George Shimi of Everest Spray Foam Insulation in Toronto was recently profiled in Toronto Guardian, but sadly the author missed so many of the real life story details behind this hero contractor.
The Toronto Guardian story, as good as it is, doesn’t show the outside of the home, or the machinery inside the truck or even the tools of the trade that George was using that day on the job site. And although he hinted at it, the author didn’t properly explore the idea of George Shimi being a building construction superhero. Well, maybe super hero is too strong, and not a proper job title, but make no mistake George has super powers in terms of being able to insulate a house far more efficiently than has ever been accomplished before in the history of Canadian building insulation sub contractors.
Parked in front of what will someday be a gorgeous five-bedroom Forest Hill home, the green Everest Insulation truck is the principle delivery vehicle of this SPF insulation contractor’s operation. The one tonne truck contains the beating heart of the operation, a diesel generator powers a professional grade GRACO Spray Foam Proportioner and hydraulic pump.
The fifteen thousand dollar (USD) Spray Foam Proportioner is indeed the pulsating centerpiece of his business and propels the success of this all-star independent SPF contractor. A complex piece of equipment, George’s hydraulic apparatus can deliver upwards of 50 lbs of foam per minute and will function better than electric or pneumatic designs in our colder Canadian temperatures.
George uses Heatlok Soy 200 Plus which is a high quality closed cell spray foam made in Canada by the Denilac corporation in Quebec. Heatlok 200 brand spray foam is made from as much as 14 % renewable and recycled content, and that includes ground-up and liquefied plastic water bottles and Eco friendly and sustainable vegetable oils (soy?).
As the Toronto Guardian article reported, this dynamic duo had just visited their storage locker and had loaded three more barrels of liquid foam into the back of the truck that morning. The three new barrels of resin would have created about 1000 lbs of foam insulation here on the job site and occupy about two days work.
George was scheduled to work there for five days and was on Day Three when interviewed alone on the site that morning. SPF insulation contractors generally work alone as other trades can’t work safely while spray foam insulation is being applied. Like elves making shoes at night, this high tech service provider must be completely ignored for a couple days in order to completely cocoon himself inside an empty house or commercial building.
The expansive Forest hill home that is the backdrop of these articles was 270 linear feet of 10ft tall walls and did require approximately 2700 square feet of insulation. This big building project kept George spraying foam for five straight days.
As an accredited SPF contractor working in Canada, George always has the winter off. Like most foam insulation on the market today, Heatlok needs a reasonably warm temperature climate to expand correctly and for the closed cells to form properly and harden. The contractor uses the time to rehabilitate his mind and body.
Last winter, George received some physiotherapy on his shoulders which take the strain of constantly climbing up and down scaffolding with the heavy hose on his back. In the picture below he’s pointing up at one of the most difficult surfaces to foam – the high ceiling in the adjoining residential garage requires standing on scaffolding and constantly spraying and working over head. Its back breaking labour.
The trickiest spots for George are the hard to reach corners of the roof and around sides of the home, and he takes special care around pipes and plumbing fixtures in the bathroom and kitchen. One of spray foam’s great strengths is how it can uniformly cover such piping where other material can leave gaps. A common complaint with fiberglass insulation is how it can frequently leave the voids that result in annoying drafts and cold pipes.
The spray foam gun and nozzle attachments are the most replaced pieces of equipment in this contractor’s tool chest. This is the seventh gun that George has used in his career thus far, and he aims at replacing it to buy something slightly more advanced this summer. The spray gun is the work horse and like all horses they eventually need retiring and replacing with younger thoroughbreds.
George’s skill at wielding the gun leaves a thin coat on the wooden studs and two inches of foam on the wall. He’s making a seal, a capsule that will encompass the whole domicile when he’s done.
If removed and weighed the mass collected would total two pounds of foam per square foot. This is the most efficacious application density which will result in the highest R value possible for this insulation product, and any homeowner would be hard pressed to find a better solution.
Do you see how the foam does not fill the entire area between the studs? Do you see how there’s still a two or three inch gap between the foam and where the drywall will rest against the 2x6s? This is proper and adding more insulation to this wall, in that gap, will not make the house any more or better insulated. The spray foam is already the maximum R value that can physically be applied. Its science not speculation; any further material added to the wall add only negligible ‘R” value to what is already the best insulation solution a modern house can get.
The resin flows through the spray foam proportioner machine in the back of the Everest Insulation truck, and down the hose until it reaches the nozzle. In the gun, at the nozzle the Space Age material combines with a reagent and a chemical reaction occurs. Guided by George Shimi’s advanced knowledge and skill the resulting substance forms, on the wall, the best possible insulation solution for residential homes and commercial buildings in Canada.