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Products, continued

Insulation and Air Sealing

Denim Draft Stopper.

What's worse than installing fiberglass building insulation? Not much. Instead of itchy and irritating insulating products, how about one that's about as comfortable as an old pair of jeans? Ultra Touch Cotton Fiber Insulation is made largely from denim scraps, so handling and installing the product requires no protective equipment or other special measures. According to the manufacturer, the borate-treated product performs better than fiberglass in extreme cold, is not as attractive to rodents and insects, and has excellent fire resistance (class 1). The 3 1/2-inch, R-13 product runs about 50¢ per square foot, and the 5 1/2-inch, R-19 runs about 70¢ per square foot.

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Bonded Logic, 480/812-9114, www.bondedlogic.com.

Soy-Based Foam.

Spray-in-place foam is among the best-performing insulation products; builders applaud its air-sealing and moisture-management properties. But most spray foams have a petroleum base that's a thorn in the side of many environmentally conscious consumers and builders. BioBased 501 Spray-in-Place Foam is soybean based, making it more appealing to the eco conscience. According to the maker, the foam is pest resistant and has all of the other attributes of more typical spray-in-place foams. Installed prices run about 85¢ to $1.25 per square foot.

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BioBased Systems, 800/803-5189, www.biobased.net.

A Foam for All Seasons.

Promising a wider temperature range for installation and better performance than typical foam sealants, Dow's Great Stuff Pro is the newest addition to the company's line of urethane sealants. The Pro line includes expanding, minimal-expanding and low-pressure formulas, as well as four dispensing guns. The low-pressure formula is probably the most noteworthy. Designed specifically for sealing around doors and windows, it won't distort window frames and doorjambs while it cures, and it stays soft to better accommodate seasonal movement. Minimal-expanding and expanding formulas sell for $8 to $10 per can; the window and door formula goes for $10 to $12 per can.

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Dow, 888/668-3801, www.dowgreatstuff.com.

Backer.

Take a good look at just about any tube of caulking, and the directions will tell you to install foam backer rod before filling gaps greater than 1/2 inch. That's all well and good, but have you ever tried to actually buy backer rod? Unless you have a supplier that's really into weatherization supplies, the inexpensive yet important product is hard to find. That may be changing. Dap has introduced its own backer rod, and any dealer who sells its widely accepted caulks and sealants should carry the rod as well. Ask them.

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Dap, 888/327-8477, www.dap.com.


On the Job: Fast-Acting High-Performance Glue

By Derrell Day

FastCap (888/443-3748, www.fastcap.com) recently introduced a new CA (cyanoacrylate) glue, 2P-10, that's fast setting and virtually unbreakable. As a test, I mitered and glued several 4-inch pieces of baseboard together, and no one's been able to break them apart yet. At least not without stomping on them.

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Like most industrial CA-type glues, 2P-10 comes in two parts. The adhesive is dispensed from a squeeze bottle, and the activator comes in a separate aerosol can. It's available in three formulas: medium viscosity for melamine and smooth surfaces, thick for raw wood-to-wood, and a gel for heavier and vertical applications. What's great about this product is how fast it sets. Glued miter returns are done in about 15 seconds without a visible glue line, and, unlike most other CA glues, no white residue is left behind.

Most of my work is stain grade, and this glue even works on joints that are still wet with oil-based stain. I always keep a stain pot at my miter table so I can touch up after making a cut. After I've wiped away the excess stain, I can glue the joint right away. The difficult part is getting the parts aligned quickly and holding them tightly, while simultaneously "rolling" your fingers away from the joint. If you aren't careful, you can become a part of your work. A debonder is available and is probably a good investment.

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I haven't touched a miter clamp since I started using this product. I apply the glue to one side of the joint and spray the activator directly onto the glue. At first, I sprayed the activator on the opposing piece as suggested by the instructions, but I found applying the activator to the glue really speeds things up. I've been able to speed up the bond time to about 8 seconds. The glue completely cures in about 30 seconds when you apply the accelerator, but if you need a little more working time, you don't have to use it.

As for shelf life, I've had the product for about four months, and even though the label says store at 70°F, I keep it in my tool trailer, which can reach about 130°F during the day. I haven't detected any change in performance or viscosity, and I haven't had a joint failure ever. I've used this stuff on MDF and various woods, all with excellent results, and I haven't noticed any lingering or obnoxious odors. Even though $30 for an 8-ounce bottle seems a little pricey, the bottle (thick formula) I've been using for four months is still half full. What I've saved in time far outweighs the cost of the glue. This is the good stuff — what more can I say?

Derrell Dayis a general contractor in Panama City, Fla.