Dry Mix Aminoplast Resins
vs. Core-Fill 500™ Masonry Foam Insulation
Dry mix foam masonry insulation products and Core-Fill 500™ are not the same. Dry mix foam masonry insulation does not retain the same plasticity or offer the same job site quality assurance standards as Core-Fill 500™ masonry foam insulation.
Core-Fill 500 is manufactured in liquid form under strict quality control standards, delivered from the factory to factory-certified contractors by tanker trucks and injected into masonry walls using only compressed air. No jobsite water is used. Only our certified technicians install the foam, so there is no opportunity for unskilled job site laborers to affect the composition of the installed foam. Quality assurance for dry mix foam masonry insulation, on the other hand, is problematic.
Dry mix foam must be handled and mixed at the job site. Getting the desired thermal performance and plasticity requires a precise proportion of added water free of impurities. Unfortunately, dry mix foam products are often installed by job site laborers who do not have the proper training and experience to correctly prepare the resin. Less plasticity leads to shrinkage in the installed insulation, which allows air infiltration through the block wall.
The Distribution Channel Issue
Dry mix foam masonry insulation is typically sold through wholesale distributors and building supply outlets. Consequently, anyone can purchase, mix and install the foam, regardless of their training or experience. Also, consider the following instructions on a typical 55-pound bag of dry mix foam resin powder:
“Clean drums with a scrub brush and hot water. Beware that the water supply at some new building sites can contain enough oil residue sealants or coatings to be completely detrimental to the resin. Using the paddle mixer to stir, slowly add the three 55-pound bags of resin powder. Stir until all the powder is wet and dissolved. Let stand overnight but not more than one week.”
Additional instructions require that once in full dilution, the resin should be used within 24 hours to meet all published specifications. And prior to installation, the walls must be dry, with no visible wetness of the exterior surface. The product should be protected from excess moisture during the initial 24-hour period after installation.
Does this sound like an appropriate product for use in hot and humid climates like the Southeast United States—especially Florida?
If these specific directions are not followed precisely, you could end up with walls that look like the image above. The bleed-through visible in the image is evidence of foam that was not mixed properly. In a relatively short period of time, the foam in the block wall above will shrink. At that point, the dry mix foam’s thermal resistance will be lost, along with its ability to stop air infiltration.
Why Dry Mix Foam Has Less Plasticity
Once a dry mix manufacturer has produced a liquid resin, the resin is sprayed onto a flat surface, then sent through an oven dryer. During this process, water and other key liquid ingredients are evaporated. The residual resin film is then pulverized into small pieces and bagged. After water is added to the mix at a job site, important ingredients—most notably, the structural plasticizers—never fully regain their plasticity. Shrinkage in the final product is inevitable. And shrinkage allows hot, moist air to circulate through the hollow concrete block cores and web joints. Shrinkage is an unavoidable reality for all dry mix resins. Any impurities in unfiltered job site water only make matters worse.
Core-Fill 500™ liquid resin is different.
Tailored Chemical avoids the plasticity and water quality problems described above by shipping Core-Fill 500™ only in liquid form. As you might expect, shipping a product in liquid form, in tanker trucks, is not as cost-effective as shipping pallets of bagged resin powder. But based upon Tailored Chemical’s extensive 30-year plus experience with the product, liquid shipping and certified installation contractors are essential to ensure a consistent product that will deliver the necessary thermal performance for the life of a building.
Each raw material used in the production of Core-Fill 500™ must complete a pre-production certification process. Every drop of water used during the manufacture of Core-Fill 500™ is filtered through state-of-the-art purification equipment.
Tailored Chemical’s culture of quality assurance is not limited to masonry foam insulation. As of 2005, the company manufactured about 80% of the “white glue” glue used by school children in North America.1 Naturally, manufacturing a liquid product used by millions of children requires a culture of zero-defects quality assurance.
So how do you choose?
All injected foam masonry insulations are not equal. The manufacturing methods, installation restrictions and warranties differ significantly. Thermal performance based only upon the standard thermal properties of ingredients in a masonry insulation is useful for project planning and design but not for evaluating competing products. In a perfect world, you would be able to compare the independently tested and certified performance of competing masonry insulation products and that would be that. Such testing would measure the thermal performance and air infiltration rates for standard insulated block and precast concrete assemblies, and would include results of accelerated exposure to heat and cold testing, to predict plasticity as installed and expected shrinkage over time.
Unfortunately, just as insulation contractors need not be licensed contractors, so too there is no independent testing protocol for foam masonry insulation products. And even if there were, the results might not mean much for dry mix resins mixed at a jobsite by untrained laborers.
You can mitigate these risks by choosing the manufacturer, product, and certified installation contractor chosen by leading architects, project owners and home builders. If long-term performance and quality assurance matter more than the lowest initial cost, choose Core-Fill 500™ masonry foam insulation.