Spray Foam Insulation – Open Cell or Closed Cell?

With spray foam insulation, there continue to be a number of on-going debates. In fact, whether it’s a homeowner, homebuilder, or contractor, many of the debates have similar themes. Is it the right product for the job? Does it deliver good value? What’s the best approach to application? For Great Northern Insulation, many of the answers are straightforward – spray foam insulation is simply the best product for the job, and the most comprehensive installation of any product.

In short, when spray foam insulation is part of a complete “insulation system”, it delivers more benefits than anything comparable. The installation space is sealed airtight. The installed R-Value is substantially higher than other products. Moisture levels are better controlled. And structural strength is enhanced in the application area. In the building structure itself, energy efficiency is optimized:  HVAC equipment operates more efficiently, and seasonal energy costs are reduced.

When it comes to product options, spray foam insulation (known as Spray Polyurethane Foam) is available as “open-cell” foam or “closed-cell” foam. This is precisely where a trusted insulation contractor can be valuable on a project – assessing the needs of the job, and suggesting the best approach to installation. For the install team at Great Northern Insulation, SPF has become the “go-to” product for residential, commercial and industrial applications, regardless of project size.

Open-Cell Spray Foam Insulation

Leaving technical aspects aside, open-cell spray foam is impermeable to air and semi-permeable to moisture. It’s less expensive than closed-cell foam; it provides lower R-Value per installed inch; and consequently requires a thicker application layer. Depending on location, structural framing, and R-Value requirements, open-cell foam may well be the most cost-effective installation.

In most cases, the open-cell application will require a separate vapor barrier to ensure effective moisture control. Whatever the case, this is an application that requires product experience and installation expertise – it’s not a weekend DIY project. The chemicals must be prepared properly, and the foam itself must be applied comprehensively – without any gaps, cracks, or voids.

Closed-Cell Spray Foam Insulation

Closed-cell spray foam, often referred to as two-pound foam, has a density of approximately 2 lbs. per cubic foot, and an R-Value of up to 6.5 per installed inch. Because of the nature of the product, closed-cell foam is more expensive than open-cell foam, but more advantages. The application is multi-functional, serving as a combination air barrier, vapor barrier, and thermal insulator.

As a quality approach to insulation, Great Northern Insulation installs WALLTITE ECO™, closed-cell spray foam that’s certified by EcoLogo. It’s an installation that exceeds the specifications of the National Building Code of Canada, and meets the requisites of GREENGUARD® Certification, which ensures maximum indoor comfort and air quality for the occupants and residents.

WALLTITE ECO™ meets air barrier requirements AND thermal insulation requirements in ONE application. The product adheres effectively to any substrate, conforms to any shape and contour, and allows for a completely seamless envelope, wherever installed. WALLTITE® and WALLTITE ECO™ are equally effective in new construction, retrofits, and renovations of all types.