Monday, February 18, 2008

"Great" stuff

Lessons from patching the basement:

* Do not store bagged cement products in damp areas.

I even checked the label before storing them on my garage floor, which gets damp in the winter from snow melting off my car.
No warning. So I figured the bags were moisture proof.

Guess not. At least it's a cheap mistake.

* Wear gloves when using Great Stuff spray foam insulation.

I was using this foam to fill cracks in basement walls and around windows. You squirt it in, and it expands within an hour to fill the space.

Now I will admit, I noticed a label near the spray nozzle, "Always wear gloves."

I ran out of gloves while painting the woodwork with oil paint.

Great Stuff didn't really specify why I needed gloves.

So I figured, "I'll just be careful." Mm-hmm.

I sprayed the gaps, then set about cleaning the hole in the floor where the coal room used to be, which still had a gallon or so of tiny coal shards.

That afternoon, I got in the shower to wash up and couldn't get my hands clean. Even with that "orange soap" they sell at Menards.

Two-thirds of my hands were stained mostly brown and in some spots pitch black. I should have taken a picture, but I left my camera at the flip and I was too surly to retrieve it.

I scrubbed with dish soap, mineral spirits, vinegar. Nothing.

My darkened hands were a DIY-ers' Scarlet A for not following instructions.

I consulted the Great Stuff web site. Under directions for use,

"Extremely sticky. Prevent skin and eye contact."

"CLEAN UP: On solid surfaces, uncured foam dissolves with acetone. For skin and solid surfaces, cured foam must be mechanically removed or allowed to wear off in time."

Mechanically removed? What?!?

Funny, under frequently asked questions, the first question:

"How do I get the foam off my hands?"

"If the foam has not cured or hardened, use acetone or fingernail polish remover (with acetone). If the foam has hardened, there is no solvent that will remove it. It will not harm your skin and will wear off in several days. To remove cured foam from skin, use a pumice stone (available at most drug stores) and warm, soapy water. Then apply petroleum jelly to soften your skin."

Can you imagine some beefy guy in a flannel shirt with blackened hands going to Walgreen's and asking for a pumice and nail polish remover?

Nail polish remover was minimally helpful. I scrubbed and scrubbed with a pumice, like a Witness Protection Progam enrollee trying to erase his fingerprints. My hands now look only mildly dirty.

ALWAYS WEAR GLOVES and don't play with coal afterward.


Ricky from RI said...

Oh my. Yes, I am familiar with the 'wear gloves when using this product'. I too chose to not to wear gloves, and described it much better than I. But the house is looking incredible. What did Mom and Dad think???

Love Your Cousin

littleitalygem said...

My wood-floor guy called late that afternoon to tell me he decided to put a fourth coat of polyurethane on the floors, so stay out until the next day.

I've used him twice, and he's only done three coats in the past.

My parents already were on their way to to see the flip!

They were halfway through the two-hour drive so they came anyway.

They thought it looked lovely from the doorways. :(