Review of Do it Best Expanding Foam Sealant

The gaping hole spewed cold air upon my unsuspecting feet. The result of my husband’s attempts to bring entertainment technology throughout the house, it didn’t seem a big deal when the weather was warm. Now in the dead of winter, I realized that something would have to be done.

A trip to the hardware store quickly revealed the best option to be expanding foam sealant. This is sold under various brands. I chose the “Do It Best” brand, as it was on sale. Other brands are probably comprised of similar constituents, and work in the same manner. The ingredients in this particular product are polymeric diisocyanate, polyols, and a hydrocarbon gas mixture.

The label of the expanding foam sealant authoritatively instructed me to shake it vigorously for a minute prior to piercing its top. Then it would need to used quickly, because the contents would congeal after two hours of inactivity. Locate all the holes first, it advised, before opening the can. Then fill the holes only 1/3 full because the sealant will expand as it dries. Do not get this on your hands. If you do, let it dry and then remove with soap and water. So admonished, I found as many poorly insulated places as I could before I tentatively opened the can. Not sure of what to expect, I gently pulled the trigger. A stream of gooey foam shot from the opening. I attempted to direct it into the hole, eventually succeeding. While some of the foam oozed onto the wall, it was easily removed. I proceeded to insulate madly, hoping to use the can before the impending solidification of its contents. Soon all the holes were filled. The can seemed barely used. My philosophy has always been “waste not, want not.” So I was compelled to seek alternative uses for the foam.

My eldest son tends not to know his own strength. Flinging his door open one day, he made a circular hole in the drywall behind it. Not just an indentation, but a hole going all the way through to the dark interior of the wall. I had been perplexed about how to repair this hole. I would need to cut a piece of drywall to almost the exact size of the hole, I supposed. Too small and it would fall through; too large and it wouldn’t fit.

But under the gun and armed with a can of foam sealant, a new approach occurred to me. The foam had a adhesive quality. It was light, and would not tend to fall if sticking to a surface. Perhaps it could be used to fill the hole in the wall.

My first attempt was met with failure. The foam was unable to resist the pull of gravity and fell dejectedly into the wall’s interior. But the next attempt, the foam managed to gain a foothold. Now it was all downhill. Allowing the foam to solidify for a few minutes, the next application of foam found purchase on the first. Gradually the hole filled. The foam didn’t match the size of the hole precisely. But the excess can be cut away, and any remaining gaps can be filled with plaster repair paste.

To my chagrin, can still held foam. I could think of only one other application. I have numerous objects set aside for repair. The agglutinative properties of the foam presented me with a way to utilize it and accomplish this much avoided task.

The foam’s use as a glue is limited by its expanding properties. While I didn’t find it to expand nearly as much as the label claimed, clearly any expansion after placing the broken pieces together could be problematic. It is best suited for wood. But I proceeded with other types of repairs nonetheless.

The foam consists of two elements: airy bubbly substance, and a slimy liquid. After placing some foam on one piece of ceramic, I removed the bubbles, leaving the liquid part. This part of the foam seemed to adhere well without expansion. It is however not terribly strong. It is useful for temporary repairs, but for objects which will endure stress, using insulator probably isn’t your best bet.

I found it difficult to keep the sealant off my hands as I repaired objects. Engrossed in my task, I paid it little heed. But soon my hands felt so sticky I stopped to take stock. Well, I was supposed to let it dry anyway. Some of it already had. So I would try to remove it with soap and water, as the label instructed. Apparently, the label’s creators believe that skin comes off with soap. The insulator certainly was impervious to it. The only way to remove it was to remove the top layer of my skin. I decided to let it wear off rather than undertake such a painful procedure.

When I got more sealant on my hands, I decided that perhaps the label wasn’t the final word. It certainly missed the boat when it came to cleaning up with soap and water. I resorted to a method that seemed far more logical: I used solvent to remove it immediately. This didn’t work perfectly, but well enough that my hands didn’t become gelatinous masses.

Now it was getting late. I was still facing half a can of congealing sealant. Well, if the label was wrong about one thing perhaps it was also wrong about the inexorable nature of the foam’s solidification. I removed the applicator and placed a nail in the can’s orifice. Then I sealed it in a plastic bag and placed it in the refrigerator. I was not at all surprised when the next day I found the foam still usable. It still remains in my refrigerator, expectantly awaiting another novel purpose.

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