Saturday, September 1, 2012

DIY Spray Foam Insulation - Foam It Green Review

I decided to try one of those DIY spray foam insulation kits to help insulate the heck out of my basement. One of the recommendations from a friend on Facebook said to "make sure you cover everything - including hair". I decided to choose the spry foam insulation kit from http://www.sprayfoamdirect.com/. The seemed to have a similar kit to many others and their warehouse was only a few miles from our house, which meant we could pick it up and save some shipping costs.

Foam It Green 202 square feet kit
Foam It Green 102 square feet kit
I decided to use their spray foam 102 kit, since I only needed to do about 60 square feet of rim joist insulation. They have a good video showing the rim joist spray insulation process on their website. I should have know better and ended up buying the 202 kit to finish the job, probably because I put it on thicker and also made sure the area was well covered. There were a lot of tools on their website to understand the process and estimate how much foam I needed.

For my job the Tyvek suit (had one laying around) might have been overkill, but the organic vapor mask and nitrile gloves were absolutely necessary. It would have been different if I was spraying the foam insulation overhead.

The material when sprayed reminds me a lot of Great Stuff out of a can. It's real sticky. I found it best to let it dry if it dripped onto something, then scrape it off after it dried. Definitely cover anything that you don't want something glued to.

The basic steps for the process are available on their website and I found the instructions included in the kit very helpful and through. I'd recommend reading them a couple times and take a look at the videos on their website.

Spray Gun and Removable Spray Tips

The kit came with everything that you needed. When I bought the the second kit (202) it came with 17 optional accessories that were a pretty good value (extra tips mainly). In the picture above you can see the black regular spray tip and two of the green screw on fan tips. The 102 kit came with one piece fan tips. In general, I found that the regular black tip worked best for my project.

You do go through quite a few tips, if your not constantly spraying insulation. Stopping for any more than 30 seconds will cause the insulation to start to clog the tube. I never really had a problem with this, but you should get extra tips, if you have a job that requires a lot of long stops.

Spray Gun Close-up -Trigger is black with a safety catch

I found the gun easy to use and tips easy to change. They include some Vaseline in a packet to put on the end of the gun to keep it from getting sticky around the black o-ring. This also worked well. I found the amount included with a standard kit sufficient for my needs (didn't really need the extra free ones).

Here is a picture showing the inside of the box:
Two tanks in the box - handle allows for easy carrying

You can see the two parts. This picture is after the valves were opened, so you can see the tubes filled with brown and blue liquid. The liquid mixes in the spray tubes just outside of the spray gun. There is a temperature sensitive strip (top of white tank) that makes sure you have the chemicals at the right temperature (in the green area of the strip). The box and tank assembly was well thought out and easy to use and carry around. The box also keeps everything from tipping over as you move around. The 202 kit was reasonably heavy at about 40 lbs and the 102 about half that.

I shot a video of me starting the job and then spraying it. You can see that video on YouTube here:


When it was all said and done here is what my job looked like between the 1st floor floor joists. The foam is expands quite rapidly and is hard to the touch in a minute. I was amazed how quickly it sets up. You don't need much to get excellent insulation. I went and checked my application depth and pretty consistent sprayed 1-2 inches of foam after it expanded.
My spray floor joist foam DIY job after spraying the green foam
The kit did a nice job sealing to the outside and to the top of the rigid pink foam insulation that I used on the basement walls. I'd definitely recommend the process to anyone that has some tough to insulate areas. In my case it was a good complement to the rigid and fiberglass insulation in my Midwestern basement finishing project.