If you’re building a house or upgrading your existing home, then you're probably familiar with polyurethane foam insulation. Also known as spray foam, polyurethane foam is considered the best insulation product on the market. Its easy installation, extreme durability and great resistance to the leakage of moisture, water and air are only a few of the factors! Polyurethane spray foam can be used for a wide range of applications, including attic crawl spaces, freezers and piping.
There are two main types of polyurethane foam spray: closed cell and open cell. The two have a lot of similarities. First off, they're installed almost the same way, and with the same equipment. They also are the two types of insulation with the highest level of energy efficiency.
However, there's actually a pretty significant difference between open and closed-cell spray foam insulation. These differences make a big impact on your decision when choosing between the two. Understanding the difference between open cell and closed cell foam insulation is important in determining what's best for your next insulation project.
Closed-cell polyurethane spray foam from Virginia Foam Insulators is a dense, airtight insulation. It can expand up to 30 times larger than it's liquid volume. The cells in Closed-Cell spray foam are condensed together, unbroken, and filled with an inactive gas for a high insulation value. When you're finished installing it, Closed-Cell spray foam has an air barrier of a 2 inch thickness.
Closed Cell insulation's advantages include strength and a high resistance to leakage of air or water vapor. Because closed cell spray foam has the highest R-value of all insulation, it is considered the best on the market. Its high density and extreme strength provide optimum insulation and also toughen the walls it's applied to.
It tends to be more commonly used than Open-Cell foam. Here are some of the best uses for closed cell foam:
Open-Cell Polyurethane spray foam is another airtight insulation. However, it's significantly less dense than closed-cell. Open cell spray foam is usually cheaper than closed cell because of this lower density. Less of the open cell foam than closed cell is needed to cover the same area per cubic foot.
Each of it's cells are broken which allows them to fill with air. Open cell foam insulation can expand up to 150 times larger than it's liquid volume. The high expansion volume can fill every nook and cranny of an insulated space. After installation is finished, this foam insulation gives home owners air barriers of 5 inches in thickness.
On top of being a good insulator for air, open cell polyurethane spray foam is a good insulator for sound. It reduces sound on impact, making it an effective sound proofing material.
Open-Cell is best used for insulating the following areas:
Although both are great products, Closed-Cell spray foam is the better option if you can afford it. It can be used in a wider range of spaces, and is overall more effective. However, Open-Cell insulation is still a better form of insulation than most standard forms. So if you need your project to be more affordable, open-cell is still a good option overall.