Open-Cell vs. Closed-Cell Spray Foam Insulation

open cell vs. closed cell

Spray foam insulation comes in two different types—open-cell and closed-cell. When insulating your home or commercial building, you must decide which of these types of spray foam insulation you want to use. They each have their pros and cons, and your choice could make a big difference in the cost of installation and the insulation’s cell vs closed cell insulation

Click here to view our open cell vs closed cell insulation infographic!

At Eskimo Insulation, we work with both open-cell and closed-cell spray foam insulation. We believe that they both have their place and are well suited to different applications.

An Overview of Open-Cell Spray Foam Insulation

Open-cell spray foam insulation is soft. The cell walls are broken, and air fills up all of the open space inside the material. Open-cell typically comes in a .5 lbs/cu.ft. density. The advantage of this lower density is that it provides an economic yield, making it about half the cost of closed-cell foam insulation.

A few important features of open-cell insulation include:

  • Expands to 120x its original size
  • Water passes through it, making it easy to detect leaks in the roof line
  • Excellent noise reduction…about twice as effective as closed-cell foam

Open-cell foam is used in a wide range of applications, such as for noise reduction in sound rooms, home insulation, metal buildings, under roof deck for semi-conditioned attics, and more.

An Overview of Closed-Cell Spray Foam Insulation

Closed-cell spray foam insulation is highly efficient. This structural insulation makes for an incredibly effective air barrier, and with its low moisture vapor permeability, it’s highly resistant to water. Its density is typically 2 lbs/cu.ft. Closed-cell foam also offers one of the highest R-values (resistance to heat flow) of any insulation on the market.

A few other important features of closed-cell insulation include:

  • Increases structural strength by up to 200-300x
  • Can be left exposed without risk of damage
  • Only FEMA-approved insulation

Common applications for closed-cell insulation include wine rooms, metal buildings, containers, and cold floors.


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