The aims of this study were to evaluate the space-maintaining capacity of two biocompatible barrier materials and to assess the effect of barrier occlusiveness on the amount of regenerated bone. Defects were prepared in the edentulous area on both sides of the maxillas in 22 rabbits. The rabbits were divided into three groups. Gore-Tex® augmentation material (GTAM) (ePTFE)-barriers were placed to cover the experimental defects and compared with totally occlusive or perforated titanium foils and uncovered control defects respectively. After four weeks of healing, histological analyses and morphometrical measurements demonstrated that the amount of regenerated bone tissue was about the same underneath the collapsed GTAM-barriers as in the controls. The highest degree of regeneration was obtained in defects underneath the titanium foils, particularly if they were perforated, whether or not they were covered by GTAM-barriers. It was concluded that the space-maintaining properties of a barrier may be at least as important as barrier occlusiveness when regenerating bone defects.