Installing spray foam insulation is not a complicated home improvement task but can be expensive. The equipment is readily available at local large home improvement stores as well as online. Do-it-yourself spray insulation kits are designed for small projects such as air sealing basements. To spray foam large areas such as attics, it is typically more cost-effective to contact a local licensed professional.
Measure the area you wish to spray with foam and note the length and width; multiply the numbers to determine the square feet. Decide how thick the spray insulation for that area is going to be. Spray foam insulation is measure in "board feet." A board foot is 1 foot wide by 1 foot high by 1 inch wide. Spray foam kits will list how many board feet they contain, which will help you calculate the number of kits you need to complete the job.
Clear the area to be sprayed of debris and sweep thoroughly. All movable items should be moved at least 10 feet away from the spray area, and immovable objects covered in drop cloths to avoid overspray. Purchase a disposable painter's coverall, disposable rubber or latex gloves, safety goggles and a respirator with organic vapor (OV) cartridges for personal safety during spraying.
Spray Foam Equipment
Spray foam kits include two pressurized cylinders (they look like propane tanks), two hoses, a spray gun and interchangeable disposable tips. The cylinders are typically pressurized to 250 psi and need to be kept at 70 degrees F until ready to use. Prior to turning the cylinders on (pressurizing the lines), read the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) included with the kit.
Depending on the manufacturer, spray foam kits will differ on instructions for pressurizing the lines and connecting the guns or tips, so please read the instructions prior to use. Once the kit is ready to spray, application is easy. Make slow steady passes across the desired area while holding the tip of the gun about 12 inches from the surface you are spraying. After each pass, allow 2 minutes or more for the foam to set before recoating. A 1-inch depth is required for air sealing and a 2- to 5-inch depth is required for insulation purposes in attics and walls. Contact your local building department for the applicable energy code to determine required depths for your job.
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