News From Go Plymouth Foam

3 Technologies in 1 - SAV+R

Putting insulation on foundation walls just got better. In the past we have put insulation on wall to not only provide R-value but it could help protect the damp proofing and reduce condensation. Insulating the foundation came with a cost as we have learned that standard 150 & 250 insulation is too stiff. Lateral pressures on the walls have increased causing more issues.

SAV+R 3 tech in 1

Plymouth Foam has developed a 3 in 1 insulation board that can reduce issues caused by insulating foundations - SAV+R Foundation Protection™. This new product has been designed to not only insulate but also drain moisture better and reduce lateral pressure by unto 40%.

There are 3 advancements with RID Technology are important in todays construction to not only preform better but also reduce liability. R-I-D Reduced-Insulate-Drain

Reduce - Reduce lateral pressures by up to 40% using SAV+R Foundation. When lateral pressure pushes on the SAV+R foundation board, the integrated Stress Reducers™ can “absorb” this pressure and help save your foundation from failure. SAV+R has been designed to handle backfilling pressures, compacting pressures, clay or soil swell pressures and long-term lateral pressures.

Insulate - SAV+R uses Engineered EPS which provides a stable R-value for the life of the foundation. SAV+R is available with R-values of 5, 10 or 15. SAV+R Engineered EPS does not leach harmful chemicals into soil, has very low moisture absorption, is not affected by the freeze-thaw cycle, contains no ozone depleting chemicals and is 100% recyclable.

Drain - Water leaking into foundation walls via hydrostatic pressure can cause serious issues. SAV+R incorporates Easy Flow Drainage Pathways™ (EFDP) to move water quickly to the foundation drains. EFDP can help reduce insulation moisture absorption, reduce hydrostatic pressure, reduce frost heave, accelerate drying and can add longevity to the waterproofing.

See
New Video on this great product.

Lean More About SAV+R


For more information contact us at info@goplymouthfoam.com

Reducing Foundation Liability Risk with SAV+R

Reduce Risk Specify SAV+R


According to insurance loss data, there are over $10 Billion in Foundation Claims every year. Plymouth Foam has been studying foundation issues for the last 10+ years and has developed a new foundation protection system. SAV+R™ Foundation Protection incorporates one of the best new advancements in construction - RID Technology™. This technology has been developed by Plymouth Foam to help protect and RID your foundation issues before they start. RID Technology combines the features of Reducing lateral pressure, Insulating and Draining.


Advantages of RID Technology

Reduce - Reduce lateral pressures by up to 40% using SAV+R Foundation. When lateral pressure pushes on the SAV+R foundation board, the integrated Stress Reducers™ can “absorb” this pressure and help save your foundation from failure. SAV+R has been designed to handle backfilling pressures, compacting pressures, clay or soil swell pressures and long-term lateral pressures.

Insulate - SAV+R uses Engineered EPS which provides a stable R-value for the life of the foundation. SAV+R is available with R-values of 5, 10 or 15. SAV+R Engineered EPS does not leach harmful chemicals into soil, has very low moisture absorption, is not affected by the freeze-thaw cycle, contains no ozone depleting chemicals and is 100% recyclable.

Drain - Water leaking into foundation walls via hydrostatic pressure can cause serious issues. SAV+R incorporates Easy Flow Drainage Pathways™ (EFDP) to move water quickly to the foundation drains. EFDP can help reduce insulation moisture absorption, reduce hydrostatic pressure, reduce frost heave, accelerate drying and can add longevity to the waterproofing.

In the past, designers had very few choice in foundation insulations. With the advancement of Rid Technology, which has been incorporated into SAV+R Foundation Protection, designers and building owners can select a superior product. Now a designer can be on the cutting edge in foundation technology and at the same time reduce risk. It is very simple to Value Engineer SAV+R over XPS or other insulations. SAV+R provides more value and costs less. Make the change too Plymouth Foam’s SAV+R Foundation Protection and SAVE money, Save energy and Save the future.

Lean More About SAV+R

View the SAV+R Video and how it works


For more information contact us at info@goplymouthfoam.com

Change Is The One Constant - XPS Insulation Does Like It

Every year at this time, we ask ourselves what the changes are going to be in the construction business. Prices, labor, materials or codes seem to be constantly changing. What worked last year may not for 2021. Throw in Covid and no wonder we are all stressed. What bothers me is when you know there is a change but it takes week or months (years) to sort through and really figure out how the change effects the way we do business.

New Laws for Insulation

I have one of those changes for 2021 and it has to do with XPS (Extruded Polystyrene) Rigid Insulation. This is one of those changes that could be very disruptive in the market. Here is the change — the government is mandating that XPS blowing (hydrofluorocarbon HFC-134a) agent be changed to something that is a little safer. The XPS industry has known this has been coming for a long time and has done many things to try and slow it down. They have been successful at getting several reprieves.

Why is there such push back from the XPS Rigid Insulation Industry? Isn’t reducing “harmful” chemicals into the atmosphere and reducing global warming a good thing to help with climate change? It is unless it changes the effectiveness or stability of your product. That is why the XPS industry is fighting so hard. Whether they will admit it or not, this EPA rule change for blowing agents will result in dramatically lowering the XPS product effectiveness.

As mentioned it takes time to sort out all these changes. We do know that the alternative blowing agents will reduce the R-value of the product to be more in line with EPS (Expanded Polystyrene). XPS has always claimed that its R-value is 5R/inch. Some reports have the new XPS coming in at 4.3R - 4.5R per inch. It will be interesting to see if the XPS Industry will be truthful about the R-value change. They have billions of dollars at stake.

The other element is the stability of the product. Will it shrink more? Will it collapse? What happens long-term below grade? Will water affect it differently? What about flammability? Some elements will be seen right away, others may take years to sort out. No wonder the XPS Industry is pushing back so hard. It is a scary time for them. I have even heard rumors of a manufacturer stock piling old formula product to buy more time to figure things out.

With all these changes, what should you do? Not knowing what you are going to get for XPS it is probably wise to use the “Safe Insulation” - Engineered EPS. Yes, it has a lower r-value per inch (4.35R/inch Type IX) than old XPS but you know exactly what you are getting. You know that Engineered EPS Rigid Insulation is safe and stable. (Learn more about Engineered EPS Insulation) For some, the change may mean shifting over to EPS but that maybe a very good change for your business.

Foundation Problems Part 1: Uncovered and Solved

Foundation Problems: What is the cause, what is the solution?

For over 10 years, we have been studying the effects of foundation issues - why do they crack, why do they leak and what is the real source of the issue? In fact, it is now estimated that foundation problems cost insurance companies between $12-15 Billion annually in the US. Is insulation playing a part in the mystery?

SAV+R Introduction- Something Big is here

Foundation issues have long plagued the construction industry. This is evidenced by the fact that the basement and foundation repair industry has grown double digits for the last 10 years. Is it a coincidence that foundation cracks have increased even more with additional R-value requirements? The effects of foundation issues can be bulging foundation walls, moisture leaking, structural issues, mold, strange odors, cracks in drywall, window and doors not opening/closing properly and even pest invasions.

What is causing all these issues and what can be done about it? Through a series of 5 technical articles over the next several months, we will explore the major reasons for all these issues and what can be done.

It is good to know that through all this research, Plymouth Foam has developed a new product that can help reduce foundation issues before they start - we call it SAV+R
.

See the New video
SAV+R You Tube Graphic
For more information contact us at
info@goplymouthfoam.com

Best Insulation Not Being Specified - Insist On It

Bidding a project and Wondering why XPS 250 (R-10)
is specified for foundation insulation?


XPS (Extruded Polystyrene) and EPS (Expanded Polystyrene) are both closed cell rigid insulation that have the same compressive strength abilities. Many Specifiers and Contractors do not really understand the difference. You should! There is a BIG cost difference.

Many Specifiers and Contractors believe that XPS insulation provides a consistent R-value of R-5/inch in foundation insulation. Not even close. Two reasons: One, XPS uses a blowing agent that provides additional R-value that escapes and over time lowers the R-value. In fact, the federal government has now stepped in and mandated XPS rate their product using the R-value method of
LTTR (Long-Term Thermal Resistance) as of October 2019 (see Full Disclosure Article). According to new research by the EPS-IA, XPS insulation’s 50 year age adjusted (LTTR-50) R-value is estimated to be 4.3 R-/inch. Two, research has shown that XPS placed below grade loses 48% of its R-value. This is due to the cell structure and manufacturing process of XPS. The study concluded that once XPS takes on water it has a hard time breathing it out.

Why Insist on EPS Engineered EPS for Foundation Insulation

Insist on Plymouth Foam Engineered EPS


The technological advancement for Engineered EPS is truly amazing and the new research is showing why you should insist on using Engineered EPS Foundation Insulation on your project. EPS’s R-value stays consistent over the life of the product and we guarantee it! EPS Type IX (250) has a R-Value of 4.35/inch. EPS is a greener product as it does not off-gas a harmful blowing agent and it is 100% recyclable. Want to save money on a project? Ask your specifier to value engineer and use Plymouth Foam Engineered EPS. The saving will surprise you.

Need more help convincing the specifier that Plymouth Foam's Engineered EPS is the best product?
Ask us for our substitution package.

Give Me Some Skin - Understanding Insulation Specifications and the Skin Pitfalls

Many building professional spend hours looking over drawings and specifications for upcoming building projects. Many look closely at the type of product or the brands allowed but tend to glance over the other supplementary or extraneous information.

A few weeks ago, I noticed an item in a foundation specification that I have been glancing over without any real thought.
“Rigid, cellular thermal insulation with closed-cells and integral high density skin, complying with ASTM C 578.” What caught my eyes was integral high density skin. Are they trying to call out a specific for Extruded Polystyrene (XPS) Insulation because standard Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) would not naturally have a skin without adding it?

This triggered a technical conversation about skins on Rigid Insulation.
Does rigid insulation need a skin? What are the advantages or disadvantages of having a skin?

XPS Give me some skin

It is always helpful to go back and review the main function of insulation. Insulation’s main purpose is to insulate and provide R-value. Knowing the main purpose of insulation, do insulation skins provide more R-value? Skins can add R-value and skins can reduce R-value. A foil faced insulation could add R-value when it is used in the right circumstances such as a gap behind a masonry wall. Some skins like a clear poly laminated has no effect on R-value. Does an integral high density skin in XPS offer additional R-value? No, in fact according to newer research, it may have the opposite effect. How can this be? Why specified it as something important?

During a manufacturing process, XPS creates a type of skin during the extruding process and some call this an
integral high density skin. This skin is maintained on the face and back of the board but the sides and the ends are trimmed during the manufacturing process. Many believe that trimming the sides actually expose and opens the board to moisture infiltration at a higher rate. The face and back have this skin but the ends and sides are open. Interesting, when you consider below grade insulation and how water moves down the foundation wall, water hits the top part of the insulation and water wants to enter in, however the top end does not have the integral high density skin. We know by testing, when XPS insulation is installed below grade, it takes in moisture and its R-value is reduced by 48%, from 5 R/inch to 2.6 R/inch. Some believe this phenomena is caused by water entering in easier at the edges and partially trap in by integral high density skin. So specifying this integral high density skin as a benefit, ultimately points out another reason not to use XPS below grade. Why pay a huge premium for XPS Insulation and get 1/2 of its R-value performance?


What about skins on EPS? Standard EPS does not naturally have a skin, however another advantage of EPS Insulation is that skins can be added. Many different types of skins with different properties can be added. A few examples of skins are ones that can be reflective, skins that allow permeability, skins that are vapor retarders and even skins that can provide high strength. In foundation insulation, where EPS is more effective, a permeable skin could be added to give even more strength. This skin could be even more effective against rough backfilling and fastener pull. This type of product would function great allowing any moisture that enters into to the insulation board to flow freely out and not trap the moisture in.

In this case, the specifier thought that XPS insulation with an
integral high density skin would be a better product for below grade application. Unfortunately, it's not. With research showing that XPS insulation can loss 48% of it’s R-value below grade, Engineered EPS Insulation is a much better, safer choice.

For The Record: Plymouth Foam's EPS - Compressive Strength

FOR THE RECORD

Frequently asked questions. As an industry leader, we feel it is important to share our expertise as well as continue to educate and inform others of Plymouth Foam’s materials and capabilities.

Compressive strength is a crucial component for insulation and building materials. One of the most important mechanical property of Plymouth Foam's EPS is the resistance to compressive stresses, which increase as the density becomes higher. The compressive resistance is between 10 – 60 psi for most construction applications. Our Plymouth Foam product can be produced to meet your specific strength requirements per project needs.

Plymouth Foam DuraSpec Compressive Properties

PF EPS Spec

Plymouth Foam DuraFill Geofoam Compressive Properties

PF Geofoam Spec

Standard Specification Test Methods for Plymouth Foam DuraSpec EPS are as follows:

  • ASTM C578, Standard Specification for Rigid, Cellular Polystyrene Thermal Insulation: types, physical properties, and dimensions of cellular polystyrene used as thermal insulation for temperatures from -65 to 165°F. ASTM C578 covers types of EPS thermal insulation currently available and the minimum requirements for the properties considered most important.
  • ASTM C203, Test Method for Breaking Load and Flexural Properties of block-type thermal Insulation; flexural strength and compressive resistance values are included.
  • C165, Test Method for Measuring Compressive Properties of Thermal Insulations and/or
  • D1621 for Test Method for Compressive Properties of Rigid Cellular Plastics.
To meet the compressive resistance requirements specified in ASTM C578, polystyrene thermal insulation boards must provide the following compressive strengths at 10% deformation when tested in accordance with ASTM D 1621.

The EPS Industry Alliance shares Plymouth Foam DuraSpec EPS high resiliency and strength characteristics, expanded polystyrene insulation offers:
  • Absorption of substrate and facing movement caused by temperature changes and structural deflections
  • Absorption of substrate irregularities
  • Thickness recovery following excessive construction load exposures
  • Suitable subgrade reaction for effective load distribution
In conclusion, the structural strength of Plymouth Foam DuraSpec EPS is crucial for every project. We take pride in our work and customer satisfaction from start to finish and after.

Most Applicative Strength for Below Grade Insulation

Over the last five years, Plymouth Foam has been doing research on below grade insulation and the effects on structures. One reoccurring finding has been the misguided use of insulation materials that have Compressive Resistance (CR) strengths that are “too high.”

We have been observing the approach of designers using the point load bearing calculation method and specifying insulation strong enough to carry that presumed load. Most of them used the triangular load path calculation. The thought process of the designers, were a conservative approach, the more PSI insulation strength the better - a type of “over engineering.”

Is this over engineering approach good? Does it have a detrimental effect on a structure? The Geofoam Industry (foam insulation beneath highways) learned the hard way and have adjusted their approach. They concluded that loads on slabs should not be look at as “Concentrated Triangular Point Load” but more in line with a slab that works more uniformly as a system as concrete slab distribute loads are more in an even fashion. The DOT and Geofoam Industry took a new approach to load issues. Use the least Compressive Resistant Geofoam Insulation that can handle the load.

How does this information translate to below grade insulation in residential or
commercial construction? This is where it gets interesting. Everything we learned and accepted, in regard to, below grade insulation, by the XPS Industry, has been misguided. We have really only looked at half of the equation and most of the time, we have only considered point loads instead of slab distribution loads. We have been concentrating on loads from the top down only. In most ways, we have been ignoring what the soil is really doing below - not just what the soil can bear. Why you ask? Maybe because it gets too complicated. Not making this a forum on soil engineering, let’s just simply say soils are not always consistent and are constantly moving.

So this brings up many questions including - how does soil engineering effect below slab insulation? What are the effects of expansive soils on insulation? Is over engineering insulation compressive strength on slabs bad or harmful?

Below Grade Compressive Resistence Less is Best

When we intersect structural engineering and geotechnical engineering, we find that in most cases - “Less is Best.” The lower the compressive strength, that still meet load requirements, is best. The insulation should act more as a stress cushion. Once the insulation has been in place for sometime, it should continue to act as a stress cushion.

The Theory of Plates on Elastic Foundations is a great way to calculate slab deflection and the resulting stress. The formula is (P/8)√(K/D). (Paper written by Timoshenko and Woinowsky-Krieger) We have been following these calculation in Geofoam for sometime now and have had less structural issues and have reduced Geofoam costs dramatically.

In regard to below grade insulation in residential construction, using products like XPS 250 with a 25 psi compressive resistance, as a standard, is not taking into account all of the factors in construction. This standard can be doing more harm than good. Because of the marriage of geotechnical and structural engineering, the industry has now began to understand this and revised its position on below grade insulation. It is time to move to these new standards.

Plymouth Foam is viewing this “Less is Best” change to run parallel with their research. We believe that this concept can reduce construction issues. Using products that are 10, 12 or 15 psi will have more advantages to the structure and in the end reduce cost. We call this the true definition of Value Engineering.


By John Calkins

The Secret Moisture Control Leak - a dynamic new strategy.

The majority of recent technical discussions in building construction have been around Moisture Management. Many articles have been written on drainage plains, building enveloping and vapor retarders. The goal for moisture management is to keep a building lasting longer and performing properly. One area of moisture control or moisture management that has been neglected is foundation insulation.

Foundation insulation may be easy to overlook as many building professionals may be going under to old adage, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." The serious reality is that in cold weather climates any structure that has a foundation that touch soil such as basements or frost walls needs to viewed differently in regards to moisture management.

Foundation insulation can be used for a variety of reason but the most important is R-Value. This is where it gets interesting - what does Moisture Management have to do with R-Value? Its all about building performance in real world applications.

We can explore permeability and the Laws of Thermodynamics and go very technical but for now most people know that when insulation gets wet, the R-Value of the insulation is reduced. This lowering of R-Value is a performance issue.

Moisture Management Stop the insanity

A new way to view and understand foundation insulation comes from a moisture study. This study looked at the two most commonly used insulation for below grade - XPS (Extruded Polystyrene - pink or blue) and EPS (Expanded Polystyrene - white). Three relevant items of note come from that study. First, XPS lost about 1/2 of its R-Value below grade and EPS held almost all of its R-Value. Second, it was found and further studied that EPS takes on a little more moisture than XPS but EPS insulation has the ability to dispel it. Third, for some anomaly in physics, that we don’t quite understand, EPS even with moisture, tends to hold its R-value. (Learn More from the research)

So now that we know what happens to insulation below grade how does that all tie back into Moisture Management? If you are not going to 100% envelope or water proof your below grade insulation or below grade wall system,
EPS insulation should be used 100% of the time. Remember, the goal of Moisture Management - keeping a building lasting longer and performing properly - Its all about performance. If you want your below grade insulation performing properly and its going to be left “unenveloped," the best Moisture Management choice is EPS.

Swimming Pool Geofoam Project -not too deep to revitalize

Pool 1

The Ashwaubenon Community and School District faced a dilemma - what do you do with an indoor pool that is over 48 years old and has outlived its expected life? Think “outside of the pool” and fill it in with Plymouth Foam’s Durafill GeoFoam and give new life to the building!

Restoring this aged pool was not a viable option as there were too few of lanes and replacement parts were no longer available. The community decided to build a new pool, but what do you do with the old one?

The building that housed the pool was still in good condition. Filling it in with Engineered EPS Foam and pouring 5” of concrete on top “gives this building a new purpose.” This new area will be used as a commons area with tables and chairs for students to eat lunch.

Like all schools districts, needs change. Filling the pool in with foam has a number of possibilities for the district. Foam can be removed and the area can be repurposed for maybe stadium seating or a performance stage. The possibilities are endless.

Pool 2

Filling in a pool sound easy, but reducing in-fill weights and loading pressures of traditional fills such as gravel or stone can be impractical or unachievable. Geofoam to the resue, however filling in a pool with different depths and various slopes is not an easy task.

Boldt Construction’s design team working together with Plymouth Foam Geofoam Consultant, John Calkins, and was able to offer DuraFill Geofoam blocks that were manufactured in various sizes to fit to the contour of the pool. The pieces were labeled and shop drawings were used to install the pieces. Boldt Construction was the general contractor and they “did an excellant job of making the pieces work and come together.”

Using a local contractor and a local manufacturer has many benefits for the local ecomony. Tax money collected for the school district is being spent locally and benefits from the “local multiplier effect.” This multiplier means the money is recirculated 3-5 times in the local economy and is a key tool for creating more local jobs. The school district saved money on transportation cost since the manufacturing facility is less than 75 miles away - now that is “thinking outside the pool.”

Local College ramps up savings and cuts build time

Wisconsin Lutheran College located, at 88th and Bluemound, in Milwaukee, WI is one of the fastest growing and most affordable college in Wisconsin. With the student body increasing, the need for additional parking was greatly desired.

Screen Shot 2016-10-31 at 1.49.13 PM Screen Shot 2016-10-31 at 1.49.41 PM

Wisconsin Lutheran College is nestled between a beautiful Wauwatosa neighborhood and a busy Freodtert Hospital Campus. Designing and building a structure for parking needed to fit into the community and yet be functional. The end result was mentioned by a local official, “this may be one of the most beautiful parking structures in the county.”

Designed by HGA Architure and Engineering, this state of the art, 4 level Parking Center has the ability to hold 350 vehicles. Security and safety was built into the project for the users with an abundance of lighting and a security station. Another great feature to this parking center is the access in is very spacious and it has a two lane exit point for left or right turn functionality. The feedback from students on the additional needed parking has been extremely positive.

One of the real construction challenges in building this Parking Center was the problematic soil conditions that place extremely high lateral loads to the foundation walls. Designing and specifying regular fill material to help these lateral load conditions would take settling and compression time. This extends the project build time and increases cost.

Another challenge to the project was the confined area that was sloping toward the project. Moving heavy equipment and material into the site took careful planning. Weather and construction conditions were managed by a great team of construction professionals from Catalyst Construction.

Plymouth Foam’s DuraFill Geofoam was able to meet the challenge of this project by reducing the construction time line by providing a “ready to build site.” Reducing the build time reduces labor costs and carrying loan cost for the college. Staying on time and on budget for a large construction isparamount in the construction world and DuraFill delivered.

Other fill materials are seldom controlled and can produce varying effects and outcomes. Plymouth Foam’s DuraFill Geofoam is controlled during the manufacturing process and is designed and engineered to accomplish those specific construction outcomes. DuraFill meets the challenge of being an ultra-lightweight material that can reduce load settlement and improve stability against bearing and slope failures.

"Or Equal" - How about Better than Equal

Many construction architectural specs are written with a phrase that reads , “or equal.” This typically means that product must be at least equal to what is being called out. Many architect specify XPS (Extruded Polystyrene) for below grade insulation requiring an R-Value of 5 R/inch with a PSI of 15 or 25. Most times that foam board is specified as 2” thick to accomplish R 10. The real question may be, are their foam insulation boards that are “equal” to XPS below grade?

Plymouth Foam announced in January 2016, that they have
developed a new line of insulation products called Graphite Polystyrene (GPS). Working with BASF’s Neopor Plus ® this new foam insulation board delivers a stable higher R-value by infusing high-purity graphite particles into the Expanded Polystyrene cell structure. This new product has been tested and results conclude an R-value of 5.3 R/per inch* at 40 deg.

Neopor Specs
*The technical and physical metrics provided in this table are reference values for insulation products made of Neopor GPS.
The values and properties may vary depending on how they are processed and produced. The R-value properties are based on 1-1/32 in thickness.


The new innovative GPS foundation insulation certainly inhibits all the characteristics that make it an equal or better than equal to XPS insulation. In fact, GPS is far superior to XPS in a more stable r-value (see below grade insulation study), has the ability to expel moisture and even holds most of its r-value when wet. On the of other hand, XPS’s r-value decreases when the blowing agent escapes and when it gets wet.

The conclusion is simple, it is time start specifying Plymouth Foam’s GPS insulation for those foundations insulation needs.