5 Useful Insulating Foam Tips

Sealing a Kitchen

NoteThis DIY article is provided as a general guide only, and is not intended to take the place of product-specific installation procedures; always follow applicable manufacturers’ instructions. Depending on your home’s age and condition, location within the home, and other potential factors, repairs and/or upgrades or other services may be necessary prior to the beginning and/or completion of your project that may involve the services of a home improvement professional. This article does not include advice pertaining to local building codes and/or any related inspections.

Whether doing some general home maintenance or finishing up a DIY project, one thing’s for certain: it’s important to seal gaps and cracks to eliminate drafts and help minimize energy loss. Sealing with insulating foam is a great solution, as it can help maintain your home’s energy efficiency, and even lower your overall heating and cooling costs! Here’s why you should use insulating foam.
Well, that’s because insulating foam is great for filling wide gaps, stopping airflow and helping keep your home more energy efficient. Gaps and cracks of all sizes, whether they’re larger than an inch or smaller than an inch, can be filled with insulating foam, making it an efficient choice when used to help protect your home from water, rodents and drafts. They also have an R-Value that can help contribute to your home’s existing insulation.
If you’re a first-time DIYer, it might take some practice to correctly install insulating foam. But keep these few tips in mind, as they might make this task seem a little less intimidating.

  1. Make safety a priority – It’s important to shield yourself with the appropriate protective gear. Cover any exposed skin and wear safety glasses or goggles to protect your eyes. Also, make sure your project area is well ventilated to avoid inhaling fumes as much as possible. And of course, read all instructions on the cannister carefully.
  2. Use an extension tube – In some hard-to-reach areas of your home, using the short, rigid straw to apply the insulating foam can be less than effective in reaching some spaces. You can mitigate this by utilizing a long, ¼-in plastic tube to extend the straw and reach those places. Just make sure to rinse the tube and keep it clean after each use!
  3. Don’t overfill – Many first-time users overfill the gap or crack they’re trying to fill with insulating foam. Before spraying your insulating foam, determine how deep or large the space is and then only fill it 50% of the way. The foam will expand to fill the rest of the space.
  4. Use water in a pinch – polyurethane-based insulating foams rely on moisture to fully expand and work efficiently. So, if you’re in a drier climate, or in a hurry, use a spray bottle to lightly mist the insulating foam you’ve already applied. Be careful not to make the seam too wet, as it will have a harder time sticking to the surface long-term.
  5. Leave your mistakes – when using insulating foam, accidents are inevitable. But they’re certainly not the end of the world. Although you’ll be tempted to try and wipe away your mistake when it happens, do not do this! It will only spread the mess and make it harder to clean up later. Instead, let your mistake completely dry and harden, then sand it away or slice it away with a serrated knife.
  6. Be mindful of location – not all locations need super-expanding insulating foam. Attics and basements likely need it most because joists are where much energy is lost from your home. Windows and doors, for example, don’t need maximum-expanding foam. The expanding force can push the jamb in, making it difficult to open and close. Instead, use a low-pressure expanding foam specifically for windows and doors that will protect window frames from jamming or breaking.
This product line offers a variety of insulating foam products that can help keep drafts out of your home while helping increase energy efficiency. And, they can cover a range of projects, too! GE-branded Gaps & Cracks insulating foam offers an airtight seal in gaps & cracks less than 1 inch, while GE-branded Large Gaps & Cracks insulating foam expands to seal gaps greater than 1 inch, offering a tight, weatherproof seal. GE-branded Window & Door insulating foam can form an airtight and water-resistant seal in gaps and cracks around window and door frames without causing bowing.

All three of these insulating foam products can help save energy by reducing drafts, stopping rodent infiltration, and creating a water-resistant barrier for moisture-prone areas. And, each product offers R-5 insulation for each inch of foam used, fortifying your home’s existing insulation, backed by a lifetime guarantee2.
Insulating foam can be a tricky product to use, but with these tips, we hope you’ll feel more confident approaching your next project!

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