By now you’ve probably realized and decided after debating for a while that spray foam insulation is the best type of insulation for your home and you are correct! You know there are two types of methods; open or closed cell foam. Now the tricky part is knowing when to use closed-cell or open-cell foam in your home. Well let’s now make it harder than it should be, it is quite simple. First off, closed cell foam, as its name implies, are tiny foam cells that are closed and packed together, these are filled with gas that allow the foam to rise and expand and therefore allowing it to be a great insulator. Open-cell foam on the other hand, are tiny foam cells that are not completely closed, but rather opened. These are broken and allow the air that passes through to fill all of the “open” space inside this material making this form of foam a bit weaker or softer in texture than closed-cell foam. Open-cell SPF (spray foam) has an R-value around 3.5 per inch and typically uses water as the blowing agent. Closed-cell SPF has an Rvalue of around 6.0 per inch.
As you probably are able to tell, the advantages of closed-cell foam vs. open-cell foam include various things, such as its strength, higher R-value and its much greater resistance to the leakage of air or water vapor. Both of these types of foam insulation methods are commonly used in many or most building applications and the choice for which you should choose to use can vary and depend on many factors. Depending on the application area, only one type of foam would be appropriate to use.
Closed-Cell Spray Foam Insulation Method
Lets focus on when to use closed-cell spray foam, this insulation method can be used anywhere and is especially effective in attics and the rim joist cavities of your basement where the floorboards rest on the foundation. Closed-cell foam can be used in below grade or in flotation applications where water could be present because it rejects bulk water, something open-cell does not achieve. This foaming method would also be a good choice where small framing sizes need the greatest R-value per inch possible and it would be used for roofing applications as well. In other words, closed-cell SF is suitable for interior and exterior applications.
You may of realized that during the cold months and the hot summer days, that your energy bills go up and this could be do to a poor insulated home. How is that possible? For example, during a cold day your home feels like it needs a little bit of heating and you turn up the heater but if your home is not well insulated, all that warm air escapes and cold air enters making your heater run for a longer time. If this problem was to be resolved, imagine all the energy your be saving! The closed-cell system is a great air barrier for your home eliminating all sorts of air infiltration and optimizing your energy values. It is known that up to 40% of energy can be lost in a home due to air leakage. If this is the case in your home, closed-cell foam would be a great choice due to its high R-value it will insure maximum insulation and diminish air leakage making your monthly bills less expensive.