Most basements are built in direct contact with the cold ground that contains moisture. Since concrete can wick that moisture due to what is known as capillary action, you want to add a barrier between the ground and concrete to reduce this moisture occurrence. (To learn more about capillary action, check out the 8 Rules of Building Performance from Construction Instruction. – Specifically, Rule #7)
By placing a layer of EPS (expanded polystyrene) or GPS (graphite-polystyrene) below your basement slab, you not only insulate the floor from the cold ground beneath but create a moisture/vapour barrier that helps maintain a dry space, even when below-grade. The insulation barrier will help keep warm air in, and the vapor barrier will keep unwanted moisture out.
When we think of insulation, we tend to associate it solely with R-values, which are important for eliminating thermal breaks and giving the space a comfortable feel. However, when you install the proper type of insulation under your slab, you also address compressive strength for your floor (think less cracks due to frost heave and temperature fluctuations) and moisture control. Basements are a common place for moisture to reside, which is what gives the space the musty, damp feel and odor.
So to recap the WHYs of insulating under your slab:
1- Moisture control in the space
2- Maintain comfortable temperatures below-grade
3- Less cracking due to the compressive strength of the insulation
4 – Energy savings from thermal R-values made to perform in below-grade conditions.
Now that we have covered the benefits of insulating below a basement slab, the next step is to determine the best product to fit your needs. Below are just a few of the product solutions to consider for below-grade insulation:
PlastiSpan® Insulation – The varying densities and types of PlastiSpan EPS range from R3.75 per inch to R4.27 per inch and compressive resistance materials from 10 psi up to 60 psi. PlastiSpan insulation maintains its R-value for the life of the product, meets building code requirements and is the most cost-effective rigid insulation solution.
DuroFoam®/DuroSpan® Insulation – DuroFoam® (CANADA) & DuroSpan® (USA) insulation is a closed-cell and moisture resistant insulation with a thin film laminated to both sides of the product. It is easy to install and can be used in many applications. The laminated film on both sides adds durability & flexibility to the product. Cut lines & nailing patterns on the film make DuroFoam®/DuroSpan® easy to adapt and install for any application. DuroFoam®/DuroSpan® maintains its R-value for the life of the product.
EnerSpan® Insulation- EnerSpan® is a moulded expanded polystyrene (EPS) insulation with a silver-gray colour manufactured to meet CAN/ULC-S701. The insulation boards are manufactured using Neopor® provided by BASF, a graphite-enhanced raw material that reduces radiation heat transfer, resulting in higher thermal resistance (R-value). EnerSpan is available in densities that range from 10 psi to 40 psi and can be used in construction applications, remodeling projects, and in both residential and commercial applications. The use of NEOPOR in the manufacturing process gives EnerSpan a permanent R-value of R4.7 per inch.
DuroSpan® GPS R10 Insulation – DuroSpan® GPS is manufactured using a graphite- enhanced expandable polystyrene (GPS) insulation with a thin film laminated to the top and bottom surfaces. The DuroSpan GPS products provide continuous insulation required by energy codes.
Available in thicknesses to meet R5, R7.5, and R10, the DuroSpan GPS insulation is more durable and provides reduced heat loss, enhanced thermal resistance, and improved interior wall temperatures for a more energy-efficient structure.
Stay tuned for next week as we cover the tips, tricks, and how-tos of insulating below a basement slab. For more information on our under-slab products, visit PlastiFab.com
Exterior sheathing insulation is a simple and effective way to increase the R-value and comfort of your home. For use in new construction or your next home renovation project, insulated sheathing adds to the energy efficiency of your home, effectively reducing your heating and cooling costs.
DuroSpan GPS Insulation – Tested and True for the Life of the Building. If you are tired of losing R-value in your home or business, look to Plasti-Fab’s Graphite Polystyrene laminated rigid foam solution. Manufactured using NEOPOR by BASF, DuroSpan GPS provides a higher R-value without the added thickness.
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 about 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 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 than 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.
You can learn more about exterior insulating sheathing on our web site PlastiFab.com
Insulating your home or building with exterior insulated sheathing instantly improves the energy efficiency of your space. Because it is applied to the exterior, insulating sheathing can be included in both new construction or renovation projects with ease.
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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.
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.
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.
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
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.
With all the insulation solutions available for commercial roofing applications, it can be hard to decide what works best for you. With our proven track record of quality, service, and expertise, we are here to help make your next project a success. Contact us today to get started!
Last week we covered what an energy efficient commercial building looks like below grade. Now we are continuing with our build as we move to the types of products and construction methods for the above grade walls. Our goal with this building is to ensure that we maintain an energy efficient thermal envelope for the highest performing structure.
Now that we have moved above-grade, the options available to builders and developers alike are much greater than below-grade. It is a good practice to always check with the local building codes prior to making your product selections for the project.
Some key factors to consider when deciding on your construction materials include quality of materials, technical support during your build process, and job site labor shortages that are sweeping the industry. Because we are a vertically-integrated organization, we maintain quality throughout the manufacturing process. The products we are about to cover range in installation skill, but in general will help your project come together quickly, to meet your completion deadlines.
The first wall system we are going to cover for a commercial building is the Advantage ICF System®. Our patented forming system provides 5 steps in 1: Structural strength, studding, vapour barrier, air barrier and external sheathing resulting in reduced construction time. Advantage ICF System makes your building energy efficient, quiet and comfortable. ICF construction is the fastest growing construction method for both full commercial and renovation projects. To learn more about how the Advantage ICF System can be used in your next commercial project: CLICK HERE
Another common construction method for insulated wall systems in commercial construction are Precast Concrete Tilt up wall panels. Precast concrete panels in walls and floors can be easily and economically insulated by incorporating Plasti-Fab PlastiSpan insulation into the panel at time of manufacture. The panel when placed provides a fully insulated finished wall or floor section. Learn More
We recently had an in depth blog series on our next exterior insulating wall system Exterior Insulating Finishing Systems also known as EIFS. PlastiSpan EFS insulation used in EIFS applications covers the outside of the building so that the structure is isolated from the wide temperature fluctuations of the climate. This reduces expansion and contraction of the structure and stabilizes interior temperatures. Learn More
Before we talk about exterior insulating sheathing solutions, we are going to look at one more insulated building system that is a great solution for commercial construction: Insulspan® Structural Insulated Panels. Some of the benefits of building your commercial walls using the Insulspan SIP System include the increased efficiency of SIPS allows you to downsize your hvac requirements. You can span longer without the need for posts, allowing for an open floor plan. Varying thicknesses meet the specific building code requirements for your area easily. Use our RTA solution to easily repeat structures across the country, Meet energy codes in any location, without altering the design or materials. To learn more about how the Insulspan SIP System can help you achieve your energy efficient project goals, CLICK HERE.
The last type of insulation solutions we will be covering today for above grade walls in commercial construction is exterior insulating sheathing, also known as continuous insulation. While we have many different options for exterior sheathing, we are going to highlight 3 main choices for commercial construction. These insulation solutions are easy to cut and install on site, lightweight and easy to handle, and are available in a variety of thicknesses to provide you with the R-values you need to achieve your energy ratings on your project.
DuroFoam® Exterior Sheathing: Use DuroFoam insulation for exterior sheathing for a continuous insulation solution on your next commercial construction project. Laminated/branded product with thin film on both sides, Long term R-value 3.75/in., Closed cell insulation resists moisture, CCMC 12424-L Learn More
EnerSpan® Exterior Sheathing – 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
DuroSpan® GPS Exterior Sheathing – Provides Continuous Insulation Required by Energy Codes. DuroSpan® GPS is manufactured using a graphite- enhanced expandable polystyrene (GPS) insulation with a thin film laminated to the top and bottom surfaces. Learn More
With so many options available for building energy efficient commercial buildings, it may be difficult to decide which building method is best for your project. We are happy to help! Contact us today and we can help you decide on the best solution for your project.
Stay tuned for next week when we put the roof on our commercial building!
Welcome to our Commercial Construction series using Plasti-Fab EPS Products. While all the building components & materials are important to a well insulated and energy efficient structure, it all starts with a good foundation.Let’s take a look at some high-performing insulation and compressive strength products that will help you meet code requirements, reduce energy costs, and meet project deadlines with on-time deliveries.
Under slab insulation for energy efficiency and compressive resistance is key in commercial construction. Selection of which product you need under your slab is dependent on local building codes, loads calculated for the building, and energy requirements.
PlastiSpan® EPS Insulation has multiple thicknesses, R-values and compressive resistance characteristics to help you meet those requirements. The closed cell structure of the EPS is resistant to moisture, eliminates thermal bridging, and maintains its R-value reducing overall energy costs of the building. Some of our under slab rigid insulation include:
PlastiSpan® HD Insulation: This is a type 2 insulation with 16 psi and an R-value of 4.04 per inch for Canada or R4.2 per inch in the US. PlastiSpan® HD is listed with CAN-ULC, CCMC 12425-L and ASTM C578. Learn More about this product: Canada | USA
PlastiSpan® 20 Insulation: PlastiSpan 20 insulation’s minimum compressive resistance of 140 kPa (20 psi) makes it ideal to insulate low temperature freezer floors or for use in other applications where moderate loads are expected. Learn more here!
PlastiSpan® 25 Insulation: Using PlastiSpan 25 insulation underslab provides 25 psi compressive resistance with 4.27 R-value per inch. PlastiSpan 25 meets code requirements and is easy to cut and install in commercial applications. Canada | USA
PlastiSpan® 30 Insulation: PlastiSpan® 30 Insulation: The closed cell structure of PlastiSpan 30 resists water absorption so it will retain its R-value even in applications where severe temperature differentials occur, making it a great under slab solution for commercial buildings. Learn More about this product: Canada | USA
PlastiSpan® 40 Insulation: High compressive resistance for geotechnical applications – Compressive Strength 40 psi, No thermal drift, Less than 2% water absorption Learn More about this product: Canada | USA
With the need for Radon Mitigation systems on the rise, Plasti-Fab developed an insulation solution to both insulate under your slab while allowing Radon to move through the mitigation system and out of your structure. Radon Guard is a key component in a Radon mitigation system.
Radon Guard insulation is the code compliant one-to-one replacement for a 100 mm thick layer of granular material, the prescriptive solution required by building codes. Watch how to install Radon Guard Now.
The last area of below grade solutions we are covering today are geotechnical. Sometimes soil integrity is not ideal for a large commercial structure, or there may be other geotechnical requirements that need to be addressed in order to make the structure a success. In those instances, Plasti-Fab has two specific products: GeoVoid® Compressible Fill Material & GeoSpan® Compressible Fill material.
GeoVoid® and GeoSpan® are compressible fill material expanded polystyrene products designed to act as a compressible medium between swelling soils and structural elements. Unaffected By water, Engineered for your commercial construction needs, easily adaptable on site to meet dimensions.
Explore our Geotechnical Solutions today at: https://www.plastifab.com/products/geofoam-sol/geofoam.html
Stay tuned for next week when we cover Commercial Construction – Energy Efficient Wall Solutions!
DESIGNERS, SPECIFIERS, BUILDERS, AND DEVELOPERS HAVE EVER-CHANGING NEEDS. Plasti-Fab EPS insulation meets those needs better than other solutions for a number of reasons. For 50 years Plasti-Fab has been the supplier of choice for expanded polystyrene (EPS) insulation product solutions. In those years, we have learned a thing or two about what works for various types of building products applications from residential and commercial construction, geotechnical applications, and so much more.
When your motto is quite literally Quality, Service, Expertise, it is more than just marketing, it is the foundation on which we stand to supply our customers with the best products and solutions. With third-party testing, technical information, and in-house expertise at multiple levels, we can provide recommendations for EPS product solutions for a multitude of applications and stand firmly behind the quality we have established.
You hear a lot about something called LTTR when comparing various types of rigid foam insulation. The question we frequently get is, what is LTTR and why do I need to care about it?
LTTR stands for Long-Term Thermal Resistance, and is a predicted R-value for some cellular plastic insulations manufactured with the intent to retain a blowing agent, other than air, for a period longer than 180 days and is intended to represent their R-value after five years of in situ aging. Certain types of insulation continue to lose R-value over the life of the product, making it necessary for the manufacturers of these products to provide information to you on what they anticipate your R-value to be in the future.
So why does EPS insulation NOT have LTTR listed in the comparison tables between EPS and XPS? LTTR is not applicable to EPS because… It is not manufactured with the intent to retain a blowing agent and due to its closed-cell nature, there is no reduction or loss in R-value over time. EPS has the SAME R-value in the future, as it does on the first day you install it. You can be confident that the R-value you specified and installed, is the same R-value that will perform in that application for the life of the product. See PIB 241 for additional information.
For more information on the differences between EPS and XPS insulation, visit: https://www.plastifab.com/lp/xpsvseps.html
Three years ago, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan city officials discovered cracking in the pavement of the Saskatchewan Crescent roadway at the intersection of 17th Street East, a well-known thoroughfare that follows the South Saskatchewan River through the city. The problem was investigated by engineering firm Golder Associates and suspected the cracks were the first signs of a much bigger issue: the slope below the roadway descending to the riverbank was failing.
Golder Associates engineers hatched out a plan to sustain the slope aiding the road using expanded polystyrene (EPS) geofoam from Plasti-Fab. Used instead of soil or other lightweight fill materials, Plasti-Fab GeoSpec® lightweight fill material lowers the mass and associated gravitational forces on the sloped embankment.
Plasti-Fab GeoSpec is up to 100 times lighter than in-place soil and it granted project engineers the opportunity to sustain the failing slope next to the road surface, with nominal disturbance to the trees and vegetation along the riverbank.
“We did the analysis and looked at a variety of potential remediation options,” said Laurie McEachern, the project coordinator for Golder Associates. “The benefit of this design choice is that it reduces the loading at the crest of the slope because EPS is a lightweight material.”
“One of the key benefits of using EPS for this particular site was that the remediation plan involved minimizing the amount of trees that had to be removed along the riverbank,” McEachern added.”
Starting in September of 2013, working with GeoSpec permitted construction to advance seamlessly through the winter months. Since GeoSpec is made in large blocks, labor and overall construction time is minimized, allowing the roadway to be finished much quicker and with less traffic issues.
“By specifying GeoSpec lightweight fill material from Plasti-Fab, Golder Associates helped speed up the construction schedule and preserved the trees along the South Saskatchewan riverbank,” said Plasti-Fab Sales Representative Neil Henrikson.”
Learn more about Plasti-Fab’s GeoFoam Solutions.
You may have heard the term “geofoam” and thought to yourself, “Okay, so I replace my dirt with foam and move on…” But in reality, it is far more versatile than one would initially think. Generically speaking, geofoam is an engineered product that stabilizes roads, embankments, buildings, and nearly everything that would sit on regular soil fill material and require a lot of compacting and dirt. The strength and compressive resistance of geofoam is what makes it the star of today’s feature.
Expanded polystyrene (EPS) geofoam has been used as a geotechnical material since the 1960s. EPS geofoam is approximately 1% the weight of soil and less than 10% the weight of other lightweight fill alternatives. As a lightweight fill, EPS geofoam reduces the loads imposed on adjacent and underlying soils and structures. EPS geofoam is not a general soil fill replacement material but is intended to solve engineering challenges. The use of EPS typically translates into benefits to construction schedules and lowers the overall cost of construction because it is easy to handle during construction, often without the need for special equipment, and is unaffected by occurring weather conditions.
Applications using geofoam
EPS geofoam is inherently multi-functional, which makes it effective to use in a wide variety of applications. It offers special advantages for construction on soft ground, slope stabilization and retaining walls. EPS geofoam has been used in road and airfield pavements and railway track
systems, beneath refrigerated storage buildings, sports arenas and storage tanks to prevent ground freezing and heaving and in below-ground building segments to reduce seasonal heating and cooling requirements.
With unprecedented strength and flexibility, EPS geofoam also offers innovative solutions to a range of problems, including protection from earthquake shock and noise and vibration dampening.
You can learn more about geofoam applications on our Geofoam Solutions tab on PlastiFab.com
The list of applications that benefit from geofoam solutions is lengthy, and may surprise you that it is not JUST a below grade solution. Applications include:
Plasti-Fab has been manufacturing geofoam for over 50 years. Here are just a few projects that benefited from using geofoam as their solution.