Open cell or closed cell? They differ in densities and other aspects that can be beneficial or detrimental in a given application. Each type of foam distinctly impacts project costs, application methods, and building performance. The deciding factor in opting for either open-cell or closed-cell foam is frequently based on application-specific performance characteristics like the structural integrity, control of water vapor, and the amount of available space to install the foam.
OPEN CELL SPRAY FOAM APPLICATIONS
Open cell spray foam applications are spray-applied as a liquid, expanding to 100 times its volume. Once applied, the product cures within seconds, filling every crack and gap. The tiny cells expand at such a rapid rate that they break apart and fill with air, creating a soft, almost spongy end product. The rapid expansion of open cell foam creates a perfect air-tight seal using less material than closed cell foam, thereby creating a lower cost per R-Value.
CLOSED CELL SPRAY FOAM APPLICATIONS
Closed cell is the denser and more common of the two types of polyurethane spray foam. Closed cell spray foam insulation is a more slowly expanding product, resulting in an expansion of approximately 40 times its initial volume. The closed cell nature of this type of foam creates a tightly packed cell structure that is more rigid and dense than open cell foam, giving closed cell foam a higher R-Value per inch. With closed cell being four times the density of open cell foam, the cost per R-Value is higher for closed cell foam than that of open cell foam insulation. Closed cell foams feature better insulation because of this resistance, and are also more resistant to water degradation or penetration, which includes moisture build-up.