Here in the Pacific Northwest, our temperatures can get pretty frigid in the winter, so keeping the heat in and cold out is important. Insulation is a crucial part of the building process that keeps you and your family comfortable inside your home—and because it’s hidden underneath finished walls, it’s not something you want to risk having to redo.
Spray foam insulation can be a great way to enhance your home’s insulation performance, working in conjunction with traditional wall insulation. Just as the name suggests, it’s applied as a liquid spray and uses closed-cell technology to expand upon drying—making it great for sealing up nooks and crannies and insulating smaller areas like skylight wells.
We recently tried out DAP’s Two-Component Spray Foam Insulation Kit for ourselves and sat down with our friend Michael McCarthy to learn the simple step-by-step process for successful spray foam application. Watch the interview above or read through the steps below.
Let’s get started!
Unpack and set up
First, unpack the box. Remove the bag of extra nozzles and informational DVD and set aside. The box also contains nozzle grease, a wrench, disposable gloves, and safety glasses, and some additional directions and safety data. Next, remove the hoses and tanks using the attached handle; making sure the A and B chemicals are at the required temperature. Before attaching the nozzle, open up both tanks, release the “safety” on the trigger, and spray some product into a garbage can or a scrap area to ensure both chemicals are flowing correctly. Watch for a good flow of product through each of the two hoses, and make sure the color is consistent. When you’re ready to go, apply some nozzle grease to the tip of the gun and select a nozzle (fan or conical) depending on the effect you want.
Prep and protect
It’s very important to wear a respirator when applying—especially indoors. You’ll also want to wear protective goggles and hair protection. As for clothes, DAP recommends coveralls or old clothing.
In terms of protecting your home, treat it the same as if you were spray painting. Cover windows, doors, and other finished surfaces with plastic and seal the edges tightly with tape. Use drop cloths or tarps to completely cover the floors. Overspray does happen, so be sure to entirely prep your area before you start, not as you go.
If you’re insulating a bigger, more open area, DAP recommends using the fan nozzle to picture frame the edges and use broad, steady passes to fill in the middle. The conical nozzle works great for tighter, hard-to-reach nooks and crannies. Be sure to keep the gun moving as you don’t want to accumulate more than an inch of foam in any one place. If you’re going for a thicker application, spraying several thinner layers is the best way to go.
Drying between layers
Make sure the product has dried and expanded fully between each layer of application. Drying time is dependent on the temperature of your room, but ten minutes is a general rule of thumb. If your temperature is warmer the foam will require less time to fully expand and cool; if it’s colder, it will require a bit more time.
Changing the hoses
Before changing the hoses you’ll first need to relieve the pressure. Turn off the valves of both tanks, remove the nozzle, and spray into a garbage can until the pressure is relieved. Avoid shaking the hoses as it could further activate the product inside. Then, use the included wrench to remove the hoses. This process can get messy, so be sure to do this over a piece of plastic or drop cloth in case of leakage from the canister. Clean up any excess chemical on the containers as well as the threads where the new hoses will attach. Attach the new hoses to the canisters, being careful not to over-tighten with the wrench.
It’s always good to come prepared in case you spray an area on accident. If the foam is still wet, you can apply DAP’s Polyurethane Foam Cleaner and use a rag to wipe it away. (We also used the solvent to clean the tip of the gun when changing nozzles.) The solvent is designed to be used with any of DAP’s foam products (two-component, single component, and gun grade foams) and can be purchased at Dunn Lumber. If the foam has already dried, simply scrape off using a putty knife.
Kit disposal regulations vary from state to state, so be sure to follow the disposal instructions for your state included in the instruction packet. If you’re located in Washington state, you can dispose of the kit at any hazmat disposal site.
We found the spray foam application process to be very manageable, straightforward, and pretty fun. We hope this step-by-step breakdown inspires you to give it a try for yourself. To learn more about the spray foam kit we used today, check out our product overview. For more information on home insulation and energy efficiency, see our energy retrofit series overview.