Sciurus carolinensis is my albatross, my white whale, my Dennis the Menace. Squirrels have cost me thousands of dollars in the past twenty years by causing mayhem in my cars, in my chimneys, in my house, in my gardens, and most recently in my workshed. The ground fault protector on the screened porch kept tripping, but I couldnt figure out why. Eventually my detective work took me to the work shed a few hundred feet away, its ceiling, and the electrical wires concealed therein. I removed a couple ceiling panels to a shower of insulation, leaves, and animal droppings. Occasionally Id heard squirrels running around up there, but hadnt thought much about it. They had built nests up there, destroyed the insulation blankets and nibbled on the electrical wires, stripping some of them bare. I was surprised not to find any dead, fried squirrels up there. A study of the shed showed some narrow openings all around where the ceiling and walls meet, openings apparently large enough to allow access to my sciurus friends. Before covering up the gaps with wide strips I decided to use foam first for double protection and the anciliary benefit of some extra insulation. Dow Great Stuff Window and Door Insulating Foam Sealant was my weapon of choice.
Recommend this product?
What It Is
Dow Window and Door Insulating Foam Sealant is designed to fill gaps and voids around window and door jams. It can also be used to fill gaps to the outside around pipes or vents. This polyurethane foam comes out yellow and promises not to bow or buckle window or door frames. Dow touts the advantage of Great Stuff polyurethane over latex foams. Latex foam will absorb water while the Great Stuff forms an outer seal to keep water out. Great Stuff also expands to fill all gaps and cavities for an air tight seal.
Tack free in 8 minutes
Trims within an hour
Yellow colored foam
Conforms to ASTM & AAMA standards
One 12 oz. can of Window & Door foams up to four to six average sized residential windows (36 x 60, 3/8 wide gap, and 1 deep)
Provides real insulation value which complements energy efficiency of the window or door. Greater insulating value than chinked fiberglass or caulk
Soft, pliable foam is forgiving, easier to remove if gap is overfilled. Cured foam can be stuffed back into the gap without trimming. ( Or so they say.)
GREAT STUFF Window & Door meets or exceeds all industry standards for the installation of exterior windows, doors and skylights.
CAUTIONS: Flammable gas - May cause flash fire. May cause allergic skin reaction.
May cause allergic respiratory reaction. May cause eye irritation. May cause skin
irritation. Vapor reduces oxygen available for breathing. May cause anesthetic
effects. May cause respiratory tract irritation. Vapors may travel a long distance;
ignition and/or flash back may occur.
The Material Safety Data Sheet, available on the companys web page, is a daunting 12 pages long laden with forboding warnings. Yes, this stuff can be toxic, it can cause skin irritation, maybe it can make you grow and extra head, but used with caution and common sense Great Stuff should be as safe as any other product containing:
Diphenylmethane Diisocyanate, isomers and ,
Isocyanic acid, polymethylenepolyphenylene ester,
polymer with .alpha.,.alpha.',.alpha.''-1,2,3-
Tris(1-chloro-2-propyl) phosphate, Isobutane ,
DONT GET THIS STUFF ON YOUR HANDS. ITS VERY, VERY STICKY.
Directions for Use
Shake can vigorously for thirty seconds between use.
PUT ON GLOVES.
Screw threaded end of included straw securely onto valve.
Fill openings less than 50% full. This stuff expands and you can always add more later.
Uncured foam dissolves with acetone.
Once foam has cured, (It doesnt cure the common cold, by the way.) trim excess foam with any sharp knife or serrated blade.
My Experience with GreatStuff
Ever see a movie called the Blob? No, it doesnt matter which version. Its about the gigantic blob of something alien that keeps getting bigger and bigger and must be stopped from growing because the bigger it gets the hungrier it gets. Great Stuff reminds me of the movie although Great Stuff mercifully doesnt eat people.
One using this product for the first time reads the directions, of course, and follows every direction and precaution to the letter. I mostly do that or at least look at the label as Im shaking the can.
For my first trick I filled in some gaps in the work shed where I thought the varmints were entering. From the inside I sprayed along where the roof meets the siding because the builder of this shed (not me) had left some large openings behind. I could have nailed screening all around, but I thought the Great Stuff would be faster and easier. Maybe I was impatient, or maybe I doubted that part about expansion, but when the foam didnt double in size within a minute or so, I added more foam and lots of it. Luckily I sprayed this stuff on the inside. When one enters the shed now, one sees gigantic globs of this dried, yellow stuff that resemble a colossal colony of fungi. The Great Stuff did fill all the gaps I sprayed, but it aint pretty. Since its inside a shed, I wont bother to trim it.
I also filled some large gaps around a door frame and a window frame in the basement. Again I made the same mistake by overfilling because I wanted to make sure the holes were filled. Within an hour the foam had at least tripled and overflowed the confines of the gaps resulting in great bulbous masses all around the door and window.
Trimming is not as easy as advertised. A utility knife works, but make sure the blade is sharp and fully extended In my experience a serrated knife blade works much better.
Whats left after trimming? First of all you lose the highly touted protective, outer film exposing the porous foam within. The foam can be sanded, but the experience is like sanding Styrofoam. It can be painted too, but youre better off covering the exposed foam with trim as Ill eventually do.
The web page tells us that the user can just push the excess foam back into the cavity. This works only in to a limited extent and leaves an uneven surface youd want to cover with some sort of trim.
Great Stuff will fill gaps as promised, and will expand to fill what you cant see. However, trimming reveals that the fill is not total or absolute. Great Stuff is best for inconspicuous areas or projects that will be covered. Supposedly you can clean out the applicator straw and use and leftover foam later. This stuff is so sticky, however, that Id find a way to use up the entire can rather than fool with trying to clean that straw. That
s how I ended up using it around the basement door. I was only going to do a window, but had plenty of foam left in the can.
A week prior to my Great Stuff adventure I noticed the hose on one of my vacuum cleaners had partly come apart from the nozzle letting air escape and diminishing the power of the vacuum. I tried a silicone caulk first. It held for about a week before coming off. I still had a little leftover Great Stuff, and I knew it was sticky. In moderation, I applied some Great Stuff in a bead all around the hose/nozzle joint. It stuck instantly, sealed the hose tear, and has held firmly ever since. It doesnt even look too bad, since the vacuum has yellow accents anyway.
Another option: Dap Tex Plus
Thank you, Dawn!
Speaking of squirrels: Just this week they chewed up and ruined the water sipper we put out for the birds. These sippers arent inexpensive either. Squirrels may be cute, but I dont like them.
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