Since 1992

How to remove expanding foam

How to remove expanding foam

Posted on 22 December, 2021

What is expanding foam?

By using two materials – isocyanate and polyol resin – spray form can be created. When the two materials mix with one another they create a reaction that causes an expansion of between 30-60 times the liquid volume once it has been sprayed. Expanding foam is a very useful tool to have in your home as it can help resolve a number of structural issues due to its adhesive nature. A specific expanding foam gun is often required to effectively use the spray.

Where should you use expanding foam?

If a surface has suffered damage then you may want to use expanding form to fill in the cracks or cavities. The expanding foam will comfortably expand to fill the space but the added benefit is that it is also resistant to weather intrusion. Commonly, expanding foam is used in basements or attics however it can also be effectively used on doors and windows to prevent air from passing through.

However, you should avoid using expanding foam in certain spaces such as close to electrical boxes and in properties where the homeowners may have respiratory issues. If you suffer or a member of the house has a condition such as asthma, the foam could cause some potential issues and alternative action should be taken.

What is the best way to remove expanding foam?

In some cases, the expanding foam may overexpand and land in areas you didn’t want, whether that is another part of the surface or your clothes or hands. The reaction and speed of action you take depend on the type of expanding foam that you use. For example, latex-based expanding foams are more flexible as they dry and therefore you can clean them when uncured with soap.

Conversely, some sealants require solvents whether the foam is still wet or uncured. It is vital that you try to clean and remove expanding foam as quickly as possible if it has over expanded. Acting quickly can make the job considerably easier whereas allowing the foam to harden will present more difficult challenges. Expanding foam can take between 5 minutes and an hour rot become tack-free and 8 to 24 hours to become fully cured.

What does ‘uncured’ mean?

One of the main components of uncured expanding foam is that it remains wet and therefore could cause issues when removal is required from surfaces or skin. There are different types of uncured expanding foam such as polyurethane foam and latex foam and each requires a different type of removal technique.

Polyurethane foam on skin for example can be removed with a paper towel and any residue can be taken off with baby oil or even petroleum jelly. If this type of foam has overexpanded on solid surfaces then there are solvents such as nail polish or acetone that can be used. It is worth looking at the expanding foam’s instruction manual as there may be some guidance in there. Alternatively, the latex-based foam may require soap and water for its removal.

How can I remove ‘cured’ expanding foam?

Cured foam can often present more difficult problems than uncured. If you have cured foam on a surface that has hardened then you may need some tools to remove it.

Sanding the foam can provide positive results whilst sharp blades, utility knives or a pumice stone can be useful allies when attempting to remove cured expanding foam. Sharp blades and knives are certainly an option for expanding foam that has hardened on rigid surfaces however these should never be used to remove it from your skin. You should use a pumice stone to rub off any hardened foam from your skin.

If you have any questions regarding removing expanding foam then you should seek out the advice of a professional. This is particularly important if the foam has become attached to your skin. Please do not attempt to remove it using sharp tools or without, at least, doing some research first. Additionally, you can find a range of expanding foams in our online store and therefore if you have any questions regarding the best type of your project or any potential issues they might cause please feel free to ask our helpful customer support team. They will be able to point you in the right direction.

Share this article

We use ‘strictly necessary’ cookies (or similar small data files) to provide you with the best possible website user experience. By clicking “ACCEPT”, you agree to such purposes. You can find out more and learn about how to withdraw your consent at any time, by clicking here: Privacy & Cookies Policy.

Cookie preferences

Google Analytics

User Experience (Strictly Necessary)

The website is built using Shopify. Shopify’s default cookies don’t collect any personal or sensitive information or IP addresses. The information that they store is not sent to any third parties, and they are used only to communicate with Shopify for the purposes of user authentication, form validation/security, and basic web application operations. To learn more, please see our Privacy & Cookies Policy.