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What’s The Difference Between Open Cell & Closed Cell Spray Foam In Colorado Homes?

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If you need to insulate your home, then you may have considered spray foam. After all, it is one of the best materials for resisting heat flow. It also creates an air barrier for enhanced energy efficiency and indoor air quality. However, there are two types of spray foam: open cell vs closed cell foam. Although they share many similarities, they have unique properties that should be taken into account when choosing spray foam insulation for different applications. Read on to learn more about them.

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Open Cell & Closed Cell Spray Foam: How Are They Different?

In this article, we discuss some of the differences between these two types of spray foam.

Spray Foam Cell Structure

Their names point to the appearance of small bubbles that make up these insulating materials. In the open cell spray foam type, the air bubbles have room left inside. This creates a softer and more flexible foam. Water may pass through, but retention is minimal and shape is maintained. Insulating properties won’t be compromised. In the closed-cell type, the bubbles have no space left. They are pressed together to create a rigid foam that blocks air and moisture. Structural integrity is superior.

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Density Of Spray Foam

Due to their cell structures, open-cell foam has a lower density than closed-cell foam. The difference is significant. It’s about 0.5lbs per cubic foot compared to 1.75 to 2.2lbs per cubic foot. The high density also makes closed-cell foam about 3 to 4 times heavier than open-cell foam.

R-Value Of Spray Foam Insulation

The R-value indicates a material’s resistance to heat flow. The greater the resistance, the better the insulation. Closed-cell foam is superior to open-cell foam in terms of R-value, with numbers ranging from 6 to 7 per inch compared to just 3.5 per inch. Homeowners should consider the recommended R-value for different regions of the US to see whether open cell foam would suffice or not.

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When installing spray foam, think about how the material will expand. The closed-cell foam expands to roughly an inch of thickness when sprayed. It is possible to add more layers to increase the total R-value, for as long as the space allows it. On the other hand, open-cell foam expands to 3 inches when sprayed. Most walls can only handle one application of this material, further limiting its potential for heat resistance. Spray foam expansion is a factor to consider.

Spray Foam Insulation Cost

what does it cost note depicting spray foam insulation cost

The two types of spray foams have different foam installation costs. Given the same amount of space, you will need more closed-cell foam for complete coverage because of its higher density. Multiple layers may be necessary, which means more time and higher labor costs. Consider all of these when budgeting for the insulation. Open-cell foam is cheaper per unit weight and is likely to involve only a single layer of insulation. You can save a lot of money with it.

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Choosing the Best Spray Foam Insulation for Various Applications In Fort Collins

The right choice will depend on your priorities for your home insulation project. Write down what you want to achieve for clarity. What is your main concern? What are you willing to compromise on? Are there things beyond your control that are forcing your hand to choose one over the other? Have realistic goals to make better decisions. Below are a few situations that illustrate how you can make your selection.

Building Code

image of efficiency sign depicting r-value of open cell vs closed cell spray foam

Every structure must adhere to the local building codes. These are rules that ensure the safety and comfort of the home’s occupants. If the building code in your area calls for a high R-value, you may need to get closed-cell foam to adhere to it. Open-cell foam only has half the R-value for an inch of thickness, and the expansion of this material makes it difficult to apply it more than once on standard walls.

Spray Foam Budget Allotment

If the application is not too sensitive to the R-value, then both types would be viable. You will have to check other factors that may influence your decision to go one way or the other. For example, you might have a tight budget for the insulation because there are other home improvement projects that you need to think about. You can save a significant amount of money by opting for open-cell foam. Both material and labor costs are cheaper.

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Environmental Conditions

Will the foam be sprayed on the building exterior? Is it in a location that is likely to get a lot of moisture exposure? Then you will have to prioritize water tightness. Closed-cell foam is the ideal choice in this case because it will shrug off water and keep it out of the building. You won’t have to worry about water retention and its accompanying issues.

Site Accessibility

A home with odd-shaped rooms will have lots of nooks and crannies that are difficult to reach. It is difficult to insulate their surfaces. Spray foam is the ideal solution because the nozzles can go to tight spaces. To be more specific, open-cell foam is better than closed-cell foam in this case because of its greater rate of expansion. It can seal hard-to-reach areas more effectively.

Sound Dampening

image of homeowner covering ears due to poor soundproofing

Insulation can help in reducing the amount of sound that passes through a wall. Among spray foams, the open cell type can perform better in sound dampening because of its thicker, softer, and low-density material. Just remember that this cannot provide complete soundproofing. You will need to add special sound barriers and noise absorbers to achieve this.

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Open cell and closed cell spray foams have their own unique properties. Depending on the application, one may prove to be more suitable than the other. Get familiar with what they have to offer so that you get the appropriate insulation for your home. Consult experts to lean on their knowledge and experience. They also have the skills to ensure excellent installation.

Open Cell Vs Closed Cell Foam Fort Collins Colorado

As you can see, when dealing with insulation in your home, consulting with a professional installation company is the best option. There are a lot of factors to consider when it concerns the installation of insulation such as insulation types, quality of insulation, safety, and more. Ascend Construction specializes in insulation removal and installation, energy conservation, energy audits, whole house fan installations, and more in Fort Collins, Colorado, and the neighboring areas.

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Contact Ascend Construction for a free consultation today. We can provide you with practical solutions to address the problem areas in your Fort Collins home. All of our services are affordable and our work is guaranteed. Click here to contact us or click the button below to give Ascend Construction a call. We offer free, no-obligation, in-home consultations.

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