Buy the Right Upholstery Foam
for the Job
This information will help to determine which type of upholstery foam is suitable for your next upholstery job. When purchasing foam it is normally sold by the sheet or by the board foot. One board foot equals 1" x 12" x 12" so to calculate how many board feet in any given sheet you multiply the length x width x height and divide by 144.
Compression is a measure of how much weight is required to depress the foam a given percentage. This test uses a standard round disc which is placed on to a piece of 4" (10.16 cm) foam. The foam is then compressed to 75% of its original height and the pounds of pressure required to reach this point is recorded. This test is performed on all the products with the same equipment to give a comparison of the compression of the foam being considered. This does not necessarily indicate better quality foam but gives you an idea of how firm it is.
Density is the most important figure when purchasing foam padding. This number will indicate the weight of one cubic foot of the foam. Generally, as density increases, so does the quality of the cushion.
So, if one foam has a density of 1.1lbs/cubic foot and one 2.1/cubic foot, the 2.1 is better.
In open cell foam the cells are not totally enclosed but rather interlinked with each other. Most foams are open cell and these tend to absorb moisture making them easy to glue.
Closed cell foam have cells that are not connected to other cells. This foam tends to be a dense, heavy padding type of foam. Moisture will not be absorbed by these foams. Common applications are in the landau tops of automobiles and marine applications.
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