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Spray Foam Insulation - Open Cell or Closed Cell?

May 11, 2016

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.

Western Ontario

935 Keyes Drive
Woodstock, Ontario
Canada N4V 1C3

Phone: 1-800-265-1914

Fax: (519) 539-7946
TOLL FREE: 1-800-265-1914

Muskoka, Haliburton, Northern Ontario

1027 Elwell Park Road
Gravenhurst, Ontario
Canada P1P 1R1

TOLL FREE: 1-800-265-1914

Central Ontario

29 Ferndale Industrial Drive
Barrie, Ontario
Canada L4N 9V5

TOLL FREE: 1-800-265-1914

Greater Toronto Area

2 Guided Court
Etobicoke, ON
M9V 4K6

TOLL FREE: 1-800-265-1914

GTA East

103 North Port Road
Port Perry, Ontario
Canada L9L 1B2

TOLL FREE: 1-800-265-1914

South Central Ontario

450 Industrial Dr,
Toronto (Milton), Ontario
Canada L9T 5A6

TOLL FREE: 1-800-265-1914

Eastern Ontario

1035 Moodie Dr #1,
Nepean, ON
K2R 1H4

TOLL FREE: 1-800-265-1914

Niagara Region

25 Lincoln Ave
St. Catharines, ON
L2P 2C7

TOLL FREE: 1-800-265-1914


Great Northern Insulation - Better Business Bureau Profile.

Homestars Best of 2021 Award

Best of 2021

HomeStars has ranked Great Northern Insulation as a company that goes above and beyond in every aspect of business for the year of 2021.

Homestars Best of 2022 Award

Best of 2022

HomeStars has ranked Great Northern Insulation as a company that goes above and beyond in every aspect of business for the year of 2022.


GNI is the Authorized & Trusted Insulation and Air Sealing Installer for Lowe’s

Trusted for Over 40 Years

Over 40 Years in Business

At GNI, we service your project with the most experienced staff in the industry. Ongoing professional development is an obsession at GNI and we will not compromise at any level to bring to our customers the very best Installers, Sales Representatives, Customer Care Personnel, Field Superintendents, Estimating and Technical Support to your project.

100% Canadian

100% Canadian

Great Northern Insulation is recognized as Canada's largest full-service insulation contractor. GNI is 100% Canadian owned, proudly serving Ontario customers since 1980.

Foam Masters

Do it right the first time
- with foam mastersTM

January, 2021 regulatory phaseout of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) with the introduction of WALLTITE CM01. Using hydrofluorolefins (HFOs) with lower global warming potential (GWP) compared to HFCs, WALLTITE CM01 is the next generation of spray foam insulation.



Heatlok® Soya HFOTM leverages Honeywell’s latest Solstice® Liquid Blowing Agent technology. This new hydrofluoroolefin (HFO) blowing agent is the most environmentally conscious blowing agent produced to date, with a zero ozone depletion potential (ODP) and a global warming potential (GWP) of 1, which is more than two orders of magnitude (99.9%) lower than HFCs used in this industry.


3MTM products.
Quality + Performance = Savings

3MTM energy-saving products are designed to keep warm air in, and cold air out, while keeping energy bills down. Products optimize energy efficiency in buildings and homes; improve indoor environment for occupants; and effect the reduction of seasonal energy costs. 3M products are authorized for LEED credits (Leadership in Energy/Environmental Design).

Holmes and Holmes

Holmes and Holmes


Mike Holmes and his son Mike Jr. (MJ) convert MJ’s bachelor bungalow into a two-storey home for MJ and his girlfriend Lisa. Choosing the newest materials and build techniques, the father and son team follow Mike’s famous motto – “Make it right.” The show can be watched on HGTV and DIY Network.


Enbridge Incentives

The Home Efficiency Rebate Plus program offers up to $10,000 in home reno rebates – and Great Northern Insulation can pave the way.


Great Northern Insulation proudly abides by a renovation-specific Code of Conduct set by RenoMark™.


We are Verified & Bonded by eRenovate. When you choose to proceed with our services through their platform, you receive the gaurantees set forth through their program.

As Seen on Love It or List It

The GNI crew have been featured installing insulation on Love It or List It - have you seen our logo in an episode?

Climatizer Cellulose


CLIMATIZER PLUS cellulose insulation is manufactured from a minimum of 85% locally-sourced post-consumer recycled newsprint. Non-toxic additives are applied to the uniquely fiberized paper generating a building material with superior thermal and acoustic properties, as well as exceptional resistance to fire, moisture, mould and pests.

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