AirTight® Spray Foam Insulation Used in High Profile Residential Construction Project in Northern New Jersey
Tina Curtis and AirTight Insulation Show Us Their Unique Foam Application Process for Frick Estate Home
By Spray Foam Staff
August, 2008 – Alpine, New Jersey - A $58 million real estate deal was one of the all-time largest in the nation last year. It occurred in Alpine, NJ region, an area about five miles northwest of Manhattan. The historically-rich 63-acre Frick estate was sold to Richard Kurtz, who runs Kamson Corp., an Englewood Cliffs, NJ property management firm. The estate was owned by a grandson of steel-industry magnate Henry Clay Frick and includes a 10,000-square-foot English Manor-style main house, two guest homes, three greenhouses, a pool and a tennis court. The 1930s house, which was renovated about 10 years ago, had been in the Frick family for more than half a century.
New Home in Frick Estate Under Construction in Alpine, NJ
Indoor Basketball Court under Construction
Although Kurtz usually focuses on middle income apartment complexes, he has more lofty ideas for this particular property, with plans to subdivide the acreage into individual ultra-luxury estates. These homes will be lavishly built, with the first one, currently in construction on a five acre area, to be a 27,000 square foot house complete with a movie theater, indoor basketball court and conservatory, among other amenities. The asking price for this property alone will be approximately $40 million.
Bringing this project to fruition was no easy task. Kurtz recalls the great difficulty with which the Frick family had to be brought together and how the paperwork dragged on for seventeen months, not to mention the fourteen approvals required from the state Department of Environmental Protection.
However, construction is well underway and Kurtz isn’t sparing any expense in the development of these houses. Since he is intent on using the highest quality materials, it is no surprise that spray foam will be the insulation of choice. It will be used as part of a hybrid setup combined with fiberglass insulation.
There is no better way to insulate this type of structure than with Spray Foam.
Tina Curtis, owner of the NJ-based AirTight Insulation, Inc., is heading up the foam application and is using a unique approach to the process. Tina utilizes a two-phase process when spraying a new building such as this. “When we have a contract to spray an entire house, we try to spray the underside of the roof before the ductwork for the HVAC system is installed. The advantage to us is that is it much easier to access the entire roofline when there are no obstructions. The end result is a much more thorough and clean looking job. An added bonus is that the house is easier to keep warm while the other trades are doing their rough in work.”
AirTight pulls their professional two-machine spray rig right up to the jobsite.
“In addition to the rooflines, we also try to spray other areas that will be hard or impossible to access later. Examples include chimney chases, walls where tubs, showers or utility panels will be placed and stud cavities that will be largely filled by ductwork or drain pipes.”
“The key to being able to do this work ahead of time is coordination with the general contractor, the other trades, and the code official.” Then, once all utilities have been installed, AirTight comes in for a second phase application, spraying the remaining areas. “Generally, after we have been through one project with a builder, this becomes a standard practice.”
AirTight applies LaPolla closed cell spray foam everywhere in this unvented or "air-tight "attic installation.
Although this has become standard practice for Curtis and her team, she can’t remember how she got the idea in the first place. “I honestly have no idea,” claims Tina. “It seems to me that it is just a logical way to do things and that is what we have done since the beginning. There is someone who must have recommended it because I have to admit that I knew nothing about spray foam and very little about construction when I first became involved with the business.”
Tina explains the challenges they may face while working on the Frick estate, “We will be on the job, in stages, for a few months. There are always coordination issues with the other trades and maneuvering the equipment to the best spot with the least chance of the hoses getting damaged. Thankfully, my crews have experience with similar projects and the other trades and the builder have been great to work with.”
She is excited that a project such as this is going to include spray foam insulation. “To me, the most magnetic part of the story is that it is being built without the safety net of a homeowner. I think, from a spray foam perspective, one of the best wins is the one where foam is chosen for a house that has yet to be sold. Granted, this will be (unless it is upgraded) a combination of foam and fiberglass insulation but it still counts as a victory for our side.”
AirTight's unique process allows for the foam to fully cover and adhere to the entire building structure
before any utilities are installed. A truly "air-tight" job.
Although this particular project provides an interesting story, Curtis’s own story is one of note as well. She first got involved in the spray foam industry by chance. “I went to college to be an engineer. In my junior year at University of Texas in Austin, life got in the way and I went back home to upstate NY to figure out a plan. One day, I ran out of gas on the way home from a dead end job, got help from an Army recruiter and a few months later was starting my new life as an electronics repairer in the Military Intelligence (MI) field. I met my husband there and we got to live in some nice places (VA, Germany and Honduras) and some not nice places (the first Gulf War). When I got out of the Army, I worked as a technician then as a sales rep for a large pipeline inspection camera manufacturer. In 1999, I finished my Bachelors degree at Florida Southern.”
“The day my family arrived in NJ in 2003, my friend Scott asked me to work for him. He was going to start a spray foam insulation business and wanted me to help start it and run it until he retired from the Army in 2006. Since my daughter was getting ready to start school and I was ready to get back to work after my three year vacation in Germany, I agreed. Many times after that, I jokingly blamed my decision on jetlag.”
“Up to that day, I had really never thought about insulation. Once I started getting more information, I became a believer in the value of foam insulation. I ended up becoming 50% owner in the business in 2005 and bought out my business partner at the end of 2006.”
Professionally Trained Foam Applicators demonstrate the "AirTight Advantage".
Tina maintains one of the largest branches of the national AirTight Insulation Licensed Applicator Network, recently acquired by Lapolla Industries, Inc., based in Houston Texas. She cites a few factors that have contributed to the success of her company and its rapid growth. “Most important is the simple fact that we offer the best insulation that is available anywhere. We just do foam and we always try to do it the best. Second, the employees of this company continually go beyond my expectations and I cannot say enough good things about them. Being part of the AirTight Licensed Applicator Network was key in getting the business started in the right direction. Even now, the sense of community and the support is a huge benefit. Also, we were in a great location at a great time. A custom homebuilder, Joe Jackson of Faust Contracting, was and still is another key success factor. He is one of the biggest proponents of spray foam, he patiently answers questions, he recommends us to everyone and he tells me if I do something wrong. Last but not least, my family who have supported and believed in me.”
The office currently has twelve employees and uses two spray foam rigs. They have a trailer with a Graco E20 and an E-30 as well as a box truck with a Gusmer HV20/35. They also use one injection foam trailer for the growing Pour in Place (PIP) Foam application market.
Congratulations to AirTight Insulation, Tina Curtis, and all the other contributing individuals and companies for making our planet greener and more energy efficient, one building structure at a time. There is no doubt that Tina and her team will do an excellent job on the Frick estate and she is confident about the result. “This is a very big house and it will be spectacular. We will insulate it well.”
Check back with us in a few months time when SprayFoam.com covers the final wall foam application and the first completed home on the Frick Estate.
AirTight Insulation, Inc.
450 Shrewsbury Plaza, #320
Shrewsbury, NJ 07702
Ph. 800-811-FOAM (3626)