Plymouth Foam is offering 3 dates for its first Learn from Home Webinar Series. How To Reduce Lateral Pressure and Reduce Building Liability.
Friday, April 3 - 11am - noon
Tuesday, April 7 - 2pm - 3pm
Thursday, April 9 - 10am - 11am
These new one hour webinars will be held via Zoom and can be attended by architects, engineers, contractors or builders. "We believe this is a great time to learn about our new technology that we have been developing for last 10 years."
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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.
For more information contact us at email@example.com
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?
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
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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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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?
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
Breaking away from the norm and thinking out side the box is what Lumber Sales & Products, Jackson, Wisconsin strived to accomplish. Using a wood stove and in-floor heating is beyond normal construction and took special design and engineering.
Instead of using the traditional pink or blue XPS insulation, Engineered EPS was used as the insulation beneath the concrete to dramatically help save energy. Not only does the EPS work better, but the cost savings was almost 30%. The cost savings for just the insulation was over $15,000. In addition, the saving on the supply lines, using EPS, was $7 per linear foot.
Often these types of projects are specified using XPS insulation because of the myth that EPS is not as good or somehow the hot water running through the pex will melt the insulation. The reality is EPS is a far better product in this application and the cost saving is just an additional benefit. Once the merits of Plymouth Foam Engineered EPS systems are reviewed, the substitution is usually welcome and accepted. Read the entire Job Profile
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.