Is Open or Closed Cell Insulation Better for Your Project?

Whether you are preparing to build a new residential or commercial property from the ground up or you are thinking about making an energy-efficient upgrade to an existing property, the decision about which type of spray foam insulation to use should be made with care. The two most basic variations of insulation are open and closed cell options. While spray foam in general is a more advantageous option than the alternatives, you should learn more about the differences between open and closed cell insulation before you decide which type of insulation is right for your project.

Insulation Properties

When you install insulation in a building, your primary objective will be to protect against energy loss and temperature change. Closed cell insulation typically has a much higher R-value than open cell insulation. This is because closed cell insulation is usually much more dense than open cell insulation. However, it is important to note that there are other differences between these two materials that may make one more beneficial for your project than the other beyond insulative properties.

The Cost of the Insulation

Cost is always a consideration when you are working on a renovation or construction project. Insulation costs can be expensive, and you understandably want to keep costs for your project as low as possible. Because open cell insulation is less dense and has drawbacks in other areas that will soon be discussed, it generally is much more affordable than the closed cell option. Insulation installation costs vary by location. You can easily request quotes for the installation of each one to learn more about the savings available through the installation of open cell insulation versus the closed cell alternative.

Where the Insulation Will Be Placed

Insulation is most commonly installed on exterior walls of residential and commercial buildings, but it may also be installed in interior walls of some projects. This is because it can offer energy efficiency benefits and serve as a noise buffer between the rooms. Open cell insulation is not a moisture barrier, and because it is less dense than closed cell insulation, it does not offer the wall support that may be needed with exterior walls. Typically, open cell insulation is only installed on interior walls of a structure. Closed cell insulation, on the other hand, can be installed throughout interior and exterior walls alike.

Other Factors to Keep in Mind

The heat resistance capabilities of open cell insulation are lower than the closed cell alternative. This may not be a factor in many situations. However, in cases of extreme heat, the open cell insulation can fail. The reality is that open cell insulation may be more affordable to install, but it may be more expensive to have in your property over the long run. This is because it offers less energy efficiency and may lead to expensive repair issues related to failure, wall strength, moisture buildup and more.

If you are trying to keep costs as low as possible for your project while also creating the most energy efficient and noise-controlled environment, it may be wise to install a combination of insulation materials on your property. For example, you can take advantage of the better insulating properties of closed cell insulation on the exterior of the building while installing more affordable open cell insulation on the interior of the building. Your general contractor may be able to provide you with more information and advice that is customized specifically to fit your needs and the scope of your project.

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