Foam is Where the Heart Is

Foam is Where the Heart Is
The house’s attic after the roofline was sprayed with closed-cell spray foam
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SPRAY FOAM MAGAZINE – Nick Racioppo experienced every homeowner’s nightmare– his family’s New Jersey home caught fire after a barbeque grill unexpectedly ignited while he slept. Though no one in his family was hurt, the Racioppo’s had no choice but to entirely rebuild their home due to the extensive fire damage. There’s never a good time to deal with the aftermath of a house fire, but two months prior to the fire, Racioppo had purchased a new transportation business out in California called 247 Delivers, a new division of his company NPD Logistics. This new venture complicated things tenfold as he tried to navigate the next steps in securing a new home while also juggling his daily responsibilities as a husband, father, and the owner of multiple logistics companies. Rebuilding a house after a fire is something no one wants to experience, but having the right team of professionals in your corner can make a big difference in taking such a rebuild from a stressful situation to a hopeful one.

His father is long-time friends with Spray Foam Magazine’s editor, Margo Commette, and reached out to ask if she had any recommendations for local spray foam companies. She suggested a few different organizations, but one company stood out to Racioppo among the others: Seal Team Insulation of Farmingdale, New Jersey. Right from the get-go, the Racioppo’s knew that Seal Team were the perfect guys for the job of insulating their new home. Seal Team Insulation is owned by Jim O’Neill, while Paul “PJ” Brown is a minority partner who also serves as the company’s operations manager. Brown oversees the daily operations on worksites and manages Seal Team’s crew. As implied by the company’s namesake, Seal Team runs a very tight brigade. They don’t skimp on the quality of their products or on the level of customer service they deliver to their customers– especially residential customers who only want the best for their homes and families, like the Racioppo’s.

When laying the plans for their new house’s construction, fire safety was one of the Racioppo’s top priorities. Rather than remodeling the damaged former house, the Racioppo’s opted for a fresh start, and after speaking with a fire inspector, decided to purchase a 4,300 square-foot house that was still under-construction by NJ Reliable Group Construction– a clean slate framed with 2x12 lumber that was thicker and sturdier than the construction on their previous home.

In addition to sturdier lumber framing, Racioppo decided to use top-rated building materials with high-quality fire safety standards. Referring to the post-fire rebuild, he explains: “I never wanted to go through this again, so we decided to install cement board on the home’s exterior and spray foam insulation on the interior because of the fire-retardant properties.”

The Seal Team crew covered everything in protective plastic before they started spraying the walls with closed-cell foam

Seal Team specializes in residential projects, and readily agreed to take on the Racioppo’s house. Before getting started, they performed their own due diligence by sending a representative to visit the site and take measurements of the house. This brief consultation served the purpose of formulating an accurate quote, and making sure their plans for the job would be up to code.

After consulting with Seal Team, Racioppo opted for spray foam insulation on the house's interior walls and on the roofline. Brown explains that the decision to go with the hybrid system was the most cost-effective solution for Racioppo's house: “Going with the hybrid system on the walls saved him thousands of dollars, rather than if we’d used foam on the entire house,” Brown explains. “The hybrid approach allowed us to spray the walls with half the volume of spray foam, then add the fiberglass to achieve the same R-value for less money.”

On the home’s walls, Seal Team installed a hybrid insulation system known as the flash-and-batt method. This system combines a layer of closed-cell spray foam with a layer of fiberglass batting. This method is ideal for residential houses in colder climates in places like New Jersey, as it provides optimal insulation while controlling moisture from condensation.

In mid-November of 2023, Seal Team was on site at the Racioppo house for about three days. Applying the closed-cell foam to the walls and roof took about two days, with an additional day to install the fiberglass layer.

Seal Team applied five and one half inches of SES Nexseal HFO Closed-Cell Foam to the home’s roof line, for an R-38 value. The roof also received a coating of No-Burn ThB Intumescent thermal barrier. For the walls, they applied the standard two inches of closed-cell foam, coupled with unfaced fiberglass insulation. The walls had a total R-value of R-27 after installing both the foam and the fiberglass. Due to the house being newly built, the timber substrate was very clean, and the foam adhered easily without the need for surface preparation.

While spraying, Seal Team wore Uline coveralls and Honeywell North 5400 respirators to protect themselves from overspray and vapors from the wet foam. Even though Racioppo’s house was still only studs, they still covered all the work areas with protective plastic sheets to protect from overspray and keep everything spick-and-span.

Throughout his new home’s construction, Racioppo had been dealing with various contractors and tradespeople, such as the builder and the HVAC crews, and was no stranger to the frustrations that can arise when coordinating with different construction enterprises. He was blown away by Seal Team’s efficiency and professionalism on the three days they spent installing insulation in his house. Seal Team descended on the house like an army, with three trucks and 12 workers total, five of whom were sprayers.

Brown knows the importance of staying on schedule when it comes to construction projects, and he and his team wasted no time getting the job started and finishing. “We had an open slot and wanted to get it done as fast

as possible, so we set the bar high. This was a pretty straightforward residential job for us, so we could get right down to business.”

Beyond the copious amounts of knowledge they have about their services, plus their skill and methodical techniques, Seal Team nailed even the smallest details that other companies might overlook. Racioppo was impressed that all of the employees were dressed in branded Seal Team uniforms, something that really emphasized the “Team” aspect of their operation. Aside from being sharply dressed, they had an impeccable work ethic that went above and beyond. “They left the place cleaner than it had been before they got there. I couldn’t believe how fast and efficient they all were.” Racioppo enthused. He even touched base with Commette to thank her for such a brilliant recommendation, telling her, “I want to thank you for recommending PJ at Seal Team. His team was the most professional group of guys I have worked with!”

For Brown, a positive customer experience is just as important to Seal Team as their top-of-the-line service and high-quality product: “It’s one of our tenets. We aim for clean and efficient, always. We’re not going to loiter around for days– we want to be in and out, like you’ve hardly noticed us. And we’re not afraid to grab a broom and sweep up. We’ve got a bunch of great guys on our team that fully buy into what we’re doing here.”

After foaming wrapped up, Racioppo still found impressive things about Seal Team. “The best part is they charged me exactly what they had originally quoted me.” Brown states that Seal Team is all about transparency, and that they always deliver what they sign off on, with no changes or “gotchas” when it’s time to pay.

At time of printing, the family hadn’t moved into the new house yet, Racioppo said he could feel the difference the insulation made inside the house immediately after it was installed.

“They had kerosene heaters on while they were working, and it was definitely holding the heat in more noticeable than before they sprayed.”

Racioppo reports that the build is almost complete, with maybe a month or two left of wrapping up loose ends and installing the home’s final details. He and his family–his wife, four children, two dogs, and a cat– are anxiously awaiting the day they can move into their safe and well-insulated new home.

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