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DIY Spray Foam Insulation

Plus Two Additional Insulation Tips

As Seen On
by Jeff Patterson in Interior DIY Projects
DIY Spray Foam Insulation

When do you get your highest heating bill?

Sometime in the near future, right.

Cold air drafts are one reason you write checks for $300 or $400.

PAINFUL.

Don’t worry, I’m in the same boat. Our front door leaks cold air all day long.

Today I’ve got 3 easy insulation tips that could help you stay warm this winter.

Plus there’s a another cool giveaway. So don’t miss out 😀

My first introduction to DIY spray foam insulation was in high school.

A friend threw a punctured can of Great Stuff into his buddy’s locker.

The locker was stuffed with foam insulation the next.

Not exactly the most pleasant site for the locker owner.

Although I have to admit this was a pretty creative prank (please don’t credit me if you try the same stunt, I’ve never been in jail and would like to keep it that way).

 

Today’s 3 insulation tips could help you instantly lower your heating bills.

They’re all easy to do and don’t cost much.

Sweet!!

Here’s your supply list

With the supply list out of the way let’s dive into Great Stuff and see how you can use it in your home 😀

 

Great Stuff is the best DIY Spray Foam 

How many gaps or cracks exist in your home?

If you’re like me you see them every day.

Kinda troubling to say the least.

There are 4 varieties of Great Stuff I’ll discuss.

Each one has a very specific application and gives you options.

Here are some suggestions as to where to use Great Stuff

  1. HVAC Ductwork going to ceilings or walls (within unfinished garages and basements)
  2. Sill Plates that sit on concrete or cinder blocks
  3. Basement and Crawl space drafts
  4. Areas prone to pest entry
  5. TV cable entry points

Gaps & Cracks can be used for gaps up to 1 inch.

Great stuff gaps & cracks

What if you have gaps greater than 2 inches (I realize there’s some comedy in this statement but let’s keep things family friendly).

You can use Big Gap Filler.

Big Gap Filler

It’s basically the same thing as Gaps & Cracks but expands much more.

I’m thinking this is what my buddy used in the locker prank, or at least this is the one I would have chosen.

What should you use for insulating doors or windows?

You’re in luck, you can get Great Stuff Window & Door.

Great stuff window and door

This is a better option than the standard Gap & Crack filler because Window & Door stays flexible.

Flexibility is super important for windows and doors because the framing will expand and contract when temperatures or humidity change.

This is the type of Great Stuff I used on my door in today’s video tutorial and you’ll see how easy it is to use.

If you’ve got pest issues (i.e. spiders, ants, roaches…) you might want to try Pestblock.

Great stuff pestblock

This is foam insulation with bitter ingredient in it.

After some research I discovered the bitter ingredient is actually denatonium benzoate.

WAIT, this sounds scary!!!

But don’t be scared.

Denatonium benzoate is used to discourage the consumption of poisonous things like antifreeze, denatured alcohol, and acetone.

It’s ultra bitter and because of this quality helps deter pests.

Cool stuff.

Sheldon from Big Bang Theory would be proud.

Although he’d also add two more paragraphs on denatonium benzoate’s cool factor.

Read the directions thoroughly and try to fill an gaps only 1/2 way with Great Stuff because it will expand to fill the other 1/2 of the gap.

Shake the can for 60 seconds before using it and try to apply Great Stuff when it’s warmish (yes this is a technical term I created) outside, which means above 40F.

Wear gloves and safety glasses when using Great Stuff.

I’ve gotten it on my hands and it’s not fun.

Wear gloves and safety glasses

 

Check out the video for my two bonus tips on how to stop drafts.

I’m pretty sure anyone can do what I did in the video

 

What’s Next

Spray foam is great but we recommend using Roxul for bigger projects, e.g. bathrooms or basements.

Grab our free guide if you’re doing a DIY bathroom remodel – it shares how to remodel a bathroom in 10 days or less

Send Me The Guide

 

Thanks as always for reading, watching, and being part of our awesome community.

Ask your questions below and we’d be happy to help.

Cheers,

Jeff Patterson

 

 

 

 

P.S. Our online store has great supplies for homeowners doing a bathroom remodel. You’ll find shower systems, tiling tools, and more.

41 Comments
  1. david says:

    Hi

    Once again very informative video. What about windows?

    I have a kids room that seems to be getting air in through the window seems.

    Thanks

    Dave

    1. You could two different things Dave.

      1. Weatherize your windows with plastic film insulation (here’s a tutorial https://www.homerepairtutor.com/how-to-weatherize-windows-with-plastic-film-insulation/)

      or

      2. Pull the casings from the window and check for any gaps. Then use the Window and Door Great Stuff to seal up the gaps.

      So that’s how I’d handle it.

      One more tip though, if you take off the casings make sure to score the intersection between the casing and wall. That way you’ll prevent the wall paint from pealing off if the casings have latex wall paint on them.

  2. Joe Agresti says:

    Enjoy your tips, keep them coming, thanks!

    1. Thanks Joe, there a ton more tips to come 😀

  3. Andy says:

    I have a newer home but I have problems with outside air coming in my dryer vent. I try to keep it cleaned from lent so that the flap will closed but when it is windy it often gets to vibrating. Any suggestions on how to at least improve the situation?

    1. joe says:

      Build a shelter on the outside of the flapper so wind does not get at it. Mine does not flap, but, I get frozen clothes in the dryer if I forget to turn it on. I also hard piped the dryer exhaust using the same type of pipe that comes off my hot water heater. All was taped. Not to be cheap but with tape, there is less for lint to catch on. 2nd source of home fires is the dryer exhaust.

      1. Great suggestions Joe.

        You know, the funny part is we have an issue like Andy’s on our roof with the exhaust vent!!

        Andy, you could also swap out the existing single flap for one that has three flaps and see if this helps 😀

  4. Dave says:

    Layers of bubble wrap on basement windows… Air space between layers, of any windows that you need not look out of in Winter.

    1. I need to do this exact project for my rentals Dave. Thanks for sharing 😀

  5. Char says:

    Hi Jeff,
    GREAT video, thank you. My question for the door. Have tried over and over to use the rolled insulation foam strip but just when I think I have it right, when I close the door–the gap on the other side is larger. Sortof of like trimming a table leg—just kept trying and trying till too frustrated and seemed I was making it worse. I get the part about along the hinge side, but what about the side where the door opens? Any possibility there?
    Think I read that the foam ‘gives’ so will try it on the hinge side and hope will not cause further gap-ing on open side……………..
    But then what to do on the open side?
    Do the foam insulation on the open side, then do the foam on the hinge side –hoping I have not make everything wonky as I have in the past?
    I did slip some kind of strip on the bottom of door and that seems to help and is a lot easier than continuously moving a rolled up throw rug.

    1. Yah Char, the foam strips have always been frustrating.

      I prefer to add weatherstripping on the outside of the jamb that needs to be tacked in place. It requires a bit of carpentry but isn’t too hard. You could do it 😀

      Here’s a tutorial I did last year

      https://www.homerepairtutor.com/installing-weather-stripping/

  6. Char says:

    I meant rolled foam strip on the open side and spray foam on the hinge side. sorry if confusing

  7. Frann says:

    I’ve wondered what I could do with the light switches and outlet plates that are on exterior walls, now I know! When I go to turn on the flood lights out back at night to let the dogs out I feel a cool draft. Thanks for the tip about the foam sealers for outlets, I’m sure the hardware store will have some for the switch plates as well. Pest Gap Sealer I might use under the sink where the pipes come through, I don’t like spiders, ants and other creepy crawlers.

    1. The foam sealers could help you for sure Frann!!

      And Pestblock is perfect for pipe gaps under sinks or even dryer vents. Actually, now that I think about it I should use the Pestblock on our dryer vent 😀

  8. Linda in KY says:

    You said use Johns Manville insulation or ____? I didn’t understand the brand name of the other. Also, formaldehyde-free sounds great. What is the benefit of the other brand that you would prefer?

    1. Roxul.

      Sorry about that Linda. I should have shown the brand in the video. Roxul is great because it provides insulation and is fire resistant since it’s made from stone wool.

      You can cut it to size with a serrated knife, even a bread knife would work.

      Here’s a link to a tutorial I did on Roxul

      https://www.homerepairtutor.com/roxul-insulation/

      And here’s a link to Roxul’s site

      http://www.roxul.com/

      Roxul is a little more expensive than Johns Manville but I like it due to the fire resistance

  9. Rosie says:

    Great video Jeff!
    I’m trying to seal up the gaps around the windows at home. The trim and the windows have separated over time leaving gaps where cold air enters. Should I use foam spray or caulking?

    Thanks!

    1. Thanks Rosie 😀

      If your gaps are smaller than 1/4 inch then go for a good caulk by DAP.

      If your gaps are larger than 1/4 inch opt for the Great Stuff Window & Door. Remember to fill the gaps by <50% since Great Stuff will expand.

  10. joe says:

    New or old homes may not have the windows and doors “stuffed.” Carefully pry up the window trim and look. Stuff with fiber glass or Great Stuff. Tack the trim back up. We remodeled after 30 years and found sabotage. Drains with back draft. Eave vents blocked and so on. I know one guy that had a million dollar house put up and it smelled. He found out the construction crew used his forced air ducts for a washroom. My neighbor had 6 call backs on his new roof. When my new roof went up, I sat in a lawn chair across the street and watched. No call backs in 2 years. Here is a prank with a purpose. If you have a divorce, fill the curtain rods with shrimp. She won’t want the house .

    1. Hopefully I won’t need that shrimp prank but I gotta admit it’s a good one.

      Thanks for the step-by-step with the casings. It’s not fun but could really help with drafts.

      It’s kinda a shame that you have to babysit certain contractors. I feel super lucky to have ones that take pictures of before and after, even my roofer does this.

      As a matter of fact I want to tell this story because it’s really heartwarming. A few years back my roofer Zach was doing a job for an older woman who was in her 80s. When he climbed on the roof the situation was worse than he anticipated. Zach was worried the woman wouldn’t understand the bad shape of her roof.

      So he went out and bought an iPad so he could take pictures that she could see. He showed her the pictures and she agreed to let him do the job.

      Now that’s a NICE GUY.

      And his work is impeccable.

      If anyone is in the Pittsburgh area I’d be happy to give you Zach’s info.

      There are nice people in this world and I love sharing these kind of stories.

  11. Jim says:

    Great timing. Great product, very familiar with it. Nice to be reminded.Thanks.
    Jim

    1. My pleasure to be that reminder Jim 😀

  12. mike Whaley says:

    I really love reading your email and watching your tutorials. Always learn something and was just talking to Sandy about these outside wall outlets and their drafts. Now we will be all over this issue. Thanks for all of your great info.

    1. Woo hoo, glad you learned something new Mike. I need to do the same project myself.

      Although it has been a wonky winter in Pittsburgh. One day it’s 20F the next it’s 40F and raining.

      Wish we had snow instead of ice!

  13. Pam McD says:

    Great information on how to seal the cracks around door frames! Thanks.

    1. Glad to help any time Pam.

      Great Stuff is super easy to use. Just make sure to wear gloves and safety glasses. It’s pretty darn sticky when setting up 😀

  14. Lillace Christianson says:

    Hi, Jeff! I can’t believe how much cold air comes in the outlets in my house! I would love the insulators. I’m also thinking of putting the small plastic child proof outlet plugs in all the unused outlets.
    Also, don’t remember where I read about it, but I like the idea of putting bagged leaves around the foundation of the house during the winter months for extra insulation.
    Happy New Year!

    1. I haven’t heard about the bagged leaves Lillace.

      That idea makes sense to me and would help with the rim joist insulation.

      Awesome!! Thanks for your tip 😀

  15. Mary O. says:

    Thanks for the explanation of the types of spray foam insulation. I definitely need to get the ones for pests and for big gaps for the lines from the A/C into the house. I’ve used the electrical outlet seals inside my other house but had not done it with the current house yet. It really can make a difference.

    1. My pleasure Mary.

      There are so many options and it’s nice to know which can of Great Stuff to buy.

      Sounds like you’ve had good success with the outlet sealers 😀

  16. Lori says:

    Great video, as always! I’m always looking for ways to lower the heating bill! We are in the middle of an arctic blast and I have to say I’m really dreading the gas bill I will be getting. I love the idea of the outlet insulation. Quick and easy for a DIY newbie like me!

    1. Hope your heating bill isn’t too bad Lori.

      Where are you located?

      I know Buffalo has been hit hard this winter, it’s a few hours north of wear we live.

  17. Kiki/mcgaelicgal says:

    Great tips, Jeff, thanks! And great timing! We’re already feeling the pinch. Thermostat kept @ 63º 24/7 just to keep bills survivable! And tomorrow’s weather forecast is threatening the coldest temps in 4 years. ACK! Also, thanks for setting up the group. I’ve joined. It’s a TERRIFIC idea! =D Hope your week is off to a good start! Happy New Year, too!

    1. Thanks so much Kiki. Yah, it’s cold!!

      Here in the Burgh the windchill is -10F.

      Not good for kiddos trying to sled ride.

      Thanks for joining the Facebook group. It’s turning out to be pretty darn awesome 😀

  18. Thanks for posting these great tips, Jeff! I think it’s awesome that you’re involved in so many do-it-yourself projects. I recently decided that I was going to re-insulate my garage, so I’ll be sure to follow some of the suggestions that you’ve written in this article. I haven’t ever heard of the compound that you’ve talked about—denatonium benzoate—but I’ll be sure to research it! Thanks for suggesting it!

  19. Mahabub says:

    Dear
    Is your product big gap filler available in bangladesh.

  20. Mahabub says:

    Is it UL certified.

  21. Solanki sagar says:

    9725736440

  22. Tess says:

    Hi Jeff, thank you for a great article! I wonder if this product can be used around the door itself, on the inside of the door frame? My apartment door has big cracks around the sides and on the top, which lets the air out and lets the bugs in. I understand that the foam sticks to the surface on application, but could it be applied around the inside of the door jamb with the door open, kind of instead of the weather strips? Or would this prevent the door from closing again?

    Thank you!

  23. Phil Kammann says:

    I would love it if you would address existing walls and how to do it cost effectively, simply and effectively. I can’t believe Great Stuff hasn’t come up with an existing wall cavity fill product. I have 100 year old home with wood siding and plaster walls that are hollow. Would love to fill them with as little mess and headaches and cost as possible. I bet there are many people looking for the same thing.

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