by • May 20, 2010 • UncategorizedComments (3)1491

Austin Changes the Rules on Spray Foamed Attics

  If you’ve been reading my blog you’ll know that I’m a big believer in sealed spray foamed conditioned attics for our hot & humid Austin climate. (See this video of one of my fully foamed attics here)  I believe this is THE best way to build a house in Austin TX.  I’ve used spray foam to build or remodel every house I’ve touched since 2005.  Well, the rules have changed in regards to foam so if you’re currently building or thinking of building in Austin jurisdiction please read on…
  I attended a meeting at the HBA today (Wed May 19, 2010) with the City of Austin Building Dept officials regarding the changes to how COA is enforcing 2006 IRC codes in relation to Spray Foam.  
Basically, if your attic is spray foamed you are likely going to need to either paint on an intumescent (reduces flame spread & smoke index) paint or drywall these attics from this point forward.  This is a rolling change so even if you’ve passed insulation inspections you will be made to comply with this at your final building inspection.  You must get the ICCES report from your foam contractor and read it carefully to know what you’ll need to do to pass inspections.  My house that passed insulation inspections three weeks ago was a 2000 sq foot remodel with a 4/12 roof and a fully foamed attic.  The intumescent paint on top of the foam was $1500.   
  I made a quick video after the presentation with John Umphress of Austin Energy’s Green Building Program discussing how this change came about and what you’ll need to do to comply.  If you’re using foam this WILL affect you. 

Lastly, ICC-ES reports for the different foam manufacturer’s are here:
Call or email me if I can help you.  Hope this “heads up” helps, Matt Risinger

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  • If Austin has changed the rules on Spray Foamed Attics what is the best way to insulate one’s attic so you will not incur double cost (price of spray foam and then price of material to cover spray foam)?

  • So, we’ve got several options for complying with this new interpretation. The easiest method is to do a Thermal Barrier Paint over the foam. This does add to costs significantly however. Another option would be to make a “control room” where you section off the attic into a cube that can be drywalled. This will separate the attic into storage/mechanical & no access areas. Each house has unique challenges depending on how the architecture of the roof lays out and how it’s framed. Hope this helps. -Matt

  • There is another way…
    Have you seen the spray foam from New Orleans that is sugar cane based? Talk about fire and flame retardant!!!

    I don’t own their product (can’t afford it for the new house I’m building) or work for the company, but I did watch their videos online and spoke with one of the owners. This stuff looks awesome!!!

    Check out the videos down the page a bit. They are pretty convincing.