Are you in the middle of deciding what type of cell foam soundproofing you should use for your soundproof jobs? Well, this might be quite trickier than it seems.
Open cell and closed cell foam are useful for insulating a home, but they function in different ways.
The main difference between these cell foams lies in their names.
Open cell foam has open cells that let air, moisture, and water permeate the material.
On the other hand, a closed cell foam insulator is impermeable as it doesn’t have open cells.
While both open cell and closed cell foam are reliable and effective insulators, they also have their strengths and weaknesses.
If you are wondering what to use between open cell and closed cell foam soundproofing, you have come to the right page.
Continue reading to learn all you need to know about open cell and closed cell foam soundproofing.
The Difference Between Open Cell and Closed Cell Foam Soundproofing
Open cell and closed cell form are great insulators when it comes to soundproofing, but they insulate and soundproof walls and vehicles differently.
Both have a decent degree of insulation and noise blocking capabilities, but their varied properties separate them.
Here are some of the major differences between open cell and closed cell foam:
Open cell foam has porous spots and openings that allow air and liquids to move through the material. This makes the foam to be softer and flexible than the closed cell foam.
As the name suggests, open cell foam features some open cells that absorb sound and liquids, by retaining them into their cell chambers.
However, the open cell foam’s irregular shape means that you don’t have control over the level of the sound energy absorbed.
On the flip side, closed cell foam consists of completely closed cells, blocking any air or liquid from permeating to the material.
This means that the cells are pressed together, making the foam to be more rigid and stable than the open cell foam.
Closed cell foam uses more plastic during its manufacturing process to make it more durable and water-resistant. It also works better at soundproofing a room from low-frequency noise.
Closed cell foam is much denser than open cell foam since they have no porous spots or opens that allow air and moisture to go through the material.
In most cases, cell foam has a density of about .5 pounds per cubic foot while closed cell foam can have a density of over three times that of open cell foam.
Closed cell foam usually has a density of about 1.75 pounds per cubic foot or even more.
The composition of the padding in open cell foam may be altered to increase density. This also applies to closed cell foam whose, which will result in more density, rigidity, compression resistance, and more.
R-Value in cell foam refers to heat flow or the insulating capability. Generally, closed cell foam has a higher R-Value than open cell foam, which goes up to 6.0 per inch.
Some closed cell foam like the Tiger Foam’s E84 Closed Cell formula usually have a higher rating of up to 7.0 per inch.
The higher R-Value rating improves the closed cell foam’s ability to keep heat in or out of the material of the insulated structure.
On the other hand, open cell foams have an R-Value of about 3.5 per inch, which is significantly lower than that of closed cell foams.
The lower R-Value rating limits the open cell foam’s abilities and usefulness when it comes to applications in extreme temperature conditions.
If you want to apply open cell foam as a soundproofing material and a heat insulator, use it only in dry conditions.
Another important feature to consider when comparing the open cell and closed cell foam soundproofing is their expansion.
Closed cell foam insulators are designed to expand to about 1 inch of thickness when sprayed on a structure.
With each closed cell foam giving an R-Value of about 7.0 per inch, you can apply multiple applications to achieve a higher total R-Values.
Unlike closed cell foams, open cell foams are designed to expand to 3 inches of thickness. Flexibility means that only one application is possible in a standard wall.
Hydrophobic Open Cell Foam
Hydrophobic open cell foam refers to a cell foam that has been treated with water-resistant treatment.
As mentioned above, open cell foams don’t have water-resistant properties since they have open cells that allow water and moisture to permeate the material.
This means that open cell foam isn’t suitable for use in cars that are not perfectly waterproof.
When open cell foam is used in cars or walls that can let water in, this insulator will absorb water and become a hotspot for mold. Mold is very dangerous and it can even kill you, especially the black one.
To solve this issue, open cell foam manufacturers have tried to come up with several ways to produce hydrophobic open cell foams.
If you want to use open cell foam for your car in areas that are prone to getting wet, you will want to use the hydrophobic open cell foam to avoid mold.
What Are the Benefits of Open Cell Foam?
- Perfect for Interior Walls in Buildings
Open cell foam soundproofing is a better option if you just want to apply it in the interior wall of a building to block noise from other rooms.
It works best when used in an office, bedroom, dining room, living room, study room, and more.
Another thing that makes open cell foam better for interior walls in buildings is that it’s very easy and faster to apply than most insulation materials.
- Less Material is Used
When soundproofing a vehicle or a wall with open cell only less material is used. This means that open cell foam is less expensive compared to closed cell foam.
The cost of the material also depends on where you live as it can be cheaper in some areas. It will be also much cheaper if you plan to make the installation a DIY project instead of hiring someone.
- Provides Better Ventilation and Breathability
Open cell foam offers better ventilation and breathability than closed cell foam since it has open cell and porous spots that allow for the movement of air and moisture.
This is a significant benefit, especially if you are soundproofing a room that isn’t well ventilated.
If you choose closed cell foam over open cell foam, you will want to ensure that the room is well ventilated for breathability.
- Expands Faster
One of the most significant benefits of using open cell foam is that it expands so much faster when applied in an area.
This means that it’s ideal for insulating areas and corners that are hard to reach in a home, which would be hard to insulate with closed cell foam.
What Are the Benefits of Closed Cell Foam?
- Robust Insulation
The most outstanding benefit of closed cell foam is that it delivers robust insulation, especially in cases where space is an issue.
It can achieve a higher R-Value that is about two times that of open cell foam in a standard wall.
The closed cell foam’s rigidity also reinforces the structural integrity of the building. Its hard, solid composition creates a more structural element, increasing your property’s lifetime.
This means that the closed cell foam is a great choice for insulating your commercial space to help you and your team operate in a better-quality workplace.
- Vapor Barrier to Block Water and Moisture
If you are looking for soundproofing material that will act as a barrier to vapor and block water and moisture, the closed cell foam is for you.
This cell foam is rigid and doesn’t have open cells or porous spots that could otherwise let moisture and water into the material.
This means that no water or moisture will get inside the house. Besides, water will not harm close cell foam.
All these factors contribute to the robustness and extended lifespan of your property.
- Better Comfort
Most people who have used closed cell foam soundproofing reveal that this insulation offers better comfort. This is usually because it helps in regulating the temperature in the room.
In most cases, the occupant’s satisfaction and efficiency are usually driven by thermal comfort in the room.
Using closed cell foam can help regulate the temperature to achieve better working conditions.
Temperature regulation and decent soundproofing mean a better environment for sleeping, working, or even studying.
It’s estimated that closed cell foam can last for more than 80 years. When used in any building or vehicle, it will increase the lifespan of the property by improving the structural reliability.
Which Cell Foam Soundproofing is the Best?
The best cell foam soundproofing between closed and open cell foams will depend on various things, including your soundproofing needs, insulation goals, and of course your budget.
If you are after robust soundproofing and want to block air and moisture, you can’t go wrong with closed cell foam.
Open cell foam will be a viable choice if you want to soundproof the interior walls of a building. It’s also an excellent choice if you are working on a low budget.
You should always remember to be careful about the foam you decide to use to ensure that you get the most out of it.
How to Use Open Cell and Closed Cell Foam Soundproofing in Your Car
Open cell and closed cell foam have varied strengths, meaning one may work better than the other when applied in a certain part of the vehicle.
Here is how to use them:
Open Cell Foam
You can use open cell foam to soundproof the various part of your vehicle including the area above the headliner and the doors.
Other areas to apply open cell foam include the Trunk lid, Sprinter Van cargo area, and the semi-truck sleeper cab.
While open cell foam is less durable compared to closed cell foam, it’s the better option for absorbing unwanted sounds.
The hydrophobic melamine foam has become a popular option in insulating and soundproofing vehicles to improve automotive acoustics.
You can use hydrophobic open cell foam in the door cavity to absorb the speaker’s back waves or on areas exposed to the sound waves for it to be effective.
Generally, hydrophobic open cell foam will absorb unwanted sounds anywhere you install it, provided there is adequate space for it to remain fluffed.
Closed Cell Foam
If your vehicle has rattling plastic panels, you can use closed cell foam soundproofing to deaden the unwanted sounds.
The best thing about closed cell foam is that it’s applicable in almost every area in your vehicle where you want to add insulation and uncouple rattles.
Areas that can be soundproofed with closed cell foam include the doors, floor, A, B, C pillars, above the headliner, and boat insulation.
If you are looking for an easy way to insulate your vehicle with a reliable material, closed cell foam is an excellent thermal insulator.
It will keep cold out and eliminate excess heat from your car, giving you a perfect driving environment.
However, you shouldn’t install closed cell foam in extremely hot areas just because it’s heat resistant.
Ideally, don’t use it near a heat source or areas exposed to heat over 180 degrees Fahrenheit. For such hot areas, you can use a car heat shield that can withstand up to 1000 degrees Fahrenheit.
Both open cell and closed cell foams are great for insulating and soundproofing your vehicle. But when applying open cell foam you will want to ensure that you use it on areas that aren’t likely to get wet.
Open cell foam is very useful for absorbing sound, but closed cell foam is sturdier for extended durability. It also has a higher R-Value, which means better insulation.
Both cell foams are excellent for regulating the temperature when installed in a room or vehicle.
If you are unable to decide on what to use, don’t hesitate to seek help from soundproofing and insulating experts.