Open vs. Closed Cell Foam Insulation

Whether you’re a homeowner who needs to re-insulate or a builder in need of insulation service, you may want more information on spray foam, one of the most commonly installed types of insulation.

You’ve probably come across the terms “open-cell” and “closed-cell” in reference to foam insulation. These are the two main types of spray foam. What do they mean? Which one is better? Which one should you install for your project? Keep reading to learn more about closed- and open-cell spray foam insulation.

Comparing Open-Cell & Closed-Cell Spray Foam

What is the difference between open-cell and closed-cell spray foam insulation?

Open-cell is a type of foam where the tiny cells are not completely closed. Open-cell foam cells are less dense and filled with air, which gives the insulation a spongy texture and a lower R-value (although it can achieve a greater R-value if not restricted by space). Low-density, open-cell polyurethane foams are similar to conventional polyurethane foams but more flexible. In general, open-cell spray foam insulation:

  • Helps provide an air barrier but doesn’t offer a water vapor barrier
  • Is frequently used for interior walls because it can help with soundproofing
  • Can be less expensive

Closed-cell foam insulation is much denser than open-cell. It has a smaller, more compact cell structure and has a higher R-value per inch. It’s also ideal for achieving a high R-value in narrower spaces. Closed-cell spray foam insulation:

  • Helps provide an air and water vapor barrier
  • Is often used in roofing projects or other outdoor applications but can be used anywhere in a home or building
  • Can be applied at very low temperatures
  • Helps provide wall racking strength in addition to impact resistance

We won’t sit here and tell you one is better than the other—it simply depends on your needs and situation. Our professionals will be able to assess your space and discuss your project, then determine the right solution.

Foam Insulation Installers Serving Indianapolis

Overhead Door Co. of Indianapolis & Muncie installs spray foam in homes and commercial buildings old and new, working with homeowners and builders/contractors. Contact us today to discuss your project and get a free estimate!