Expanding Foam is a versatile material widely used in the construction industry. Flexible and easy to use, the foam is ideal for small jobs around the house and with the right equipment can be applied quickly and easily.
Industrial uses include cavity wall insulation which is a standard feature of new houses; it is also an effective and affordable energy saving solution for older homes. While cavity wall insulation can be performed by an expert DIY man or woman, it is normally best completed by a professional.
However, a common use for expanding is draught prevention. Particularly in older properties there are numerous causes of draughts which can easily be resolved by even inexperienced DIY enthusiasts. Small cracks and crevices in walls, around windows, doors and other features can be filled with foam, stopping draughts and dampness. Expanding foam is also a great insulator and can be used around hot or cold water pipes to prevent heat loss or damage from frost. Another popular use is to fill small gaps in lofts between slates to stop damp and provide a secure weather-proof seal.
Modern windows of both the plastic and wooden varieties are easily fitted and sealed with expanding foam. The foam not only prevents draughts, but works as an adhesive to hold window frames in place. The material itself is designed to cure extremely quickly, the most advanced products curing within 2 4 hours.
Applying Expanding Foam:
The first thing to think about when using expanding foam is cleanliness; the area that you are working in will need to be well protected from stray foam. This is particularly important when working indoors, around furniture and upholstery. There are a number of foams that are designed to be adhesive, but most types will readily stick to just about anything; pets, children, carpets and curtains included! In its wet form, the foam is difficult to clear up, and once cured will prove difficult to remove from fabrics or furniture without staining or damage. When using expanding foam, disposable gloves and old clothes are a must! Solvent based cleaners are available to clean up any accidents, but it is worthwhile minimising the risks of spillage.
The area where the foam is required should also be dust and grease free. While foam will stick well, dirt, dust and water will reduce its adhesion qualities. Clean the area of application thoroughly with a damp cloth and detergent and then allow the area to dry. Remember, expanding foam really does expand a great deal! When applying it, you will probably find that you will need less than you imagine. Using a foam gun apply a small amount of pressure to the trigger, and try to achieve a uniform application, while ensuring that the cavity is fully filled. Do not worry about excess foam at this stage. Once cured the foam can be cut back, sanded and painted. Mortar can also be used to cover the foam once it has cured. Its advisable to ensure that you have enough jobs to use up a full can of the foam, as once opened the cans cannot be re-sealed.