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
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.
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Plymouth Foam manufactures a wide range of roofing products. These include Flat EPS Insulation, Tapered EPS Insulation, Metal Deck Flute Fillers both Beveled and Square, Retro Deck Flute Filler, Geofoam Roofing and even an assortment of insulation for Metal Roofing. Specialty products like Roofing Drain Sumps (easy Sump), Easy Saddle, Easy Cant and Even Easy Saddle. A series of Ultra Products that have high performance facers that come in sheets or fan-fold. Roof Drainage Boards, Green Roof Insulation and Vented Nailbase add to Plymouth Foam's product offering. These are just some of the roofing products. This does not include all of the other product categories - Siding, Floors, Walls, Foundations, EIFS, Geofoam, Graphite Polystyrene( GPS) Neopor and many, many more.
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.
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.
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Is the Roof Insulation’s R-Value Guaranteed?
Is it the BEST Value?
Many times Polyisocyanurate (Polyiso) roof insulation is specified because it comes standard in NDL (No Dollar Limit) Roof Warranties. No Dollar Limit Roof Warranties sound good but does it guarantee the R-value of the insulation? Would you be surprised if the answer is no, it doesn’t? This can provide a great “Value Engineering” opportunity for your project. NDL Roof warranties using Polyiso are not free. Some believe they are “overpriced extended warranties” that force you to buy all the components from one source, which in turn, drives up the cost of roofing. So ask your roofer what type of insulation he is using and then ask him to give you an option to use Engineered EPS from Plymouth Foam.
The technological advancement for Engineered EPS is truly amazing and the new research is showing why you should insist on using Engineered EPS Roofing Insulation on your project. The real secret is EPS is the best value in roofing. Not only is it less expensive, it is the best value in roof insulation for many reasons.
• EPS’s R-value stays consistent over the life of the product and we guarantee it!
• In cold weather, Polyiso’s R-value goes down, our Engineered EPS goes up.
• Safer product - no offgassing, no CFC OR HCFC and 100% recycable.
• Closed cell that resists moisture but has the ability to expel it faster.
• Compatible with other rigid insulations for mixed systems.
• Available in 12 various compressive strengths
Want to save money on a project? Ask your specifier to value engineer and use Plymouth Foam 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.
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Green Roofs continue to grow in popularity, especially in large urban areas. These areas can suffer from the “Heat Island Effect” which is caused by black roofs, black asphalt parking lots, concrete and lack of green space. Green roofs, also known as “living roofs” or “vegetated roofs” use plants to lower roof temperatures and create a biodiversity ecosystem encouraging additional habitats of plants and animals.
Plymouth Foam has been involved in numerous green roof projects and have noticed that Engineered DuraFill EPS (GeoFoam) has turned out to be the best solution. Here are the reasons we discovered:
- DuraFill EPS is a closed cell, yet breathable to expel moisture
- DuraFill EPS holds its R-value and does not leach chemicals
- DuraFill EPS can be manufactured formed to accommodate water flow
- DuraFill EPS has high compression resistance for loading
- DuraFill EPS has larger payback and lower costs
Plymouth Foam’s DuraFill Green Roof Products can help reduce cost by combining several products into one combination product reducing labor installation costs. Where most systems have insulation above the waterproofing membrane exposed to moisture, DuraFill can be engineered to move water more efficiently to the drains. DuraFill EPS can be designed to have predictable compression for walkways, loads and foot traffic.
Using your roof to create garden or outdoor living space can greatly reduce your heating and cooling costs. It can also help to reduce the Heat Island Effect.
A properly designed Geofoam Green Roof can increase the life span of the roofing system by improving water flow, reducing ultraviolet exposure to the roof membrane and reducing insulation below the waterproofing membrane which lowers thermal roof stress.
Before we delve into the “whys” we really should look at the effects of ponding water on the roofing system. Ponding water can have the following effects:
- additional loading to the structure
- additional time for moisture pathway to open and allow intrusion
- accelerated material degradation including reflectivity and sunlight magnification
- freeze/thaw pressure from moisture seeping into cracks
- insulation compression
- dirt and debris build up that can cause mold or plant growth
- safety issues - electrical or slipping and falling
- voids warranties
The effects of ponding roof can be a safety issue as well as a serious financial issue. If most roofers are aware of the hazards of ponding water then why are there so many roofs that do not drain well? What are the common causes for poor drainage?
- structural deck deflection
- weep hole’s on connected building sections too low
- no or poor structural slope
- poorly designed tapered insulation system
- cost cutting
- poor detailing
- drains/scuppers/gutters plugged
After walking and inspecting millions of square feet of roofing, I have come to the conclusion cost plays a sad, but significant role. I believe roofers feel cost pressure from owners that do not fully understand the ramifications. I will share some examples.
- A roof that has deck deflection issues, retrofitted for cost savings instead of torn off and the deflection was not addressed properly.
- I referred “poor detailing” but what I really meant was that the good detailing was too expensive and the standard detailing was used as it was ok in the book. (example of this, HVAC units that stop the flow of water drainage and needed to be raised and saddles installed to divert water around the unit - not done… not in bid or too expensive or a pain/time to disconnect.)
- Another one I hear is that Polyiso tapered insulation is to expensive and I can go with a 1/8” pitch, that should work.
- Weep holes, I can’t go above the weep holes, its too expensive to modify or change.
I understand the competitive world of bidding but I have some recommendations that can Keep Your Standards Up and Your Cost Down. I hear building owners constantly saying, “ I want things done right.”
RECOMMENDATIONS: Keep Your Standards Up and Your Cost Down
- Instead of using overpriced Polyiso, value engineer and use EPS for the tapered. - save money. Learn about cost saving in EPS
- Use 3/8” tapered as a minimum instead of standard 1/4” as it moves the water better and can overcome many of the detail or structural slope issues. Learn More
- Disconnect units and other projections for proper height requirements and proper water flow.
- Learn how to move weep holes which can offer the ability to increase insulation heights and have better drainage.
- Use EPS saddle and crickets to make sure water moves around units, projects and even between drains. Saddles can be a roofers best friend.
The most popular solution is adding some insulation and retrofitting a new roof membrane over the top. This is were roof insulation Flute Fillers play an important role. Not only do they add R-value to the system but they can transition a flat surface for a new roof retrofit system. I typically see flute filler level with the top of the ribs/seams and one additional layer on top of that smoothly bridging the top of the ribs/seams. The question is can this system be improved upon?
The one area of thermal weakness in this system is where the original metal roof has seams (connection point of the two pieces of metal roof) that allow heat loss at those points. By installing only one layer of insulation over these seams, it allows for the potential of thermal loss at these junctures were the insulation joints meet these metal roof seams. This thermal loss could cause condensation and stress the membrane disproportionately causing future issues.
Some may say, there is insulation under the metal roof system already, those joints don't leak heat. Really? Take an infrared camera and scan that metal roof and look at the seams, you might be surprised what you find.
There are two solutions to fix this potential problem with retrofitting over a metal roof. The first solution is to add another layer of insulation and offset the joints. The second solution is to use Plymouth Foams RetroDeck™ with a cover board. This system has a built in seam offset. No roofing system is perfect, but eliminating as many potential problems can help a roof system last longer creating better value for our customers.
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
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
- Design Flexibility
- Moisture Retention
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.
When installing a new roof, (new construction or replacement) an owner is faced with the role of Risk Management. Many building owners believe the serviceable life of a roof is directly related to the warranty. Roofing Manufacturers’ have seized upon these beliefs by selling “NDL (No Dollar Limit) Warranties” giving customers the euphoria of total protection. Are NDL Warranties worth it?
NDL warranties have a relatively high cost, at several levels. There is a cost per foot for the warranty and to qualify for the NDL, the “system” has to contain “everything” from the roofing manufacturer (screw, plates, insulation, etc.). Most roofing manufacturers do not make all the components in a roof system but rather put their name on them and mark them up.
This is where NDL warranties go sideways - “all the other components.”
According to Roof Warranty Research, roofs typically don’t fail because of washers or insulation. So if insulation and other components, rarely if ever, cause roof failures, why bundle them into a warranty? Does the NDL warranty guarantee the R-value of the insulation when it declines or gets wet? Would you be surprised if I told you they do not?
Maybe bundling all these other components in a NDL warranty offers better cost? When the Roofing Manufacturers bundles the other components, it ultimately places a double margin on “all the other components” - 1st mark up from original manufacturer and the 2nd mark up from NDL Warranty Roofing Manufacturer. Does this double margin reduce cost or add extra profit for the roofing manufacturer?
Interest fact, the roof installers lose their competitive ability to “shop” all the other roof components, driving the prices higher. So, NDL Warranties really take Value Engineering away from the roofer and the building owner! In reality, it really hampers the free market system in some ways.
So are NDL worth it? It has long been said, that roof warranties are written to protect the manufacturer not the owner and that the best warranty is the one that you never have to use. What is a building owner to do? I suggest saving money and take the advice of the roofing experts, make sure the roof is installed properly, do proper maintenance and faithfully monitor the roof through inspections - this is how you get longer serviceable life, not through a NDL warranty.
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.