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Suggestions on how to seal these gaps and holes in very tight space

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Mars
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Our HW cylinder is in the utility room, and the gap between the cylinder and the wall is extremely narrow. The previous owners didn't seal the gap between the floor and wall in a couple of places and there's a large hole around the pipework that vanishes into the walls. This used to be OK until last year when we had wasps nest under the utility room roof. Throughout the summer into autumn we had wasps emerging from the HW cylinder cupboard as they made their way down from the roof and out via the gaps and holes into the utility room.

Given the extremely tight space to work in, does anyone have any suggestions on a product (perhaps an expanding foam) that we could safely use to fill these gaps and stop the wasps coming down if they nest in the same place again?

I'm open to suggestions and good ideas.

holes

 

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Morgan
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I have it on good authourity that wasps do not reuse the same nest.

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Transparent
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Posted by: @editor

as they made their way down from the roof and out via the gaps and holes into the utility room.

... as they made their way down through what?
... the cavity/gap within the internal wall?

The risk of sealing up just the gaps at the lower end of such a route, is that you leave them to make as large a nest as they can within the wall.

Does that wall have a timber beam at the top which is visible in the loft space?

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(@homer_boy)
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Illbruck FM330 pro foam air seal.  

or if you can get your hand in buy some Tescon Vana tape and seal the whole rooms perimeter.   


   
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Transparent
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You'll need to substantiate why you've identified that specific sealant @homer-boy
What attribute does it have which a generic expanding-foam product doesn't?

Tescon Vana tape is also an unusual product to find being recommended here.
It's intended for airtight seals between insulation, moisture repellent or low-humidity sheeting during construction.

Both products are expensive due to particular mechanical features identified in their specifications.

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(@homer_boy)
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@transparent I’ve used both for years and find them the best for air tightness seals.  

the foam itself is a specific air tightness foam.  Standard foam could apply but I think for the couple of £ per tin it’s better.  Also the tape is seal sealing and very robust.  Try eBay as you can find rolls reduced.  


   
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Transparent
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Well that wasn't the answer I was expecting @homer_boy !

The Illbruck foam differs from generic PU (polyurethane) for two reasons:

  • it retains a specified elasticity after curing
  • it has greater adhesive properties

Whilst I can think of situations where those attributes would be especially useful, I wouldn't have considered them of significance for the wall-floor gap mentioned by @editor
I asked the question because I'd expected you to raise those issues.

I've checked prices today, and the brands of PU foam which I'd generally use are currently around £55 (for 12).
The Illbruck FM330 is between £112-£120 ish.

So I'd only be buying it if I was particularly after those attributes.

 

Now if only we could find a foam which incorporates insecticide properties, then @editor would be happy 🤨 

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Transparent
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@editor - I've just taken a moment to look if there are any environmentally safe ways to discourage wasps.
The answer is yes! 😎 

Predators include: Praying mantis, geckos, hedgehogs and badgers.
Useful to know, but not a great help if you want to prevent a nest inside the wall.

Aversions: wasps don't like certain aromas, including citronella, peppermint and spearmint.
Those would seem to offer a better approach.
You could either stuff mint leaves into the crack at the bottom of the wall,
or alternatively put drops of citronella oil into any crevice through which you think they are entering the house.

As a general deterrent, I can't see any problem with hanging bunches of mint stems in an attic.
They'll slowly dry during the summer, and leave the loft-space smelling great!

 

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Transparent
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@editor - if you do try any of these 'natural' approaches, please write it up on My Home Farm and add a link to it from here.

There will be others wanting to know what works... and, just as important, what doesn't!

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Mars
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@transparent, will do. Out of curiosity, why would be against sealing the bottom? The wasps can exit out the top of the roof. Why they choose to come down and exit into the utility room makes very little sense.

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Transparent
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If those wasps hadn't been exiting behind the water cylinder, how would you have known they were inside the wall?

Unlike bees, they don't limit the size of their nest.
How big do you think it would grow inside the wall cavity before you actually began to hear them?

image

On the plus side, wasp nests are exothermic.
So, if you wanted to, you could block the bottom of the wall, let them build as much as they want, and increase your EPC 😲 

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Mars
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Posted by: @transparent

If those wasps hadn't been exiting behind the water cylinder, how would you have known they were inside the wall?

Because we can see them entering via the slate roof tiles above the utility room. It's the first year they nested there, and we'd get 8-12 coming down the wall and entering the utility room... we'd open the windows and let them out. But there was a lot more entering and exiting via the roof. Maybe it makes more sense to try and seal the roof and prevent them coming in to start with.

 

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