Details - Details - Details - Finishing up on the epic Creative Co-Op

April 2, 2012 - We got a lot done in the past week or so including the completion of the work on the cyclorama (cyc) wall, and the foam insulation under the ADA ramp. Finally, all the big jobs on the Creative Co-Op are behind us. That leaves us with a punch-list of odds and ends that are very manageable, and even includes some wish list items. Silver Rock managed to use the new studio for a video shoot for the local United Way chapter. With access to the dynamic lighting grid along with the whisper quiet nature of the mineral wool insulation on the upper walls and ceilings  - the guys had an excellent day of shooting.

Anytime you get a second chance to do something you have never done before, there is an opportunity to learn and do it even better the second time around. That was the case with the cyc wall for us. The cyclorama wall seemed to take forever when we first built it. Everything we were doing was trial and error, and there was a great deal of discussion on both major and minor decisions. On the rebuild, we knew exactly what was necessary and proceeded this time with the confidence of knowing what would work. As before, the trickiest part of the installation was the corner where the walls and floor come together. If you don't get it perfect, you need to take everything apart and start all over again.

The rebuild of the cyc wall turned out great, and we put it to the test just a day after the second coat of white paint was applied to the walls and floor. Now that the lighting grid was installed and working properly, we were able to lower it to set the lights, then raise it to the proper position for shooting. Silver Rock used their RED camera for the shoot, and the results are simply stunning.

With the studio work behind us, we turned our attention to getting the "Armadillo" (the area under the ADA ramp) water-tight. When we planned the ramp structure, we really did not consider using the area under it for anything serious. Once it was done, we decided to wall it in, and it quickly became a very valuable workshop area. Problem is, it leaked like a sieve. We tried using caulk, but that was not very effective. We decided to use hi-density foam insulation or spray foam as it is commonly called. Hi-density foam is composed of tiny cells that are closed and packed together. They are filled with a gas that helps the foam rise and expand to become an excellent insulator, and it creates a water tight barrier. 

The advantages of closed-cell foam compared to open-cell foam include its strength, higher R-value, and its greater resistance to the leakage of air or water vapor. The disadvantage of the closed-cell foam is that it is denser, requires more material, and therefore, is more expensive. Even though it has a better R-value, typically the cost per R is still higher than open-cell foam. The choice of foam can also be based on the requirements for the other performance or application specific characteristics such as strength, vapor control, available space, etc. Open-cell SPF has an R-value around 3.5 per inch and typically uses water as the blowing agent. Closed-cell SPF has an R-value of around 6.0 per inch (aged R-value) and uses high R-value blowing agents.

Both types of foam are commonly used in most building applications and the choice for which to use can depend on many of the factors discussed above. Some foams are inappropriate in specific applications. For example, you would not use open-cell foam below grade or in flotation applications where it could absorb water. This would negate its thermal performance because water is a poor insulator compared to air. Closed-cell foam is a good choice for small framing sizes and allows for the greatest R-value per inch possible. Closed-cell foam is also a good choice for roofing applications.

We also had time to work on completing the summer kitchen by adding a couple of ceiling fans. We gave the grill a workout on a beautiful Friday afternoon and cooking steaks and enjoyed the warm spring Texas weather.

We have reduced our punch list down to a dozen items or so.  While none of them are significant (in terms of work required), together we have lots of things to tighten up or finish. With the end in sight, we are planning an open house for our families, friends, customers and the people that helped make the epic Creative Co-Op a reality.

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