Gilles' Outlet

December 31, 2006

DOW “Great Stuff” expanding insulating foam not so great

Filed under: House Remodelling — Gilles @ 6:46 pm

During recent remodeling projects, I used DOW’s Great Stuff insulating expanding foam. Well, it turns out that it is not so great stuff, at least the consumer version of it.
First of all, the can will become unusable after the first use. I noticed this when doig some work with Le Triporteur du Pacififique Nord Ouest and more recently, this morning when insulating around a door frame. The can was almost full of product but the foam could not be dispensed. That was very annoying and I did some more research on this. Apparently, the sticker on the can says "One time use should be expected".
DOW’s web site has a FAQ on this topic reproduced below. The sticker also has the same language.

Can I store GREAT STUFF if I don’t use the whole can?

GREAT STUFF straw foam will seal itself shut if left to sit for more than 2 hours after its last use. Insert a pipe cleaner sprayed with oil lubricant may prolong the life of the product. Plan ahead, identify and list all possible applications before opening can.

 Now that’s not so great. Only one use?

Second, none of the Great Stuff Do It Yourself products can be used on the house’s firewall. According to DOW’s website, only Great Stuff Pro Gaps & Cracks is recognized as fire retardant. Strange, because on the same DOW’s web site (forward to slide 25), a slide show explicitely indicates that Both Great Sutff and Great Stuff Pro are materials of choice for filling in cracks and gaps for the purpose of fireblocking.

Apparently, the PRO line seems much better. First, it has fire retardant capabilities (at least the "Pro Gaps & Cracks") and second, it can be dispensed with a gun. The FAQ for PRO products says:

How can I store GREAT STUFF Pro if I don’t use the whole can?

GREAT STUFF Pro straw foam will seal itself shut if left to sit for more than two hours after its last use. If using GREAT STUFF Pro products with the gun applicator, the valve can be closed allowing you to re-use the can up to 30 days or longer.

There is is!! The Pro line of products apparently gives you 30 days to use your full product. So here is a piece of advice: if you buy the consumer version, expect only ONE use so plan to empty the can in 2 hours after opening it. Otherwise, the Pro version is a must.


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