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Question DetailsAsked on 2/29/2016

Anyone seen the claims for the product Insultex Housewrap? insultexhousewrap.com

It claims to have a perm rating of 32 and R-Values of 3 or 6. Available at Home Depot.
I have never heard of a product like this. My gut is telling me it is Snake Oil. Your Thoughts would be appreciated.
Manufactured by:
Innovative Designs, Inc.
124 Cherry St.
Pittsburgh, PA, 15223
P: 412-799-0350
F: 412-782-5303
Web Site: insultexhousewrap.com
This fact sheet contains important information about Insultex House Wrap. Please read it carefully.
TYPE OF INSULATION:
House Wrap
Sq. Ft.
R-Value Length Width Thickness Per Roll
3.0 100' 58"/60" 1.0mm 500
6.0 100' 58"/60" 1.5mm 500

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Here is an interesting blog on that product FYI -


http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/c...


I am not clear whether this product is actually a closed cell foam (more likley) or an aerogel.


While I have not used this product myself, I have used other brand closed cell foams and aerogels on high-end industrial projects in extreme temperature environments with good success, so the product type itself is not a scam or phony - both closed cell foams and aerogels do work, NASA uses them for insulation in places where they do not have room for a lot of regular insulation, and they are used in various industrial applications. However - as some of the commenters state in the above, there are some issues with some of them, and some pretty strong inconsistencies which raise a red flag to me as well as to many of them:


1) you say they advertise R3 for 1mm layer, R6 for 1.5mm layer. Because 50% more thickness should result in 50% higher R value, not double, this advertised R value HAS to be a system value, not just the foam material R value. Meaning the facings have to be included in the measurement (which the ASTM test method in their info does not so indicate), or the gel is being claimed as R3 per 1/2mm thickness and the facings are 1/2mm - so the 1mm product would be R3 for 1/2mm of gel and nothing for 1/2mm of facings, and the 1.5mm would be R6 for 1mm plus zero for 1/2mm facings, which works out OK numerically.


2) However, that means R3 for 1/2mm or 1mm equals R150 or R75 per inch thickness (the standard US designation for insulation effectiveness). Checking standard insulation value references and the NASA website, closed cell foams are commonly about R6-7 and aerogels are typically rated at R10-11 per inch, not 75 to 150. Even the highest-level vacuum closed cell foam board and experimental (not yet commercial) graphite buckyball insulators only reach R30-R50 range - so if the claims on this product were true, as the other commenters in the blog said, it would have been trumpeted worldwide as a major breakthrough and someone like Dow or DuPont would have bought the patent and would be turning it out like nothing else.


3) competitor products made the same basic way all claim R value in the R6 for closed cell foam or R10 (per inch thickness) range for aerogels.


4) one other thing to consider - some aerogels are hydrophobic (repel water) but others are highly water absorbent, so you would have to check the water vapor perm factor and absorbency against general housing standards. Generally, ASTM E96 vapor permeability perm values of 10 to 20 or higher are considered acceptable for housewraps, and a Pass on test method AATCC 127/ASTM AC38 method for bulk water transmission.


5) BRC Laboratory, who tested the samples, does not appear to have a website so it is not possible to research it in depth. it is listed in business directories as a water testing lab, so may or may not be qualified to do this type testing. Their listed address appears to be a residence in a residential neighborhood on google street view, so no help there either. Does not appear to have a website - a red flag in my book.


6) One significant factor, mentioned in the above blog also, is that ASTM C168 requires that the sample be a HOMOGENEOUS material, which this product is not. For the test results to be meaningful it should have been tested instead by ASTM C976, which is designed for testing insulation/building systems or multiple layer systems. With the drainage layear built in, one coudl expect significant heat loss horizontally at the drainage layer, which could reduce the amount of heat getting through the product, making it look like a better insulator than it is.


7) The test report does not have enough data to enable reconstruction of the calculation, but it should be noted that the test results for R are reportable under the test method as a standard R value PER INCH OF THICKNESS. Since the report showed R=6.05 for the 1.5mm material, if that is per inch per standard test reporting, this would be about normal for a closed cell iso foam product - and their website does say this is a closed cell composite, with a drainage layer combined with the foam. However, if the R value per inch is 6 (ignoring that the wrong test method appears to have been used), then the apparent or effective value for a 1.5mm product would be an R value of about 0.35 - roughly the 0.4 one of the comments in the blog noted waqs reasonable for this type product.


Therefore, from what I see I am more than a bit sceptical, and suspect that the reported R value of 6 (which by the ASTM standard should have been per inch of thickness) was mistaken by the manufacturer as an effective R value for the 1.5mm thickness product. Unfortunately, I was unable to get a response at their listed phone number on several tries on consecutive days - rings but no answer, and their website does not load properly so I could not find an eMail, so I was unable to get their response on this.


Bottom line - I can't believe their product has an R value several times better than anything NASA has ever tested or developed without it showing up as major articles in trade magazines and blogs, so I believe it is a dramatic misrepresentation and should be more like R0.4 effective insulation factor for the 1.5 mm product - intentional or accidental I can't hazard an opinion on.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD




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