What is Compressive Strength and Why is it Important in Your Project

PlastiSpan® 40 insulation was used in this large arena for it’s high compressive strength

When designing or building a structure, the insulation under the slab will be responsible for carrying a certain level of load (also known as stress). It is common for this load to be specified in code listings and engineering specifications related to the project.

The mechanical strength of EPS varies with its density. The most important mechanical property of EPS insulation and building products is its resistance to compressive stresses, which increase as the density becomes higher. EPS has a compressive resistance between 10 – 60 psi for most construction applications. Within that range EPS can be produced to meet specific strength requirements. 

Optimum performance of a load-carrying insulation is often related to both it’s strength characteristics and resiliency. Resiliency is the ability of a material to recover its strength following deformation caused by stress (those loads we mentioned above). If greater strength and rigidity are needed, compressive resistance up to 60 psi is available by increasing the density of the EPS insulation to meet virtually any compressive strength requirement.

Due to its high resiliency and strength characteristics, expanded polystyrene insulation offers: 

  • Absorption of substrate and facing movement caused by temperature changes and structural deflections. 
  • Absorption of substrate irregularities. 
  • Thickness recovery following excessive construction load exposures. 
  • Suitable sub-grade reaction for effective load distribution. 
Protect your structure from both above and below-grade stresses

As noted in our Product Information Bulletin #339 – PlastiSpan® Insulation for High Compressive Load Applications, PlastiSpan EPS in various high-load applications, performs exceptionally well due to its low moisture absorption properties. Reference the above noted Plasti-Fab product information bulletin for the compressive strengths of PlastiSpan insulation.

So why is high compressive strength insulation important to your project?

ASTM, CAN-ULC and CCMC code bodies all recognize and specify the appropriate compressive strength of under slab insulation for projects. Due to their higher densities, these EPS insulation options allow you to easily meet the code requirtements regardless of your geographical location or project scale.

Additionally, these higher compressive resistant insulation solutions protect your slab and structure from the load stresses both above and below the slab. No one wants cracking, heaving, or damage due to improper densities. Not only are you provided with the best compressive strength at a reasonable cost, the higher the density, the higher your R-value. While R-value tends to be secondary to the strength performance of the insulation, it is still an added benefit.

Higher compressive strength as a result of higher density EPS provides an additional benefit of having a higher R-value per inch

When you use high compressive resistance PlastiSpan insulation, you not only achieve your load requirements for your project, but an increased R-value per inch performance characteristic, protecting not just your structure, but your wallet as well.

Unsure what compressive strength is required for your project? Give us a call and we can help you determine between PlastiSpan® HD, PlastiSpan® 20, PlastiSpan® 25, PlastiSpan® 30, PlastiSpan® 40, and PlastiSpan® 60 product solutions.

With over 52 years in the EPS Industry, we are proud to bring our customers a level of Quality, Service and Expertise that will help your next project be a success.

Learn more at https://www.plastifab.com/

Achieving Energy-Efficiency & Code Compliance with Under Slab Insulation


Under slab insulation serves two purposes in commercial construction. Not only does it allow you to meet the codes for compressive resistance, but it also insulates your space for a more efficient structure. With products that range from 10 all the way to 60 psi, Plasti-Fab has a solution to fit whatever your structure requires.

Insulating under your concrete slab using PlastiSpan insulation is an excellent way to reduce thermal loss from your commercial building. No one wants to build a commercial building that costs more to heat and cool than is necessary. Investing in high quality insulation under the slab reduces the energy costs associated with operating  in such a space.


As in many other commercial building applications, Plasti-Fab offers a range of PlastiSpan insulation types that can be used for this purpose. Typically for under slab insulation a minimum of PlastiSpan HD INSULATION (16 psi) 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. These products would include PlastiSpan 20, PlastiSpan 25, PlastiSpan 30 and PlastiSpan 40 and PlastiSpan 60 insulation. Plasti-Fab provides Product Information Bulletins with material properties to help designers choose the appropriate product for the application.

So how do you go about making your commercial project energy-efficient with the PlastiSpan insulation under your concrete slab? First, you place and level a layer of granular fill over the floor area. Then cover the leveled granular fill material with moisture barrier. A 6 mil polyethylene is often used as the moisture barrier. When you have completed this, lay PlastiSpan HD insulation over the moisture barrier. Ensure that the joints are tightly butted together. Trim around the perimeter and openings as required.

underslab high compressive

Reinforcing steel or mesh as required by the engineering design for the concrete slab is placed using chairs or supports that distribute the weight of the reinforcing steel/mesh on the surface of the insulation and ensure the reinforcing steel/mesh  is located within the slab thickness as required.  Your concrete is then placed and finished over the insulation layer . You now have a continuous layer of insulation below your concrete slab, which will reduce thermal loss through the slab.

  And there you have it, a very easy way to make your commercial project more Energy Efficient with PlastiSpan insulation. To learn more about how to use under slab insulation to make your next building energy efficient, visit https://www.plastifab.com/

2019 Plasti-Fab Year in Review

We are at the tail end of 2019 and what a year it has been! If you have been following along with us, you know that we started the year covering the installation of our products in cold weather, and moved on month by month to discuss different aspects and applications of our product lines.

Take a look at our top news, blogs, and videos from 2019.

Top News of 2019

1. Plasti-Fab launched it’s Advantage ICF System YouTube Channel in May View now and subscribe to the channel
2. Plasti-Fab launched it’s Plasti-Fab EPS Product Solutions YouTube Channel in June of this year. Check it out and subscribe!
3. Plasti-Fab’s Radon Guard™ Insulation system became a Holmes Approved Product and is featured on Mike Holmes’ web site. Take a look
4. We launched a new Sustainability web site in April of this year. Check out the newly redesigned site now.
5. At the start of 2019, we embarked on 2 full Better Building Ideas from the Ground Up series covering both Residential and Commercial applications. If you missed them, check them out here: Residential | Commercial

Top Blogs of 2019

1. EPS or GPS for Insulated Roofing Applications – How Do You Choose?

Top Videos of 2019

1.Plasti-Fab From Bead to Business View Now
2. How to insulate a basement floor with Plasti-Fab’s DuroFoam View Now
3. How To Insulate Interior Basement Walls View Now
4. How to Dampproof your ICF Foundation View Now
5. PlastiSpan 40 Insulation for Freezer Floor Applications View Now

If you have not subscribed to our social media, YouTube channels or WordPress blog, we encourage you to subscribe now and stay up to date on all the new exciting things coming in 2020!

Visit https://www.plastifab.com/ to see all our social media and Youtube Channels.

Unique Uses for EPS: Part 4 – Movie Sets, Props & More

Today we wrap up our Unique Uses for EPS Series with a sneak peek inside movie magic. Without giving away any of Hollywood’s secrets, it’s safe to say that Plasti-Fab provides EPS material to movie sets and plays for everything from set design to props.

By its nature, PlastiSpan is a versatile product that is easy to customize into a finished product of your design. It can be shaped into curves, sharp angles, letters, and nearly anything you can envision.

EPS can be sanded and smoothed to perfection and is ready to paint, glue, or assemble.
Higher density EPS can also be used for movie props and creations. Higher compressive resistance products are sturdier and maintain their strength even when carved into fine points like this dragon head.

In the same vein as movie props and set design, PlastiSpan EPS is used for custom creations in storefront windows, mall displays, large 3D custom sign work on the inside and outside of buildings.

Here you see a garden display using EPS. While weather does not affect the properties of the foam, (low moisture absorption, etc) if left in the direct sunlight too long without paint, fabric or other coatings, the white EPS will begin to tinge yellow due to the UV rays.

Learn more about our PlastiSpan EPS at https://www.plastifab.com/

Unique Uses for EPS: Part 3 – Flotation

Float your home with PlastiSpan® EPS foam!

Continuing on with our Unique Uses for EPS series, we are touching on the ability to use PlastiSpan EPS as a flotation and buoyancy solution. Floating homes are becoming all the rage, but if that’s not your style, you can still utilize the flotation benefits of EPS with docks and marinas as well. 

At Plasti-Fab, we manufacture PlastiSpan Buoyancy Billets to a variety of different specifications to meet our customer’s requirements. Flotation construction companies utilize our product offerings for Large Marine Infrastructure projects such as ferry terminals, cruise ship facilities, float plane and helicopter marinas.

Use our Buoyancy billets for new floating home construction or repair of existing floating homes. Our buoyancy products are great for River, Ocean and Lake Marinas for private and public boat moorage and can be used by homeowners and independent float manufacturers for recreational docks and swim platforms.

PlastiSpan Buoyancy Billets are a billet of EPS (Expanded Polystyrene) encapsulated in an eco-friendly marine barrier. The barrier resists punctures, UV deterioration, weather, fuel spills and provides protection from mammals and aquatic life.

There is no installation kits (hardware) required to install it. Our buoyancy billets don’t require any ballasting or stringers to be secure and effective. Ballasting is when you add water to the float to increase stability, and a stringer adds stiffness and may also be used when attaching or mounting other internal structures. PlastiSpan Buoyancy billets eliminates the need for those with its built in strength and stability.

There are many associations across Canada that now requires your flotation device to be encapsulated when putting it into rivers and lakes. Plasti-Fab offers you an effective solution to ensure you have a safe dock that does not have a negative effect on the environment.

Plasti-Fab BuoyancyYou can use PlastiSpan flotation products for lake floats, docks, marina’s, rafts, finger piers, boat houses and more!

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to enjoy your waterfront view with your new floating dock, raft or boathouse.

Contact us for more information!

PlastiSpan® Buoyancy Billets for Floating Marinas

Unique Uses for EPS: Part 2 – Crafts & Decorations

To quote a line from one of the most famous animated movies of the season… “Do you want to build a snowman?” WIth PlastiSpan – we make it easy and you DON’T have to freeze while you do it!

The holidays are just around the corner and if you just cant seem to find the perfect decorations for the season we have good news for you. You can use PlastiSpan, DuroFoam, Handi-pac, or any of our other EPS insulations to make your own! With the help iof Pinterest, you can create just about anything from snowmen to trees, and so on.   In most crafts that require canvas, you can substitute PlastiSpan in place of the canvas. In today’s blog – we are going to make a Christmas tree. But you can use the tool list and tips and tricks to make just about anything you desire! 

The supplies you will need:

  • PlastiSpan Insulation (If you don’t have any lying around, you can pick up some Plasti-Fab Handi-pac)
  • Tree template
  • Marker
  • Hot knife or serrated knife
  • Sanding paper
  • Acrylic paint
  • Tape
  • Glue
  • Paint brush
  • Batteries
  • Battery powered mini lights (optional)
  • Decorations
  • Gems
  • Paint on snow and glitter

 What to do: A step by step guide to making a Christmas Tree

I took a 2×2 sheet of PlastiSpan and got to work. I created a template of a Christmas Tree and taped it to the foam. I traced it out and began to cut, starting at the top. There are two methods to consider when doing this:

  1. Hot knife – you can purchase these online and at hobby shops
  2. Serrated blade – make sure you cut quickly

PlastiSPan Christmas Tree Step 1PlastiSpan Christmas Tree 02

I used a hot knife and then when the tree was cut out I sanded all the edges so they were flat. Now begin to paint chose a green, I picked Christmas green. It takes a few coats of paint to cover the PlastiSpan pieces.


I decided to add lights to the tree I was painting so I used the hot knife and made small holes to push the lights through. I purchased battery operated lights because the holes are smaller. After the lights were in I started to decorate


I chose tinsel with sticky ornaments to attach to the foam. I had to use extra glue in some places. There were other items I looked at adding like Christmas balls and flat ornaments but I thought on this tree it was enough.

PlastiSpan Christmas Tree plastispan-tree-07

I also wanted to add snow to the branches but again my late start made this a difficult search. I have learned for next year that for sure. Hope you find this project fun, but make sure you plan in advance because it made finishing my tree a little bit more difficult.


Some other great decorations and crafts you can make are shown below! Be creative and make your holiday season festive and budget-friendly. 

Learn more about our EPS products and solutions at https://www.plastifab.com/ 

Create a beautiful snowy tree with Plasti-Fab foam and some lights!
Make 3D decorations that are lightweight and easy to adapt to your own style!

Unique Uses for EPS: Part 1 – Home Decor

Plasti-Fab EPS is more than just insulation. This month, we will be looking at the unique uses of EPS and the versatility the product offers. 

As you look around your home or office, you may realize we all have that ONE bare wall. The walls where you either overlook it everyday, or just have not found the perfect piece of decor to grace that space. Instead of contiuing to hunt for the perfect decor, why not make it yourself? PlastiSpan Hnadi-pac foam is a great (and let’s face it – inexpensive) way to decorate your home. 

Today we are going to look at how to make 2 different pieces of decor: Custom wall art, and photo boards. 

First Up – Photo Boards:  I don’t know about you, but I always have certain photos that I want to display at different times. Problem is I don’t want to put pins in them, making it so I can’t use them somewhere else later. The solution to this problem I have found, is a photo board. It works best to display my pictures without the need for pin holes. All you need are some supplies that can be found in the insulation aisle @ your local Home Depot, Lowes, Rona, or lumber yard. Once there, pick up a Plasti-Fab HandiPac in the insulation aisle.

Here is a list of supplies you will need (let me know if you find anything that works better then I’ve suggested)

HandiPac (1.5” works best but you can double up the ¾”)
Material (cotton works best but denim is fun) 26” X 60”
Ribbon (either 26’ or 32’)
Glue gun
Glue sticks (clear)
“Bling”(rhinestones or flat backed crystals)
Sewing pins

Now let’s get started.
The good part of buying a HandiPac is you can make more than one photo board. They work perfectly for a kid’s room, for new parents who take a million pictures or just in a room where you want to show off different pictures.

Step one: Place your material face down on the table and place one piece of PlastiSpan in the center of the material.

Step two: Pick one of the long sides to start with. Pull the material over the PlastiSpan board and onto the back of the insulation. Pin in 4 places to keep the material tight. Then move to the other side and repeat. Now you will need to adjust both sides to make sure the material is tight across the front. Add more pins as needed to secure the material.

Step three: Now move to the short end, take out one pin on either side of the long end and you’ll need to fold the material like you are wrapping a present. I found placing a pin in the end to hold the material in place works well.  Fold the material up and over and pin into place. Make sure to replace the two pins you removed and repeat on the other end. HINT: I’ve found pins work better then glue; less messy and more forgiving.

Step four: Ribbon placement. You have 2 options with ribbon; one is to cut 12 pieces 26” long so you will need 26’ of ribbon or to just get 32’ of ribbon.

Option #1: Start in a corner and attach on piece in a diagonal, secure on the side with pins. Repeat this every 6 or 7” across the photo board. When you get to the other end, start in the opposite corner and go the other way. You should end up with the ribbon crossing at different places (middle, top and bottom). After you have made sure the ribbon is in the right place, flip over the board, remove the pins from the side of the board and attach to the back.

Option #2: Again you will start in a corner and secure it but instead of securing it piece by piece, continue wrapping the ribbon around until you get to the other end. Secure it and cut the ribbon. Now repeat and go back the other way. This way uses more ribbon but is easier and faster. Again you should end up with the ribbon crossing at different places (middle, top and bottom)

Now every where the ribbon crosses you will need to glue or pin it down so your photos will stay in place. A hot glue gun works best.

Step five: BLING IT! To give this piece a finished look, I attached flat backed crystals using a hot glue gun to the ribbon every time the ribbons cross. This isn’t a necessary step but it does finish off the photo board.


Next let’s take a look at making custom, light-weight wall art with handi-pacs and some fabric…

Create Custom, light-weight wall art with EPS Foam & Fabric

Essentially, you repeat the same process as photo boards, with similar supplies. EPS Foam is easy to cut into any shape or size. In the example above, you can see how easily you can assemble a 3-dimensional piece for your wall. Simply wrap your shaped EPS boards with a fabric of your choice and assemble and hang! The foam is light-weight so you aren’t stuck finding studs, or drilling holes in your walls just to support it.

*DIY Tip – You can also make headboards with EPS Foam wrapped with batting and fabric for a comfortable, classy, custom look.

Pick up handi-pacs today to start your custom home decor project!

Learn more about EPS and Handi-pacs at PlastiFab.com