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What is Closed Cell Spray Foam Insulation? What it’s Made of, How it Works, & More

By: Amanda Ringler on February 15th, 2017

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What is Closed Cell Spray Foam Insulation? What it’s Made of, How it Works, & More

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Are you in the process of deciding the type of spray foam you want to use in your new or updated insulation, but you need a little more information on closed cell spray foam?

Icynene spray foam is one of the industry leaders in spray foam. The closed cell spray foam can be used in attics, crawl spaces, rim joists, pole barns, existing homes, and new construction. While it can be used in these areas, it is more commonly used in pole barns and commercial buildings.

With more than 15 years experience insulating homes across Michigan’s lower peninsula, RetroFoam of Michigan knows the answers to your questions about closed cell foam insulation and its benefits as an insulation material.

What is Closed Cell Spray Foam?

Closed cell spray polyurethane foam (SPF) is a spray-applied plastic that forms a continuous insulation and air seal barrier in certain areas of the home, as well as pole barns and commercial structures. Spray foam insulation is known to resist heat transfer extremely well and offers an effective solution in reducing air infiltration.

How Closed Cell Spray Foam Insulation Works

Closed cell spray foam insulation is more commonly used in pole barns and commercial buildings. This is because it helps to maintain a constant temperature in the structure and creates an air seal.

The spray foam insulation adds strength and resilience to a structure. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has classified closed cell spray foam insulation as highly resistant to floodwater and damage due to its ability to reject bulk water.

Closed cell spray foam insulation can help prevent moisture and condensation throughout the area where it is installed.

What Closed Cell Spray Foam Insulation Has to Offer

Closed cell spray foam insulation creates a strong bond to protect the roof and can help to eliminate water seepage through weak spots.

Closed cell spray foam insulation can improve a building’s strength and durability, according to the Spray Foam Coalition. This is why closed cell is a popular option for uncovered walls in a pole barn because it is rigid and will hold up if it gets bumped or hit.

What is the Difference Between Closed Cell and Open Cell Spray Foam Insulation?

There are two types of Icynene spray foam insulation offered here at RetroFoam of Michigan – closed and open cell spray foam. Some contractors only offer open or closed cell foam as they are both effective air barriers and insulators. Either type may be better than the other for different applications.

  • Closed cell spray foam is built tough. This rigid spray foam performs great in flood-prone areas since it can reject bulk water. Closed cell uses a chemical agent that can give off a temporary odor.
  • Open cell spray foam consistently outperforms traditional insulation like fiberglass and cellulose. The foam insulation provides high performance thermal insulation and air sealing. Open cell foam insulation can also provide a sound barrier. This type of foam insulation also allows leaks to drain through, letting you identify those trouble spots sooner for repair. A safety feature with open cell is it typically uses water as its blowing agent.

What is Closed Cell Spray Foam Insulation Made of?

Icynene closed cell spray foam insulation’s main ingredients are chemical and water-blown and  also have organic chemical compounds derived from petroleum extracts. The closed cell spray foam is environmentally safe, class one fire rated, and doesn’t retain water. Spray foam insulation is made when:

  • Two liquid components (ISO and resin) are mixed together. The components are mixed at the site where the insulation will be installed. The two liquids come in different drums or containers and are usually referred to as container “A” and container “B.”
  • The “A” container is usually made up of methylene diphenyl diisocyanate and polymeric methylene diphenyl diisocyanate.
  • The “B” container is typically a blend of polyols, catalysts, blowing agent, flame retardant, and surfactant.
  • The reaction of the “A” and “B” happens when the two are combined and in a matter of seconds expands to create the foam.
  • The foam then seals the gaps and forms a barrier wherever it is applied.

The “A” container and “B” container are both proprietary to each spray foam manufacturer. Most “A” barrels will share components, but each manufacturer will have their own proprietary blend.

What is the Process of Installing Closed Cell Spray Foam Insulation?

After receiving an estimate from a trusted contractor, you’re ready for the installation to begin. In most cases, RetroFoam of Michigan only installs closed cell spray foam insulation in pole barn walls that are left exposed. There are rare instances where closed cell is the better option for certain areas of the home.

The day of the installation, crews will run a hose to the area to be insulated.

Crews will then suit up and begin spraying the areas to be insulated. When they are finished, the crews clean up the area so that it looks just like it did before the work began.

How Does Closed Cell Spray Foam Insulation Affect Energy Cost?

Many homeowners are looking to make their homes more energy-efficient and performs year-round without straining the household budget. Both open cell and closed cell spray foam insulation helps to reduce heating and cooling expenses making the home more energy-efficient, according to Icynene.

Through its air sealing properties, closed cell spray foam insulation limits air leakage and maintains an even temperature throughout the structure.

Getting Started with a Free Estimate

Now that you have learned all there is to know about closed cell spray foam insulation, you may have decided to this the best insulation for your project.

If you live in Michigan’s lower peninsula and are ready to schedule a free in-home estimate give us a call at 866-900-3626, or fill out the form on our website. You can also check out our budget calculator to give you a rough idea of the cost to insulate your home or pole barn.

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