So where are the Foam Cans with the Straw?
Posted by Martin Z on Feb 17th 2021
Most of you are familiar with the Dow Great Stuff foam sealants you see in your local home center or hardware store. Each can has a short plastic straw strapped to it, you attach the straw to the top of the can and operate it like a can of spray paint. This is great if you only need a small amount. You use it once and throw it away.
This dispensing method has several inherit problems.
Do we sell the cans with straws? No
Then what do we have?
The Great Stuff foam products we carry are packaged in a "Pro Series" can.
A Pro Series can must be used with a separate applicator gun (foam gun). The applicator gun gives you flow control, accurate placement and the ability to start and stop whenever you want.
In the long run, this method is more economical vs one time cans.
Pro Cans give More Foam per Can,
Higher Yield per Ounce
Less Waste - No "One Time Use"
Here's what you need to get started: foam gun, choice of foam, gun cleaner.
There are many styles and price points of foam guns available. Some have different barrel lengths,Teflon coated parts (for easy cleaning), or heavier components. Our photo illustrates our standard gun.
Pro cans come with a threaded collar that screws into a corresponding basket on the foam gun. This collar is standardized between manufacturers so your foam gun will not only work with Dow products but other brands as well.
A protective cap ships with the can, remove it. You will see a plunger button within the collar. When the can is attached to the gun, the plunger depresses, foam flows into the gun. The can attaches to the gun by simply screwing into the basket on the gun. In order to expand and cure, the foam needs to react with air and moisture (in the air). As long as the foam is in the can or within the gun, air doesn't reach it and it does not cure.
You are now ready to apply foam.
At the front end of the gun is a valve. This is normally closed. Pull the trigger and the valve opens, releasing the foam.
The knob on the end of the gun controls the flow of foam.
Tighten it, you have less foam.
Open it up you have more foam. Simple as that.
When you're done applying foam; tighten the knob until the trigger won't move. This keeps the valve closed and prevents accidental release. When you want to apply foam again you loosen the knob to the desired flow rate. Keep the can attached to the gun and do this every time, you will be able to use the same foam can up to a month or longer. As long as the valve is closed, air doesn't reach the foam, the foam doesn't cure. Clear out the foam in the gun barrel about every week or so and you shouldn't have any problems.
When your can is empty, or you want to change foam types, remove the old can and screw on a new one. You do not need to clean the inside of the gun. The new foam will push the old foam out.
When do you clean the gun?
Uncured Foam can be cleaned with Acetone. Cured Foam can't.
The Aerosol Gun cleaner is Acetone in a spray can. The can is very similar to the Pro Series foam cans. It also comes with a red aerosol spray cap.
If you leave the foam can on the gun (recommended), spray the gun cleaner (with the red cap) on the outside of the gun to remove uncured foam or use some Acetone on a rag. You can also clean foam from the basket area when you change cans.
If you are going to put away your applicator gun for a long time (more than a month or two), you'll want to remove the foam can and clean out the inside of the gun. To clean the inside, attach the gun cleaner like you would any other foam can. Pull the trigger on your gun and shoot out foam into a trash container until it comes out clean. Wait 10-15 minutes and repeat this process, as sometimes the Acetone needs time to work to dissolve the foam. Don't over clean the gun. Cleaning too often will actually damage the gun. Only do the inside cleaning when you know you're putting it away for a while.
Cured foam can only be removed by cutting or scraping, so try to clean it up as early as possible.
How do you keep yourself clean?
The same thing about cured and uncured foam applies to yourself too. Wear personal protection gear, (gloves, goggles, long sleeves, or disposable suit) to keep foam off your skin and hair.
Also, Acetone and other chemicals give off fumes that aren't healthy for you. Keep the area well ventilated and for extra protection wear a respirator.