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Spray foam insulation


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Just trying to get an idea of boat construction techniques so that I might be able to assess how they may have been built. When did spray foam insulation start being used in a normal build? If say 2000, would all boats built previous to that time have polystyrene sheets, rockwool etc.

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Spray foam insulation has been around for at least 20 years, maybe longer I don't know. As for when it became de rigeur in production built boats, I'm not sure you can assume it is. I can think of reasons why someone commissioning a new boat might not want it, and more reasons why someone fitting out a boat themselves might not have it.

 

I often wonder if there is any good quality information available on the efficiency of spray foam compared to other types of insulation, maybe someone knows.

Edited by Neil2
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As to when it became the norm. probably depends on the builder and the cost of the boat.

 

As to comparisons...

 

Do not know the quality but google has plenty of answers. wink.png

 

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=spray+foam+comparison&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b&gfe_rd=cr&ei=ybgMWMD2MKjA8gePj7ewCg

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When we were looking to buy an unlined sailaway I had a look at a few shells all of which were spray foamed and the quality was very variable with one where the stuff was about 15mm thick in big patches. When we ordered we stressed that it must be thick even if it meant we would have to trim it back ourselves - which we did. The boat builder did a great job and ensured their sub contractor applied it properly. The biggest benefit for me is the boat does not get unbearably hot in full sun.

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When we were looking to buy an unlined sailaway I had a look at a few shells all of which were spray foamed and the quality was very variable with one where the stuff was about 15mm thick in big patches. When we ordered we stressed that it must be thick even if it meant we would have to trim it back ourselves - which we did. The boat builder did a great job and ensured their sub contractor applied it properly. The biggest benefit for me is the boat does not get unbearably hot in full sun.

When our hull was built it was spray foamed the day before it was transported to Suffolk, In places in was like a coat of paint. I contacted the hull builder and he told me to drive a pin through a small square of plywood and go round pushing it through the foam, he did tell me how far the pin should protrude.This proved to me it was well under spec. The spray company contacted my and offered to send half a dozen cans of foam, I refused. Nothing happened for a bit then the company contacted me again and asked how soon could the come from Wales to Suffolk to put it right. The builder refused to use them again until it was sorted to his (my) satisfaction. The came over and recoated a majority of the boat. When the chap arrived he rang his boss and said he would be some time as it wasnt just a touch up job. We had lots of cutting back to do.

 

I still see boats waiting to be fitted out that I would reject for the spray foam work, maybe only 8-10 mm thick which can be seen by where the ribs are.

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Our first shareboat, built in 1992 had sprayfoam, so it's been around at least since then.

 

Current boat uses Thinsulate, which subjectively is almost as good as sprayfoam for heat insulation and seems better at noise insulation.

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Our first shareboat, built in 1992 had sprayfoam, so it's been around at least since then.

 

Current boat uses Thinsulate, which subjectively is almost as good as sprayfoam for heat insulation and seems better at noise insulation.

Yes I would agree with you on the sound but when my boat was stretched the thinsulite had provided no protection against moisture a negative for me

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Yes I would agree with you on the sound but when my boat was stretched the thinsulite had provided no protection against moisture a negative for me

Has it been installed correctly? It should be glued with a contact adhesive directly to the steel and stop a couple of inches from the ballast to avoid wicking. If necessary a second sheet can be glued to the first to improve insulstion.

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Has it been installed correctly? It should be glued with a contact adhesive directly to the steel and stop a couple of inches from the ballast to avoid wicking. If necessary a second sheet can be glued to the first to improve insulstion.

Oh yes it was done correctly, and the second sheet was attached to the panel,s its just warm wet air always finds its way into the gap between panels and shell then condensation rears its ugly head, foam protects against that if properly applied that is

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Not many older boat adverts specify what insulation has been used, so it looks like the only way to find out is by inspection. If the insulation is not deemed adequate, then changing to something else would mean stripping the interior a bit at a time. It could be a costly and time consuming job.

 

ETA; or look for another boat.

Edited by AllanC
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Oh yes it was done correctly, and the second sheet was attached to the panel,s its just warm wet air always finds its way into the gap between panels and shell then condensation rears its ugly head, foam protects against that if properly applied that is

The only condensation I get is on the windows, same as on the two sprayfoamed shareboats.

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I sprayfoamed our boat myself, horrible sticky job, using a kit (not sure if its still available) I then used loft insulation over thin bits, no problems at all since then. So far as I'm concerned spray foam is the best by a very long way and I'm not sure if I would consider buying a boat with anything else, certainly not fibreglass insulation.

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Not many older boat adverts specify what insulation has been used, so it looks like the only way to find out is by inspection. If the insulation is not deemed adequate, then changing to something else would mean stripping the interior a bit at a time. It could be a costly and time consuming job.

Very true. DQ was surveyed she was advertised as having rockwool insulation. A quick search on Google showed this to be effective if properly installed, but very prone to wicking if taken too far into the bilge.

 

I asked the surveyor to check on this. He removed the skirting to expose the insulation, which he identified as Thinsulate.

 

Therefore I recommend getting the surveyor to check out the insulation if possible.

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