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Plasti-Fab Launches Online Continuing Education for EPS Thermal Insulation

July 10, 2014





Distance learning is a useful and convenient method for professionals to gain knowledge and earn continuing education credits. Considered to be a viable alternative to traditional, classroom style education, online learning is a practical and affordable way for procuring ongoing, state-of-the-art, and up-to-date continuing education. You can download a course 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. Since the course then resides in your desktop or laptop computer, you can participate in the learning experience at the convenience of your home, office, or while on the road.

e-learningPlasti-Fab Ltd., a leader in providing EPS Product Solutions, has developed an online training seminar that has been recently published with AEC Daily’s Online Learning Environment providing an overview of EPS insulation, EPS geofoam and ICF/SIP building system solutions produced using sustainable EPS manufacturing processes.  Standing behind education being the key to an industry of successful better building ideas, Plasti-Fab explains expanded polystyrene, its uses and applications as well as the building systems that utilize the EPS technology: ICFs and SIPs. Highlighting energy efficiency and R-values, along with product quality and years of service and expertise, the Plasti-Fab program highlights EPS product information and solutions, with a strong foundation of technical information.

These courses are offered free of charge through a professional courtesy provided by the sponsors on the AEC Daily web site.

Take your continuing education course today or contact Plasti-Fab for more information. | | 1-88-Think EPS

Insulspan® SIPs help homeowners create an energy-efficient and durable Michigan home

July 8, 2014

Powamo, Michigan

powamo houseWhen building a custom two-story Colonial house, a couple  in Powamo, Michigan began their research by examining alternative building systems that would create a higher quality home than traditional wood framing.

“Before we started building I was looking at alternatives like superior building materials,” said the homeowner.  “We wanted to find something that was better than what everyone else has.”

Their search led them the Insulspan® Structural Insulating Panel (SIP) System.  Insulspan SIPs provide exceptional energy efficiency and durability due to their insulating core that is continuous throughout the prefabricated panels, virtually eliminating heat loss caused by thermal bridging at wood studs, gaps, and air leakage.

“I have the satisfaction of knowing I will never have air gaps or insulation settling,” said the homeowner.  “I like the idea that my home is just built better with better materials.”

Insulspan’s industry-leading ready-to-assembly building system also saves time and labor during the construction process.


Builders install the Insulspan SIP walls for this southern Michigan homeowner.

Builders install the Insulspan SIP walls for this southern Michigan homeowner.

“The builder was familiar with SIPs, had built his own house with SIPs, and was a huge advocate of the Insulspan System,” said the homeowner.  “The builder nudged me along and removed a lot of his labor costs to not do stick framing.”

“We really like working with builders who understand the value behind the product and how it works,” said Aaron Hinde, Insulspan Blissfield Sales Manager.  “Our Ready-To-Assemble package goes a long way, but a builder who really stands behind the technology and building system makes the project a success.”

Learn More about Insulspan SIPs at


Renovating your Home with Plasti-Fab Continuous Insulation

June 17, 2014

written by: Melissa Carruthers
Follow me on Twitter @MelissaC_PFB

Renovating your home? Let’s talk exterior sheathing. People are always looking at different ways to increase their energy efficiency and decrease their energy costs. So what do they do? Replace windows and doors. Well that’s a great start, but what about all that space between your windows and doors? Your walls? How much energy is leaving through your walls every day? My parents were always after me as a kid to shut the door and “stop air conditioning the outside!” In reality though, you could be losing up to 33% of your heating and cooling through your walls every day. So how do we fix this? Well this is where PlastiSpan insulation saves the day. It is more cost effective and time effective to increase your R-Value above grade by going from the outside in then from the inside out. Wait what? Do you already have siding on your home or building? Here are some steps you can take:

1. Check your local building code; see what they have for rules, requirements and restrictions. This will save you problems later on

2. Figure out if you are eligible for any provincial or federal rebates and see if there are any requirements like a “blower door test” or an energy audit so you are able to show what you currently have and they can see the changes.
SPECIAL NOTE: The Canadian government has  introduced the EcoEnergy Retrofit program and they have a frequently asked questions page that I found really helpful. I definitely recommend you check it out.
***It’s important that you read the rules before you make an investment expecting to get money back. The rules are fairly clear and I know I’d want my $5000***

3. Now let’s get down to work. Once you have everything figured out for your rebate and building codes we need to buy the rigid insulation to increase your energy efficiency and decrease your costs. Your obvious choice of rigid insulation would be one of the following; PlastiSpan, PlastiSpan HD or Durofoam.

4. Let me tell you why:
a. PlastiSpan has the lowest cost/R-Value for rigid insulation
b. PlastiSpan HD is also a more cost effective product then other rigid insulations. It gives you a slightly higher R-Value than PlastiSpan too.
c. DuroFoam is an ideal product for sheathing because it has been laminated on both sides, one with a green film and one with a silver one
**You can install DuroFoam insulation with either side facing out. It is merely your preference.**

5. Once you’ve removed all your existing siding you need to plan out the joints. Apply one of the PlastiSpan insulation products over the exterior of the wood framing. All vertical edges of the PlastiSpan insulation need to be butted tightly together over stud locations for adequate support.

6. Here is an important step! Make sure you are using the correct fasteners. PlastiSpan Insulation must be fastened to framing using fasteners with heads or washers at least ½” diameter where the cladding with be applied directly against the insulation. Fasteners with heads or washers at least 1” in diameter must be used where an air space will exist between the PlastiSpan insulation and the cladding. (The fasteners are usually a nail with a green washer around it)

7. A sheathing membrane is not required if all joints between the PlastiSpan insulation and all openings in the wall are taped using a sheathing tape to seal them.

8. Now to install your exterior cladding. Cladding must be attached to the wood framing members so they need to be long enough to penetrate through the PlastiSpan insulation and at least 1” into the wood framing.

9. This should finish off the exterior of your house, new doors, new windows and by using PlastiSpan under your sheathing will make a huge difference on your energy bills every month and then both Federal and Provincial governments will give you money for making these changes. It’s a win win situation.

By the way, don’t forget below grade insulation. Check out our Below grade insulation blog here.

Let me know how it works out for you and how much money you are getting back!

Building Energy Efficient Walls with Insulspan SIPs

May 27, 2014

Written by Aaron Hinde

Why is the insulation of your walls so important? Well for starters, 40% of the world’s energy consumption is in buildings. That energy converts to dollars. When building a home you want the most energy efficient method available, and Insulspan SIPs provides an excellent energy efficient solution.

The Insulspan Structural Insulating Panel (SIP) System “sandwich” of performance-rated oriented strand board (OSB) structurally laminated to a continuous core of expanded polystyrene (EPS) insulation allows you to build and insulate your building in one step. You gain benefits not only from the energy efficiency of the product, but also from the speed of construction, the designed system that is tailored to each project (see Designing with Insulspan SIPs Blog), and a Ready-To-Assemble end product which includes your essential materials such as lumber in one complete package.

Red Wood Terrace by Insulspan SIP by Design
Our design process reduces construction time and improves efficiency. Blueprints for your home are loaded into our computerized factory equipment, where Insulspan SIPs are manufactured to your exact specifications, then delivered to your location as a ready-to-assemble building system.

Energy Efficiency
Higher R-value keeps conditioned air in. The R-value of a wall is a measure of its ability to keep heat from flowing through it. Higher R-value for walls means less heat loss from the interior or gain from the exterior means less energy needed for heating and cooling. The Insulspan closed cavity wall design limits air movement. The continuous core of EPS insulation in an Insulspan SIP vastly reduces air leakage and heat loss, while also allowing better control of indoor air quality.

SIPs under Construction
Insulspan delivers a full ready-to-assemble package for your walls where we do a complete HSB wall layout showing all connection and lumber detailing. The panels are cut with precise CNC equipment to meet specified tight tolerances. The walls come to the job site with all splines, corners and window and door bucking installed to make installation fast and accurate. The top and bottom plates are supplied and installed in the field to make for connections between top and bottoms of the panels. Insulspan cuts all lumber at connection points for the wire chases saving you the time in the field.

Insulspan tries to do everything in the factory setting and throughout design to save you time and money during the installation process. We also use the highest quality of adhesives and material to assure you receive the highest quality product the market can offer.

So in short, by using our structural insulating panel system, you have built an incredibly energy efficient, higher quality wall system.

Tips & Tricks
To see our product in action, and learn some of the tips and tricks used by the pros, check out our YouTube Channel:

SIPs are just one of the methods available to help create the most energy efficient home. | |

Plasti-Fab Launches NEW Web site for 2014

May 15, 2014

Plasti-Fab Launches NEW Web site for 2014

Plasti-Fab is turning the page in technology. As the company reached its 46th year in business, a new web site came with it. After reviewing the needs of customers and web site visitors, the new site boasts a broader range of product information, How-To sections,  a solutions based hierarchy, and a structure that ties it all together.

Still priding ourselves on our Quality, Service, and Expertise brand promise, Plasti-Fab has come to be known in the industry as the EPS Experts. The web site supports that value statement with an unrivaled Technical Library with a large volume of technical documentation, resources, code listings and other materials supporting not just the PlastiSpan Insulations we manufacture and sell, but the applications for their use.

Look for some of the new technologies on the site that are not only visually entertaining, but assist site viewers with their learning and selection experience. Click here to see the Product Carousel. 

Additionally, the site contains social media channels, up to the minute twitter feeds, blogs, in-site videos,  and multiple subscription services for those who wish you utilize them.

We encourage you to check out the new site for yourself!


Energy Efficient Commercial Construction with EPS Insulating Products: Conclusion

April 28, 2014

Plasti-Fab_WTagline_surveyWritten by Temira K.

Well, there you have it. The building is complete, and we are handing over the keys to one of the most energy efficient commercial buildings we can think of. By utilizing the wide array of EPS insulation, geofoam, and structural products, we have built an incredibly energy efficient commercial structure that will perform for years to come.  Working from the ground up, these insulation solutions have created a commercial building qualified to receive such certifications as Energy Star, LEED, and EnerGuide ratings if the architects, engineers, or other parties involved wish to pursue it.


We began our construction process with the compressible fill material from Plasti-Fab known as GeoSpan® used for the grade beam application. GeoSpan Compressible Fill material is intended to be used primarily as a compressible medium under concrete grade beams or heavier structural members supported on piles. GeoSpan compressible fill material is designed to support expected construction live loads and the weight of the structural member until the concrete has cured and gained enough strength to be self-supporting.

The next application in our construction process was to build frost walls with the Advantage ICF System®.  The ADVANTAGE ICF System® is the ideal building material for below grade forming since it is light weight and easily modified. By using a stay-in-place ICF as your concrete form for your frost wall or grade beam you eliminate the need for reusable forms to be rented and erected prior to placing the concrete.  In the case of a grade beam application one face of the block can be easily cut with a hand saw to incorporate inner pilasters to support columns. Of course you will need to ensure proper bracing when any of the ICF blocks have been modified from their original form.

Following our Frost wall application in the commercial building, it was time to install under slab insulation from Plasti-Fab. Typically for underslab insulation a minimum of PlastiSpan HD INSULATION is recommended, to provide the required compressive resistance to support loads on concrete slabs for commercial building applications. There are also higher compressive resistance PlastiSpan insulation types available if the engineering design for the concrete slab requires it. This results in a continuous layer of insulation below your concrete slab, which will reduce thermal loss through the slab.

Working our way up the building, the next application was exterior foundation insulation. PlastiSpan HD insulation around the foundation creates a continuous blanket of insulation over an exposed wall. PlastiSpan HD insulation can be used for both exterior and interior perimeter applications. It can be applied to the exterior perimeter of either a footing or foundation and then covered with backfill. As we mentioned in this particular feature, if you are insulating the outside, you might as well insulate the inside of the walls as well. The insulation may be placed of the interior of a foundation wall to increase floor temperature.

3D Rendering

With a solid foundation, under slab insulation, and geofoam products in place, we explored the various options available from Plasti-Fab, Advantage, and Insulspan for the above grade walls in our commercial building. The first product we illustrated is known as cavity walls. Plasti-Fab’s PlastiSpan insulation is recommended for rain screen cavity walls. It is a rigid insulation that provides continuous insulation over the wall surface. As well, it provides a capillary breaking layer that resists penetration of moisture.

Exterior insulating sheathing should be viewed as a building envelope insulation, whose primary function is not to provide barrier protection against water penetration (which is provided by the weather-resistant barrier), but instead is designed to limit the amount of water that could potentially come into contact with the building envelope’s primary moisture barrier, reducing the chance of water finding a way into the wall assembly.

Another above grade wall option is the use of ICFs to complete the building all the way to the roof. The growth in the demand for fire safety, comfort & reduction in noise transference in Commercial and Multi-family projects has created a higher demand for ICFs as internal walls. Included in this demand, single family homes have increased the demand for ICF internal walls where the same issues apply such as media rooms and garage to house wall separations.

A very popular application used in commercial construction is known as EIFS. EIFS is an insulating, decorative and protective finish system for exterior walls that can be installed on any type of construction. It is the only exterior wall covering that insulates and provides weather protection in a selection of shapes, colors, and textures that can replicate almost any architectural style or finish material, or stand by itself as an architectural finish.

Another energy efficient wall solution in commercial construction is the precast concrete panel option. Also known as tilt-up walls, they can be easily and economically insulated by incorporating Plasti-Fab PlastiSpan insulation into the panel when they are manufactured. The panel can then be easily placed during the construction process, providing a fully insulated finished wall or floor section. You can imagine how much time this saves in commercial construction.

Our last above grade wall option that we covered in this series was Insulspan SIPS. To Achieve Energy Efficiency while increasing the overall speed of a construction schedule, you really need to be using the Insulspan Structural Insulating Panel (SIP) System for constructing walls in commercial building projects

The same benefits that make the Insulspan SIP system an attractive option for residential construction make it a good solution for commercial projects. For example, while speed of construction can be a determining factor even in small residential projects, when it comes to large commercial buildings, the time savings are that much more enhanced.

SIP-RoofOnce we moved through the energy efficient solutions for the above grade walls, we have the roofing options remaining. The first one we discussed in this series is PlastiSpan Insulation, a common roof insulation for all Commercial, industrial, institutional and residential Roofing applications. The PlastiSpan insulation offers different profiles (flat or sloped) to achieve the desired thermal performance in the roof system. PlastiSpan EPS roof insulation is incorporated into a roofing system in order to reduce the energy loss through the roof. Building Codes require minimum thermal resistance requirements for various types of construction in various geographical locations.

Lastly, the finished off our commercial series with an Insulspan SIP roof application. Insulspan Structural Insulating Panel system (SIPs), another energy-efficient product that uses PlastiSpan insulation as a core material for the SIP. The energy efficiency of the SIP system, paired with the reduced site time and labor requirements make it an excellent all-in-one solution for commercial roof applications.

Insulspan SIPs are a good solution in commercial roofing for many reasons. Since time is money, and BOTH time AND money are important elements to control on a commercial construction site, you want to make sure you are using the best product to help you achieve that.

While it was a long journey through the construction process of building an energy efficient commercial building, it is our goal to provide the EPS solutions that are available in this type of construction. If you have further questions about commercial building or about EPS in general, don’t be afraid to ask. It’s what we do. It’s what we know. And it’s our goal to provide you with the best quality, service, and expertise in the industry.

For more information on energy efficient commercial construction, visit our web sites,


Energy Efficient Commercial Roofing with Insulspan SIPs

April 16, 2014

Insulspan SIPS CanadaWritten by Aaron Hinde, Sales Manager, Insulspan Blissfield

This week we are finishing off the commercial structure series with the final product solution blog, covering the roof.  In the previous blog, we talked about PlastiSpan sloped roofing insulation as one excellent solution for commercial roofing. Today I will cover the Insulspan Structural Insulating Panel system (SIPs), another energy-efficient product that uses PlastiSpan insulation as a core material for the SIP. The energy efficiency of the SIP system, paired with the reduced site time and labor requirements make it an excellent all-in-one solution for commercial roof applications.

Insulspan SIPs are a good solution in commercial roofing for many reasons. Since time is money, and BOTH time AND money are important elements to control on a commercial construction site, you want to make sure you are using the best product to help you achieve that.

Roofs built with SIPs combine the tedious labor of framing, sheathing and insulating into an ultra-quick, one step installation process.

Completing your commercial structure with an Insulspan SIP roof is cost-effective due to the speed of completion you are able to achieve. SIPs require less skilled labor, equaling less time spent on-site. The building envelope can be locked up and ready for other sub trades quickly and be secured against theft, keeping costs down.

Insulspan manufactures what is known as jumbo panels; panels that are manufactured in dimensions of 8’x24’. Dependent upon load, SIPs can be designed to achieve spans with reduced spline connections (longitudinal lumber at panel joints) and therefore less overall material in the roof. The maximum span between supports such as beams or rafters will depend on the snow load, the thickness of panel, and the spline connection at the panel joints.

Appealing to architects & Engineers
In addition to the product itself being a good solution for commercial roofing, Insulspan also provides a large library of supporting documents for architects, engineers and specifiers. You can reference SIP code listing, installation manuals, MasterSpec, and even installation and construction details in either PFD or AutoCAD format at

Energy Efficiency
Not only do SIPs save resources in production and minimize waste generation, the high R-value and airtight nature of SIP construction when combined with other energy-efficient elements in the building envelope also reduces the amount of energy used in heating and cooling for the building, an important element when dealing with large commercial spaces.

Insulspan SIPs incorporate a core of PlastiSpan expanded polystyrene (EPS) insulation with an R-value of 3.75 per inch. EPS is a closed-cell insulation, which maintains a constant R-value for the life of the product.

Thermal Insulation

The Insulspan SIP System provides airtight roof assemblies with higher effective thermal resistance than other construction methods. These properties allow the Insulspan SIP System to work in concert with other energy-efficient building components like windows, doors, and HVAC systems to reduce heat loss from 40 to 60 percent compared to typical wood-framed construction.

Completing your commercial roof with Insulspan SIPS means much less waste generated at your construction site. With conventional stick framing, several dumpsters full of sawn-off construction materials are hauled to landfills. But at Insulspan, we pre-engineer your entire project. Our computer-controlled, automated production environment means precise measurements and very little material waste in our manufacturing facilities. On-site, wall and roof panels fit together precisely, eliminating framing mistakes and cutting down wood studs to the desired length and throwing the rest away. You’ll save on site clean-up costs and waste disposal fees.

Ready to Assemble
The Insulspan SIP System is an industry-leading COMPLETE ready-to-assemble (RTA) system that gives a real competitive edge over traditional stick frame construction. The roof panels, like wall panels, are marked for location, interior side, and exterior side. In the RTA system, the spline lumber is all installed into the panels, so once you attach your lifting plates (also provided by Insulspan) to the panels, you are ready to fly them in and complete your project, one panel at a time.

So there you have it. A complete, enclosed commercial building, with excellent energy efficiency, high R-values, and completed with the speed and accuracy unrivaled in conventional framing.

Additional Resources:

US & Canada Code Reports:

Installation and Assembly Details:

The Insulspan MasterSpec:

Learn more about Insulspan SIP Roofs @



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