Open Cell vs Closed Cell Foam Insulation

When it comes time to insulate your home or business, there are numerous varieties of insulation to choose from and at times it might feel overwhelming to decide. The two types that tend to cause the most confusion are open cell and closed cell spray foam insulation. Both products work in different ways, therefore having different strengths and weaknesses.

These products are called open and closed cells because of differentiation in the structure of the foam. The little bubbles (cells) that make up the foam are either purposely left open or closed. Closed cells prevent air/moisture from getting inside the foam which makes it more stable and gives it a higher density than open cell. The R-value of closed-cell foam is also significantly higher than the open cell. The definition of R-value regarding insulation is “a measure of how well a two-dimensional barrier resists the conductive flow of heat,” so overall it’s how well a layer of insulation insulates your space.

Open-cell has an R-value of about 3-3.5 per inch whereas closed-cell is valued at around 6-7 per inch. This is significant because of its direct correlation with the expansions of these products. Closed-cell only expands about an inch and while delivering a higher R-value, allows for more layers to be applied. Comparatively, open-cell typically expands 3 inches (which usually allows for only 1 layer of application), but only provides about half of the R-value per inch. With a 3-inch expansion, open-cell is more efficient in insulating those tiny hard to reach areas that closed-cell would most likely miss, and its thickness makes it a more effective sound barrier.

Ultimately, the specific needs of your home or office space, budget, and location of the home should all be carefully taken into consideration when choosing closed or open-cell foam and here at Great Lakes, we have team members with years of experience to help you make those tricky decisions! Call 989-575-0190 for your free estimate today!