How to Choose: Closed-Cell vs. Open-Cell Insulation Foam
If you have decided to insulate your house and are looking for the right insulation for your needs, you may have stumbled upon spray foam insulation, one of the most popular forms of insulation today.
Spray foam insulation comes in two forms: open-cell and closed-cell insulation foam. To determine which one can meet your needs, read the article and find out how they are different from each other.
What is the Difference Between Open-Cell and Closed-Cell Insulation?
Spray foam is a chemical substance formed when two chemicals, isocyanate, and polyol resin, are mixed, and a chemical reaction emerges. Although it is sprayed out as a liquid, it forms a semi-solid expanding foam. Spray foam insulation is the type of insulation that makes use of this expansion as an alternative to traditional ways of insulation. It is especially good at filling in gaps, cracks, or cavities to prevent undesired airflow.
There are two types of spray foam insulation: open-cell and closed-cell. Open-cell spray foam insulation is lighter and more absorbent, whereas closed-cell polyurethane foam is denser and consists of closed holes formed during the expansion.
Open-cell and closed-cell insulation foam can be compared in many ways. See the table below.
Open-Cell Insulation Foam
Closed-Cell Insulation Foam
What is Closed-Cell Insulation Foam Used For?
With its high R-value and rigid form, closed-cell insulation foam is suitable for insulating buildings in areas with extreme temperatures.
Advantages of Closed-Cell Insulation Foam
Since closed-cell insulation foam has a higher R-value when compared to open-cell spray foam and many other types of insulation such as fiberglass or cellulose, it is a superior thermal insulator. Also, it is resistant to water and moisture. It is recommended for buildings in flood-risk areas. Besides providing perfect insulation for your house, it also strengthens the structure of the building with its rigid and strong form.
What is Open-Cell Spray Foam Used For?
Open-cell spray foam expands much more rapidly than closed-cell insulation foam; therefore, it is preferred to insulate larger surfaces more.
Advantages of Open-Cell Spray Foam
Open-cell spray foam can expand up to 100 times its liquid form after it is sprayed out, so it can easily cover the entire surface you want to insulate, filling even the tiny gaps or cracks.
Thanks to its cellular structure, open-cell foam absorbs sound better. It is a perfect choice to avoid noise pollution.
Open-cell foam lets moisture travel through instead of keeping it in. It prevents condensation and mold growth. It is a cheaper way of insulation than closed-cell insulation foam.
Furthermore, it is more eco-friendly when compared to other types of insulation materials with more waste materials.
What Type of Spray Foam is Best?
You can prefer either closed-cell or open-cell spray foam for various reasons. They both insulate; however, there are many differences between their forms or uses. Thus, it is not easy to tell what type of spray foam is the best. It all depends on your needs and preferences.
Open-Cell vs Closed-Cell Insulation R-Value
The R-value level is the most important indicator showing how well an insulation material can resist the conductive heat flow. The denser the insulation material, the higher the R-value is. Therefore, closed-cell insulation foam, denser than open-cell spray foam and other types of conventional insulation materials, has the highest R-value. Its R-value range is from 5.6 to 8. On the other hand, open-cell spray foam is lighter and has a cellular structure. It has an R-value of about 3.5 per inch.
Open-Cell vs Closed-Cell Insulation Cost
Open-cell foam is more affordable than closed-cell. It expands faster and a lot more in comparison to closed-cell. Therefore, it takes less open-cell foam to cover the area you want to insulate, which means a lower cost at the end of the day.
On the other hand, the closed-cell foam expands less than open-cell foam, and you need much more foam to insulate a designated area entirely. Therefore, closed-cell spray foam costs will be higher.
Which Insulation Should I Use?
Since both types have different features suitable for different goals, you should know what result you expect to decide which type is the best for you. If you live in an area with extreme temperatures and want to insulate large areas to improve the energy efficiency of your house, you’d better choose closed-cell foam.
On the other hand, if you are living in a place with a milder climate or willing to fill in the gaps or cracks in your house, open-cell insulation is an ideal option with its rapidly expanding and flexible form.
Beyond these, your budget is an important factor when choosing the best insulation for your house. Open-cell foam is more suitable for you if you are looking for a more affordable option. If you have allocated more money for the insulation process, you can choose to have closed-cell foam.
Open-cell or closed-cell insulation foam is different from each other in many ways. Now, it is time to think about which one you need for your specific project. Happy renovating!
Let customers speak for us
This is really my first time spray foaming a whole wall but this kit is pretty simple to use I haven’t finished yet and I did waste some so will probably be ordering a few more cans but the calculator seems to get you pretty close perhaps order extra can or two if this is your first time. The product seems to work great for insulating walls for remodeling my plan is to do a room at a time I have started in our guest bedroom then will move to our master bath and bedroom taking Sheetrock down spraying the walls and remodeling I feel this kit in this remodeling environment works better then having a foam insulation contractor just come do one room at a time.
works well, sprays out easily BUT remember to cover up, wear coveralls or long sleeve shirt it will make things easier on clean up
Product worked as described. Easy to use. Does not cover a lot of area with one can. Use for small jobs
I’m fully satisfied with my first time spraying Fastcoat Insulation Spray Foam into an old uninsulated wall. I had used another great product to spray foam into the same wall, and it worked well but required simultaneous mixing of two products under specific conditions. Needed the KrakenBond foam to finish the job, and it was so much easier to use and came with a great spray gun and nozzles that made the job simple and successful.
Worked great for the area I needed. Wry impressed!
This stuff is amazing and will always be my go to from now on!
It works pretty well on OSB sheathing but on metal tin you'll have to be sure to watch out for the Sunnyside getting to warm and bubbling up and not sticking very well. Otherwise I'd say I'll do better next time.
Had to insulate pvc pipes for furnace in attic’s. Work amazing turned a day of work into an hour
System worked well, applied quickly and easily
Works pretty great. Even when you mess up you can trim up after curing easily. When spraying overhead you will get little dots on you so use the goggles they send and wear the suit or paint clothes or something. Proper distance is key but overall I think it’s a great product and am working my way around the shop case by case. I’d recommend buying an extra can or two of the cleaner so there’s no issue with the gun. The gun is much better than I expected.
So far so good had to buy a few more cans to get to the 2 inches. Doesn't stink, no to messy
First of all I do not work for Krakenbond or any company I mention in this review.
Definitely use gloves saftey glasses and old clothes or disposable coveralls. This is a messier than dow froth-pak or vegabond ( see pictures of hoodie and glasses). Maybe if it came with better instructions on how to use and adjust the gun not so much blowback. I watched a video were they said to wet the area down to help expansion ( see pictures) the area i misted seemed to develop holes compared to non misted areas could be user error it was the first can. I easily achieved the board foot and thickness the stated which makes this a great deal for my situation of remodeling one room at a time. I would recommend getting 2 cans of cleaner, 1 to spray the tip and one to screw on the gun. screwing on and off the spray nozzle with gloves is doable but a pain. I was skeptical of the tips staying on never had a problem with anything, just wish better instructions there is a learning curve. This product does seem to take a little more time to set/cure than vegabond or dow froth pak (see pictures of finger print marks) also the product seems softer than normal closed foam more on the lines of a window/door foam by greatstuff.
I am very pleased with the product and price and would recommend to everyone. For those reviews were people say it would take 200 cans to do my garage it doesnt matter the price breaks down to $1.12 a square foot, if you want to get dow froth pak 200 at $389.00 at lowes which is basically $2.00 a square foot because it has less cans be my guest its your money.
Kraken spry foam was used on two different application. Traditional application on the walls of our business and it turned out excellent. The second application was for a 300 gallon bait tank that need to hold a specific temperature. The tank is odd shape and this spry foam worked excellent for the application! amazing stuff!
This did exactly what it was supposed to the cans ran down right to the end the expansion was spot on and the coverage was good
Which spray foam is best to use to prevent pest entry (mice, roaches, bees) from entering my townhouse if my neighbors have pests? I hear spray foam can do this even if the next townhouse is vacant. Baltimore, Maryland thanks you for your reply.
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