How to Remove Spray Foam

Written by danny donahue
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Spray foam is an effective means of insulating your home. Properly applied, spray foam leaves no gaps in your insulation for drafts and energy loss. But, there will be occasions where you need to access the interior of your walls to repair a pipe or electrical wire. These repairs will require removal of the foam insulation. In order to remove the spray foam, you will need a few supplies, a little time and some know how.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • 5-in-1 painter's putty knife
  • Dust sheets
  • Heavy duty, construction grade trash bags
  • Denatured alcohol
  • Clean, dry rags
  • Dust mask
  • Protective face shield
  • Heavy duty rubber gloves

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  1. 1

    Lay out dust sheets to protect the flooring and furnishings and catch any lose foam that falls away as you work. Shut off electrical power to the work area at the main breaker before beginning the project.

  2. 2

    Pull out the foam by hand and place the pieces into a heavy duty trash bag. Dig your finger tips into the foam and pull it free in chunks for disposal. Remove as much of the foam as possible in this manner, while being careful to avoid damage to any wiring hidden by the foam.

  3. 3

    Scrape away the remaining foam with your 5-in-1 painter's putty knife. Gently pry the foam from the wall and allow the small slivers to fall onto your dust sheet. Be careful not to cause damage to wiring and pipes beneath the foam. Do not touch exposed wiring with the putty knife.

  4. 4

    Wipe away any foam residue with a cloth soaked in denatured alcohol. Pour a small amount of the alcohol onto a clean, dry rag and gently wipe across any foam residue you want to remove to loosen it and wipe it away. Dispose of the used rags in an ecologically sound and legal fashion.

Tips and warnings

  • Spray foam is a non-biodegradable chemical compound. Please dispose of any chemicals in a way that is both legal and friendly to the environment.
  • Denatured alcohol is a harsh chemical compound that should be treated with caution and respect.
  • Please read the manufacturer's instructions before use of this, or any, chemical.
  • Always wear appropriate safety gear, like a face shield, rubber gloves, and a dust mask, when using or removing chemicals.
  • Never work in an area with live electrical wiring. Shut off power to the work area at the main breaker before beginning the project.

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