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Are you getting ready to start an insulation project? If so, you are probably considering using polyurethane foam. However, you may not realize that there are different types, and the variant you need will depend on your particular project.
There are so many different types of insulation out there, and it can be difficult to understand the attributes of each. But knowing these differences can help you make an informed decision for your insulating project.
Check out the list below to help you make an educated decision and get the right product for your needs.
Types of Polyurethane Foam
When it comes to insulation and sealants, polyurethane foam is an excellent choice. However, making an uninformed decision about which foam to use can be detrimental to your project.
For example, some foams are better suited for indoor use, while others can withstand extreme temperatures and weather conditions. Some have great acoustic properties, and all types are resistant to mold.
1. Open-Cell Polyurethane Foam
Open-cell polyurethane foam is a breathable substance that offers excellent thermal and acoustic properties. It is best suited for indoor use and can drastically reduce noise.
However, it is not water resistant, so you should avoid installing it in humid spaces. Unlike closed-cell polyurethane, open-cell polyurethane generally comes in a foam sheet instead of a spray foam.
Frost King Open-Cell Poly Foam Self-Stick Weatherseal Tape
Frost King poly foam is a self-sticking tape for interior weatherproofing. It features maximum compression ability, allowing you to squeeze it into the tightest of spaces from 1/4 of an inch all the way down to 1/32 of an inch. It is a great way to block drafts and save on your energy bill. Do not expose to water.
Acoustic Foam Panels 2" × 12" × 12" Black Wedges
If you are more interested in noise reduction and improving the acoustics of a room, these panels will do the trick. They are durable and fireproof with no health risks involved. Installation is easy. Simply tape them to the wall with durable, double-sided tape.
2. Closed-Cell Polyurethane Foam
Although it can come in foam sheets, closed-cell polyurethane foam most often comes in a spray form. It is rigid and highly water resistant, and it can withstand harsh weather conditions including rain, heat, and cold.
This makes it an excellent candidate for outdoor use. You will need the proper equipment to install closed-cell polyurethane spray foam; however, it is sometimes available in spray cans as well.
DAP Touch 'n Seal Closed-Cell Spray Foam Insulation Kit with Preconnected Hoses
If you do not have the proper equipment for installing spray foam, this kit has it all. You will get two tanks with preconnected hoses, and the polyurethane foam is included.
It provides enough coverage for up to 200 board feet, making it an excellent choice for insulating attics and walls. The product has a short dry time of one minute or less and a cure time of only one hour.
GREAT STUFF PRO Gaps and Cracks
For smaller projects such as sealing windows and door gaps, these small cans will do the trick. You can adjust the bead size, and it adheres to a wide range of materials including most plastics, wood, metal, masonry, and glass.
It forms an air-tight seal that is water resistant, making it perfect for both indoors and outside. You will need a gun for application which is included in this set.
3. Single-Component Polyurethane Foam
Single-component foam utilizes humidity from the air and construction materials for curing. Therefore, it is best suited for well-ventilated spaces and outdoor areas.
The higher the temperature, the faster this product cures. Since this foam expands in volume by roughly 35 percent, you will only fill the space about 50 to 60 percent.
HANDI-FOAM FIREBLOCK Low-Pressure Polyurethane Foam Sealant
This single-component foam is used for blocking fire and smoke between rooms and provides a quick tack-free time of 10 minutes. It is important to note that this is not a spray can; you will need a foam gun to use this product.
Heavy Duty Spray Foam Gun
If you do not own a foam gun, you will need one for application. This gun is easy to use and does not require a cleaner. Instead, simply rotate the valve, pushing out any remaining foam. It comes equipped with a spring trigger and control knob, allowing you to easily adjust the spray distance and flow speed.
Great Stuff Smart Dispenser Fireblock Orange
If you don't have a foam gun and do not want to fool with one, give this product a try. It comes with a convenient nozzle, eliminating the need for a gun.
Even better, this product is reusable for up to 30 days after opening. Tack-free time ranges from as low as five minutes to 15 minutes with a trim time of one hour.
4. Two-Component Polyurethane Foam
Two-component foam, unlike single-component foam, does not need the assistance of air and humidity for curing. Instead, it relies on a chemical reaction between its two components. Therefore, it is ideal for tight spaces with no airflow. This type also expands in volume, but you can fill cavities up to 80 percent.
Froth-Pak 12 Spray Foam Sealant Kit
This two-component kit comes with color-coded cans, allowing you to easily identify each component. The chemical reaction results in an astounding 30 second cure time. It is suitable for gaps between two and four inches wide and provides up to 12 board feet of coverage.
DIY Concrete Foundation Crack Repair Kit - Low-Pressure Injection Method
This two-component polyurethane foam kit is easy to use and can be applied in both wet and dry conditions, making it excellent for pool repairs. You will need a caulking gun for application, but this kit includes most everything else needed.
SILIGUN Caulking Gun
If you do not own a caulking gun, this SILIGUN is a new patented design. It is smaller than other caulk guns, allowing you to get to those hard-to-reach spaces, and it stores away easily in your toolbox. It uses standard-sized tubes and is easy to load, featuring a drip-free design.
Winter, Summer, and All-Season Foams
Depending on your needs, you must choose a foam that is suitable for the weather conditions. If you will be using it outdoors, make sure to purchase a foam that is water resistant. Additionally, the time of year will matter. Check the standards to ensure it can withstand extreme cold and hot temperatures.
Most will only be suitable for one or the other. If choosing an all-season foam, however, keep in mind that it is acceptable in both warm and cold conditions, but you should not use all-season foam in extreme weather conditions.
What is the Difference Between Polyethylene and Polyurethane?
When it comes to polyethylene and polyurethane, the names are very similar. In fact, the chemical makeup has some similarities as well. However, these two products are generally used in very different ways.
For the most part, polyethylene is used as a plastic. For example, it is used to make items such as toys and shopping bags. Polyurethane, on the other hand, is mostly used to make foam products such as insulation and furniture padding.
Is All Polyurethane Foam the Same?
All polyurethane foam is not the same. In fact, the different types can vary greatly. For example, you can get it as a spray foam used for insulation, or you can purchase foam pads for beds and furniture.
It also comes in foam panels used for thermal and acoustic properties. Some polyurethane is more durable than others, making it more suitable for a wide range of uses.
There are many different types of polyurethane foam. Some types come in a spray form, whereas others are compacted into foam sheets and pads. It's important to understand the differences before choosing a product.
Some are suitable for outdoor use, while others should only be used indoors. You will also need the proper tools for installation. For more information regarding polyurethane foam, check out these other posts on our blog: