Open vs Closed Cell Foam

January 3rd, 2009

Open Cell vs Closed Cell Foam

One of the most common questions people have once they start considering Spray Foam insulation is “Should I use Open or Closed Cell Foam”. International Insulation Contractors, Inc. Sprays both open and closed cell foams. The intent of this page is to give the reader some practical knowledge about the differences between the foams as well as links to additional resources for further investigation.

Open cell foams- what does this mean? In simple terms it means that the majority of the individual cell structures are “open” or “broken”. The benefit of a foam with open cells is that you get a superior insulating product over conventional insulations at a reasonable price. Open cell foams offers a greater ability to install when the target area is crowded with obstacles or has “bad access” meaning that the applicator is not able to be applied straight on the targeted substrate.

One area where open cell foams out perform closed cell foams is in sound deadening. Most sound travels through air movement. Both open and closed cell foams are air barriers and therefore good sound barriers. This means that both foams will do a good job of “blocking” or “deflecting” external noise from your buildings or other insulated spaces. Open cell foams however will in effect “absorb” the sound as does carpet, soft furniture and heavy drapes or tapestries.

Although open cell foams have a higher noise absorption than closed cell, open cell foams fall short compared to closed in R value and moisture Retention. Most open cell foams have a .5# cubic foot density. These foams have an R-Value around 3.5 per inch. Open cell foams can have up to a 1.2# cubic foot density which is an R-Value of around 5 per inch. Closed cell foams typically have an R-value of around 7 per inch. Open cell foams can and will take on moisture. Their unique cell structure will allow them to dry out thus regaining their insulating value diminished by the moisture; however the presence of the moisture is negative and could lead to mold growth. Thus when using open cell foams it is important to have properly installed weather resistant house wrap on the exterior of the building and a vapor retarder of .1 perms or less on the interior or warm side of the insulated space. We recommend using an approved vapor retardant primer paint. Most closed cell foams will meet a perm rating of .1 or less at or around 2″ of sprayed foam. This eliminates the need for a vapor retardant on the warm side of the insulated space and virtually eliminates the possibility of mold growth within the foam.

When to use Open Cell Foams?

Use open cell foams when cavity space allows for enough open cell foam to meet your desired R-Value and when your project budget does not allow for closed cell foams. Open cell is ideal for most sound dampening. IIC can and will bring both open and closed cell foams to your job site.

Closed Cell foams: Where as 90% or greater of the individual cells in open cell foams are open the inverse is true of closed cell foams. In closed cell foams the cells are filled with a gas that increases its insulating value. These closed structures also provides greater strength and stability then open cell foams. This closed “tight” structure prevents the passage of air, water and moisture vapors if applied thick enough, usually 2+ inches. This last quality of closed cell foam is often viewed as its greatest. Because moisture vapors will not pass though closed cell foam, mold spores can not grow for they need nutrients, oxygen, moisture and favorable temperatures Closed cell foams stave mold spores of all these needs with the exception of favorable temperatures Molds can not survive on this alone. See article on molds for more info.


124 Responses to “Open vs Closed Cell Foam”
  • She signed with Jive Data in 1997 and launched her debut album …Boy or girl man or woman extra Time in 1999. Buy Britney Spears tickets.

  • What a good post! Where can I find more information? Thanks a lot!

  • I was looking for this the other day. i dont usually post in forums but i wanted to say thank you!

  • Good share, great article, very usefull for us…thanks.

  • This is actually very worthwhile, thank you for writing it. You should also check out our web site. Our company is a property improvement provider that offers services in Nj and Philadelphia Community area in Pennsylvania.

  • I must state that your entire blog site content and articles is very nice. It is usually not easy to manage this kind of top quality in the blog site. Carry on the good job.

  • I don’t usually post on blogs but had to on yours. You have a very easy to read writing style. I really enjoy posts about this topic, they give me a lot to reflect on. I don’t have time to read everything right now, I found this site when looking for something else on Yahoo, but I’ve bookmarked your homepage and will check back soon to see the latest thoughts.

  • This is a subject close to my heart. Cheers, where are your contact details though?

  • I can see that you are an expert at your field! I am launching a website soon, and your information will be very useful for me.. Thanks for all your help and wishing you all the success in your business.

  • However thank you for this blog.I will are available back again.

  • The beauty of these blogging engines and CMS platforms is the lack of limitations and ease of manipulation that allows developers to implement rich content and ‘skin’ the site in such a way that with very little effort one would never notice what it is making the site tick all without limiting content and effectiveness.

  • Great read. Thanks for the info!

  • Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more information? It is extremely helpful for me.

  • Please let me know if you’re looking for a article author for your site. You have some really great articles and I feel I would be a good asset. If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d absolutely love to write some content for your blog in exchange for a link back to mine. Please shoot me an e-mail if interested. Cheers!

  • I couldn’t have really asked for a more rewarding blog. You’re there to give excellent tips, going instantly to the point for straightforward understanding of your subscribers. You’re surely a terrific pro in this arena. Thanks for being there human beings like me.

  • What youre saying is completely true. I know that everybody must say the same thing, but I just think that you put it in a way that everyone can understand. I also love the images you put in here. They fit so well with what youre trying to say. Im sure youll reach so many people with what youve got to say.

  • What’s Happening i am new to this, I stumbled upon this I have found It positively useful and it has helped me out loads. I hope to contribute & assist other users like its helped me. Good job.

  • I adore your website.. excellent colours & theme. Did an individual design this site oneself or maybe have you actually rely on someone else to do it for you personally? Plz answer while I!|m planning to design and style my very own blog site as well as want to learn where by u became this specific through. thanks

  • Everyone loves your blog post.. very nice colorings & motif. Have anyone layout this amazing site your self and also would people rely on someone else to get it done for you personally? Plz react since I!|m aiming to style and design by myself blog and also would like to recognize exactly where you obtained the following by. thanks a lot

  • I don’t unremarkably comment but I gotta admit thankyou for the post on this great one : D.

  • I was looking for this the other day. i dont usually post in forums but i wanted to say thank you!

  • [...] Read more … [...]

  • This is a good blog. Keep up all the work. I too love blogging and expressing my opinions.

  • I adore your website.. good hues & design. Did people style and design this website yourself or perhaps performed you hire someone to get it done for you? Plz respond since I!|m aiming to layout my own, personal website as well as want to recognize wherever u became this kind of from. many thanks

Leave a Reply