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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

Southwestern Ontario

7035 Industrial Drive
Comber, Ontario
Canada N0P 1J0

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

GTA East

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

TOLL FREE: 1-800-265-1914

GTA & 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


259 Campbell Street
Sarnia Ontario
Canada, N7T 2H3

TOLL FREE: 1-800-265-1914

Niagara Region

6260 Don Murie St
Niagara Falls, ON
L2G 0B4

TOLL FREE: 1-800-265-1914


Great Northern Insulation - Better Business Bureau Profile.


Best of 2017

From reputation to responsiveness, HomeStars consistently ranks Great Northern Insulation at better than 95% for customer satisfaction. Thanks to everyone for the great ratings! 

HomeStars 2018

Best of 2018

For the second year in a row, HomeStars consistently ranks Great Northern Insulation at better than 95% for customer satisfaction. Thank you again to everyone!

Homestars Best of 2019 Award

Best of 2019

For the third year in a row, HomeStars ranked Great Northern Insulation at better than 95% for customer satisfaction.

Homestars Best of 2020 Award

Best of 2020

For four years now, HomeStars has ranked Great Northern Insulation at better than 95% for customer satisfaction.


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

Enenrgy Savers

Energy Saving

Energy saving and energy efficiency is easier than one might think. Great Northern Insulation helps to identify performance issues, while taking advantage of improvement opportunities.

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

WALLTITE® ECO™ is a high-performance system, professionally installed by certified and approved specialists. Its C.C.M.C. approved (Canadian Construction Materials Centre) - with product quality guaranteed - and with installation by highly trained experts with the technical know-how to do the job right, the first time.


Gold Certification promise

GREENGUARD® Gold Certification ensures the strictest criteria for low-level chemical emissions. Certified products are safe for individuals with sensitivities (children/elderly) and safe for use in school environments and health-care facilities. The product certification is widely recognized by the LEED Rating System (Leadership in Energy/Environmental Design).

Insulthane Extreme

Insulthane® Extreme

For the ultimate in high performance spray foam insulation, Insulthane® Extreme is the professional choice for residential, commercial, and industrial application. With improved thermal performance over other products, Insulthane® Extreme has an exceptionally low Global Warming Potential (GWP). Considered environmentally friendly, this next generation spray foam insulation is non-ozone depleting, and exceeds specifications of other HFC product alternatives.


Multi-attribute product certification

ECOLOGOTM is an accredited sign of environmental performance – holistic – green – sustainable - and compliant with strict, third party standards. Life cycle criteria for product certification may include manufacturing and operations; health and environment; product materials and performance; and product innovation, development, and management.


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).


Baeumler ApprovedTM
Professional, Certified and Insured

Baeumler ApprovedTM gives you peace of mind when connecting with contractors, trades and home service providers. All Baeumler Approved members have demonstrated high quality work for customers and other trade professionals. Members must also have Workers Compensation, liability insurance of at least $1,000,000 and prove professional certification.

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 Energy Conservation Program provides incentives of up to $1,600 to customers who achieve energy efficiency and fuel savings – and Great Northern Insulation can pave the way.


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


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