Sealing Farewells

Sealing Farewells
Three inches of spray foam installed over the crematorium’s cinderblock walls
Magazine View

SPRAY FOAM MAGAZINE – Spray Foam Magazine decided to check in with Danny Walker, our 2021 Contractor of the Year Runner-Up. Walker is the owner of Colony Insulation situated in Algonac, Michigan and has a determination, passion, and faith that we can all aspire to. These attributes came in handy on one of his recent projects. Fascinated and wanting to hear the details of this unusual job, we caught up with Walker to find out more.

It was an as-per-usual busy workday for Walker when he received a unique call from a man called Craig Harms who owns Lenox Cremation Services (LCS) just southeast of downtown Richmond, MI. Harms opened the crematory in 2017 with the goal of providing a best-in-class service to his customers.

Cremation is believed to have originated since the Stone Age. However, modern-day cremation only began just over a century ago. Following years of experimentation into the development of a dependable chamber, Professor Ludovico Brunetti of Italy finally perfected his model, resulting in a crematorium movement simultaneously on both sides of the Atlantic. In the United Kingdom, the movement was nurtured by Queen Victoria's surgeon, Sir Henry Thompson, who was troubled with hazardous health conditions. This resulted in Sir Henry and his colleagues founding the Cremation Society of England in 1874.

One of the active cremation machines at Lenox Cremation Services;

In North America, Dr. Julius LeMoyne built the first crematory, and in 1884, the second crematory, was owned and operated by a cremation society, opened in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. By 1900, there were 20 crematories, and when Dr. Hugo Erichsen founded the Cremation Association of America in 1913, there were 52 crematories in North America.

Harms started with one cremation machine and soon expanded to two machines at the end of 2020. With a third machine on its way, he needed to build an addition to accommodate his vision of having a serene and inviting space for families to witness a cremation without any distractions.

When Walker spoke to Harms, he knew technically what had to be done, but nothing prepared him for what he and his crew were about to witness. This would take their faith and respect for humankind to a new level. Regarding the benefits of SPF, Harms had done his homework. He knew, that spray foam was the best option for spraying to the crematorium’s cinderblock walls and metal roof to totally encapsulate the room.

Huntsman Tech, Derrick Madsen, and Rep Allen Lenartz visited the Colony Insulation crew on this project. They had heard about this rare project and wanted to come and see the application and support the Colony Insulation crew. Before the crew started their application, another company block filled the cinder block with Tripolymer injection foam and then brick ties were installed. Walker and his crew, Robby Marshall, and Vince Smith started their prep work ready to encapsulate the room. The room is in an occupied building therefore the crew had to set up containment for their work area and maintain negative air in the space to protect the occupants of the building. Once everything was safe and secure, armed with their PMC PH-2 and Carlisle ST1 gun, the crew began to spray. Taking extra care to be respectful of both the deceased and the living.

The crematorium needed to be operational as the crew carried out their work. With their current cooler in use, and cremations taking place in the original building it made the crew feel very humble. Applying Heatlok XT, a closed-cell foam, with three inches installed on the walls and four inches on the roof, a brick veneer will then be installed to cover the foam.

The additional space, measuring 1,200 sq. ft., houses a 400 sq. ft. permanent block cooler, with spray foam applied to maximize insulation, to store the deceased. Brick will then be laid over the spray foam for protection, aesthetics, and to keep in the cold temperature. It will also have a workspace for building and storing supplies. Moving these areas into the addition will leave only the three machines in the original building for a minimal design space.

The facility’s addition included 1,250 sq. ft. of warehouse space and 400 sq. ft. of freezer room (pictured).

Lenox Cremation Services has the highest level of dignity and respect for all their clients, and Colony Insulation mirrors those traits. Prepping for the job was routine for these experienced spray foamers, but like Walker said, “Nothing prepares you for such a unique and necessary job.”

For use by & Spray Foam Magazine

Disqus website name not provided.