Everyone agrees that spray polyurethane foam does a great job at reducing air leakage. But which type of insulation makes the most sense: open-cell foam or closed-cell foam?
GBA presents two spray-foam experts — Jim Coler, the owner of Coler Natural Insulation in Ionia, New York, and Neal Ganser, a spray-foam consultant from Bozeman, Montana — who explain the advantages of the two main types of spray foam insulation.
Open-Cell Foam Beats Closed-Cell Foam
by Jim Coler
When shopping for spray foam insulation, many builders and homeowners are uncertain whether to choose an open-cell product or a closed-cell product. In my opinion, the choice is clear: for above-grade residential applications, the best choice is usually open-cell foam. In most cases, open-cell foam will be more economical, more flexible, and more forgiving with moisture than closed-cell foam. Read more…
Closed-Cell Foam Beats Open-Cell Foam
by Neal Ganser
Replacing long-obsolete insulation materials with closed-cell or open-cell spray polyurethane foam is a big step in the right direction for energy efficiency. Of the two types of foam, it is closed-cell foam that truly answers all of the building envelope’s requirements for long-term sustainability. Compared to open-cell spray foam, closed-cell foam has a higher R-value and is less vapor-permeable. Read more…
Get building science and energy efficiency advice, plus special offers, in your inbox.