Bringing Insulation Out of the Dark
SuperSeal Insulation Inc. remains steadfast in delivering smart, quality work
Insulation pros can get lost in a long list of a project’s subcontractors—or even get sidestepped altogether when other enterprising construction crews convince the general contractor they can lay insulation, too.
SuperSeal Insulation Inc. (SuperSeal) beats all comers, however. To prove it, the Airmont, New York, company is ever in pursuit of insulation knowledge and techniques and has racked up a fair number of accolades from those in the industry.
Business partners Manny Margaretten and Yudah Schwartz strive to match insulation know-how and attention to innovation with their work to land and accomplish projects. Ongoing training and close association with manufacturers and building entities are as important as sales work, crew dispatchment and project completion.
SuperSeal is a full-service insulation contractor offering fiberglass and spray foam insulation in all areas of weatherproofing services. Most jobs are performed in single-family and multifamily residences, but SuperSeal also works with commercial buildings, community centers and high-rise office buildings. Other SuperSeal services include firestop and air leakage solutions.
The company’s service area is New York and New Jersey. A growing number of upscale apartment developments—including The Enclave in Jersey City, New Jersey, and The Vue in Hackensack, New Jersey—feature insulation by SuperSeal.
While some in construction might question whether subcontractors like SuperSeal are necessary, the rationale to include insulation experts stands up to scrutiny.
First and foremost, their pitch to contractors centers around the fact that a structure is a decades-long investment that can commune with its environment either efficiently or inefficiently. A poorly insulated residence—one with a compromised thermal envelope—will fail season after season to stop heat transfer. Whether the occupants want to stay cool in heat or stay warm in cold weather, it’s the structure’s insulation that succeeds or fails year after year unless it’s done right.
The Envelope, Please
Another distinguishing feature of SuperSeal is its affiliations and kudos. SuperSeal is a two-time winner (2015 and 2019) of the Quality Producer Award, a recognition from Owens Corning at its annual meeting of Certified Energy Expert (CEE) Professionals. SuperSeal is the only Owens Corning-certified company to have won the award twice.
“Since joining the CEE program in 2012, SuperSeal Insulation has stood out as a leader for demonstrating an unwavering commitment to quality,” says Sarah Kaestner, Key Account Manager, Owens Corning. “They do this by exceeding standards in third-party quality assessments and consistently enforcing quality-driven processes.”
SuperSeal also belongs to the National Insulation Contractors’ Exchange, a group of the nation’s leading independent insulation contractors, and the company is a member of the High Performance Insulation Professionals.
In 2019, the online Insulation Institute arm of the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association (NAIMA) cited SuperSeal for its LinkedIn blogging to share quality insulation information.
In the Schwartz blog spotlighted by NAIMA, he states, “Air sealing details will separate the amateur installers from the advanced.” His examples confirm SuperSeal’s approach of striving for meticulous details to get to completion of quality jobs. When installing fiberglass batts (pre-cut sections of insulation), a type of artful precision is necessary, he states, to ensure wires, pipes and ducts perfectly fit alongside insulation.
Smart from the Start
This attention to detail has been a mission of the company from the start. In 2006, Margaretten owned his own construction company, and his No. 1 righthand man was Schwartz. Together, they identified a growing opportunity to specialize in insulation in the region and decided to launch SuperSeal. They were convinced that the new company could improve the differences between insulation codes on the books and inferior meeting of those codes by subcontractors in the field.
Committed to their success, the pair established a priority then that continues today: become and stay well-informed about the industry. One of their first training events was a visit to a local plant that manufactures insulation.
“We started from the bottom up and slowly worked up to a few projects, and today we employ over 30 people,” Margaretten says. “We took a small adventure and it grew into a large aspect of construction.”
The years have brought new challenges, but SuperSeal met them head-on. The company survived the economic crash of 2008, the competitive market of 2010 and the continuous technological innovations changing the industry since 2012.
Longevity in Learning
Founded on the value of nonstop learning, SuperSeal continues to prioritize training through attending industry education events, participating in online courses and one-on-one mentoring opportunities on job sites.
“We will not send our new guys to do the job and train on a house,” Schwartz says. “They will always be with experienced guys who will check their work and correct and show them when needed.”
SuperSeal uses its own hiring policies to support the learning focus. The company often purposefully chooses prospective candidates who know less about insulation but exhibit a healthy willingness to learn the SuperSeal way of doing things and have a history of doing quality construction work, in general.
Margaretten and Schwartz also strive for a culture of happiness and unity—benefiting personal satisfaction for employees as well as ensuring good customer service. Early on during the COVID-19 pandemic, when quarantine orders were enforced, the company gave groceries to its employees. In support of its community, SuperSeal also donated 320 of its N95 masks—industry-leading insulation masks that match the quality of masks mandated by health care professionals—to a local ambulance service that had low supplies.
Leadership is constantly considering better ways to manage the business. “We like being ahead of the market trends and codes and technologies, ahead of what the market asks for,” Schwartz says. “We are pioneers in this way.”
One innovation used often by the SuperSeal crew, even though it’s not commonly used by other insulators, is the AeroBarrier technology, which debuted only two years ago. New York and New Jersey energy codes require that single-family and multifamily residences pass “blower door tests.” A powerful fan sucks air out of the residence so the interior is pressurized. A calculated leakage allowance, based on the size of the residence, passes or fails the test. If the test fails, leakage can be detected by waving small smoking sticks near joints and corners of walls and floors to determine areas of possible gaps.
SuperSeal incorporated AeroBarrier technology once the company recognized its superiority for the task, especially for multifamily developments in which each unit is built to be self-contained and must be tested thoroughly. AeroBarrier offers a computerized alternative to prepare for passing the blower door test.
“We offer peace of mind because once this technology is used, the customer is guaranteed to pass the required test,” Schwartz says. “Something that otherwise requires manual work by multiple trades, this technology ties it all together and takes the human aspect out of it.”
AeroBarrier is a computerized solution that mimics the blower door test—but in reverse. SuperSeal uses the AeroBarrier system to pressurize the home and then uses several misters positioned around the house to fog up the interior with nontoxic, water-based acrylic sealant. The specially formulated mist seeks out unintended air gaps and holes and seals them. Once completed, a similar process tests the results. Within a few hours, the system can typically plug leaks— ranging from microscopic to one-half inch in size—throughout the whole structure.
“The whole idea came about that this made sense when you consider the ultimate goal being the ‘tightness’ of the house,” Schwartz says. “The codes require it, and it’s achievable with the new technology, so we decided to add it. You can hook it up and then watch on a laptop as the house shows it’s naturally being sealed.”
SuperSeal continues to make smart decisions at the right times, whether it’s offering its free estimates for projects; conducting work inspections before, during and after construction; getting quality inspection from third-party entities; or living up to its reputation of leaving a site absolutely clean when finished.
“I’ve worked with SuperSeal on over half a dozen large projects,” says Aytan Gabai, Executive Vice President and Head of Construction for BNE Real Estate Group. “They have outperformed all other insulators in response time, oversight and the quality of their insulation.”