1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Spray Foam Insulation

After a whole lot of time prepping the boat for spray foam insulation, I decided DIY Tiger Foam was the best bang for the buck. I initially intended to have a pro come out and do it, but I couldn’t find one who had experience foaming a boat. There was also a wide gap between estimates: $2,000 from one contractor vs $3,500 from the other. Tiger Foam was $1,350 for two 600 board feet kits, including shipping, and its E-84 fire rating is better than what the pros were offering. Plus, I like the challenge of DIY so…

1200bf of Tiger Foam

1200bf of Tiger Foam

Moving big things away from the hull

Moving big things away from the hull

After moving the plywood stack up against the galley bulkhead and the track saw table to the center of the salon, I started taping the place up the 3M hand masking film.

Ready to spray foam

Ready to spray foam

Plastic and cardboard protect everything in the aft stateroom

Plastic and cardboard protect everything in the aft stateroom

Overhead panels got taped to protect the ICA clear coat

Overhead panels got taped to protect the ICA clear-coated African mahogany

under-side of the side decks are clean and prepped for foam

under-side of the side decks are clean and prepped for foam

I taped off the vent hole up above before spraying began.

V-berth taped off

V-berth taped off

Stem to stern, she's ready for foam!

Stem to stern, she’s ready for foam!

Having read all sorts of comments, seen tons of youtube videos, and read the manual front-to-back several times, I knew for a fact that spray foam is temperature sensitive. There are all sorts of warnings about application when it’s too cold, which yields a foam mix that may not rise at all. But there are no warnings at all about application when it’s too hot…which pretty much describes this whole year since two days after winter ended. I mean, we went straight from snow to hot–it was 75 degrees two days after the last snowfall, and it’s been over 85 on many days pretty much since late April.

So, on the day I sprayed foam, overnight temps never went below 79. That’s good, because 70 degrees is the minimum recommended tank temp for the foam. But by 10am, it was over 100 inside the tent up topside. The tanks were on the warm side when I finally brought them inside the boat, suited up, and started spraying. What they don’t show you in all of the videos is the amount of foam that rains down from above–what a mess!

That said, the first tank didn’t quite get the coverage I expected. But I attribute that mostly to the tank being too warm. There’s a bit of a learning curve, too, with respect to petroleum jelly you use on the nozzles (hint: use lots, and keep reapplying it or the foam doesn’t exit the nozzle smoothly). It also takes a bit to figure out which nozzle to use and how hard to pull the trigger (hint: use round nozzles and a very low application rate to frame out the perimeter of very box section between frames, then the fan nozzle and a higher application rate to fill in the middle). There’s also the eye protection problem.

It was 90+ in the boat and sweat running in my eyes made the job that much harder. The goggles I used kept fogging up on the inside, and the spray foam was coating the outside. After ten minutes, I was basically spraying blind. Swapping out the old goggle lenses for new, the same pattern repeated. And unlike spraying in a house, like they show on all the videos, all of the nooks and crannies of the hull and deck framing make it especially important to be able to see what you’re doing.

But it worked. It’s not perfect, but I got foam!

3 layer, full-depth coverage in the overhead of the aft stateroom head

Good, uniform coverage on the aft stateroom head walls

Fairly uniform coverage on the aft stateroom head walls

Aft stateroom head

Aft stateroom head

Aft stateroom

Aft stateroom

Spray foam over original Chris Craft bitumastic coating should keep condensation down

Spray foam over original Chris Craft bitumastic coating should keep condensation down

Foamy goodness inside the hanging lockers

Foamy goodness inside the hanging lockers

This locker has the new aluminum deck outboard, so that aluminum didn’t have any of the OEM bitumastic. I laid the foam on heavy in here, in three layers yielding 2″ thickness minimum.

More

More foam in another locker

Note the slightly yellow foam at the center of the overhead above–that’s from the first tank that was a bit too warm. It expanded well, but perhaps not 100%.

Salon overhead foamed in

Salon overhead foamed in

Condensation-proof salon top

Condensation-proof AND bullet proof salon top

Hull side and under-side of the side deck

Hull side and under-side of the side deck

V-berth overhead

V-berth overhead

When I finally wrapped up, it was late after a looong day.

Next up in our 1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: 1st Galley Plywood Install

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6 comments on “1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Spray Foam Insulation

  1. Scott says:

    Hmm…your experience with the Tiger foam mirrors mine. I didn’t care for the inconsistencies in application thickness, and as you mentioned, the dripping overhead…( as well as the sweat in eyes, and fogged up glasses) Like I said, very similar to my exp.
    That being said…its a dirty job now behind you. Congrats on this stage!

  2. Doug says:

    Wow! Great job on the spray foam. I would have taken 2 training boats worth to learn how to do it, but you got ‘er done well on one. Probably more thorough than the “pro’s” too.

    • 1969roamer46 says:

      Thanks, Doug. What sealed the deal for me was a video from one of the DIY foam companies where they have two office girls spray a wall. I figure if two girls can do it, I damn well can! 😉

  3. Kent says:

    Nice to see you working on the Boat again..

    How’s the Insurance claim working out?

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