Closed Cell Vs. Open Cell Foam Insulation

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Polyurethane foam is a product made from long chains of inorganic materials known as polymers. When combined with other chemicals, polyurethane is often used for foam insulation, of which closed cell and open cell are the two possible varieties.

Structure

  • With open cell foam insulation, there are tiny spaces between the particles of foam that are open to the air; with closed cell foam, these small spaces are closed off and packed together.

Appearance

  • Open cell foam insulation has a softer, fluffier appearance, and closed cell foam insulation is harder and more compact.

R-Value

  • Insulation is rated by its R-Value (or how much resistance the insulation has to the flow of heat). Open cell foam insulation has an R-Value of 3.5 per inch, and closed cell foam has an R-Value of 6 per inch, meaning that closed cell foam is more effective at keeping warmth inside of your home in the winter, according to Fomo Products.

Sound

  • Though it provides less protection from drafts, open cell foam insulation does block out more outside noise than closed cell foam.

Moisture

  • Open cell foam insulation is more vulnerable to the effects of water, making it less effective to prevent against leaks than closed cell foam insulation.

Cost

  • Because closed cell foam is more dense than open cell foam insulation, more of the material is needed to insulate a similarly sized area. Because of this, closed cell foam insulation is more expensive than open cell.

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