What Experts are Saying about Exterior Foundation Insulation

The emphasis on a complete thermal envelope for a structure is a popular topic for both contractors and the homeowners who will live in them. While the concept of insulating above grade walls, roofs, selecting the proper windows and doors are all well discussed topics, the concept of insulating below grade has become more important as the emphasis on the importance of thermal envelopes has increased.

Up to 50 percent of a home’s total heat loss can be attributed to an un-insulated, conditioned basement, even in an otherwise well-insulated home.

International Association of Certified Home Inspectors

Unlike above grade insulation, insulating below grade for exterior foundation insulation or under slab insulation requires consideration of not just the R-value, but the compressive resistance of the product as well. You have structural loads and pressure from the soil as added factors to consider when selecting your products.

Energy gurus and building codes routinely recommend these days that foundation walls be insulated. One way of accomplishing that is by adding a layer of rigid foam insulation on the outside of the foundation.

Green Building Advisor

You know the importance of insulating your exterior foundation wall. Now begs the question of what product do you choose and what is the best method? Follow along with us this month to learn about insulating methods, products, and pro tips for a successful exterior foundation insulation process.

Want to learn more about exterior foundation insulation while you wait for our next blog feature? Check out Plastifab.com for more product information, how-to steps and technical and code data.

How to Insulate your Home with Exterior Sheathing from Plasti-Fab

It’s that season where all those outdoor home and garden projects are underway or they are in your plans to be completed sooner than later. If one of those items on your list is better insulating your home; let’s talk exterior sheathing, which is now commonly known as continuous insulation. 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.  Part of what makes PlastiSpan insulation great for this type of project is that it is easy to work with because it comes in both standard sizes, custom sizes, and because it is a rigid insulation, you can cut it to the size you need. PlastiSpan meets all building code requirements, has a long-term R-value of 3.75/ inch (which is an RSI of 0.65/25mm. It is simple, and easy to use. Below are some steps to take when insulating your home.

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.

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 (Canada) DuroSpan (USA)

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/DuroSpan 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/DuroSpan 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 board must be fastened to framing using fasteners with heads or washers at least 1/2” diameter where the cladding will be applied directly against the insulation. Fasteners with heads or washers at least 1” diameter must be used where an air space will exist between the insulation board and the cladding (e.g. brick cladding).

7. You will want to reference your local building code requirements to see if a sheathing membrane is required in your area. If so, you will need to install it at this step.

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. Be sure to follow the cladding manufacturer instructions and building code requirements for installation of exterior finishing materials.

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.

Plasti-Fab’s Exterior Sheathing Insulation – Keeping You Cool When Temperatures Soar

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It’s June, and depending on your climate, you are probably experiencing the joys of summer, including temperatures that can really put a strain on the air conditioner.   We are all trying to find the best way to keep our conditioned air and the heat out! So  let’s talk exterior sheathing. People are continually 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? How much energy do you think is leaving through your walls every day? Parents are always after their kids to shut the door so we don’t let the heat or cool air out but in reality, you could be losing up to 33% of your heating and cooling through your walls each 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. Make sure you check your local building code; see what they have for rules, requirements and restrictions. This will save you from problems later on.

Let’s get down to work.  By adding PlastiSpan, PlastiSpan HD or DuroFoam insulation to your home we will increase your energy efficiency and decrease your costs.

*All insulation will be called PlastiSpan from here on, but any of the 3 is the right insulation solution for this application.

A little overview of the 3 types so you can chose the best for your application

  • PlastiSpan has the lowest cost/R-Value for rigid insulation
  • PlastiSpan HD is also a more cost effective product than other rigid insulations. It gives you a slightly higher R-Value and compressive strength than PlastiSpan too.
  • 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

The reflective facer on DuroFoam insulation contains a thin layer of foil embedded within the film. The reflective facer does not increase the nominal R-value of DuroFoam insulation. The green face of DuroFoam insulation should be left exposed to make use of the markings on this face provided for easy cutting of insulation and spacing of interior framing as required.

After you have chosen which type of PlastiSpan insulation you are going to use and have 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.

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 will 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).

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. Installing 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.

This should finish off the exterior of your home. New doors, new windows and by using PlastiSpan insulation under your sheathing, it will make a huge difference on your energy bills every month, plus increase the comfort inside your home. It’s a win-win situation, and who can resist a win-win?

Visit www.plastifab.com for more information on exterior sheathing.

Who Uses Exterior Insulating Sheathing & Why is it Important?

exterior sheathing imagePlasti-Fab

The correct answer is, people who are looking to improve the energy efficiency of their homes and save on energy costs, and truly, who DOESN’T want that?

People are continually 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? How much energy do you think is leaving through your walls every day? Parents are always after their kids to shut the door so we don’t let the heat or cool air out but in reality, you could be losing up to 33% of your heating and cooling through your walls each day due to thermal bridges caused by the wood studs that frame your wall.

So how do we solve this problem? That’s where CONTINUOUS exterior INSULATING sheathing OVER THE EXTERIOR OF YOUR FRAMED WALL comes in. Think of CONTINUOUS exterior INSULATING sheathing as MONOLITHIC blanket that you wrap around your home, keeping the temperature stable, and increasing the energy efficiency.That’s where continuous exterior insulating sheathing over the exterior of your wood framed wall comes in. Think of exterior insulating sheathing insulation a monolithic blanket that you wrap around your home, keeping the temperature stable, and increasing the energy efficiency. If this is something you want to pursue to save on energy costs and improve the overall comfort of your home, let’s take a look at EPS rigid insulation as a solution

DuroFoam Exterior Sheathing Retrofit (3)

It is more cost effective and time effective to increase the R-value of your above grade wall by insulating from the outside in then from the inside out. Make sure you check your local building code; see what they have for rules, requirements and restrictions. This will save you from problems later on.

We have a good selection of rigid insulation that can be used as continuous exterior insulating sheathing. By adding PlastiSpan, PlastiSpan HD, EnerSpan or DuroFoam/DuroSpan insulation to your home we will increase your energy efficiency and decrease your costs. Just for easier reading, all insulation will be called PlastiSpan/EnerSpan insulation from here on, but any of the 6 products mentioned above is the right insulation solution for this application.

A little overview of the 6 types so you can chose the best for your application

  • PlastiSpan insulation has the lowest cost/R-value for rigid insulation
  • PlastiSpan HD insulation gives you a slightly higher R-Value and compressive strength.
  • EnerSpan insulation is an EPS insulation with silver-gray that provides an enhanced R-value
  • DuroFoam and DuroSpan insulation are PlastiSpan or EnerSpan insulation with a laminated film on both sides.
  • DuroSpan GPS R5, R7.5 and R10 are laminated insulation products using the Neopor GPS (AKA EnerSpan from Plasti-Fab)

After you have chosen which type of PlastiSpan/EnerSpan insulation you are going to use and have removed all your existing siding, you need to plan out the joints. Apply one of the exterior insulating sheathing over the exterior of the wood framing. All vertical edges of the PlastiSpan/EnerSpan insulation need to be butted tightly together over stud locations for adequate support.

EXTERIORINSULATINGSHEATHING01PS

Make sure you are using the correct fasteners. PlastiSpan/EnerSpan Insulation must be fastened to framing using fasteners with heads or washers at least ½” (12.7 mm) diameter where the cladding will be applied directly against the insulation. Fasteners with heads or washers at least 1″ (25 mm) in diameter must be used where an air space will exist between the continuous insulating sheathing and the cladding. (The fasteners are usually a nail with a green washer around it). When you are installing exterior cladding; cladding must be attached to the wood framing members so fasteners need to be long enough to penetrate through the exterior insulating sheathing and at least 1″ (25 mm) into the wood framing.

A separate sheathing membrane is not required if all joints between the exterior insulating sheathing boards are taped using a sheathing tape to seal them.

This should finish off the exterior insulation of your home. New doors, new windows and using continuous exterior insulating sheathing under your cladding, it will make a huge difference on your energy bills every month, plus increase the comfort inside your home. It’s a win-win situation, and who can resist a win-win?

Want to learn more about the products and applications we have talked about here? Take a look at the referenc elinks below for the specific application and product.
Exterior Insulating Sheathing – http://www.plastifab.com/solutions/residential/exterior-insulating-sheathing.html
PlastiSpan Insulation – http://www.plastifab.com/products/insulation/plastispan.html
PlastiSpan HD Insulation – http://www.plastifab.com/products/insulation/plastispan-hd.html
DuroFoam Insulation (Canada) – http://www.plastifab.com/products/insulation/durofoam.html
DuroSpan Insulation (USA) – http://www.plastifab.com/products/insulation/durospan.html
DuroSpan R5 Insulation
https://www.plastifab.com/products/insulation/durospan-gps-r5.html

Stay tuned for more information to come on Exterior Insulating Sheathing!

Plasti-Fab EPS Product Solutions Commercial Construction Series Wrap Up

For those of you who have been following along with our blog series, you know that we have covered insulation solutions and insulated building components for Commercial Construction. The end result provides a fully insulated, high performing, energy efficient commercial structure. Not only is the building energy efficient to save on operating costs, but as the builder, developer or owner, you can rest assured the quality of materials as well.

While the end result is always the goal in construction, there are other important factors that come into play along the build process. Is the site safe, is it clean, did the materials arrive on time, will you beat the rain, the heat, the cold…. The construction of a commercial building is a symphony of trades and suppliers working together. With Plasti-Fab’s promise of Quality, Service, and Expertise, we work with you every step of the way to help make your project successful.

Quality.
As North America’s only vertically-integrated EPS manufacturer, Plasti-Fab prides itself on the quality of materials provided to the end user, regardless of your application. Stringent manufacturing & third-party code testing on quality, R-value, compressive resistance and more allow us to provide a high quality product all the way from below grade applications to roofing solutions. Rest assured that your commercial project will be a better building with energy efficient and sustainable products. Learn More ►

Service.
A key factor in commercial construction is the service you receive from your suppliers. Timely deliveries, on-site assistance, and continued technical and product support throughout the build process is what you can expect from Plasti-Fab. Not only do we work with architects, engineers and specifiers during the development and planning stages, but also provide technical and how-to assistance to builders and developers during the construction phase. Our goal is to ensure your experience with our product and our organization is a good one. Learn More ►

Expertise.
With over 50 years in the EPS industry, we have technical engineers to help specify the product to meet the construction and project needs. A little known fact about our organization is that many of our employees have 15-30 years of experience. Tap into our knowledge base, and allow us to help navigate the commercial construction waters to help you achieve the highest level of success with your project. Learn More ►

In short, commercial construction is exciting, stressful, and a delicate balance between suppliers, subcontractors and customers. Plasti-Fab is here to help you achieve your project goals and build a better building, with unrivaled energy efficiency and high performance materials.

To learn more about EPS Product solutions for Commercial Construction, visit: https://www.plastifab.com/solutions/commercial/commercial.html

Plasti-Fab Commercial Construction Series – Insulated Roofing Solutions

As we move into the final stages of building and insulating our commercial building, let’s take a look at what we have this far. First, the below grade insulation solutions created an excellent, energy-efficient foundation for the building. Then we moved on to the exterior above grade walls with a host of insulation options ranging from rigid foam products to insulated building systems. Now, to keep the momentum and high-performing thermal envelope going, we will finish off our series with insulated roofing solutions.

Most commercial structures have a flat roof; but whether the roof is flat or pitched, you can still insulate it to provide the most energy efficient building, keeping your heating and cooling costs low. This adds value not just to the quality and comfort of the structure, but to your bottom line as well.

Insulating the roof of your commercial building will save you energy costs and increase the efficiency of the structure.

One product to consider for your roofing needs is PlastiSpan® Sloped Insulation. PlastiSpan sloped insulation board can be used for new and maintenance roofing projects of all sizes and is suitable for use with all types of roofing systems. Because PlastiSpan sloped insulation board is an expanded polystyrene (EPS) insulation, design thermal resistance values provided are not subject to thermal drift. (Meaning your R-value is the same now and will remain the same for the life of the product) PlastiSpan® insulation can be used in more than just a sloped roof solution. Other applications for commercial construction include standing seam, built-up roofing, fire-rated assemblies, single-ply roofing and (in the case of pitched roofs) cathedral ceilings. You do not have to sacrifice design and architecture to get the insulating values you need.

Learn more about PlastiSpan® Insulation for Roof Applications

What if you don’t need a specially designed sloped roofing insulation? DuroFoam® Insulation, a laminated rigid foam board can also be used for roofing assemblies to ensure the energy efficiency of your building. The roof area can be the area of highest heat loss in buildings. In order to conserve energy and to make buildings more comfortable, building codes stipulate higher thermal resistances (R-values) for the roof area compared to other building components.

Learn more about using DuroFoam® Insulation in your next commercial project.

If you need a higher R-value solution for the roof, consider using an EPS product infused with NEOPOR® Graphite bead, providing R4.7 per inch. This product, known as EnerSpan® Insulation is another roofing insulation option, and works well in commercial applications.

EnerSpan® is a moulded graphite expanded polystyrene (GPS) insulation with a silver- gray colour. Manufactured using Neopor® provided by BASF, a graphite-enhanced raw material that reduces radiation heat transfer resulting in higher thermal resistance (R-value) of 4.7 per inch

Learn more about the EnerSpan Insulation

The last roofing solution we are covering today is an insulated building system, Insulspan Structural Insulating Panels (SIPs) Unlike the other flat roof solutions, SIPS are the complete, drop-in-place roof component that provides EPS insulation and structural strength. Insulspan® Structural Insulated Panels – Insulspan SIP roof assemblies provide higher R-values than typical wood-framed construction alternates as there are significantly fewer thermal bridges. Longer spans, higher R-values, reduced site time, and less waste from building materials makes SIPs an excellent option for commercial roofing.

Learn more about the Insulspan SIP System as a roofing solution

Rebar Explained – A Comprehensive Guide to Rebar in ICFs

Compared to conventional foundation walls, ICFs require more rebar.  However you can have a 6” thick concrete wall with ICF opposed to an 8” conventional foundation wall in most cases.  Therefore the extra rebar can save you 2” of concrete throughout your foundation walls.

Since ICFs incorporate more rebar and are considered reinforced concrete walls, they will allow you to build a taller wall giving you a higher ceiling height compared to conventional concrete walls.

Rebar is used to solve structural design requirements related primarily to compression, tension and shear loads.  Rebar will also control concrete shrinkage cracks.

Vertical Rebar in the Footing

Steel reinforcing dowels should extend a minimum of 40 times bar diameter in height from the top of the footing to match the size, spacing and position of the vertical reinforcement required in the foundation wall.

Concrete is strong under compression loads, but tensile strength is much lower.  Rebar for below grade foundation walls with backfill on the exterior face is always installed in the inside third of the wall which is the tension side of the wall. For above grade or Party Wall applications the rebar is typically placed in the middle of the wall.

When you look in the Advantage ICF block you will see rebar clips on the plastic webs that space the 2 layers of EPS.

Horizontal Rebar in ICF Courses

Once the first course of ICFs is complete, place rebar horizontally in the appropriate rebar clips in the web, following your engineering specifications (or the design tables in the Advantage ICF System Technical Manual). The horizontal rebar is staggered in order to allow the vertical rebar to be placed between the horizontal bars after all the courses are in place. For below grade ICF Walls install your horizontal rebar in clip #1 (the first inside rebar saddle)  on the first row of block and #3 (the third rebar saddle) on the second row and alternating between #1 and #3 for all the sub sequential courses of block.

Rebar is typically on the tension side of the wall (or the inner third in most cases) However, for a more in-depth descriptions, see the Advantage ICF System Technical Manual.

Staggering the rebar from row to row creates a “weave” effect that enables the horizontal rebar to cage (another term “hold” works also) your vertical rebar in place. Vertical rebar is installed once the wall is at full height.

Install the specified vertical reinforcing steel by sliding it down between the offset lengths of horizontal rebar. This creates a ‘weave’ effect that enables the horizontal rebar to hold the vertical rebar in place.

Job site tips for rebar

● Make sure you know where on the job site you want the rebar unloaded.

● Keep the rebar as clean as possible from dirt and other contamination as this will affect the performance

● Cut 4 foot lengths and pre-bend them for corners and T-Walls

● Have a proper rebar cutter and bender on site or arrange to have this done for you prior to having the rebar delivered to achieve required tolerances.

● Place plastic caps over the top of vertical rebar sticking out of footings or walls to prevent injury from sharp ends .

You can click the following link to find out what rebar you will need for your job.

http://www.advantageicf.com/technical-library/technical-library.html

It is critical to review all applicable building codes and ICF manufacture’s engineering, technical manuals as well as Code Reports to understand the proper spacing and sizing requirements of rebar.

Resources

Advantage ICF Technical Manual

Advantage ICF Installation Manual

Advantage ICF Detail Manual

Advantage ICF System Checklist

Advantage ICF Field Guide

If you have any questions about the rebar placement for your project, call us today at (888) 446-5377.