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Unless you’re a racing fan with really great vision, you probably haven’t seen this miracle in a can. Great Stuff spray foam expands as it cures — and, when cured, it’s tough, weatherproof, and bugproof.  You can fill foundation cracks in old houses with this stuff, or just about any crack or crevice that needs filling.  Just keep it in the back of your mind; you’ll know when you need it.

A 12oz. can runs about $5, and a 20oz. can goes for $8.

Great Stuff [Dow]
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37 Responses to Great Stuff Spray Foam

  1. Jim German says:

    Ugh, I hate this stuff. The preivous owner of my house decided that instead of actualy fixing the leak in teh roof, they would jsut spray Great Stuff into the cieling until it stopped dripping. This caused the water to run down the inside of the wall instead, rotting out the roof, and the studs. Far more work than if they had jsut replaced the flashing on the roof in the first place.

  2. bidwell says:

    I also hate this stuff… much more into the newer latex foam. Doesn’t get stuck on everything, including my fingers for days afterwards.

  3. Zathrus says:

    I like it, but you have to use it in the right places — and using it to patch a hole in a roof isn’t one of them. I’ve used it for exterior cracks and penetrations that are too big for just caulk, and for insulation in a pinch after a raccoon ripped into part of a soffit. Sprayed Great Stuff into the hole, then patched it with a proper bit of plywood.

    The big advantage over the latex foam (e.g. — DAP) is that it’s fine to use outside, even if you don’t paint it. The latex stuff just degrades too quickly under UV exposure. The traditional Great Stuff is also very expansive (1:6 ratio IIRC, meaning you spray 1/6 as much in a gap as you think you’ll need).

    The downsides, however, are aplenty — it’s incredibly sticky when drying and is nigh impossible to get off anything it touches (wear gloves; ones you don’t care about… you will be tossing them). The cans are pretty much single usage — use it all when you open one, since the stuff will cure in the nozzle and render the remainder inaccessible. They used to sell “small project” versions, but I haven’t seen them in awhile. If you overspray it (see above about expansiveness) then it can break things — it is going to expand, and if a window or door frame is in the way, then they’ll simply have to break. Really.

    Small spray foams, whether Great Stuff or latex based, rock for a lot of jobs though, particularly insulating. They dry fast, and when dry the excess can be trimmed off with a utility knife, and they can be painted over. Keep both around and use appropriately.

  4. Old Coot says:

    Zathrus: Good bunch of info; thanks.

  5. Fred says:

    If you are interested in this or any Dow Chemical product then this is the time to stock up. Dow Chemical is raising prices of all products by up to 20% starting about now.

  6. Jim says:

    When I am done applying the foam I remove the applicator straw and swish it and the top of the can in a shallow pan filled with acetone. Do this before the foam cures and you will be able to use the can as many times as you need to until you empty the can.

  7. Donny B says:

    Stuff is great… but it def needs to be used for what it was designed. It is great for window installation, or window retrofits, Use it when you switch your old home ” Balance ” weight type system. Use it to fill those old gaps left where the weight shaft was.

    but VERY STICKY………..

  8. Chris says:

    I used to have a 68 skylark that had lost its quarter panels about half-way up the side to rust and when I drove down gravel roads the car would fill with dust through these gaping holes. I bought a case of great stuff and filled the entire trunk and shaved the excess with a ginsu knife to match the body lines of the car then primered it. The next day I figured that was a waste of space so I cut a good sized divot into the foam and drilled a hole through it and the floor of the trunk. BEST BEER COOLER EVER. You could fill it with ice and just let it melt and drain out the hole.

    Hey, I was in High school and the car cost $200 dollars (and was worth about that much as well).

    • richard says:

      That car will probably be waiting for you in Heaven–unless you make a determined effort now to renounce it. Otherwise you might get a Ferrari.

  9. Frank Townend says:

    I’ve used it in making a waterfall for a pond. Use it to “attach” the flat stones to the liner and to each other. It helps the direct the water to go where you want it to go.

  10. fuzzmanmatt says:

    I’m gonna agree with Zathrus, buy the smallest can you can find for the job. Anything else is going to end up wasted (unless you enjoy puncturing cans and watching them grow like B movie monsters).

  11. Frank says:

    I wish they sold it in smaller cans. For small projects I never need a full can and it is a waste at $8 a can to use 10% of it.

    I have found you can usually store and reuse the can for up to a month before it just solidifies in the can. I just detach the nozzle and spray it out with compressed air.

  12. SuperJdynamite says:

    According to Dow’s website Great Stuff is available in 6 oz. cans. I haven’t had much luck finding anybody who actually sells it, though.

    Also, if you’re worried about over-expansion pushing jambs out then you can use the low-expanding “Windows and Doors” formula.

    I use Great Stuff in combination with so-called “hydraulic” cement to fill old service entrances and other holes in the foundation of my old house.

  13. Old Donn says:

    Had some work done on my garage that required the use of this stuff. It worked as advertised, but there’s no doubt where I applied it! Next time, I’ll remember a little goes a long way.

  14. Michael Pendleton says:

    Just for the record, this Stuff might be Great, but it is also astoundingly toxic! Isocyanates, yum!

    However, there are some projects where nothing else will do. I used to use it back in my theatre prop construction days all the time, and I’ve seen it get used for making custom car panels as well. Same principle: spray a big gob of it on (since it sticks to everything, this is pretty easy), wait for it to dry, and then then carve it into what ever wacky shape you need. If it needs to be durable, you can coat it with fiberglass.

  15. Sam says:

    there has to be a way to get it off clothing–how…anyone, anyone?

  16. Zathrus says:

    You may want to try a caulk remover. The brand I have (Lift Off, from Home Depot) claims that it works on expanding foam too. Note, however, it says nothing about working on clothing.

    Your best bet is to contact the manufacturer and see if they have any suggestions (heck, Crayola has a 450 page PDF on how to remove their products from various surfaces).

    Sorry; the clothing may not be salvagable.

  17. Joe says:

    Here’s what Dow tech support suggested about keeping a can reusable:

    “One-component foams as GREAT STUFF(TM) do not lend themselves to re-use. Once a can has been used and allowed to sit for more than two hours, it will seal itself shut. This is indicated on the can’s label.

    “It is possible to preserve a can of GREAT STUFF polyurethane foam sealant. Insert a pipe cleaner, soaked with WD-40, into the attached applicator straw (do not remove straw from can). Leave the pipe cleaner sticking out of the applicator straw approximately 1/4 inch. This has to be done within two hours of use. The WD-40 soaked pipe cleaner may preserve the can up to 30 days.”

  18. [...] we posted about Great Stuff Spray Foam, readers commented on the difficulty of cleanup and the “single-use” nature of the cans.  One workaround [...]

  19. Gary Honeycutt says:

    I have a bare-bones ’36 Chevy Rat Rod Pickup. I get a lot of air flow through openings, whether body gaps or holes, and it’s like a tin box, making it hard to hear the stereo due to road noise.
    Temperature retention in winter might be nice, also.
    I tried an off brand to insulate the space behind the kick panels (sides of cowl) and the panel behind the seat.
    It didn’t work well – mostly a glob came out and then fell to the floor. I thought I’d just spray it on and wait for it to cure to trim it to shape – no such luck. I wasted a lot to get some patchy spots to stick.
    Will Great stuff stick to a vertical surface of painted metal? If so, would the Big Gap stuff or the lowessure stuff stick better?
    Anyone used the fireblock? I’d consider it a last resort because it’s more than twice the price here.
    Any other products better for my purpose?
    Thanks,
    Ol’ street rodder

  20. David Houser says:

    Gary

    I have used many products from this company, including the Lizard Skin on my ’30 Chevy truck. Worked great for air insulation, do not know about sound quality, as did not have a radio.

  21. David Houser says:

    Gary

    I guess I didn’t do this right.

    Eastwood . com

  22. Barbara Justice says:

    I used The big can this morning. Filled cracks where my under sink wall had separated. My husband had used it a couple of weeks before and it was stopped up. We took it apart and used a long safty pin and the stuff pulled right out. Lordy is it messy and sticky. That’s why i’m on this site. Trying to find how to get it off. LOL

  23. Zathrus says:

    Once it’s cured it’s pretty much impossible to get off.

    If it’s on your skin, you can scrape/cut off as much as you can and then wait for the rest to slough off.

  24. Cal Phillips says:

    I tried using acetone in a shallow pan like Jim mentioned and it works great. I was surprised how easily it eliminated the foam from the nozzle and nozzle extension. I dropped it in the acetone and it vanished. I did take a Q tip and removed most of the cotton and dipped it in the acetone and dropped it in the nozzle but just dipping the nozzle in the acetone like Jim mentioned basically does the trick. I thought that I would have to wash out the nozzle extension like you would have to do if it were paint but as soon as I dropped the nozzle extension into the acetone pan it was clean. Thanks Jim for that suggestion.

  25. Donna says:

    If I only use a partial can, I remove the straw and soak it in acetone or paint thinner, and I store the remainder of the can UPSIDE down in a pool of acetone just big enough to keep the tip immersed so that anything in the tip cannot cure.

  26. BigBoyDale says:

    This seems odd, but it works to combat carpenter bees after they bore a hole in your wood. Just spray a tiny bit in the hole and it expands and blocks them in. They sometimes will eat through it in order to escape, but the stuff kills them in the process as they can’t digest it. Don’t like to kill bees, but these can eat your house.

  27. Rodger says:

    Go to http://netcrafting.com/homemx/greatstuff.html to learn how to reuse your open can without acetone or the mess. Easy…

  28. richard says:

    I had a can nearly full which had already been used. I clipped the straw but that didn’t do it. Finally I took off the nozzle and used some string trimmer plastic to clear the straw. i also took a chance and pushed it into the nozzle.
    This did work but the output was weak. I used most of it this way and whether it will fill the space I will not know until it fully expands. It is around a porch window, not for insulation but to seal out insects.

  29. nashonii says:

    Well, I for one LOVE this stuff! I have sculpted with it, using it to fill in the chicken wire , before adding cement to the armature; just finished filling in between the boards of our chicken house to seal it for the cold weather ahead. Stopped up a mouse hold and another hold the previous owner left between the sink drain and the outside, (where we saw the grass in the yard through it!). We now have a warmer house, and no mouse. Yes, you DO have to use it appropriately, and it doesn’t come off with hands and clothes with anything I have found. Stopped in here to see if anyone could tell me how to get it off a jacket I touched it with. Oh well, I still LOVE the stuff.

  30. Ceramic cat says:

    In the Unusual Uses Department– Nothing quite chases away the blues like pulling out a can of this stuff and spraying it somewhere! Go from suicidal thoughts to ROTFLMAO in 5 seconds or less.

  31. Ceramic cat says:

    nashonii– I want to sculpt an 8-ft relief gecko on an existing stucco wall. Any suggestions for the armature? Someone said just glue a chunk of eps foam (with insulbond P) to the stucco and take it from there… Could I just nail in chicken wire, spray with Great Stuff, wait till it dries, and then carve into it? Comments welcome.

  32. Whiteboy says:

    CAT; Use some liquid nail to nail your EPS, you probly got that!? Then yes, layer in steps not trying to bulge to much at first,take the shiny coat off by carving/sanding in-between coats helps nxt coat stick/grab better. Then put your artist on. You got it CC…! Oh!,,, if you use Chicken wire no need to nail just push it in the stuff after you trimmed it with metal shears but I don’t see a need for wire the new stucco group uses fiberglass mesh on the roll.

  33. Harry says:

    Anyone had a bad effect after inhaling it briefly.

  34. wendy says:

    I just used this stuff to seal fist sized holes in trees. One of the holes was 6 inches deep and had an area without a ‘lip’ to hold the foam inside, in other words it had no support. My husband suggested using wax paper, so I folded over a piece of waxed paper and used tacks to hold the wax paper against the tree. as the foam expanded I added more wax paper, so it didn’t drip. it’s now 2 days later and the wax paper pull off easily. Also I used disposable gloves, wore very old clothes and used wax paper whenever I needed to touch the stuff. My gloves didn’t even get dirty!

  35. Gary says:

    Why hate something because it was used for a purpose its not intended for? That’s kind of ridiculous. Its a great product if you know what your doing. Door frames etc. And i’m really not sure why everyone is getting it all over themselves.

  36. Barbra B says:

    I didn’t use the entire can, where can I get additional applicator tips?

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