Both vapor barrier and vapor retarder are often used interchangeably, but to be policically correct, it is vapor retarder. Barrier’s closed-cell foam insulation is an effective vapor retarder. It still breathes but the perm rating is not really low like plastic. Closed-cell foam insulation will not trap moisture like you see in most fiber glass systems, which use plastic. I posted some good links below for more information on vapor retarders.


Barrier Spray Technologies, LLC – Spray Polyurethane Foam Insulation Web blog › Create New Post — WordPress

Barrier Spray Technologies is shown on WCCO with Don Shelby about making a very energy efficient home in Minnetonka. Please click on the link below to find out more.

WCCO – This old green house

Live Green, Live Smart™

The link above to will show a project we are currently working on in Minnetonka. The goal of the project is to make the first LEED platinum certified home in the country.

If you click here, you will be redirected to a time line of the project. If you click on “edit” on the upper right of your internet browser and click on “find ” or “find on this page” you will be able to type in “barrier spray technologies” and find within the web page some pictures of our work.

The R-value Myth.

August 8, 2007


The R-Value Myth “R” refers to resistance to heat flow. These measurements are taken in a laboratory environment. But heat flow resistance is only part of the formula for effective insulation. R-value doesn’t measure the amount of air infiltration or moisture that penetrates through an insulated wall. In short, the measurement doesn’t factor in real-world weather conditions. The only way to eliminate air infiltration and moisture is to completely seal the building  (through polyurethane foam insulation) and use mechanical air controls to regulate air flow.

For more information please check this link:

Often when you are doing research into polyurethane foam insulation in your home or business you might hear the word Icynene. You may be told by many contractors or polyurethane experts that Icynene is the direction you want to follow when insulating your home or business. Contrary to this belief, you could be costing yourself more money in the long run when choosing Icynene as your choice of polyurethane foam insulation.

To make things simple, Icynene is just a brand name for an open cell polyurethane insulation. Now you are probably asking yourself, “what is a open cell polyurethane?” Before we can go into that we need to start by saying that in the foam insulation industry there are usually two types of foam insulation being used, “open-cell and closed-cell.” There are several major differences between the two types, leading to advantages and disadvantages for both, depending on the desired application requirements. In addition, polyurethane spray foam is an extremely versatile material that is available in a variety of final physical properties and densities, so it is necessary for the end-user to have an understanding of these differences, and to choose the spray foam system that is best suited for the particular application requirements.

The purpose of this article is to provide a summary of the advantages and disadvantages of open-cell and closed-cell polyurethane spray foam;

Closed-cell polyurethane spray foam is among the most efficient insulating materials commercially available, with R-values commonly around 6.7 per inch.. Closed-cell foam incorporates an insulating gas that is retained within the cells (foam “blowing agent”), which leads to the highly efficient insulating properties of the material. In the U.S., insulation is measured in “R-Value” (R= resistance to heat flow), and closed-cell polyurethane spray foam has among the highest R-Values of any commercially available insulation. In addition, the closed-cell nature of this foam provides for a highly effective air barrier, low moisture vapor permeability (often referred to as the “Perm” rating), and excellent resistance to water . The most common foam density for closed-cell polyurethane foam is approximately 2.0 pounds per cubic feet. Years of research and commercial experience has shown that the 1.75 – 2.25 lb./ft3 density range provides the optimum insulating and strength characteristics for most building applications. Closed-cell polyurethane foams are usually characterized by their rigidity and strength, in addition to the high R-Value. Also, studies show that wall racking strength can by doubled or tripled when closed cell foam is applied.

Open-cell polyurethane spray foam, on the other hand, is usually found in densities ranging from 0.4 to 1.2 lbs./ft3. One of the advantages that these lower densities provide is a more economical yield, since foam density is directly related to yield (lower density = higher yield). Although the R-value of open-cell foams is slightly more than half that of closed-cell foams, usually around 3.5 per inch, these products can still provide excellent thermal insulating and air barrier properties.. Open cell foam is more permeable to moisture vapor, with perm ratings of approximately 10.0 per 4 – 5 inches thickness (up to 50 perms at one inch). However, the foam allows for a very controlled diffusion of moisture vapor whose consistency can be managed by the builder / architect. Open cell foams are incredibly effective as a sound barrier, having about twice the sound resistance in normal frequency ranges as closed-cell foam. Other characteristics of open-cell polyurethane foam usually include a softer, “spongier” appearance, as well as lower strength and rigidity than closed-cell foams.

Applications that typically use open-cell foam include residential construction insulation and for sound deadening in media rooms, etc. Closed-cell foam, while also useful in residential construction insulation, is used in a variety of commercial, industrial and residential applications because of the excellent strength and insulating properties described here.

The picture below is of closed-cell polyurethane foam insulation sprayed by Barrier Spray Technologies at a spec. home in Long Lake MN.

Picture of Closed cell polyurethane after is was sprayed.

Click here to learn more about our F450 truck.

Click here to learn more about our F450 truck.


This web blog was created for people who have an interest in learning more about the Barrier Spray Technology experience and also want to find out more about the innovative spray polyurethane foam insulation industry!



(612) 789-1130 or 1-888-216-FOAM


1737 Adams Street Northeast

Minneapolis, Minnesota 55413-1411