Spray Foam Insulation: Tips For Easy DIY Installation
If your home is not insulated or airtight, then you may be wasting hundreds of dollars every year on hot and cold air that escapes through the cracks of your home. Old homes are likely to lose more energy than new ones, and you can save an average of 15% on your home heating and cooling costs by securing insulation in attics, ceilings, and in between walls. Spray foam insulation is a good choice if you feel that you are losing far more energy than the average home. Many people hire contractors to place the material, but you can try to spray it yourself if you are an ambitious homeowner. However, even professionals occasionally have difficulties working with the sticky foam. Understand the information provided here so you have an easier time with it.
Heat Up the Material First
If you intend on adding a thick layer of spray foam to the interior of your home, then it is wise to purchase professional products. Small cans of the material can be expensive and they are not intended to cover large and spacious areas. When you purchase the professional grade spray foam, you will be provided with two separate canisters. One canister will contain the resin compound while the other will hold the catalyst that causes the resin to foam up and expand. The resin in the first canister is much thicker than the catalyst in the other. This means that the two compounds may not mix as well as they should unless they are about the same viscosity.
Good Heating Methods
You can use the spray foam catalyst as it is, but you should heat up the resin a small amount so it becomes thinner and easier to use. Resin will remain thin for some time, so start heating it the night before you intend on using it. Wrap a heating blanket around the canister and set it to low heat, or shine a 75 or 100 watt light bulb on the canister for an evening.
Do not use flames, heaters, or other very hot items to heat up the resin. The contents are placed under pressure in the metal container and excessive amounts of heat can cause an explosion. Specifically, chemicals in the spray foam called isocyanates are flammable and dangerous when breathed in. This is one reason why you should not spray the foam near open flames, and why you should wear a respirator when spraying the foam.
Do Not Spray with Gusto
Once you have prepared your spray foam for use in your home, you may be tempted to spray thick layers of the foam all across the open spaces of your attic, ceiling, or wall. This is a bad idea. Spray foam can expand up to 100 times its original volume, and expansion occurs within a matter of minutes. If you begin by spraying a thick layer of foam, then the insulation my expand far outside where you want it to go. If the foam is placed in your wall, then it may force your drywall or molding outward when it has nowhere else to expand. The foam may even find small cracks in the wall to force its way out of.
Spray foam can be trimmed back with a sharp knife after it fully cures. However, the foam could have been used elsewhere. Also, the foam may remain stuck to drywall or wood materials. Paint scrapers, acetone, and sandpaper must then be used to remove it.
Good Spraying Methods
To use the spray foam properly, place the two plastic tube ends into the canisters of spray foam. Hold the spray handle upright and place a small piece of cardboard in front of it. Gently squeeze the trigger until a small amount of foam releases from the nozzle. This is the best way to prime the sprayer. Afterwards, hold the end of the spray nozzle two or three inches from the wall or area where you are adding the insulation. Use a sweeping motion as you squeeze the spray nozzle and leave a small layer of foam behind. Once you are done covering an area, allow it to expand and add another layer if there is a need.
Remember, if you have any questions, contact a professional.