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SPRAY FOAM MAGAZINE – There is something fresh and exciting about reviewing any newly built property, but one that is cited as being the largest residential build in all of Simcoe County, Canada, is enough to break any architectural lover into a euphoric sweat. That’s why the Spray Foam Magazine Team (SFMT) was eager to chat with Barrie Insulation Systems about this colossal 33,000 sq.ft. property.

Located in southern Ontario, Simcoe County is the largest county in the province and a mere half hour drive north of Toronto. The county’s landscape is very diverse compared to the urbanized Greater Toronto Area in the south to the rugged Precambrian shield to the north. The region also has a wealth of historical significance as the first European settlement in Ontario. With its picturesque lakes and forests and the conveniences of urban living not far from all this natural beauty, Simcoe County has become increasingly popular. According to the local press, there has been a recent influx of residents wanting to escape the big cities, yet still have great restaurants and activities on their doorstep, with the bonus of the outstanding scenery.

It’s no wonder this 33,000 sq.ft. cottage was built here. There’s something about the word cottage that conjures up images of a small abode with a chimney and a farmhouse kitchen, however, this could not be further from reality with this particular cottage. It has 14 furnaces, 28 bathrooms, 14 bedrooms, a gym, a theater that fits 28 people in leather recliners, a wine room that is temperature controlled and has a thumb print pad for entry, an infinity pool, tennis courts, basketball courts, pickleball courts, beach volleyball, lawn chess sets, and a boat house for four boats. It really is a private resort.

Mitch Verreault has been in a business environment since a young age. Starting in his family’s business in the petroleum industry with Imperial Oil (Esso), he soon purchased his own division of the company back in 2002. After several years in this industry and a new corporate restructure, he decided it was time to separate himself from his family roots to start a new venture in the construction sector. 

The Barrie Insulation Systems team sprayed two inches of foam on the walls and the low heels of the guest house to prevent ice damming

He met a friend in Timmins, Ontario that did spray foam insulation. Verreault asked him for feedback on his actual business and following some great advice. Verreault figured that with a growing population, and a high-paced new home/commercial construction industry, Barrie, Ontario was the ideal place to start a new company.

Verreault had seen spray foam insulation on television shows and was quite intrigued with the growing trend that people were increasingly using SPF for insulation. With only a few weeks of training on the whole process, he decided to give it a go. “After selling and closing off my previous company, I incorporated my new company, 2148934 Ont. Inc. o/a Barrie Insulation Systems in September of 2007. This was quite a gamble, and a risky situation, considering I have never worked for a spray foam insulation company, or the general lack of experience thereof. I must say that it was slow out of the gate, but by meeting and networking with the right people things were progressing well. Designing a quality website and custom graphic vehicle wrap attracted a lot of people,” explains Verreault.

Barrie Insulation Systems specializes in insulating high-end custom homes and cottages. They are proud to constantly deliver to the highest standard and continuously strive to offer the best service and quality with all their customers. Their impressive reputation helped them win this multi-million dollar cottage project when Peter Riutta, the Sales and General Manager at Barrie, happened to stop by the construction site and spoke to the general contractor there. They were impressed with his knowledge of spray foam and what it could do for this cottage. Following this conversation, Barrie Insulation Systems landed the job. All of their crew members were on this project site at one point during the process. They all made sure they had the correct PPE, from hard hats, safety boots, high visibility vests, and the foam applicators used all the proper breathing apparatuses and suits.

The SPF insulation is still in progress with the crew having so far completed the flat roof areas, rim joists, and the bottom of the floors to force the in floor heating up. Riutta went on to explain, “Essentially by installing two inches of closed-cell foam to the floor it forces the heated floors above to rise making it much more effective. The builder wanted the house as efficient as possible and basically built the cottage twice. The first stage was 2x6 walls that we insulated using the Owens Corning PROPINK System and then the builder built another 2x6 wall in front of that wall to run all the plumbing and electrical through.”

There is nothing unusual about this project except that it had to be done in stages due to the nature and size of the job. In total, the crew has been at the cottage for a year and a half, and are currently insulating the ground keepers’ quarter, which is another 1,800 sq.ft. building on the property.

The crew used an E-30 and applied Elastochem’s Insulthane 2lb closed-cell foam with a combination of Owens Corning PROPINK Systems to insulate the entire cottage. The closed-cell was sprayed at two to five inches depending on the area. To date, the crew have applied 10 sets of foam in this cottage. A fire retardant coating was applied to required areas to meet code.

The insulation part of the project is close to completion and according to Riutta, the feedback from the client has been very positive so far. “They are extremely happy with the service and the quality Barrie Insulation Systems has provided. A project like this is not done in a week or even a couple weeks. There is a lot of planning – from the quoting stage to the installation. 

Working around other trades and ensuring timing of install is complete takes some doing. We would go and foam the rims before the HVAC and basement framing, and maybe not be onsite again for a month. The best part is knowing the vision I present to the customer will be backed up by our group of highly trained employees, who also believe in the vision Verreault had 16 years ago.”

Barrie Insulation Systems is winning great projects like this magnificent multi-million-dollar cottage. Due to their hard work, delivering to a high standard, and using quality materials they are set to carry on this upward trajectory. At the end of the SFMT interview, Verreault closed by saying, “Here we are today, 16 years later, we employ a staff of 15, and have grown to five service trucks. With new building codes and growing closer to “zero” emission homes, there is a growing trend for high quality insulation products, and spray foam insulation is up there at the top.”  

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