How to Install Dow Tuff-R Commercial Insulation

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Dow TUFF-R insulation is rigid polyisocyanurate foam with a radiant aluminum barrier on both sides. The double barrier means that a 1-inch thick panel provides an insulation factor of R 6.5, as opposed to R 5 for the same thickness of regular foam. In addition, the barriers eliminate the need for any additional vapor barriers. This simplifies the installation process on wood-frame homes.

Things You'll Need

  • TUFF-R panels, 4 foot by 8 foot, or 4 foot by 9 foot
  • Tape measure
  • Sawhorses
  • Utility knife
  • Ring shank nails, 1 1/4 inch long
  • Hammer
  • 3-inch insulation tape
  • All-weather sealant
  • Mark the length to which each panel needs to be cut by dragging the tip of a tape measure through the surface of the panel. This leaves a small line to use as a guide.

  • Set the panel on a pair of sawhorses and draw the utility knife blade through the line in the panel. Make a deep score in the foam -- don't cut all the way through.

  • Line the score in the panel with the edge of the sawhorse and push down on the short end of the panel; it will snap off cleanly at the score.

  • Place the panels vertically up against the studs of the house. Drive nails through the panel and into the studs -- spaced 12 inches apart around the outside of the panel and 16 inches apart in the middle of the panel.

  • Place subsequent panels so that they butt firmly against the panels next to them. Seal the joints between panels with insulation tape.

  • Seal any areas where vents, ducts and other structures must pass through the foam panels with all-weather sealing caulk.

  • Siding, or stone or brick veneer, should be installed over the TUFF-R.

Tips & Warnings

  • The panels should cover all structural elements of the house, including any corner bracings.
  • The panels can be easily trimmed around protrusions with a utility knife and straight edge.
  • TUFF-R can also be installed on interior masonry walls, but usually unfaced or single-faced foam panels are specified for these applications.
  • Your local building code authority may require a different fastening procedure than is described here. Always check your local code for the proper installation requirements for rigid foam insulation.

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