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Soybean oil helps Midwest Spray Foam insulate farm buildings

By Ana Anthony, The Daily Globe, Worthington, Minn.

Jan. 25–SIBLEY, Iowa — Bob Alexander, accounts manager for Midwest Spray Foam, is certain that spray foam insulation is an energy efficient insulation type that will pay for itself within five to seven years.

Headquartered in Ruthven, Iowa, Midwest Spray Foam was established in 2010 as an insulation provider for Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota and Nebraska. The company currently operates out of two locations — Ruthven and Sibley.

Alexander explained that spray foam insulation is almost like a spray paint that expands to create insulation.

The two-part liquid consisting of polyurethane and a foaming agent expands upon being sprayed to fill cracks in walls, ceilings and floor cavities.

“It seals everything really tight versus if you put a fiber glass batt,” said Alexander, who works from the Sibley branch. “The fiber glass batt is just set in there, but if the boards are crooked, air can still get through it. Air does not go through this product.”

The insulation is sprayed in layers to any open cavity. Layers of spray foam typically range from 1.5 to 2 inches.

“There really are no maximum layers,” Alexander explained. “Basically after 3 to 4 inches, you’ve maxed out the efficiency of it.”
Insulation efficiency is measured using R-values. The higher the value, the more efficient the insulation is.
“The thickness depends on the speed of the gun,” he said. “Normally, on side walls we go about 2.5 to 3 inches thick so we get between R-18.5 and R-22.2. That’s very good for a side wall.”
In machine sheds, Alexander explained that side walls are sprayed with about 3 inches of insulation. If owners choose not to install a drop ceiling, the underside of the roof deck can be spray foam insulated.
Midwest uses Heatlok Soy-200, a spray polyurethane foam product that is 30 percent soybean oil-based.
“Being soybean oil-based is pretty important as far as marketability here in this part of the country,” he said. “We like it when we can use a soybean product.”
The Heatlok Soy-200 spray foam creates water, vapor and an air barrier along with the additional benefit of fungi resistance. The non-toxic product will last as long as the lifetime of the building.

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