Home>Discussions>INSULATION & HVAC>SuperTherm ceramic coating for attic insulation?
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ruthieb
SuperTherm ceramic coating for attic insulation?

My 100+ year old house has an unfinished attic with no attic insulation at all. The floor is covered with old tongue & groove floor boards - there is no insulation betwen the floorboards and the ceiling below. The ceiling is just exposed rafters and roof deck. I know I need to insulate but do not want to pull up the attic floor so am looking to insulate the roof. Fiberglass batts or foam or cellulose seem messy and expensive. I recently read about SuperTherm ceramic insulation that can be sprayed on or applied with a paint roller. It's only a few mils thick and one coat supposedly gives an R-20. Has anyone ever used this material? Can it be used on the interior of an unfinished attic? This seems like a great product. Are there any disadvantages?

canuk
Re: SuperTherm ceramic coating for attic insulation?

It's used a fair amount as a commercial application.

While I haven't used this product personally it's been used around here for a few years. Mainly in residential applications it's been used as an exterior coating over stucco walls because of it's resistance to the elements. There does seem to be some benefit of thermo break assistance due to the ceramic compounds used ... according to the marketing brochures I've run across.
I don't recall the exact price ...but.... it is fairly expensive.

I think the claim for R20 for a few mils is a little optimistic since reading literature on their web-site really doesn't say. Check this link where they claim some sort of test between bat and their product : http://www.supertherm.biz/supertherm_home.htm ... it's vague on some details like how thick their product was and what the actual R value of the batts were used.

It may be worth looking into.:)

tsimshianman
Re: SuperTherm ceramic coating for attic insulation?

www.EagleCoatings.com is a good site to check out for detailed information for SUPER THERM.
There is an extensive Testing and Certification page as well as a large list of PROJECTS.

The product is applied at 10 dry mils which is the thickness of a business card. It blocks heat transfer by way of all three forms of heat transfer unlike other insulations which are utilized for mainly conduction.

If you apply to the roof this will prevent heat from transfering through the substrate thus a cooler attic space in the summer time. If you want to contain heat in the winter months you would apply to your ceilings and exterior walls on the inside surfaces.

Hope this helps

ed21
Re: SuperTherm ceramic coating for attic insulation?

I can't believe 10 mils of a coating will give anywhere near an R-2 much less R-20.
I looked at the site & it looked like a lot of BS & playing with numbers. I don't have time to thoroughly research the site.
The only way to get R value is through thickness of some type of insulation. Whether it's in the rafters or in the ceiling is up to you & the type of construction you're dealing with.
Besides in New Jersey there should be a lot more than R-20 in the ceiling.
BTW- There is nothing easy, not messy and not expensive about retrofitting insulation in an old house. Given the cost savings & comfort to be had for heating & cooling it's worth the effort.

Re: SuperTherm ceramic coating for attic insulation?
ed21 wrote:

I can't believe 10 mils of a coating will give anywhere near an R-2 much less R-20.
I looked at the site & it looked like a lot of BS & playing with numbers. I don't have time to thoroughly research the site.
The only way to get R value is through thickness of some type of insulation. Whether it's in the rafters or in the ceiling is up to you & the type of construction you're dealing with.
Besides in New Jersey there should be a lot more than R-20 in the ceiling.
BTW- There is nothing easy, not messy and not expensive about retrofitting insulation in an old house. Given the cost savings & comfort to be had for heating & cooling it's worth the effort.

I don't belive anything either but I have tested it on a rooftop unit and it works. I will have to get my thermal pics up to show you.But the temp went down to within 6 degrees of ambient.It does help. I won't disagree with you about thickness but the panels on the space shuttle are only 6 inches or so thick so material is a factor

tsimshianman
Re: SuperTherm ceramic coating for attic insulation?

I have to admit I had a chuckle reading ed21 and Infraredsurvey.com postings as I am also known as a "Doubting Thomas" and freely admit this for me fell in to the category of "too good to be true". I prefer to admit being a skeptic meaning I need emperical evidence before I am a believer. Once I educated myself on how the ceramics actually work and studied the numerous ASTM testing to support performance claims (9 years later) I was able to accept that these ceramic coatings were for real. I would be very interested to see any data Infraredsurvey.com has. I am beyond being convinced. I am always interested in other applications as they are virtually endless.

Here is a list of projects useing Super Therm - PROJECTS

This will allow you to see that there are virtually endless applications wherever you wish to control heat transfer.

What one needs to do is to open their minds and think outside of the box so to speak. We have all been conditioned to equate effective insulation with thickness. Putting on a warmer jacket or blanket usually meant thicker.

Thick heat absorbing materials still do dominate the insulation market however every now and then we hear about something new that is ultra thin. Do you remember when the "space blankets' first came out in the late 70s early 80s? Before you knew it these thin foil sheets started to accompany every emergency first aid kit to be carried in your car. Foils are still used today however like any insulation it has limitations as to where you use it.

One also needs to keep in mind that the R value system is also outdated technology which originates from the 1930s and does not explain the effectiveness of ceramic technology today. When introduced to heat selected ceramics has the opposite effect that standard insulations has as they do not absorb heat. In order to establish an R value the material you are testing has to absorb heat. The ceramics do not, in fact you can take a handful of these ceramics in your hand and hold a blow torch to them and not burn your hand. You can then take the torch away and rub them between your bare hands and still not get burned.

We also know about the space shuttles "ceramic tiles" that protect the shuttle and astronaughts from 3,500+ degrees as they re-enter the earth's atmosphere. Is this the same? No, not exactly but this is where the concept was develloped. The use of ceramics to control heat transfer. Since this technology does indeed exist why is it so difficult to accept that it can also exist in a similar form in other environments?

Where the real challenge lies is choosing where to best apply the product for the greatest benefit. The advantages of using Super Therm are numerous, applying it outside or inside depends on your overall objective and the climate region you live in.

A distributor is the best person to consult with directly. In fact the manufacturer insists that each distributor becomes directly involved with each customers application from start to finish. This also means forms must be filled out and signed off by the manufacturer before the material can be purchased. These are extremely strict requirements which assures the customer is getting the proper solution.

Most importantly for any technology ensure you look or ask for the testing and certification. Super Therm has a long list of testing and certifications in both North America as well as other countries. These are openly displayed at : TESTING AND CERTIFICATIONS
This is the information the architects and engineers focus on the most. This is the information they must have before they put their name beside it plus all building materials need to have the required testing for each jurisdiction.

I've heard people comment on the cost factor. Let's put it this way, how much does it cost you in utilities not to use it?
Let's put this into perspective. I am currently working remotely with an engineering graduate student who is putting together a proposal to insulate 400,000 gallon water tanks using another related ceramic coating called Hot Surface Coating (HSC)for a very well known North American Corporation. He has been able to calculate both a complete budget as well as a payback time period.
Here is that portion of his email: For your information, we calculated that a 50 mil application of HSC
would reduce energy costs of these tanks by up to 60%, a payback of less than 3 years for a project totalling about $30,000. This is a significantly short payback time period especially when you compare these figures with the traditional methods of insulating which over time fail and need to be done again. Ceramics are non-deteriorating and will last a lifetime.

romur1
Re: SuperTherm ceramic coating for attic insulation?
ed21 wrote:

I can't believe 10 mils of a coating will give anywhere near an R-2 much less R-20.
I looked at the site & it looked like a lot of BS & playing with numbers. I don't have time to thoroughly research the site.
The only way to get R value is through thickness of some type of insulation. Whether it's in the rafters or in the ceiling is up to you & the type of construction you're dealing with.
Besides in New Jersey there should be a lot more than R-20 in the ceiling.
BTW- There is nothing easy, not messy and not expensive about retrofitting insulation in an old house. Given the cost savings & comfort to be had for heating & cooling it's worth the effort.

I'm sorry you don't have time to research a sight that "looked like a lot of BS & playing with numbers". It looks like 20 different organizations took the time to test the material, thankfully.
Names like ASTM, VTEC, NASA, ICC, ASHRAE, Energy Star, LEED, USDA ...
Here's a link to their findings.
http://eaglecoatings.net/content/supertherm/STcertifications.htm

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