Finally, a foam gun that will last (I hope) - Fine Homebuilding

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Finally, a foam gun that will last (I hope)

comments (11) September 16th, 2010 in Blogs
JFink Justin Fink, Senior Editor


Years ago, I grew tired of spending money on disposable cans of spray foam. With the exception of some of the newer multi-use throw-away cans (see a video here), I knew the reusable spray foam guns were a better option. They hold larger cans of foam, can be stored between uses without hardening (as long as there is always a can on the gun), and allowed for much better control over the size of the bead of foam being sprayed.

Trouble is, I've gone through 3 guns in less than 3 years. Not the cheap ones, either. The last one I chose was $110, and sold by EFI, one of my favorite and most trusted online suppliers.

I figured if these guns would fail me, it would be due to hardened spray foam gumming up the inner workings. Turns out that my problem always seems to be cruddy trigger mechanisms and flow-control screws. Without exception, these problem areas were because of plastic parts stripping or snapping.

So what's the point of this blog post? To tell you that I'm having much better luck with the Great Stuff Pro 14 gun. All of the parts that matter are made of metal. It's highly adjustable from a micro size bead to a wide swath of foam.

If it gums up or breaks on me, I'll be sure to let you know immediately, but I've got my fingers crossed on this one...

Is it just me, or is anybody else having trouble with these tools?



posted in: Blogs, energy efficiency, weatherizing, water and moisture control

Comments (11)

ChaosTheory ChaosTheory writes: I have 2 guns of this brand and have run at least 35+ cans through of both fire blocking foam and adhesive foam. My only complaint is that the stupid hose tips end up falling off during use. I would like to redesign the tip section for better tip options.
One thing that will help out a lot is to slather some vasoline (or like product) on the screw threads and that fitting area. It makes the can replacement process a lot more effective and cleaner. I trashed my first one by not knowing this little tip, acetone cleaned it up enough but the threading section is not quite right now.
Posted: 4:57 pm on January 16th

tonyd1 tonyd1 writes: I wanted to share that when you need in tight places simply shrink an appropiate size electrical shrink tube on the end of the straw on Great Stuff. Its flat enough to go in the tightest places, especially doing windows , of course use the blue can for that.
Posted: 5:05 pm on September 28th

Dreamcatcher Dreamcatcher writes: I have had the Great Stuff Pro gun for at least two or three years now... but I have never got to use it. I got it unused on Ebay for a good deal, $25. It was only after it arrived I started looking around for the special cans of foam it uses, but no luck.

Several supply houses are willing to special order a case in for me but I don't need a case anytime soon so can't justify the expense of the extra inventory. Alternatively, there are plenty of places online to buy single cans but after you figure in shipping costs, it's way cheaper per oz to just stick with the disposables.

I would like to see a gun, adapter, or disposable can that works either way. Those with the gun would be able to attach a disposable can to their gun while those without the gun would just use it with the supplied tube and trigger. Seems like a no-brainer to me.....Get on it Great Stuff.

DC
Posted: 6:53 am on October 19th

MikeGuertin MikeGuertin writes: I have 4 of the GreatStuff pro foam dispenser guns. After 2 years occasional use all 4 are toast. Even though the cans have been left on for the duration something is going wrong - either the propellant is leaking or the foam is curing inside. I had high hopes for the gun due to the all-metal construction but no luck.

I plan to give gtmtnbiker's acetone cleaning a shot.
Posted: 6:04 am on October 17th

TheRenovator TheRenovator writes: I'm renovating a 100-year old house with plenty of gaps large enough to feel the wind blowing through last winter. I have bought a lot of tools in the last couple of years. Buying this gun was one of the best things I did. I have used plenty of the disposable cans in the past and can honestly say there is absolutely no comparison between them and the Great Stuff Pro gun. The ability to precisely adjust the flow rate means a lot less mess and no wasted foam. The gun is also very rugged—having survived several falls off my ladder. I can't imagine ever going back to the disposables.
Posted: 10:28 pm on September 19th

WallaWallaBuilder WallaWallaBuilder writes: I have owned the Great Stuff gun for a couple of years now and I paid about $70 for it. It is all metal and I have never had a problem with it. "IF" it gets gummed up the entire thing comes apart easily. I like the barbed tip so you can and hose if you need to get into really tight places. I always wipe off the tip of the gun and spray a little cleaner to remove any uncured foam and it works like a charm every time. I do run cleaner through it when I change cans. I used to use the Hilti and it was junk. We were dismantling it every time we used it and the plastic parts were just falling apart. This Great Stuff gun is awesome!
Posted: 6:41 pm on September 17th

bigcitybrom bigcitybrom writes: Don't waste money on a gun if you can do your work with the action of a can. I just replace the tubes on the cans with 1/2" I.D. vinyl tubing which can be purchased by the foot at most box stores for pennies on the dollar.

You can buy a lot of tubing and cans for the price of one of these guns, and use every bit of foam in the can at your convenience.
Posted: 2:39 pm on September 17th

ronaldsauve ronaldsauve writes: I have found the same problems, but not because of breakage as much as getting gummed up. My first gun was a Hilti, $90. I was dismayed to find there was no way to take it apart to do a thorough cleaning. It finally went in the trash. I have used the Great Stuff guns for a few years now, (I have 3, one with a plastic trigger), and they have worked out well for me. You can completely disassemble them to do a thorough cleaning.
Posted: 12:17 am on September 17th

JFink JFink writes: Great tips gtmtnbiker, and cleaning will solve gumming problems nicely. I'd also recommend preventive cleaning by screwing on a can of "cleaner" before swapping to a new can of gun foam.

Unfortunately, none of my issues were due to gumming up. Just flimsy plastic parts.
Posted: 4:38 pm on September 16th

gtmtnbiker gtmtnbiker writes: I want to also add that the disposable cans can be used multiple times. The key is to clean the straw and tips with the appropriate solvent. In the case of Great Stuff, it's acetone. I put a little bit in the nozzle part that connects to the can. You can see the liquid slowly work its way down the straw. You might need to add a little bit but eventually, the straw is clean. I also put a little bit in the part where the nozzle screws onto.

For DAP, use water since it's water-based. I prefer DAP for low expansion foam but I seem to encounter more issues with DAP cans not working because they're defective.
Posted: 1:38 pm on September 16th

gtmtnbiker gtmtnbiker writes: If your gun is gummed up, just clean it. I took mine apart and cleaned it with acetone. Good as new again.
Posted: 1:33 pm on September 16th

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