Closed Cell Spray Foam Insulation Problems | Mass Foam Systems


Closed Cell Spray Foam Insulation Problems & Benefits

Icynene® closed cell foam is a rigid foam ideal for flooring, ceilings and external applications. Due to the closed cell structure, it has increased energy efficiency and improved indoor air quality.

What is the difference between closed cell spray foam and open cell spray foam?

Spray insulation can be referred to as either closed cell or open cell depending on the variation of the cells that make up the foam insulation. The closed cell spray foam is made of cells that are completely closed such that air and moisture are unable to penetrate the foam. This ensures the closed cell foam is stable and rigid. The open closed cell spray on the other hand is made up of cells that are deliberately left open hence a softer and much more flexible material. Spray form insulation works to improve energy efficiency, the indoor air quality of your home and increase your home’s structural integrity.

What are the benefits of closed cell spray foam?

It is commonly used in industrial and commercial buildings, pole barns and metal buildings. The upside of using closed cell spray foam is that it can be used in any environment even in temperatures of up to -10C. The closed cell acts as a barrier against water and moisture entering inside your home and the foam cannot be damaged by water. Additionally, the rigid nature adds to the structural sturdiness of a building.icynene-certified-installers

What are the benefits of open cell spray foam?

Open cell foam expands so much after application such that it ends up insulating every corner and space that is normally hard to reach. It is also a good choice for soundproofing because it can completely fill up the area between studs. Since vapour can penetrate it, it is able to dry out through diffusion in case it becomes wet. Generally, open cell foam is suited for residential areas especially exterior walls, attic floors and roof lines.

Problems of closed cell spray foam

Problems normally arise because of wrong application and not the product itself. If you apply a very thick layer of spray foam insulation, the foam will end up peeling away from joists while it’s expanding leaving air gaps. Accuracy is very important otherwise if you apply in a rush there’s a chance that some parts will be left not insulated. Since closed cell doesn’t fill up completely an area, you might need to do a spot check just to make sure no space is left. Therefore, it is important for contractors installing the spray foam to understand the building envelope so that they don’t end up spraying either too much or too little.

Common reasons for problems with closed cell spray foam:

  • If too thick of a layer of spray foam insulation is applied, the foam can peel away from joists whilst it’s expanding, leaving air gaps that Icynene® is designed to fill
  • Accurate precision is required; if the application is rushed there’s a risk that parts will be missed

Problems of open cell spray foam

All insulation requires proper instalment for it to work. If the spray foam insulation chemicals are not mixed properly, it can cause the insulation material to pull away from the cavity where it was applied. Also, the open cell spray foam has to be installed at a required thickness before it can create an air barrier efficient to keep your home warm or cool. This means that if the spray foam will not be applied with precision, it may end up not working. If your contractor fails to apply the spray foam at the correct rate or thickness, be sure to touch upon the spaces otherwise the spray form will not be efficient.

Applications for closed cell spray foam

It is popularly used in commercial and industrial buildings as it can be sprayed in any environment, even in temperatures as low as -10C, and applied to most surfaces.


Wondering which insulation is the best? It actually depends on your insulation needs, environmental conditions of your location and budget. The cells have different benefits and problems and none is necessarily better than the other. Choose what fits your needs best!

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