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Matthew Gowin
Posted: Jun 20, 2013 09:33 PM
Spray foam contractor quotes.
SO I tried to use an estimator on a webside and it turned out to be sort of a spam tool. It put me in touch with three contractors in my area for quotes. The area I need done is just under 1200 board feet for a flash and batt type install. I have done almost everything myself in finishing the addition but figured I might farm this one out.

I had three quotes done and have only received one estimate back. It was for $2.90 a square board foot. I sort of thought this was insane when I found threads saying the national average is more around $.80 to $1.20 a square board foot. I even mentioned wanting to do the attic in my existing house as soon as I was done with the addition. Seems they would want more business and return business. I would also think they would need work right now since no one is really building new houses or renovating old ones.

Has something changed in the last few months that would have bumped the prices up?

I have also considered foam it green and hardkick gun. The foam it green suffers for cooling down of the tank. The hardkick gun requires a large purchase of foam, which is still cheaper than my quote, and would be enough to do my addition and my attic. The only downfall would be that I would need to rent at 220v air compressor or bank about three 110v models on three different circuits.
Posted: Jun 21, 2013 08:24 AM
1200 square feet is a small job. Of course I haven't seen it, but from the contractors perspective, you have to the same amount of prep and cleanup if you spray 1" of foam or 3". With regards to your existing house, most contractors don't give a better price on the possibility of future work. If you want your best price, do a contract now for both projects. Another thing when spraying only an inch of foam is the extra material used. If a contractor bids 3" and oversprays an extra quarter of an inch, that is 8% more product used, but if he sprays an extra quarter inch on one inch, that is an extra 25% product another reason the board ft price is always higher for just one inch. If you are in a cold climate, you WILL have condensation issues with a flash and batt system. Good luck.

Matthew Gowin
Posted: Jun 21, 2013 12:43 PM
So your saying I can do twice the coverage and get the same price? I dont think so, in order for this spray foam guy to make it into the $1.30 zone I would have to do 2400 board feet. I know they are not going to charge the same amount for 2400 feet as 1200 feet. Or 2inches for the same price?

Also, as far as the size of the job. The addition is bigger many ranchers around here. So essentually you are saying no one can get spray foam in their ranchers because it isnt worth the installers time.

Looking at it very simply, this contractor is just expensive!

So this brings me to my point. Why dont spray foam contractors post their prices per square foot on their websites or just give them when asked along with the misc fees? Why do they send a guy out to spend 5 minutes to do measurements that I could easily given over the phone. One guy litterally counted the bays only. The other guy did measurements with a laser. The third guy used a tape, counted the bays, and said they had to be very precide with spray foam. Why not provide an itemized invoice showing the flat board foot price along with setup, cleaning, and fuel charge? I think I already know the answer and that question but I will keep it to myself. Bottom line would be I would never sign anything without a detailed price breakdown.

Also, I understand everyone is in the business to make money but there is a balancing act in there. No intention of being disrespectful either but the above is just what I have witnessed so far.

I could see this easily beoming another project I am going to have to do myself.
Matthew Gowin
Posted: Jun 21, 2013 05:07 PM
So, I still have not gotten my other two quotes back yet. I guess it is a small job to them. So I am now looking at the DIY option which puts me in at about $1 a board foot and a 1150 board foot job is well within my reach. Even if I went with the tank method I could still purchase a third kit and pay a lot less than my estimate and be able to do the rim joists in my crawl space.

So, I have three options for DIY type systems.

1) Foam it green two tank system
2) Touch n seal two tank system
3) Or Fastkick system which would require a 1900 board foot purchase and rental of a 220v air compressor if they are available to rent.

Anyone ever use the three? I have read in another thread where some contractors use the fastkick gun for small jobs instead of breaking out the rig. How critical is the 10cfm?

Mark Mouton
Posted: Jun 22, 2013 05:40 AM
I'm an insulation contractor that installs Sprayfoam, fiberglass, and cellulose, but mostly sprayfoam because I have found it to be the best insulation.
Giving a hard dollar price over the phone can get a man in trouble because the way the customer describes a job, and what you actually have to deal with when you get there can be two different things. 1200 sq ft can be 150' of walls 8' high with no windows or doors, or it can be a wall 100' long, 25' high with 1300 sq ft of Andersen Windows and doors, with cedar posts and trusses, stained concrete floors, staircase in the way where you can't roll your 2 1/2 sections of scaffold in to get the corner done.
When you finally finish and get loaded using flashlights (the sun has been down for an hour) the customer says he grabbed the wrong check book and will have to pay you the next day.
When the next day gets here, he has discovered the are 2 places about 1' square that the foam is only 3/4" thick and won't pay until it is fixed.
Mark Mouton
Posted: Jun 22, 2013 07:01 AM
I forgot to mention the customer wants a copy of my general liability and worker's compensation insurance, and a load of sand to cover the rut we made in the yard.
Posted: Jun 22, 2013 08:38 AM
As Billygoat said, square foot pricing simply does not work. The amount of time, labor and liability (covering windows, finished floors, etc) can double on 2 different jobs of the same square footage.

If all your quotes are coming in high, I would say there is a reason for it.

I looked at a job for a homeowner last week. He told me to sharpen my pencil because he's received 5 quotes and none of them are in his budget. I told him that without even working up the quote I already knew my price would not be within his budget. I told him he either needs to change his budget or change the scope of work.

Just because you have some number in your head that you think the job should cost, doesn't mean you will get it done for that price.
Posted: Jun 22, 2013 08:42 AM
As far as the DIY kits, I have no experience with them. Good luck. If you go that route, use proper safety equipment.

I would be willing to wager that before the job is done you may be re-thinking your original budget.
Matthew Gowin
Posted: Jun 22, 2013 09:44 PM
Hmmm I understand a homeowner wanting to make sure you have insurance. That can be a nightmare on their end if someone gets hurt. I wouldnt generally require proof of it myself. Also, if someone does good work I would overlook things like a hole in the yard. But you have to understand homeowners can have nightmares too.

I can tell you that I will never ever give a contractor the final balance until the job is done again.

(EDITED to remove details. - differences were worked out today and will be fixed tomorrow.)

Sorry for the long reply. And it isnt a thing of rethinking my budget. Unfortunately, this thing is already way over. Not you all's problem at all. But unless I plan on going into a life of crime 2700 in one step is out of it. $600 DIY kits would be more in there several months in a row.
John Shockney
Posted: Jun 23, 2013 12:22 AM
Well it sounds like you have had some challenges and I hope I can help.

We work with a lot of DIY’ers and have done work for people that have used the two tank and the fastkick systems. And this is the feedback I got from them and why they had me finish their projects.

As for the Fastkick system:

1. Gun is heavy
2. Large gun can’t get into corners
3. Good for open walls
4. Must empty the whole tube of foam in one pull of the trigger or the foam will setup in the tube.

Two tank systems like Tiger foam, foam it green,…or Menards carries Dow’s two part system too:

1. Great products for small jobs (under 1000 board feet)
2. Preheat the cans (one customer told me he placed them in front of a space heated for an hour before spraying)
3. Don’t trust the rated board foot yield (you don’t get everything out of the can)
4. Buy extra nozzles

Personally I am not a fan of the flash and bat system in fact Johns Manville (fiberglass manufacture) has documentation that recommends no less than two inches of closed cell foam with a minimum of 3.5 inches of fiberglass. I would full fill the walls with open cell foam before recommending a flash and bat system, it’s less costly and does a better job.

Also don’t think you can get that dense pack results form that 110 powered rental cellulose blowing machine it just doesn’t have the power. Better to get one of the guys that spray in the wet papier-mâché stuff.

Hope this helps

Mark Mouton
Posted: Jun 23, 2013 03:16 PM
Kogashuko, it sounds like you want a good insulaton job done in the walls of this addition, but, if you are from a cold climate, George mentioned you could have moisture problems using the flash and batt system. If that happens, using a quality insulator that knows more than how to aim a gun and pull the trigger might ge cheap. Tearing out and re-doing walls is expensive and a headache. Just be sure where the moisture barrier needs to be.
Also, how are you going to insulate the attic? Are you thinking of flash and batt for it also? Or sprayfoam the roofline making an unvented attic? Or maybe? I'm curious what your plans are for the end result of the thermal envelope.
Matthew Gowin
Posted: Jun 23, 2013 06:59 PM
The attic is going to be interesting. The part of the addition has trusses that are 2x4 and 24inches on center. I highly doubt that I can blow R60 insulation in there without the drywall and trusses sagging. Also, even when working in there in April the roof got ungodly hot and started cooking me. So, I purchased 3/4 in foil backed insulation and affixed it to the bottom of the trusses. I have taped the seams and might apply a second layer of 1 inch foam staggering the seams. I am then going to build bays under this for either R19 batts or blow in cellulose.

I am still going to insulate the attic floor but it will only be around R15 and more for the comfort sake of the room. The soffits are vented and before I sealed the top of the foam in a v under the ridge vent I could feel the air rising up sharply.

The plan is to allow air to come in through the soffit still move up the 2.5 inch channel to go out the ridge vent. This should work out better than just haven a vented attic since the air heats up quicker in the attic than the ridge vent can possibly exhaust. With my setup the air should flow in, get heated, rise, and leave in a much more manageable amount.

As far as the existing house it is all 2x8 trusses and the original fiberglass has settled to 3 inches. Since it would be so much extra work to install the 2 inch gap under a radiant barrier and then insulate I am considering just filling the 2x8 bays under the roof with insulation. I completely understand why the original designers would want a vented attic but why would I want to let the heat into the structure to build up to 140 deg if I dont have to. I am also stuck with the ductwork in my attic. Even if I only keep the attic about 10 degrees warmer in the summer or 10 deg cooler in the winter than the rest of my house I am still saving with the ductwork up there.
Matthew Gowin
Posted: Jun 23, 2013 07:09 PM
I am also a fan of the foil for other reasons.

I think we have a potential to see strong solar flairs in our lifetime. I also dont think EMP is out of the possibilities either. I do know that we had a lightning stike near our house in 2010 that fried everything with an HDMI or ethernet port. However, the PC that was in the room that was directly under the finished portion of attic foil in the attic and protected with the original foil faced rigid foam on the outer walls was not effected.

The air in the rest of the house even seemed energized. There was items that were not even plugged in to anything which managed to be fried! Kind of like the time I was in high school carrying a tin foil project into the school and lightning hit in a nearby field. The hair still stood up on my arms and I felt a good crack...
mark moyer
Posted: Jun 24, 2013 11:32 AM
now im a gonna get my tin foil hat out for sure
its round here some where,,,

not a chance in heck,,,

sign this one,,
Mark Mouton
Posted: Jun 24, 2013 11:55 AM
So, them sorry SprayFoam contractors!
Linda L.
Posted: Jun 25, 2013 11:03 AM
Hi Kogashuko,
Linda from Foam It Green here. I would be delighted to review your project in greater detail and answer any questions you have about your particular application. I've sprayed our kits and have helped thousands of home owners achieve amazing results with them, too. Why hire another contractor when you can do it yourself, on your schedule? Foam It Green kits are cost-effective and we make them easy for first-time sprayers to spray like pro - we even offer 24/7 support so we can be with you every step of the way.
Give me a call today at 800-516-0949 or drop me a line to help@guardianenergytech.com.
I'm looking forward to helping you complete your project!
Matthew Gowin
Posted: Jun 25, 2013 07:48 PM
Sounds good.

I have been hoping to compare two other quotes but they havnt returned them yet.

Since it is from an online site maybe it was a scam, send three people out from the same company. The one that comes out bringing the samples and quick quote actually gives the estimate then the no one else replies.
Matthew Gowin
Posted: Jul 02, 2013 01:35 AM
So, I have still not gotten any quotes from the other two contractors. I am half tempted to take their info and turn them into the State Corporation Commission along with the first contractor and provide his inflated rates.

In the meantime I have hooked up with some people that have been building passive houses in europe and the designs have been adopted by a few people in the states. They have provided information on air sealing and the like. I actually developed a method to use with just a air compressor, $10 worth of hardware, and a silicone paint that lets me air seal in no time. I have found similar job info done with caulk, ecoseal, and other spray seals that require thousands of dollars worth of equipment. The advantage is they air seal and provide the same features of a flash and batt but with traditional fiberglass or cellulose insulation.

Wait, spray foam isnt done yet. Since, I can find sources for two part sprayfoam in liquid I am tempted to double my current $10 spray apparatus, create a T and mixing chamber, and then apply m y own spray foam. This might result in a horrible disaster but I will be out another $10. All I would need is someone to provide a small quantity of the two liquids for sale. The advantage to them would be the internet sales if this works. I would provide my design open source.

Wait, before all the contractors out there yell "it will not work" and "you will F up" remember (and I have found through research) this technology has been around since the 70s and developed into a nitch.

Very similar to HVAC. In fact when I put in my first heat pump I received threatening phone calls. The first said what I was doing was illegal and that no one should have sold me a heat pump. The second call sounded more angered and desperate saying what I was saving was his profit. From the get go I offered one of these guys several hundred dollars to check out my installed system, leak test, and braise the connections. The refrigerant would be extra. This gentleman declined and said he would not do any work on hardware I purchased and that it would be illegal. Instead he offered to sell me the hardware and $3000+ (when my cost for the same would have been $1300) and then install the same for a much higher rate. Needless to say I didnt take his offer. I also did not take kindly to the phone calls after I decided to do the bulk of the work myself.

What am I getting at?

Well through spray foam or other methods I am going to get a good air seal. I am going to do it myself. I am going to do it for drastically less that $2800 for what is an air seal. In fact with my spray method I am looking at $200 max. That is of course if I dont take a shot at a DIY spray foam method. I will offer this information for free. Why? Because I was told that the only alternative was to pay $2800+ (since this is such a small job) and wait.

If it isnt me it will be them. Sooner or later these spray foam contractors will have to re-evaluate some things. In the meantime it is good to see that the economy has not hurt some people.

So here is the math as I figure it.

2 55 gallon drums cost $2050.00 and that provides 4500 board feet.

So the cost per board foot at this point is $0.46. Not what you would think of a bad profit margin but it gets better.

For my 1200 board foot additon it would cost $552 for the two liquids. This I am shore on because I know for sure that no contractor will ever go over.

Now lets says you pay your laborers $20 per hour for work. You shouldnt because that is around what I make and my job is much more dangerous. so $120 per dude.

So you will have 5 guys in a crew making $20 an hour. Why five well here is the breakdown.

-Guy 1- drives the truck and does nothing else. Probably the only guy with a license, might actually be a us citizen, and should not have more expected of him.

-Guy 2- watches the spray foam trailer to make sure everthing is pumping right and it doesnt walk away.

-Guy 3 and Guy 4- basically loider around and watch guys 2 and 5.

-Guy 5 - sprays the foam and should not be expected to do more.

Since at six hours and making $20 an hour everyone will cost $120 for that period. In a 5 man crew this will cost $600.Nevermind the actual job will prbably take around 2 or 3 hours.

So labor + materials = costs.

At this point it is $552 + $600.

Lets be nice and give $100 each for gas and another $100 for the set up / take down.

So we have $552 + $600 + 200 + $200 = $1352.

Now I know your labor is inflated along with the setup and gas.

Their estimate was $2800

The cost was $1352

The net profit is $1448 in one dya.

We all know that this job will be much shorter than 6 hours and no one is going to pay five mexicans $20 an hour.

So $1448 profit and they are too busy to do the job?
mark moyer
Posted: Jul 02, 2013 04:56 AM
another moron wanting us to justify our costs...
sonny boy this is a business....unless you wanting to deal with a scuzz bucket hillbilly foamer whom shouldnt be doin the work....
we have a building to pay for,,insurance and taxes on said building,,,employees in the office,,taxes and insurance on said employess,,then there is the 20$/hr foamers (you got us all figgered out dont ya big guy!!!) and well we pay taxes and insurance and 401 and...and then there is the fleet and the insurance and the taxes and the taxes and the taxes,,and the gas and....and,,,and

go buy your paint and froth pack and caulk,,you can do it...yes you can,,,
the end result will be what it will be..
but it will not be what a pro can deliver...just a fact of life...
so pay the piper or dont...
quit your friggin whinein...
you really are makein no good points here other
than you are a cheap azz who doesnt want to pay for a professional install..

the guys got your number quick(maybe they can read) and dont want to work for you,,they dont have to..painful but true...

..we had a saying in medicine,,,,10% of your patients give you 90% of your problems...the key is to have those 10% in someone elses waiting room...

golly i hope this is the end of this crap...
Posted: Jul 02, 2013 08:34 AM
Kogashuko now you are out of line. You are bad mouthing a whole industry because of some delusions you have in your head or because of a bad experience with 1 company.

$20 an hour is a decent wage, but it is a mid-level wage in my company. My lead guys make way more than that. If you make less than that and your work is more dangerous, you need to find a new line of work instead of complaining about others who make more than you.

I personally, and all the other successful foam contractors, would not send 5 guys out to a minimum sized job. Also, there are no illegal workers on my crew, and the same can be said for most the spray foam contractors I know. There is no one on my crew standing around and watching everyone else work. Our employees and our company would not stand for it.

Obviously you have no idea of the overhead to run a company. As Foamdude mentioned, you have insurance, taxes, lets not forget the $100,000 rig, a warehouse to store the trucks foam and equipment, training and enough for the company owner to live off (and yes, I do like nice things.)

So, good luck with your invention. I know you've done your research, so you are probably way ahead of people who have been making a living doing this for decades. I am sure you will revolutionize the industry, and yes, that was sarcasm.

Next time you want to bad mouth an entire industry and the many good people I know who are in it, don't.
Posted: Jul 02, 2013 08:45 AM
By the way, did it ever occur to you not to get quotes off of a website? How about finding a reputable contractor in your area. If you run across a company named "Caddis", don't call them.
Bob Silverman
Posted: Jul 02, 2013 09:17 AM
I would agree with foamdude. Look at the post that you just made on a sprayfoam blog made up mostly of sprayfoam contractors. You want to try and get into their pocket and you want to pay them what you think they should make? Then you want to process chemicals at a 1:1 ratio through a homemade sprayer. I hope that works out for ya. You want to turn contractors into the state corp commission for not getting back to you or quoting you a price that you think is too high? This is America baby, no price fixing here. What was the name of the company that gave you the "inflated rate"? I want to call him to tell him not to do your job at any price. I would guess that the contractor that showed up realized you were going to be an interesting customer and priced the job accordingly. In your first post you mention the future easy attic spray, but then you mention about the unique way it will need to be sprayed. And, FYI, you don't want to insulate the underside of the roof and the floor of the attic, one or the other, never both.
Matthew Gowin
Posted: Jul 04, 2013 03:05 AM
I was contacted today by the third of the three companies and was given a very reasonable quote. This guy took the most time to measure my space and also offered to give me a quote on gutters. Anyway, the price of the third company was very reasonable and I will do everything I can to hire him for the entire project.

Thanks to all that responded with positive responses in reaction to a bad intro I got from one company.

As for everyone that read before I edited. Please remember we will agree to disagree, remember the three / four types of people.

You find a briefcase filled with $100,000 cash.

1)Open it see it and call someone to try to turn it in.

2)Say "finders keepers" and keep it.

3)A combination of the two who will either leave it or try to find the owner of it.

*4) Burn the money (Watch the world burn -not officially recognized category.)

And please remember to

A) make sure you are actually smarter than the person you are lecturing


B) that just because you fall into b doesnt mean you dont need people in A.

Please police your industry and make sure they arnt raping people.

Also, remember when you day it is "america baby" and there is no price fixing. You are right. You call around to your local contractors and agree on prices you have just created a monopoly. If you dont go through the feds and/or SCC you will end up paying fines and or prison. Ask Dominion Va Power. They pay out almost everytime they try to raise rates and rape customers.
Lane Hogstad
Posted: Jul 04, 2013 09:19 AM
Glad to hear you found someone. You should ask they may have a special on edging too.
Tony Cantrell
Posted: Jun 22, 2017 06:44 AM
Great ideas!

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