By Ryan SpencerIt cannot be overstated: homes with air leaks are inefficient, uncomfortable, and overly expensive. Air leakage and infiltration not only make indoor temperatures difficult to regulate, but also account for up to 40% of an average home’s heating and cooling costs, per the U.S. Department of Energy. This is especially evident during the winter, when drafty homes cause homeowners to crank up the heater, resulting in eye-widening energy bills. For older homes, the only way to combat air leaks is weatherization, which is essentially reducing the influence of outdoor conditions on indoor environments. Broadly speaking, weatherization entails procedures like replacing ineffective insulation, installing high-efficiency doors and windows, and air sealing gaps in the building envelope. Concerning the latter procedure, one-component foam sealants have quickly become the standard for effectively mitigating the threat of air leakage and infiltration. That being said, the capabilities of moisture-curing one-component foam extend beyond just air sealing.
Houses are riddled with penetrations; it’s just the nature of their design and construction. Pipes, wiring, lighting fixtures–they all put holes in the building envelope and can contribute to air movement throughout a home. Furthermore, penetrations can counteract the fire-resistance ratings of the assemblies in which they’re located. For the safety of building occupants, it’s necessary to shore up the annular spaces between these penetrations and penetrants, like pipes or wiring, with a fire block. With twofold functionality in mind, some foam sealants, like Touch ’n Seal’s Gun Foam II, are formulated to be used as fireblocking products in Type V residential construction, thereby simultaneously preventing the movement of air and safeguarding against the spread of fire.
INSTALLING WHEN IT MATTERS
Foam sealants are specially formulated products, and most are designed to cure properly within a particular temperature range (typically, between 60° F and 90° F). This can be problematic for installation professionals that work in predominantly cold climates, as they face brief application windows in which projects can be properly completed, thereby reducing potential revenue and profit. Also, homeowners may only become motivated to weatherize their homes after experiencing chilly winter drafts, at which point conditions might not be ideal for a weatherization project. Should installation professionals and homeowners be relegated to suffering through the entire winter season? Of course not. To address these temperature issues, some foam sealants, like Touch ’n Seal’s All Seasons Foam, are specifically formulated to cure in low-temperature environments, down to 20° F. This capability allows for weatherization projects to be completed virtually year-round in most climates.
You don’t always need sealant formulations for special situations; sometimes you just need user-friendly, cost-effective weatherization solutions for large gaps and cracks. Foam sealants like Touch ’n Seal’s Quick Cure are formulated to provide exactly that kind of high-yield performance. There are countless areas that must be sealed, including: gaps between sill plates and concrete slabs; spaces around plumbing and ventilation outlets; and the cavities where electrical junctions are installed. Even exterior siding can be shored up with foam sealant. Some of these areas may require sealing substantial spaces or crevices where the typical foam sealant can’t fill efficiently. With a high-yield formulation foam sealant, these spaces become more manageable for the installation professional, and more economical for the customer.
SEALING CRITICAL AREAS
Air leakage happens through gaps, cracks, and openings in the building envelope, and there are no bigger openings than doors and windows, so sealing these penetrations is a critical component of weatherization. Of course, older doors and windows often present leaking issues in terms of inadequately sealed, ill-fitting frames. However, even newer, energy-efficient doors and windows can leak if the cavities in which they’re installed aren’t sufficiently sealed. So the solution is simply sealing them, right? Yes, but with one major consideration: expanding foam can easily move door and window frames out of alignment. With that in mind, some foam sealants, like Touch ’n Seal’s No-Warp Foam, both seal and insulate door and window frames without the risk of shifting them. No-Warp Foam is formulated to exert 95% less pressure on door and window frames when expanding, thereby assuring proper opening and closing after installation.
SEALING THE DEAL
Much more than a one-trick pony, one-component foam sealants can be formulated to provide a wide array of performance characteristics. Often available in pressurized cans, but sometimes available in larger pressurized cylinders, foam sealants give both installation professionals and their customers timely, cost-effective, and high-performance weatherization solutions. The main consideration is determining what solution is best for a given project, and executing the application properly. •
Contact Touch ‘N Seal
Direct any questions about one-component foam sealant cans and cylinders to Touch ’n Seal:
Phone: 1-855-336-9555 | Website: www.touch-n-seal.com
Photos Courtesy of Touch ‘N Seal