When it comes to spray foam insulation, many people wonder what the difference is between open cell and closed cell. Is one better than the other, are they used for different purposes, is one type cheaper than the other? Our Austin spray foam insulation professionals will explain the differences below so that you can decide what’s best for your situation.
Open cell spray foam insulation has a lower R-value at about 3.5 per inch and is lower density, so it has a lower heat flow resistance than closed cell spray foam. Open cell spray foam is not as rigid as closed cell, and has a lower strength along with a somewhat “spongy” or softer appearance. Because it is more porous than closed cell, it is more susceptible to moisture or water damage. However, when used in the right applications open cell spray foam is highly effective, providing a good sound barrier when installed in media rooms and frequently used in residential construction, beneath roof trusses, and more. Open cell spray foam isn’t recommended for exterior applications, however it is generally less expensive and a good choice for interior applications.
Closed cell spray foam insulation has a high R-value at about 6.0 per inch and provides an extremely effective air barrier. Highly resistant to moisture/water penetration, closed cell spray foam is rigid and known for its strength. The higher density of closed cell makes it a good choice for applications such as walls, attics, roofs, ceilings, crawl spaces, commercial buildings, and others. Closed cell spray foam insulation also increases wall strength and creates an excellent vapor barrier. Because it is waterproof, closed cell reduces mold, mildew and other moisture issues. As you have likely guessed, this type of spray foam insulation is typically more costly than open cell, however it pays off in the long run.
Either type of polyurethane spray foam insulation is better than traditional fiberglass, and both are excellent when used in the right application. Spray foam expands into all of those tiny spaces, something that’s often difficult to achieve with batted and rolled or blown in loose-fill insulation. To learn more about the pros and cons of all of the various types of residential and commercial insulation, give the Austin insulation experts at HabiShield a call today!