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

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.

New Video - Building Solutions for Construction

A new video outlines how diverse and high-tech Plymouth Foam's manufacturing capability is for the construction industry. The amount of building products is amazing but what is more overwhelming is how innovative they are.

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.

Building Video Graphic

See the new video - Building Solutions for Construction. Video

See
ALL Videos


For more information contact us at info@goplymouthfoam.com

Gold-Wall Webinar Added to Learn From Home Series

Plymouth Foam has announced the addition of another Webinar educational opportunity. Gold-Wall - The Best Continuous Insulation System.
Friday, May 15 - 11am-noon
Friday, May 22 - 11am-noon


Reserve Spot Now

Gold-Wall is one of the most useful and unique insulation product on the market today. Imagine having an insulation board with a stud incorporated into it. Learn how this product work, how to install and why it will become your favorite insulation.

See the video to learn more about the upcoming video.
LINK

Gold-Wall Promo Shot

I'm Impressed with Acts of Kindness from Plymouth Foam

I love writing articles on technical building technology and products, but today I am blown away by what I just found out. I have been involved with nonprofit organizations for over 55 years and when you think you have seen it all, something surprises you and warms your heart.

IMG_2294

Plymouth Foam is doing something amazing. To help fight the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, Plymouth Foam has brought in machines to produce face masks. Not only that, they are giving them out FREE to the community, starting with high risk facilities like nursing homes, homeless shelter and etc. WOW! If that is not amazing enough, Plymouth Foam is paying their employees for doing this… making sure people can have pay checks. Double WOW!! Now you can see why I am blown away.

I am not shining a light on this to promote Plymouth Foam's greatness, but rather to show this amazing act of kindness. Plymouth Foam is not alone as I am encouraged as I look around this great country and see people stepping up and helping fellow Americans. To see it so close to home - WOW! Many thanks and congratulation to all "
Plymouth Foamers" that are involved in this wonderful program.

IMG_1724.HEIC

For more information contact us at info@goplymouthfoam.com

Plymouth Foam Announces New "Work From Home" Webinars

Plymouth Foam has just announced 3 date for their new "Work from Home" Webinars. The Covid-19 virus has created an environment that has caused many firms to have their people work from home. This pause gives professionals the chance to continue to learn but in a safer surrounding than classrooms, workshops, lunch & learns or seminars.

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

Webinar - New Product - Reduce Lateral Pressure

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."

Complete List of Webinars

Click here to
Sign Up for these Webinars


For more information contact us at
info@goplymouthfoam.com

Plymouth Foam Awarded 2019 Manufacturer of the Year

Plymouth Foam - Not Sick of Winning

It was just another cold winter evening in Wisconsin for the Plymouth Foam Corporation. What really heated things up at the 2019 Chamber Champions Gala was Plymouth Foam being recognized and honored as the 2019 Manufacturer of the Year.

Dave Bolland, President and CEO, was in attendance to accept the award on behalf of our organization. As Dave spoke, he referenced the culture at Plymouth Foam to be one of the key attributes to success; that all associates are empowered to include safety, belonging and mattering in their everyday lives. He also stated that this organization would not be where it is today without the foundation set by the Robert’s family many years ago; we strive to continue their humble legacy. 

Plymouth Foam Manufacturer of the Year 2


Plymouth Foam is no stranger to being nominated as best Manufacturer of the Year. In fact, Plymouth Foam has been honored for the last 4 years in a row. "The work that Plymouth Foam does around the community and for the community is amazing." Plymouth Foam has been honored with many awards and we never get sick of winning. Plymouth Foam has also been nominated for Best Product of the Year and Engineering Excellence Award (SAV+R) by the ACEC.

Congratulations to the Plymouth Foam Team.

For more information contact us at info@goplymouthfoam.com

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

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

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

What You Should Ask Your Roofer?

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.

What should you ask your roofer

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.

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

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.

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

Gold-Wall Product Video Released

Go Plymouth Foam has just released a new video on Gold-Wall. Click here to go to video.

Gold-Wall perfect continuous insulation system You Tube

Having trouble insulating a masonry wall. Gold-Wall to the rescue! This fast innovative insulation system offers high energy saving performance and does not promote mold, rot or thermal bridging. It is simple to use. Fasten the Gold-Wall through the built in metal furring studs to the wall, fasten the drywall (or other claddings) to the same stud... that's it, easy!!!

New R-value Laws - Full Disclosure?


Ever since I saw my first bullt-up roof blister caused by off-gassing of Polyisocyanurate Insulation (1988), I have been analyzing and studying R-values in insulation. My major concern and conclusion was that R-value was not being stated correctly. This made predictive energy modeling and utility cost estimating not very reliable, not to mention over paying for overstated R-values. I believed that full disclosure through a method like LTTR (Long-Term Thermal Performance) would help with give a more accurate accounting.
(LTTR - Read Article)

This October 2019, the US Federal Trade Commission will finally close a loophole in regard to Extruded Polystyrene (XPS) and their avoidance to “fully reflect the effect of aging” on their product. “The final rule, though not mandating a prescriptive LTTR method, requires that manufacturers publish R-values” that are more accurate.

New Laws R-value

The EPS Industry Alliance in a recently published paper, (Polystyrene Foam Insulation in Long-Term Building Applications, Effective R-Values) provided a method to estimate effective R-value for polystyrene insulation. This has started to address my two biggest issues with Effective R-values - 1) “Long-Term” and 2) testing temperature of 75ºF.

Long-term testing statements in insulation should not be 5-15 years (we don’t build building to last 5 years) but rather 50 years. So what is the average R-value over 50 years in a building? Fifty year testing is more reflective of homes and buildings insulation life cycles. Even though the Federal Trade Commission is mandating LTTR for XPS, they are still leaving a loophole by allowing “open” LTTR test methods and not requiring a 50 year prescriptive method. It will be interesting to see what the XPS industry comes up with for R-value. Will it be 4.3r/inch like the testing showed from the EPS Industry Alliance?

The issue of “Testing Temperature” has bothered me for years. Why test at 75ºF? Who needs R-value at 75º? In the Northern States, where heating is a concern, it is more realistic to look at R-value testing temperature at 40º, if not 25º in some states. The opposite is true in the South during summer where 90º may be a more reflective testing temperatures. Knowing the R-value performances of insulation, at various temperatures, is critical for designers to make important R-value decisions. They would have the ability, based on their climate, to select the most appropriate insulation. However, the current testing temperature approach of 75º is really a “one shoe fits all” approach and is not very helpful and leads to poor energy conservation decisions.

It has taken over 30 years to see a more accurate accounting of what the R-values of rigid insulation really is and I applaud the FTC for one more step forward. Just 2 more to go - 50 year LTTR and Variable Temperature Testing Disclosure. Accomplish that and we can finally focus on a really important issue — moisture in insulation and its effects.

John Calkins - JC Edison and Associates

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.

Is Your Foam Safe? - EPS is!


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 capabilities and industry trends.
Within the last few weeks, our industry has been in a negative light regarding the recent New York City ban of Airpop® EPS single-use containers. Store and restaurant owners can no longer use Airpop® EPS containers or packing peanuts.  We want to remind our followers that Airpop® EPS is safe for you and your family. Here are a few details for you to read!
There have been many studies completed for different applications of Airpop® EPS. On FoamFacts.com, single-use food service packaging products are more sanitary than reusable china and glassware! Explained on FoamFacts.com, they share the following research; “ Las Vegas found 18 percent of reusable items tested had higher than acceptable bacterial counts. A similar study in Sacramento County found nearly 30 percent of reusable items tested had higher than acceptable bacterial counts. And a third study in Wisconsin discovered that unprotected tables and trays had up to 23 times higher bacterial counts than those with single-use place mats and tray covers.”
In the U.S., the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) strictly regulates all food packaging materials,  including polystyrene. For every material used in food contact, there must be sufficient scientific information to demonstrate that its use is safe. The FDA has determined that Airpop® (EPS) is safe for use in food contact.
We would like to remind our followers, our Airpop® (EPS) material is made of 98% air and polystyrene does not carry harmful chemicals during use or disposal. Please keep in mind that the material has to be stamped with the #6 PS logo to recycle.
So YES! Airpop® EPS is safe for you and your family!

Reprint From Plymouth Foam