storm [Hurricane Irma], I slept better at night knowing that what was in my roof was such a hard, ridged foam that the winds would not be able to pull my roof off as easily as if it had open-cell or conventional insulation,” he said.

What gave Anderson so much assurance, was the closed-cell foam insulation installed in his roof by his company Atlantic Spray Foam, which has served the Lowcountry since 2004. He readily accepts that his professional (and personal) recommendations for how and where differing types of foam insulation should be installed has evolved over the years. Experiencing Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and Irma this September, and working directly with customers for 13 years on hundreds of residential and commercial projects, he and his team have seen nearly every possible weather and architectural scenario, and have built their reputation on that know-how and professional practice.
In the world of spray foam insulation, there are primarily two types of foam: closed-cell and open-cell. Historically, closed-cell foam insulation is used in crawl spaces under homes where moisture is most likely to infiltrate a building, with open-cell foam applied throughout the remainder of the structure. The rigidity of closed-cell foam, along with the Lowcountry’s increase in hurricane-level weather activity, has brought on a change in thinking for Anderson.

“A standard fiberglass insulation home is vented, and the insulation is strapped down; it can resist up to 75 pounds of wind uplift pressure per square foot,” he said. “Closed-cell foam can resist up to 250 pounds of wind uplift pressure per square foot. Going forward, I think when the conversation comes up, more and more people are going to start asking about the structural strength and how we can improve on that; the closed-cell will get them that strength.”

There is one caveat when going all-closed-cell foam in any structure, Anderson said. “If you have closed-cell foam in your roof, and you have a roof leak, then you could have the plywood buckling right below your shingles or metal roof.” These types of leaks are difficult to detect and require diligent maintenance to garner the full benefits of an all-closed-cell insulation application. Following any major weather event, the Atlantic Spray Foam team recommends hiring a roofer to walk the roof to check for any of these sneaky leaks or popped nails.

Whether customers opt for all closed-cell foam insulation or a combination of closed-cell and open-cell, spray foam insulation provides both lifestyle and health benefits. Completely non-toxic (no HFCs, HCFCs, formaldehyde, or asbestos), spray foam reduces airborne dust and allergens, helps prevent mold and mildew, saves money and natural resources, allows for downsized HVAC equipment, and significantly reduces noise.

Working closely with air conditioning companies, Anderson’s team also helps determine the most efficient system options for owners. “If we’re using spray foam, the house is going to be tighter, so the HVAC unit needs to be sized properly,” he said. “If they put in too big a unit, the unit will short-cycle. At that point, the power bill is not cheap; you haven’t done anything for the customer efficiency-wise.”

Another professional collaboration Atlantic Spray Foam offers on every job is the testing of the integrity of the application, utilizing the services of a highly specialized local professional. Every renovation-retro project is tested, and for every new construction project, the testing service is offered and recommended, Anderson said. “He tests with infrared cameras and blower doors that depressurize the buildings. Looking with the naked eye, we would look at the foam and determine that it looked great—no issues. Following the scanning, we would see a small spot here and a small spot there—a gap. It may be a small gap, but any gap will allow humidity to travel through, condensate, and with the humidity inside, it has nowhere to go. We’re learning every day. I tell customers, we can only see what we can see. If there’s a spot, let’s fix it. With this testing phase, I know at the end of the day, the house is done.”

Anderson’s approach to growing a successful business combines years of experience and professional partnerships, an appetite to always be learning, and a desire to build a team with the similar core values and a commitment to each other’s success, personally and professionally. Their mission statement encompasses the vision they have for today, tomorrow, and beyond: to build a rewarding, close-knit family-owned business that will create order through a believable reputation. The entire staff meets weekly with a business coach, working on mindset, leadership, and family. “I always tell my employees, you are my family. It’s not just my wife and two boys; it’s all of us,” he said. “We push to lift each other up to become better people tomorrow than we were today. I’ve got people that are just unbelievable; I’ve got rock stars.”

Appreciating a good night’s sleep, the team at Atlantic Spray Foam, does the work to help make that happen, whether the wind and rain are pounding down, or the breezes are gently luffing through the trees. “We want people to believe in us and believe in who we are.” Mission accomplished, Mr. Anderson.

Atlantic Spray Foam is located at 365 Red Cedar Street, Suite 604, Bluffton. For more information, please call (843) 707-4066 or visit atlanticsprayfoam.org.

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