In 2008, Dell Pulley and Derek Larsen founded LP Building Solutions, a building products installation firm based in Hurricane, Utah. As an Owens Corning Certified Energy Expert, the LP Building Solutions is recognized as an elite insulation contractor and energy performance consultant.
With a wealth of combined experience in the trade, Pulley and Larsen have pioneered many insulation and energy efficiency installation techniques, making them ideal collaborators for the CEE’s certification program and giving their workers top-quality training. LP Building Solutions utilizes both blown-in insulation and batt insulation, with blown-in being a more popular high-performance solution for drier climates as well as more humid regions. When working with insulation products, all LP crew members are trained to optimize comfort, noise control and energy efficiency.
Larsen oversees LP’s daily operations and credits the firm’s success to cutting-edge practices, top-quality materials and a well-trained staff. An easy camaraderie with family members working side-by-side is evident at the LP facility, as crews gather each morning to prepare for the day. Two of LP Building Solutions’ top crew leaders, Miguel Lizarrage and his son, Miguel Jr. discussed the benefits of working in the insulation business, especially for minority workers.
“When I came here from Sonora, Mexico, I did various construction jobs,” Miguel Sr. says. “My first job was in insulation and then I moved to flooring for a while, but I came back to insulation—I really found my place here at LP—it’s steady honest work that pays well.”
“We’re lucky to have him, and we appreciate his leadership,” Larsen notes. “Miguel joined us about five years ago, but it took a little longer to recruit Junior to the team.”
“Yes,” the younger Lizarrage says. “I worked in the oil business for a while, and then I spent some time in the food industry. I had a lot of preconceived ideas about insulation installation being itchy and difficult to handle—until my dad straightened me out on the facts.”
“In a very short time after being hired, Junior became a leader and was able to manage a crew of his own,” Miguel Sr. says with a note of pride in his voice. “I visited one of his jobs and it was top-quality.”
Junior acknowledged that working with his dad took some getting used to but was well worth the effort. “We learned how to adapt to each other—you have your actual family who become part of the bigger LP family,” he says.
Training leads to perfect
As part of the Owens Corning CEE certification program, the Lizarrages and their coworkers receive regularly scheduled instruction from trainers to ensure that certified workers are installing the materials with solid knowledge and precision. Innovative advances from insulation manufacturers have resulted in advancements making both blown-in and batt installations faster and easier. The younger Lizarrage talked about the advantages of the training sessions.
“I know for some of the veterans, the classes help reinforce their skills and learn new techniques, but for me, especially when I was first learning, the instruction really helped,” Miguel Jr. says. “They covered different essential techniques and demonstrated skills that I could apply later.”
As crew leaders, both men have seen the advantages of using top-quality products on the job. Miguel Sr. described the advantages of using blown-in fiberglass, such as ProPink, instead of an inferior product.
“The quality is really noticeable when blown through the machine,” Miguel Sr. notes. “With other products, there are chunky clumps that clog up the machine—some have even tried to use cellulose, which is not correct.”
In its earlier days, blown-in insulation was used primarily in attic spaces, but product innovations have perfected materials and methods, which made it much easier to use on wall studs. In a very competitive industry, LP Building Solutions has taken advantage of that technology to steadily increase their market share.
Innovation streamlines efficiency
Unlike the freestyle, blown-in loose-fill for attics, the wall cavity installation was made much cleaner and efficient with the ProPink wall system and it’s netting fabric. Larsen described the importance of fine-tuning installation methods to achieve maximum efficiency.
“It’s faster to install because you are not struggling on one wall cavity,” Larsen says. “You tack the netting to the studs, cut on the “X “and blow the loose-fill fiberglass. Because of the netting, you get a smooth, mar-free appearance while achieving the proper R-value. Blown walls are growing in popularity for the simplicity and low investment.”
“It’s easier and less mess because the netting catches everything and it looks really good,” Miguel Jr. says. “If we run into the wall cavities not being a uniform size, it doesn’t matter—when you use the blown walls method—the consistency is always there.”
When done properly, blown wall insulation can result in solid profit margins. Such attention to detail is the hallmark of LP’s winning formula for success in this competitive industry. And once mastered by contractors like Miguel Sr. and Jr., it is a recipe for success and more jobs completed per day and week. “Insulation and learning these new techniques has translated in more opportunities for families like ours,” he notes.