Open or Closed Cell Foam Insulation?

drjonAugust 23, 2007

I live in the Northeast and I am finishing my basement. I plan on using spray foam insulation and having it sprayed directly on the poured concrete walls.

I am very confused by the competing claims of open vs. closed cell contractors.

My basement has been dry for the 5 years since the house was built, but I am wondering about moisture from the concrete and/or penetration from the surrounding soil. (The foundation has been sealed on the exterior but not insulated.)

Is it better to go with the closed cell that will act as a water vapor barrier or use open cell that will allow the moisture to dry to the interior of the basement?

I am getting conflicting views on this, please help!

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See "Understanding Foundations" from Building Science

"The most cost effective approach involves a
combination of rigid insulation and a frame
wall assembly .... The least risky interior insulation
assemblies from an installation perspective and
water sensitivity and drying perspective utilize
spray foam--either closed cell or open cell."

Either type allows drying to the basement.

On my most recent project I used BASF closed cell insulation for the entire basement, rims, garage ceiling and other hard-to-reach areas. On others, I've used open cell insulation at the rim joists and XPS on the walls. I don't like open cell because it requires more to achieve the same R value. Also, when sprayed on cold walls, it shrinks noticeably and I've ended up trying to fill the gaps with hand held spray foam.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2007 at 9:28PM
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