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Prevent Air Leaks and Insects in Your Home with Pur Fill Foam

PUR Foam
PUR Foam

For the times when you only need to insulate small areas, like gaps and cracks that bugs and other critters can crawl through, consider using Pur Fill Foam. Pur (short for polyurethane) foam is a low cost, low maintenance solution for insulation.

What is Polyurethane Foam?

Polyurethane is a plastic material that can be manufactured for various purposes, including as: adhesives, furniture cushioning, insulation, and even as the soles of your shoes. This multipurpose material is easy to manipulate, which is why it works as a solution to insulation in both high and low expansion varieties.

Low or High Expansion Foam: Which do I need?
The difference between low and high expansion foam is simply how much area the foam covers.

High expansion foam is used on large cracks and gaps. It can grow, or expand, by 30x when only 1″ of thickness is used.

Low expansion Pur foam differs in that it expands by 10%. For insulating small spaces, the best type of foam to use is low expansion.

Benefits of Low Expansion Foam

The ultimate goal here is to properly insulate the home, but it helps to be able to accomplish this goal with material that offers a bit more. The benefits of using low expansion spray foam include:

The cost
For less than $20 you can purchase a 750 ml (32 ounces) can of this low expansion foam.

Easy installation process
The foam is easy to install and apply. Just load the can of foam into the application gun and spray it into the area you want sealed. For tips on how to use the form, Todol has a number of training videos.

Money saved from insulation
Not only does Pur Fill Foam close up those cracks and gaps, but you’ll shave off 20% from your energy bill with proper insulation. Air leaks create a temperature imbalance in the home, increasing the amount you spend on energy every month.

Where to Install Polyurethane Foam

Air leaks can be anywhere, but there are generally some places that you can always expect to find gaps that need to be sealed.

Attic and Garage
During summer and winter months, the attic and garage often mirror and at times intensify the temperature outside. When looking for open holes in the attic or garage, start with the ceiling and walls.

Basement
Air leaks in the basement can be around air vents, ducts, and other places that lead outside.

Block air leaks and the invasion of bugs, rodents by putting polyurethane foam to good use.

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How Does High Expansion Foam Differ from Low Expansion Foam?

High Expansion Foam vs. Low Expansion Foam
High Expansion Foam vs. Low Expansion Foam

You may be considering using spray foam insulation, but are unsure what type to use. High Expansion and Low Expansion Foam are the two primary types. Here are the main differences between them.

Uses

Because it expands as much as 5 times the output size, high expansion foam is primarily used for filling big voids, such as:

  • rim joists, roof/wall joints, or big gaps in framing
  • blind corners
  • wall/ceiling intersections
  • around boxes over can lights

Low expansion foam only expands about 10% larger than the output size, so it is used for smaller jobs like:

  • cracks and gaps around windows and doors too big for traditional caulk
  • plumbing, HVAC, and electrical penetrations
  • seams and small openings in framing

Curing Method

High Expansion foam has two components stored in separate tanks until mixed at the time of spraying. After spraying, it typically cures in less than 2 minutes.

Low expansion spray foam comes in a single tank or container, and relies on moisture in the air to cure, usually in about 20 minutes. In extremely dry conditions, you may need to use a spritzer to properly cure low expansion foam.

Dispensing Method

Since high expansion foam is used for larger jobs and requires separate tanks for the two components, the dispensing systems are are typically larger and have two tanks, each with a line connected to the spray gun.

Low expansion foam is typically in smaller containers that can either attach directly to the spray gun or have a single line connecting to a separate, single tank.

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Understanding the Types of DIY Foam Insulation

DIY Foam Insulation
DIY Foam Insulation

You don’t need to be a conservation specialist to understand foam insulation; more importantly you don’t need expert knowledge to install it. Whether sealing large areas, small areas, or openings in-between, understanding the types of DIY spray on insulation will go a long way towards raising the comfort level in your home.

R-Value and What it Means for Foam Insulation

Insulation material needs to resist heat to be effective: this is R-value. R value is measured based on the density, thickness, and type of material (spray foam) and it tells us if the material holds a high or low amount of thermal resistance. Both types of foam, closed and open cell, offer different R-values and benefits for insulation.

Closed cell foam

The cells in closed cell foam are packed tightly together, so it insulates better. Because the cells are packed so tightly, the foam is also has a high resistance to heat and water – meaning that is boasts a high R-value. Though the R-value is high, over time that number can decrease.

Closed cell, or high expansion foam, better insulates large areas like attics, basements, and garages. FYI: A little goes a long way with high expansion DIY foam insulation – spray only 1″ of this to see it expand 30x.

Open cell foam

The cells in open cell, or low expansion spray foam are loosely packed and the R-value is lower, but – installed in the right place – this is not a disadvantage for insulation. Open cell foam works as a air barrier, and unlike closed cell foam the R-value of open cell foam will not change over time.

Low expansion DIY spray on insulation expands by only 10% of the initial spray size, so it’s best used in small areas, like cracks and gaps in floors, walls, windows, etc.

It only takes a little information, the right type of foam, and the right amount to properly insulate your home.

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Get the Most Out of Polyurethane Foam Insulation

Polyurethane Foam
Polyurethane Foam

Polyurethane foam has been around since the 1970s, but its use has recently exploded with more and more people jumping on the conservation bandwagon. DIY spray on insulation is a simple, cost-effective solution to air leaks in the home, blocking air intrusion and escape at the same time. In order to get the most out of foam insulation, here are a few bits of information to keep in mind.

What Foam Do you Need?
The biggest factor to consider when deciding which foam to use is simply this: how much area do you need to cover? Both the high expansion foam and low expansion foam expand to cover the area where sprayed, but they differ in a few ways as well.

High Expansion Foam
High expansion foam covers larger gaps, cracks, and the like than low expansion foam.  It also expands 30x when sprayed at 1″ thickness, so I’d advise against spraying liberally.

Low Expansion Foam
In contrast, low expansion spray foam is best used on smaller gaps and only expands by 10%.

How to Use the 2-tank Foam System
The 2-tank foam system makes installing foam insulation an easy do-it-yourself project, so as with any DIY project, make sure to wear protective gear.

In the 2-tank foam system, Tank B must be warmed up to make it the same creamy consistency as A; this allows for an even stream of foam. A few methods for warming Tank B include:

  • Keeping it in a warm room
  • Putting it in a tank warmer
  • Warming the tank in an electric blanket

The 2-tank system uses high expansion foam, so remember that spraying 1″ of thickness will expand 30x.

Which Rooms Need it the Most?
When installed in the most drafty, gap-ridden areas in the home, polyurethane foam insulation can save you up to 20% on cooling and heating costs alone. So which areas have the most potential for energy loss?

Attic and Garage
These areas typically suffer from poor insulation, making it easy for winter and summer to wreak a lot of havoc. Attics and garages can sometimes reflect (and even magnify) the temperature outside. Their main source of insulation problems come from the ceiling and walls; check there first before going over the rest of the room for any missed gaps and cracks.

Basement
Basements often deal with humidity, which can lead to mildew and mold. First, make sure the basement receives proper ventilation, then seal all the air leaks. For basements, air leaks can be found around areas that lead outside, like air vents, ducts, and pipes.

Home Exterior
It may not seem like a big deal, but exterior gaps can cause just as much insulation problems as the ones inside. Dryer vents and water faucets (with hoses) are unexpected culprits of air leaks and can also contribute to that inflated energy bill you see each month.

Applying polyurethane foam insulation will help you control the temperature in your home and finally get a better grasp on the outcome of your energy bill.

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