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What’s the Difference Between Open-Cell and Closed-Cell Spray Foam?

What’s the Difference Between Open-Cell and Closed-Cell Spray Foam?

February 7, 2020

There are various types of insulation materials available to homeowners. One of these is spray foam insulation, which is a little different from commonly used materials such as fiberglass or cellulose. To name one feature, spray foam insulation looks like shaving cream when it is first applied, but when it cures it turns into an impenetrable barrier. However, it doesn’t just end there!

More on Spray Foam Insulation

Before we tell you about the difference between open-cell and closed-cell spray foam, it’s important to know about what spray foam insulation is. Here are some important facts about spray foam insulation:

  • Spray foam, as we mentioned before, is softer during initial application but turns into a thick barrier when it cures.
  • To apply spray foam, a licensed contractor injects it through a nozzle into walls, attic floors or anywhere you would like to add insulation.
  • After application, it can expand up to 100 times its size to fill small and irregular spaces.
  • The R-Value of spray foam insulation varies depending on the density and thickness of the insulation material.
  • It prevents moisture and mold growth.
  • Spray foam insulation seals air leaks, saving up to 50% on heating and cooling costs.
  • A licensed contractor ONLY should apply Spray foam insulation.

What is Open-Cell Spray Foam?

Open-cell spray foam insulation is called “open-cell” because more than half of its cells (the bubbles that make up the foam) are open. In other words, open-cell spray foam is less dense, lighter and breathable. In addition, its material is spongier and more flexible compared to closed-cell spray foam. The R-Value of open-cell spray foam with a 1-inch thickness is R3.7.

Benefits of Open-Cell Spray Foam

  • Open cell spray foam expands more making it ideal for larger spaces.
  • Perfect for walls, attics and cathedrals.
  • Effective in reducing sound transmission.
  • It allows water to leak through and while this might not be great in preventing moisture, it can help you identify leak issues sooner.
  • It’s more affordable for closed-cell spray foam.

What is Closed-Cell Spray Foam?

Just like open-cell spray foam has open cells, closed-cell spray foam has completely encapsulated cells. Additionally, it is denser than open-cell spray foam, making it less breathable but a much better sealant. The R-value of this type of spray foam with a 1-inch thickness is R6.5.

Benefits of Closed-Cell Spray Foam

  • Closed-cell spray foam is more rigid and has medium density, making it a better insulation material.
  • Its rigid nature also adds to stabilizing the structure of your home.
  • It is ideal for small spaces.
  • According to FEMA, it’s flood resistant, making it an excellent moisture and vapor barrier.
  • It is effective in both exterior and interior applications.

Learn More about Spray Foam Insulation with DFW Thermal!

We hope this guide helps you understand the difference between open-cell and closed-cell spray foam. If you want to learn more about spray foam insulation and its different types, contact DFW Thermal today. Call us at 214-731-3115 or schedule an appointment online!