Frequently Asked Questions – Do-it-Yourselfer
What is insulating foam sealant?
Where can I apply insulating foam sealant?
Insulating foam sealants are useful for small DIY projects such as sealing holes, gaps and cracks around your home where air leakage could occur. Some possible areas to consider sealing around include:
- Window and door gaps
- Baseboards and vents
- Sill plates, pipe and duct penetrations
- Sink plumbing, floor/wall junctions, around electrical boxes (not inside)
Can I use insulating foam sealant outside?
Yes, you can. Exterior uses could include the following:
- Where the siding meets the foundation
- Gas and electrical penetrations
- Garage ceiling and wall joints
- Around outdoor faucets and exterior vents
- Landscaping applications such as stone wall repair, pond/waterfall fillers and repair, as well as to secure landscape blocks
Are there specific tips for using insulating foam sealant?
Are all insulating foam sealants basically the same?
Does the insulating foam sealant help control moisture in my home?
Can I use insulating foam sealant for projects other than its stated use?
How do I prepare the area where I’ll be applying the insulating foam sealant?
Can I use too much? Is it possible to seal the house too tightly?
Can I leave the cured sealant exposed?
Do I need to trim the foam? When can I trim it?
How should I dispose of the trimmings from insulating foam sealant?
What is in the can?
Do I need protective gear while applying insulating foam sealant, also known as “spray foam in a can”?
Is it safe for others to be in the vicinity while I’m applying insulating foam sealant?
Follow the product manufacturer’s instructions. Keep children and pets away from the area where you are applying the product. When applying insulating foam sealant, a few considerations include:
- Avoid getting foam on your skin or in your hair. (The foam is highly adhesive and very difficult to remove).
- Provide plenty of ventilation to avoid breathing vapors until the foam has hardened.
- Refrain from smoking while spraying the foam and turn off all pilot lights and other sources of ignition.
For more details, see “Installing SPF Foam Sealant.”
What should I do if the foam accidentally contacts my skin or eyes during application?
How do I know the foam has cured or “hardened” so that my family can reenter the project area?
Does the cured sealant pose a fire hazard?
What do I do with partially used or empty insulating foam sealant cans?
Empty cans may be disposed of as non-hazardous household waste or recycled. For full or partially used cans of insulating foam sealant, follow the product label instructions regarding storage and disposal. The ingredients in the can are pressurized, so upright storage of the can at room temperature consistent with the manufacturer’s recommendations is important (avoid freezing or hot temperatures). Remember that the temperatures in a parked vehicle in the summer can rapidly reach very hot temperatures, so plan your purchase and transportation of the insulating foam sealant accordingly.Disposal of full or partially used insulating foam sealant cans must be in compliance with all federal, state/provincial and local laws and regulations. Regulations may vary in different locations. Call the product manufacturer for instructions.
What are the energy efficiency benefits of Insulating Foam Sealant?
- Reduce heating and air conditioning equipment size
- HVAC sizing can be reduced as much as 35% without the loss of efficiency and comfort. (Source: Canadian Urethane Foam Contractors Association)
- Reduce drafts, noise and increase comfort
- Insulating Foam Sealant is an effective air barrier.
- Insulating Foam Sealant is commonly used to prevent drafts from windows, doors, attics and floor boards creating a more comfortable indoor environment.
- Insulating Foam Sealant helps minimize air-borne sound transmission.
- Impede entry of insects and pests
- Sealing gaps with Insulating Foam Sealant from the outside provides a barrier against insects and other pests where it is applied.
- Minimize air infiltration that can generate condensation and result in mold growth
- Moisture and humidity inside the home can lead to mold growth. Gaps and cracks in the building structure and condensation on windows can keep the humidity high and support mold and mildew growth. Left unchecked, mold and mildew can cause wood to rot. Air sealing the gaps between the attic and living space can help manage moisture and humidity issues.
- Resist settling due to its general stability
- Typically, Insulating Foam Sealant is not subjected to structural deterioration/decomposition and resists settling.
- Qualify for utility rebates, tax credits and green certification
- The energy savings obtained by air sealing homes is significant enough that the purchase and use of Insulating Foam Sealant products may qualify for tax credits under the new American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Check with the manufacturer for confirmation that the specific Insulating Foam Sealant product qualifies for the tax credit and for further information and instructions on filing for the credit.
- Many local utility companies offer rebates for energy efficiency upgrades. Check with your utility provider for eligibility.
- To learn more about federal tax credits for energy efficiency, you can visit the ENERGY STAR web site on Federal Tax Credits for Consumer Energy Efficiency.
For new construction or major remodel projects, the use of Insulating Foam Sealant may help earn energy-efficiency credits under residential green certification programs. A few sources you can visit include: Green Globes, U.S. Green Building Council – LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), and National Association of Home Builders – information on scoring details.