May 17, 2022

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Can Closed Cell Spray Foam Insulation Be Left Exposed?

Closed Cell Spray Foam Insulation is a synthetic version of closed-cell foam. Closed-cell foam is a product of science and engineering, developed in the 1950s for use in protective coatings. This is also a material that has been used to insulate buildings and private homes for as long as people have been building and maintaining homes. 

The concept behind closed-cell foam insulation is simple. Closed cells form an airtight seal, and they can’t “breathe”, so if left open, they will trap heat and cold within themselves, and they will not move, if subjected to the elements, even if the rest of the house is relatively air-conditioned.

What is an Open Cell Spray Foam Insulation?

Open-cell polyurethane (CFPO) or open cell spray foam insulation is another alternative for insulation, a product that forms an airtight barrier, not only against heat but also against other gases and liquids. This means that it can be used as an effective way to combat both extreme temperature fluctuations and humidity levels, in a space that might otherwise be susceptible to moisture infiltration.

So, if closed-cell spray foam insulation is not appropriate for your space, what should you use instead? In many cases, you would be right to question this, because many people will blindly follow instructions for the installation of closed-cell spray foam insulation in the wrong spaces. 

Often, this results in a situation where the spray foam insulation retains water. This water, in all likelihood, is not water you want to retain, as it will quickly turn into a breeding ground for mildew and mold. 

Air Sealing

Fortunately, it is possible to install an effective solution to this problem and uses techniques known to promote energy-efficient retention of air. One such solution is known as air sealing. 

Air sealing is an effective way to ensure that open-cell foam insulation does not retain water, which can make a huge difference in terms of its effectiveness as insulation. For these reasons, many builders choose to use air sealing when they are installing closed-cell insulation. A skilled contractor can demonstrate how the process works.

The Material Retaining 100% Of the Moisture 

A basic understanding of the closed-cell foam itself is important to understand how air seals work and to be able to decide if it is right for you. 

As air is sprayed through the fiberglass or foam cell, it travels in only one direction. The fibers or cells of the material are designed in a way that the air never makes it to the other side of the cell. This results in the material retaining 100% of the moisture that is sprayed into it, which means that the unit never experiences any ‘wetting’ or ‘soaking’. 

It is this fact that leads many to believe that they can leave closed-cell foam insulation exposed if they choose to do so.

Strong Insulation

When air is introduced into the sealed space, it picks up moisture from the environment, which allows it to bead on the surface of the fiberglass or foam. Then, the moisture that is picked up by the bead combines with the chemical makeup of the material and forms what is known as an ‘adhesive’. This unique relationship between the moisture and the adhesives results in sealed cell insulation that retains water far longer than other types.

Since open cells form an airtight seal and heat, gases, and liquids, it will be stronger than other insulation. So if you are looking for a strong insulation, an open cell spray foam could be the right option for you.

To learn more about this type of insulation, visit our page or contact us for more information!