What is considered a commercial building ?
While building codes vary from municipality to municipality, generally speaking anything over three family dwellings can be considered a commercial building. Even though residential and commercial construction have different insulation requirements, the idea is exactly the same: safe and comfortable to occupy through proper insulation and air sealing, all while being economical. The higher the R-value, the less outside air can penetrate the insulation. This is a fact and doesn’t change no matter the construction method.
Sadly, the code doesn’t really talk about the air sealing. At www.sprayfoamkings.com we know all too well what this will entail, and rightfully so we take extra care to air seal all of the projects we work on. The truth is spray foam insulation thankfully behaves as an air sealant as well as an insulation all in one.
There are various types of commercial buildings. From schools to churches and much more, they come in all sizes and have different styles of construction. Generally, we will have a look at masonry, wood and metal construction, as well as sound dampening as another characteristic of the spray foam insulation.
METAL CONSTRUCTION COMMERCIAL BUILDINGS
It is a very popular construction material in commercial buildings, structural stele or light gauge from, metal has some challenges when it comes to insulation due to its conductivity. If there isn’t an exterior insulation that is seamless layer, the metal conducts cold air into the structure in massive amounts. This of course will affect the R-value of the wall negatively, as the true r-value is now compromised no matter what the value of the insulation in the cavity is. And it doesn’t stop there, the cold metal can create a freezing and condensing effect of moisture that is in the air, either on drywall or the inside of the wall. Metal building construction should never have a penetrable insulation used like fibreglass, as this condensation can happen and wreak havoc. Vinyl covered insulation will allow for moist air to come in contact with the metal and it will freeze as it condenses in frigid temperatures. This is where the ideal characteristics of closed cell spray foam insulation will bring both vapour barrier and insulating effects to the table making it an ideal choice for this type of application.
WOOD CONSTRUCTION COMMERCIAL BUILDINGS
It’s the size by which commercial wooden framed buildings can separate themselves from a residential building. There is little difference when considering insulation and air sealing in the buildings, but the potential hazard is much greater if there is a system failure, for example if a pipe happens to burst due to drafts in a floor it would be significantly worse if it took place on an upper level of a nursing home.
MASONRY CONSTRUCTED COMMERCIAL BUILDINGS
To provide any sort of comfort, all concrete, block and brick walls must be insulated. When in new construction, by far the best at this task is spray foam insulation, and it would have to be installed either behind the drywall, or on the outside of the structural wall. In any case, there should be an unobstructed layer of foam , so it is vital to leave space between the masonry and the framing for the spray foam. It is also possible to fill cavities for a retrofit scenario.