News From Go Plymouth Foam

Polyiso Shortage - Now What

Polyisocyanurate (polyiso) is one of the insulations that is used frequently in roofing. With huge lead times to get the polyiso product, one may start looking for alternatives. After all a roofing company can't just wait on the sidelines for product to come in. Leaking roofs need to get replaced. So what does a roofing contractor do that generally uses just polyiso in their systems.

Lead times taking you down B

Engineered EPS (Expanded Polystyrene) insulation is a great alternative to Polyiso. Technically, EPS has many advantages over Polyiso. Some contractors may say that Polyiso has a higher R-value, while that is correct when we are talking published R-value but, Service R-value is a different matter. Long-Term Thermal Performance (LTTP) has show that Polyiso's R-value goes down dramatically as it ages. Further studies have shown that Polyiso's R-value decreases when the temperatures go down - this is when R-value is needed the most. EPS has a stable R-value and only changes by increasing it effectiveness when it gets cold. This is just one of many reasons that EPS is superior to polyiso.

So what are the other features and reasons that make Plymouth Foam's EPS Superior to polyiso?

- EPS does NOT use HCFCs, CFC or Formaldehyde
- EPS does NOT off-glass and holds its R-value
- EPS is more resistant to moisture absorption and can even expel it
- EPS configurations on density, size shapes is almost endless in possibilities
- EPS is more available and faster to make
- EPS is a Better Value and can cost 70% less than Polyiso
- EPS R-value in crease in cold weather
- EPS is 100% Recyclable and a greener product
- EPS is made in the United States

LEARN MORE

If your a roofing contractor that has been using a lot of Polyiso, EPS is a great alternative that is available and can keep your roofing business moving.

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.

Roofers: Help Your Customer and Make More Money Part 1

Help to Be More Profitable

With the economy booming, it would seem logical that making money being a roofing contractor is simple, but the reality may be much different. A robust economy produces a tighter labor market, and you may find the battle for bodies to be exhausting. Material components are rising as well, and it is challenging to keep up. Finally, controlling risks in one of the riskiest businesses can, at times, be overwhelming.

Interviewing successful contractors around the country, has led me to share one simple approach to making more profit on roofing projects. Many cost factors in the roofing process are out of control of the contractor. One secret approach that these successful contractors use, is -
value engineering the specification. Many roofing contractors are afraid of the “Written in Stone Specification.” They believe it is difficult, if not impossible, to get changes. This concept is key.

Roofers Help your customers and make more money

Value engineering the specification is all about positioning yourself and your company as an asset to your customer, whether it is the General Contractor, Architect or Building Owner. Learning and developing roofing expertise will allow for you to offer better value to the end user. I am a firm believer that a contractor should get paid extra for bringing better value to a project. That is what a true Roofing Professional is all about.

The approach is to offer Engineered EPS Insulation on every project. Each insulation has its positives and negatives, but Engineered EPS Insulation has numerous advantages over Polyiso. (
See ISO VS EPS) The bottom line is EPS has many more advantages over Polyiso and (Get up to speed on Engineered EPS in Roofing) the Value Engineering numbers are significant.

Examining a standard $200,000 roofing project shows that the savings is generally around $9,600 - $10,200 changing to EPS, yet keeping the same R-value. That savings can be shared with the account 50-50 and the result is a margin addition of roughly 2.5%. If your a $5 million a year contractor, 2.5% would add $125,000/year in profit.

Knowing the numbers is one thing, but implementing an action plan, if you’re not experienced at it, can make this approach a challenge. Plymouth Foam can help and your customer will love it.
For more information contact us at info@goplymouthfoam.com

Is Expanded Polystyrene Biodegradable

Last month we received a message from our friends at the EPS-Industry Alliance titled, Positive Coverage on EPS – New Study Debunks “Forever” Myth.
In an ongoing partnership to showcase the benefits of using polystyrene, we are excited to further promote not only the article and American Chemical Society, but the findings associated. Please take the time to read the following:
A newly released study by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI), the world’s leading ocean research organization, shows that sunlight can naturally degrade polystyrene in just decades or centuries.
This research thoroughly debunks the common argument that PS “lasts forever” in the environment. Sunlight Converts Polystyrene to Carbon Dioxide and Dissolved Organic Carbon was published today in Environmental Science and Technology Letters.
And there’s more good news from the study – sunlight doesn’t cause PS to just physically break down, it also causes it to degrade chemically.
Using a sun-simulating lamp the WHOI scientists found they could chemically degrade polystyrene slowly, releasing organic carbon and trace amounts of carbon dioxide. The scientists believe for latitudes from the equator to the southern border of Canada (0° to 50° N), this degradation process would take decades. For complete oxidation to carbon dioxide, it would take centuries.
Past studies have focused on the role microbes play in degrading PS, rather than considering other factors like sunlight. While microbes would eat plastic, they can be selective, and the complex and bulky structure of PS makes it unappealing for bacteria. WHOI lead research Dr. Collin Ward says, “Although the ring-based backbone of polystyrene makes it a difficult target for microbes, it’s the perfect shape and size to catch certain frequencies of sunlight.”
The study also found that additives (such as color) play a major role in breakdown as they absorb different frequencies of sunlight, which influences how fast the PS breaks down.
EPS-IA will develop messaging around this exciting new study. Stay tuned for updates.

For more information contact us at
info@goplymouthfoam.com

Environmental Impact of Insulation - Results

Recently, the EPS Industry Alliance conducted a comparison of its expanded polystyrene (EPS) insulation Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) with the average EPD results for Dow (now Dupont) and Owens Corning extruded polystyrene (XPS) insulation.

Environmental Impact EPS

The most widely used green building certification program, LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), recognizes buildings that contain products with favorable environmental impacts as determined through EPDs. Recognition as a preferred product requires that the product demonstrate an environmental impact less than the industry average in at least three of the following categories: global warming, ozone depletion, acidification, eutrophication, smog formation and total energy. For polystyrene foam insulation, EPS is less than the industry average in four of the categories, thus meeting the optimization requirement. From a LEED perspective, EPS is a preferred product in the polystyrene foam insulation category.
(Full Technical Brief)

For more information contact us at
info@goplymouthfoam.com

EPS and the ENVIRONMENT: What are the Facts?

Airpop® EPS protects temperature sensitive pharmaceuticals, insulates refrigerated food, keeps hot food hot, insulates your home, and protects delicate finished products during shipment.
Plymouth Foam wants you to know the facts about Airpop® EPS so that you can sort through misconstrued information; looking at the environmental impact of any material requires considering all the facts. We need to look at how the material functions, what are the total energy costs to produce, and how the material is recycled.How much EPS Insulation is Recycled
Some people claim EPS is bad for the environment but they have not taken these facts into account:
  •       EPS is recyclable and recycling rates are climbing especially post-consumer recycling. Chemical recycling increases the ability to recycle contaminated EPS waste. There are more paper cups than EPS foam in landfills.
  •       Alternatives require more energy to produce, creating an even greater environmental impact. The American Chemistry Council sponsored a study showing the environmental cost of alternatives is 4 to 5 times more.
  •       EPS alternatives don’t function the same. You’ll see consumers “double-cup” hot coffee in paper cups or use an extra cardboard coffee sleeve. Businesses pay higher transportation costs for heavier packing materials that lack the same cushioning and impact resistance resulting in potential damage to the finished product. Perishable food would be wasted if not for the insulating benefits of EPS.
We all want a better, cleaner environment for our children. Any change we make in our packaging, storage, and shipping solutions have consequences. We need to focus on the big picture and have the full story when we make personal and business decisions about the types of products we buy and the types of packaging we use.

Contact Plymouth Foam when you need a collaborative solution for your delicate packaging and temperature sensitive storage solutions.

Contact
GoPlymouthFoam for Construction questions or solutions.

Reprint from Plymouth Foam - July

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.

EPS and SIPs - Go Together Just Like Peanut Butter and Jelly

The performance record of Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) have elevated them to be the top wall and roof structural system on the market today. No other system offers energy efficiency with such ease of design and installation.

Many contractors have an impression that SIPs are hard to install or are expensive. Someone has given them bad information. Let’s explore the real truth about Structural Insulated Panels.

Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) SIPs account for about 90% of the SIPs market. EPS SIPs is one of the easiest and quickest energy efficient structural systems that is available and code approved in the United States. Notice, I said, “EPS SIPs.” EPS SIPs are easy to install.

SIPs design economical fast


What can make installing some types of SIPs more difficult? The difficulty of “field modifications” such as a window opening change. For the EPS SIP, modifying a window opening (example: moving it over 2 inches) is fairly simple. The foam and OSB is easy to cut and move. What makes EPS SIPs so simple is the that the foam is easy to manipulate and cut. Even installing electrical wiring through EPS SIPs is extremely easy.
(Click to learn more)

The people that may say SIPs are hard to install are most likely talking about urethane SIPs - the yellowish insulation. Yes, this type of SIPs panel are harder to work with as the insulation is hard to manipulate and modify. Modifying electrical wiring is also very difficult. The bottom line is very few of these Urethane SIPs are sold. It is probably best to stick with EPS SIPs and avoid the hassle.

Finally, what about SIPS being expensive? EPS SIPs are not expensive, most of the time they are misunderstood. (
Click and review the five elements of SIPs cost) No other structural energy efficient system on the market is faster to install and more economical. Studies have show that to get the same performance from other systems, many more steps are needed and they are never quite as good.

If you have never tried using SIPs before or it has been a long time, this may be the year that you discover what makes them so impressive.

Do you have plan that you want to explore, have a question or need panels,
contact us.

12 Reasons Why to Change Insulation - XPS vs EPS

I am often asked what is the difference between XPS (extruded polystyrene) and EPS (expanded polystyrene) insulation? Which one is better and why?

Many myths about rigid insulation have been spread over the years, especially concerning EPS. Some of these EPS myths refer back to an extinct product called bead board. Modern day Engineered EPS is so different and technologically advanced, it’s amazing some still get confused. EPS have made major advancements in chemistry, fusion, expansion, steam quality and TQM. Plymouth Foam, the leader in foam, has state-of-the-art proprietary manufacturing technology to make the product even better.


12 reasons Why EPs Better Foundation copy

Lab and field research have lead to new conclusions about the two rigid insulations especially in below grade applications. EPS rigid insulation is certainly been found to be superior to XPS in so many ways. The following is just 12 reasons why.

1) Higher R-Value Retention:
EPS does not suffer from the same plight as XPS in regards to “Off Gassing.” XPS has blowing agents that initially give it a higher R-value, but these gasses escape over time, lowering the R-value.

2) Durability

Engineered EPS can be made in various densities and can achieve compressive strength up to 8,640 lbs/ft and flexural strength up to 10,800 lbs/ft. It is amazing that such a light product, that is 98% air, is so strong.

3) Moisture Management

EPS insulation is non-hygroscopic and does not readily absorb moisture from the atmosphere. Its closed-cell structure reduces the absorption of moisture into the insulation material yet it can readily expel any absorbed moisture.

4) 100% R-Value Warranty
Due to the R-value stability of EPS, Plymouth Foam offers a lifetime limited 100% R-Value Warranty. XPS offers a 90% R-value warranty.

5) No Harmful Chemicals
EPS does not have VOCs or other harmful chemicals in its product. XPS use of chemical HFCs has been deemed to have a high GWP.

6) Cost Advantage
R-value cost per inch is far less in EPS insulation vs XPS Insulation. Value engineering can be used to save $1,000s on projects.

7) Superior Bonding
Due to the manufacturing process, EPS and XPS provide a far different exterior surface. EPS cell structure provides superior bonding.

8) Made in USA - Made in Wisconsin
Plymouth Foam’s EPS is made in Wisconsin and brings jobs, reduces taxes and helps create a better economy for our state. Made in USA.

9) Customizable
Engineered EPS is superior in customizing thickness, lengths, shapes, tapers, chases and can even have reflective laminates attached.

10) Smoke Development
ASTM E84 test method for burning characteristic show that typically EPS has a lower smoke development than XPS.

11) Lower GWP
EPS, the safe insulation, has a lower Global Warming Potential than XPS. Transportation costs are usually lower also lowering GWP.

12) Recycle Accessibility
With over 200 EPS recycling centers in the United States it is easy to see that not only is it 100% recyclable, but it easy to do.
(Learn More about these 12 reasons)

As EPS continues to grow even more popular and gain market share, competitors have continued to spread these old myths. The bad news for them is
these myths have been BUSTED. Numerous studies done around the world are proving that EPS is not only “the safe insulation” but that it holds its R-value better, is extremely durable, great in freeze-thaw cycling, has great drying potential and outperforms all other rigid foam insulations.
(Get the 12 Reasons Brochure)

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.

Plymouth Foam Takes on Recycle Challenge

Recycle Today for a Better Tomorrow - Plymouth Foam is living that statement by expanding it's recycling program. Plymouth Foam has always done recycling but now it is opening up a Consumer Recycle Center, in Plymouth, WI to the general public. In fact, it doesn't even have to be Plymouth Foam's Expanded Polystyrene. The new Consumer Recycle Center was opened on April 22, which was Earth Day.

Plymouth Foam Recycle

What if you're a contractor and you want to recycle your foam? Plymouth Foam has a program to help with larger quantities of EPS Foam. (Learn More - How to) Plymouth Foam encourages recycling of construction EPS. "The biggest challenge is educating contractors on how to recycle foam."

Plymouth Foam is working on educating the public that EPS is "the Safe Insulation" and is 100% recyclable. In fact, in 2013 over 34% of post consumer EPS was recycled, that is over 127 million pounds. (
Learn More about Why EPS is so Green)

Plymouth Foam Recycle Center
1800 Sunset Dr.
Plymouth, WI 53073


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.”

Why is Expanded Polystyrene Insulation Market Growing.

Why is Expanded Polystyrene Insulation Market Growing.
GROWING PRODUCT SEGMENT: EPS

 
The article, “North America Building Thermal Insulation Market Worth $10.75 Billion By 2025” by Grand View Research states that there will be a growing insulation demand in residential and commercial applications due to the increasing energy costs driving the demand. In 2015, the North America building thermal insulation market was valued at $7.09 billion creating an increase of $3.66 billion over the next nine years.
 
How can the rising demand for thermal insulation reduce energy costs?
 
Good question.
 
In the sense every building product associated with residential or commercial applications help reduce energy cost; thermal insulation materials assist in reducing heat buildup within the buildings, cutting down on the dependence on air conditioning.
 
EPS has been a popular product in Europe and now has good attention in North America; expecting to be the fastest growing product segment because of the excellent thermal insulation properties and longer life span. EPS accounted for 23.5% of share by volume in 2015 and expected to increase 1.5% by 2025 (shown in the image below).
 

EPS market share

Product market share, by revenue (USD Million), 2015 (USD Million)
 
Having new construction and implementation of energy efficiency codes are likely to result in high industry rivalry perceiving slow but stable growth in the industry.

What Insulation is the Best in Roofing?

I get asked this question all the time, but the answer is much more complicated. Its fun to go back historically and look at why insulation was introduced into roofs in the first place. It was fairly simple back then, the waterproofing was to keep water out and the insulation was to keep people warm. Today, insulation is so much more and that is why to answer which insulation is the best, we need to look at the most important attributes of the two most popular roofing insulations - Polyisocyanurate and Expanded Polystyrene.

ISO VS EPS Scale

      • R-Value

R-value is more than the R-value per inch. Polyisocyanurate (ISO), starts out with a higher r-value per inch, but then the blowing agents escapes and the R-value is reduced. (learn more) Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) has a lower R-value per inch but can be make thicker to match any R-value requirement. EPS’s R-value increase in colder temperature while ISO decreases. Many would give ISO the edge because of R/inch, but taking into consideration overpaying for R-value that does not stay stable in lower temperature, the advantage has to good to EPS.

      • Environmentally Friendly
ISO uses a “harmful” blowing agent which escapes into the surrounding area and no one knows for sure what the health effects are on humans. EPS does not use harmful blowing agents and is known as the “safe insulation.” EPS insulation is also 100% recyclable where ISO is not. EPS is by fair the greener product. (learn more)

      • Combustion
This gets complicated because EPS has a fire retarder that is in the product and thermal boards, like drywall can be used to make it even more fire resistant. Remember, EPS can go Direct to Deck and has UL approved. ISO by its very chemical makeup is more fire resistant. The question maybe, if ISO does catch on fire what is the chemical by-product that are produced when that product burns and how harmful is that to humans? ISO has the slight advantage on fire but EPS has the advantage on by-product. (learn more)

      • Cost
You can’t have a material discussion without looking at the cost element. This is not even close EPS is a much better value than ISO any way you measure, including cost per R-value inch. (learn more)

      • Design Flexibility
Roof design can be looked at in numerous ways such as thickness restrictions and tapered possibilities. ISO is very limited in thickness per board. High R-value systems make ISO more labor intensive as it need so many layer to comply. One EPS board can go up to 200 R. ISO is limited in tapered slope possibilities usually 3. EPS on the other hand is almost unlimited. EPS can use insulation shapes (example rounded) that ISO just can’t match. Design flexibility goes to EPS.

      • Moisture Retention
Roof leaks can cause moisture to enter into a roofing system. When exposed to the same test as EPS, ISO absorbs much more moisture and has a difficult time expelling it. The ISO glass facers are even more prone to moisture absorption. EPS can absorb moisture but two anomalies make it so desirable - one it can expel moisture and two moisture has little effect the R-value. EPS has the advantage. (learn more)

Expanded Polystyrene, when compared to polyisocyanurate, certainly has more reason to be use in roofing. It seems over the last few years, many designer have lost sight of the purpose of insulation and the importance of R-value long-term. Some designer only considered combustibility and its superior importance, when in all likely hood this physical property will never ever be used. A feature such as long-term R-value, which performs daily in that system, or even moisture expelling capability, get lower considerations. When all of the major features of insulation are considered, EPS seems to be the clear winner.

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.

Value Engineering - A Win-Win Strategy

Recently, much has been written on the new r-values of polyisocyanurate insulation spurred on by the NRCA Tech Talk. What hasn't been talked about is what does it mean for the consumer? or What opportunities are available for advanced roofing contractor that are willing to educate clients? or How can a Win -Win scenario be used to Win More Jobs?

Experience in the industry has shown that it takes designers and architects several years to catch up and change their project specifications based on new information. This opportunity window allows for roofing contractors to provide a wonderful service and offer "Value Engineering." (Get a copy of - "
Value Engineering Tips and Tricks for Roofing")

The recent research has shown that polyisocyanurate (ISO) insulation provides an R-value of 5 R/inch at 40ºF and 4 R/inch at 25ºF. Contrast that to Type VIII Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) that has an r-value of 4.2 R/inch at 40ºF and 4.4 R/inch at 25ºF. Now, take into account that the cost difference between ISO and EPS insulation. ISO Insulation can cost up to 60% more. This really spotlights EPS as the best r-value/inch value. Substituting EPS insulation in for ISO in a value engineering premise is quite simple as the numbers speak volumes. The real trick is how it can be accomplished in an environment that is so "Pro" ISO?

Ultimately, the building owner can win by saving money and yet the contractor can win by proving his professionalism and closing more work - a real Win-Win.



Insulating Stud Cavities

Insulating stud cavities or any cavities needing insulation can be difficult to fill. Fiberglass, blown-in and spray foam seems to be high on everyone's list but really fall shorts in many ways. Rigid insulation like Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) by itself or in combination with other insulation may be the ticket, depending on the application. Remodelers will be the first to tell you that when they open up walls they see - fiberglass that is moldy and open, blown-in insulation that is settled down 2' from the top and spray foam that is cracked with bugs crawling through it. Polystyrene Insulating Panels (PIP) Packs may be a good solution in combination with other insulations. PIP Packs are EPS panels that are pre-cut to fit snuggly into opening like stud or furring cavities. PIP Packs can come with "ON Guard" insect protection that can help keep pest and bugs from entering a cavity. Learn More

PIP Pack Wall

PIP Packs can be used as a backer with compatible spray foams. Using EPS rigid insulation can reduce system costs in a spray foam application as the amount and spray foam thickness necessary to fill a cavity or meet r-value requirements can be reduced. Combining the stableness of EPS and the tightness of spray foam, one can create a very effective system.

What are the advantage to using EPS Rigid Insulation

  • Good Insulator
  • Best Rigid Insulation Value
  • Low Moisture Absorption
  • Long-Term R-Value Stability
  • 100% Recyclable
  • Does Not Leach into Surrounding Soils
  • Contain No Ozone Depleting Chemicals
  • Does Not Promote Mold or Mildew
  • Inert
  • Our EPS is Made in USA

Learn More About Advantage to EPS

Gold-Wall Worth its Weight in Gold

The "Code Friendly" term for today's designers is continuous insulation. For good reason, continuous insulation provides a solid plane of insulation and a consistent r-value which help with all the new energy codes. One of the best products on the market today to provide continuous insulation is Plymouth Foam's Gold-Wall. Gold-Wall starts with the benefits of EPS rigid foam insulation and combines it with embedded 25 gauge steel studs which providing a superior insulation system.

Gold-Wall has many application possibilities. It can be used to "insulate and fur out" concrete block, poured concrete, pre-cast, tilt up or almost any other masonry installation. Gold-Wall works well on walls, roofs, ceilings, shafts, stairwells, basements and can provide a more efficient insulating system. Gold-Wall can even be used in residential wall application to provide more r-value on the exterior wall, yet provide a fastening surface for claddings such as cement board. The application possibilities almost seem endless. Gold-Wall has so many uses and benefits it is no wonder why it is a Top Construction Product.

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Unlike traditional Z-furring Gold-Wall offers a plethora of advantages:
  • Eliminates Thermal Bridging and Increases R-value
  • Faster Installation which Reduces Labor Costs
  • Dimensionally Stable R-Value Due to No Off-gassing
  • Strong Studs for Secure Placement
  • Eliminated Adhesive Issues and Bonding Weakness
  • Ready for Drywall or other Claddings Installations
  • Can Easily Accommodate Wiring and Electrical Boxes
  • Provides a Vapor Retarder Perm Rating of 0.07
  • Dual Polymeric Facers to Increase Durability
  • Help Eliminate Mold Issues due to Condensation

Gold-Wall has one more new advantage,
Graphite Polystyrene (GPS). Gold-Wall now comes with the addition of GPS insulation as an option, which provides even more r-value. GPS insulation infuses graphite particles into the polystyrene cell structure allowing it to reflect and absorb energy providing an even more energy efficient product.

Learn More about Gold-Wall.