Icynene’s high-performance spray foam provides the ideal solution for insulating a steel framed residential building in London
Located in south London, this apartment building comprises 32, two- and three-bedroom apartments. The internal structure is a complex latticework of galvanised C-section steel framing. While the steel structure was quick to design and construct, installing the required thermal insulation and preventing air leakage in the finished building proved a headache for property development and construction contractor Devcon.
Icynene foam expands 100-fold within seconds of application
“Fitting conventional rigid board or mineral wool insulation into the steel framing was pretty much impossible”, explains Devcon construction director David Butler. “There would have been too many fiddly cuts and small fillets. We would never have made it work to a high enough standard.”
The curved roof structure is filled to level with Icynene H2 Foam
Difficult to insulate effectively
Steel framed buildings are generally more difficult to insulate than comparable masonry or timber framed structures. Steel conducts heat 300-400 times faster than timber and can reduce the efficiency of wall insulation by as much as 60 per cent because of thermal bridging. Appointed by Devcon to provide a solution for the project, specialist insulation contractor Ecosprayfoam System recommended the use of Icynene spray-applied insulation.
Icynene foam is an incredibly ‘searching’ material that fills the small voids that conventional insulation cannot get to
Icynene is a breathable, open-cell spray foam insulation that is applied using a pressurised gun. A two-component mixture coalesces at the tip of a gun forming a foam that expands 100-fold within seconds of application. This seals gaps, service holes and hard to reach spaces, virtually eliminating cold bridging and air leakage. Icynene foam is a highly persistent material that gets into and seals tiny voids that would otherwise allow air leakage through the structure, and with it, heat.
The building’s internal structure is a complex lattice-work of galvanised C-section steel framing. Icynene is completely inert and will not create any chemical reaction with either the steel or the coating.
First choice insulation solution
According to Muhamet Sylejmani of Ecosprayfoam Systems, Icynene is the first-choice solution for steel framed buildings of this type. “Icynene is compatible with light gauge steel structures. The foam does not retain moisture and there is no risk of degradation of the galvanic coating. It’s also completely inert and will not create any chemical reaction with either the steel or the coating”, he explains. “What’s more, Icynene does not support combustion or add fuel to a fire, and that’s hugely important in multi-occupancy buildings like this.”
As Foam Lite expands, the cells of the foam burst and the CO2 is replaced by air
Insulated panels form the external skin of the building, and an elegant, curved metal roof crowns the high-tech roadside facade. The inner skin comprises a 100mm light gauge C-section galvanised steel frame filled to capacity with Icynene H2 Foam Lite, followed by two layers of 12.5mm plasterboard with a skim plaster finish. For the curved roof, the 170mm light gauge steel frame was filled to level with Icynene H2 Foam Lite and closed internally with two layers of 6mm thick magnesium oxide boards. Externally, the roof is clad in zinc sheeting laid over rigid boarding.
The roof is clad in zinc sheeting over rigid boarding
Zero ozone depletion potential
Icynene was developed in Canada to cope with the country’s harsh winter conditions. However, unlike the urethane foams of 20 years ago, modern spray foams, such as Icynene Foam Lite, use water as the blowing agent. This means that the reaction between the two components produces C02 which causes the foam to expand. As Foam Lite expands, the cells of the foam burst and the CO2 is replaced by air. Consequently, from an environmental perspective, Icynene has a Global Warming Potential (GWP) of 1 and an Ozone Depletion Potential (ODP) of 0 (zero). Icynene is also completely inert and does not emit and harmful gases once cured.
Overfill insulation is simply trimmed back flush with the surrounding steel studwork
For more information please visit the Icynene website.