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What is Polyurethane Foam?

what is polyurethane foam

Polyurethane foam is one of the most common types of foams used throughout our day to day lives. It is the same type of foam you may find in many sofa cushions and parts of mattresses.

Unlike polyethylene foam which has closed cells, polyurethane foam can come in a variety of different grades but is always open cell.

What are Polyurethanes?

Polyurethanes are one of the most prominent members of the polymer or plastic family; they are used to create many items we use daily. Such items include foam seating, adhesives, hoses, hard-plastic parts, synthetic fibers and much more.

Polymers can either be solid or have open cells. When they consist of open cells, they are referred to as polyurethane foam, this material can be used in a variety of soft furnishings.

How is Polyurethane Foam Made?

Put simply, polyurethane foam is made by reacting polyols and diisocyanates together. During the manufacturing process, the foam can be manipulated in various ways to create different types of polyurethane foam. This helps to create materials suitable for a wide array of purposes. You can find an example of this on our memory foam page where we discuss how foam can be manipulated during manufacturing.


We stock a wide range of foam types here including many polyurethane foam grades. By utilising advanced cutting equipment and with the help of our talented members of staff, we can cut foam to practically any size and shape. Every day, customers turn to us to provide them with bespoke foam products. Some uses for polyurethane foam include –

  • Replacement Sofa Cushions
  • Memory Foam Mattresses / Pillows
  • Caravan Cushions
  • Boat Cushions
  • Wheelchair Cushions
  • Toy Stuffing
  • Various Upholstery Projects
  • Packaging
  • Pit Foam

If you require a specific foam product, be sure to check out our foam cut to size page.

What Other Types of Foam Exist?

There are many different types of foam and not all are in solid form. Shaving foam would be an example of a foam which is not solid. Any substance which traps pockets of gas whether it be in a liquid or solid foam is known as a foam.

Foam can have an open or closed cell structure. Closed cell foam (such as polyethylene foam) consists of gas pockets which are surrounded by a solid material, meanwhile, the gas pockets in open cell foam are interconnected, allowing air to pass in and out of them. Other foam types include metal foam, polystyrene, XPS and phenolic foam.

Buy Polyurethane Foam at GB Foam Direct

Whether you need foam cut to size to replace your sofa cushions or require sheets for an upholstery project, we can help. We’ve been supplying high-quality foam products worldwide for more than 40 years.

We have a wide range of foam types to choose from including high-density foam, packaging foam, reticulated foam and much more. Need some help? Feel free to contact us. A member of our team will be happy to assist you.

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