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Open vs. Closed Cell Foam Insulation

Spray foam is one of the most commonly installed types of insulation in both homes and commercial buildings. You may have heard of “open-cell” and “closed-cell” foam insulation and are wondering how they are different. What do the terms mean? Which one is better? Which one should you install for your project? Keep reading to learn more about closed- and open-cell spray polyurethane spray foam.

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 spray foam solution.

Foam Insulation Installers Serving Sacramento, CA

Gold Star Insulation installs spray foam in homes and commercial buildings old and new, working with both homeowners and builders. Contact us today to discuss your project and get a free estimate!

Where should you insulate in your home? Check out our interactive infographic:

Products We Install
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Energy Audits

Our team can help you save money with a home energy audit and air sealing services.

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Fiberglass

Our insulation team installs batt and blown-in fiberglass insulation.

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Cellulose

Environmentally friendly and effective, cellulose works well in homes and buildings.

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Spray Foam

Gold Star Insulation is a leading installer of spray foam insulation in the Sacramento area.

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Radiant Barrier

An attic radiant barrier can help keep your home cooler and more comfortable.

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Insulation Removal

Gold Star Insulation provides home insulation removal services.

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Air Sealing

We are committed to saving you money by sealing your attic—which is the main source of air leaks in the home.

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