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Candy Cake… Just in Time for Trick or Treat

October 20, 2016
Extra decoration makes it even more appealing

Extra decoration makes it even more appealing

Our author wrote this blog with the focus on wedding cakes; however with Halloween right around the corner, it seemed like a great idea to use for trick-or-treaters as well. If you want to hand out candy this year, and are looking for something more creative than candy in a bowl, the cake idea below is a great way to display candy for your visitors too!

Written by Melissa Carruthers

So for the last 10 years I have been making cakes for friends and family. Four tier wedding cakes, bear cakes, Thomas the train cakes and anything else I could think of. Last year I was the Maid of Honor in a wedding in Halifax. Living in Calgary made the possibility of making the wedding cake impossible so I had to come up with another idea. I thought about a Plasti-Span Grooms cake. I know the groom is a huge candy fan and the wedding colors were orange and white. So why not take PlastiSpan EPS and create the cake.

I had 4 tiers made in circles ranging from 14” in diameter to 4”. I painted them all orange, (This process took 3 coats of paint and my desk and hands were orange… but it was worth it!) Make sure you use acrylic paint and use a foam brush. It saves time.

After the cake was painted I shopped for candy… Specifically orange candy.  (Except for the baseball chew because they are a favorite). I didn’t know how difficult shopping for orange candy only would be, but it was a task all in itself!

So with the “Cake” made, I was off to Halifax.  When I arrived 8 plus hours of flying later, my luggage did not.  So somewhere in Canada was my Bridesmaid dress and this 4 tier candy wedding cake. I could not have been more thankful that the cake was durable, made of foam, and would assemble easily when I put it together. Finally everything arrived and the bride to be and I put it together. It was a great way to keep her calm the day before the wedding.

Step by Step…

  1. I pre-painted all the tiers so we wouldn’t need to do this in a hotel room
  2. We glued all the tiers together making sure each one was mostly dry before we attached the next one so they didn’t move around. (here is where we made a first timer mistake. We should have made the holes for the lollipops first instead of putting them in last)
  3. Starting with the largest candy we mapped out a plan. We knew how much and what candy was needed for each level.
  4. Now we started pinning all the candy to the bottom tier, then slowly to the top. We made sure we had extra candy just in case we ran out or got hungry while we were building it.
  5. Now for the lollipops. We stuck them in the top of the cake and voila it was complete.


Needless to say, even with delays, and luggage problems, both the bride and groom were in love with it and the Groom was shocked to see it.

Again a few things to take into consideration:

  1. Have lots of white craft glue to stick the tiers together
  2. Make sure the candy you buy can be molded around the cake (some candy didn’t get used because it wouldn’t curve)
  3. Bring lots of pins, some candy took 4 to hold in place
  4. Have a bowl beside the cake when you serve it (if you let people eat it). This way there is something for them to put the pins in
  5. Take lots of pictures
  6. Put the holes in the top tier first if you are using lollipops


South Carolina homeowner creates hurricane-resistant home with Advantage ICF System®

October 7, 2016

Advantage ICFAdvantage ICF System®  – Seabrook Island, South Carolina, USA

South Carolina ICFArchitect Bruce Eason of New South Design specializes in classic, old world, custom home design. Many of his designs are also sold as house plans through his company New South Classics. Eason was contacted by a homeowner interested in constructing his popular Seabrook home plan on the southeast coast of Seabrook Island, outside of Charleston, South Carolina.

“We took our Seabrook design, with traditional stick framing, and modified it to withstand the forces of nature as this house was to be built right on the water,” said Eason. “The owner wanted to be sure that they had enough structure to handle the wind and water loads that typical hurricanes with wind and tidal surges could produce, and meet applicable building codes.”

icf blog 02Working with a structural engineer, Eason specified the Advantage ICF System® for the above grade walls. The Advantage ICF System delivers two continuous layers of expanded polystyrene insulation for exceptional energy efficiency, along with the strength and durability of reinforced concrete. Light gauge steel framing was used for the roof and interior walls.

“The Charleston summers are hot and humid,” said Eason. “ICF construction added greatly to the thermal protection for increased efficiency and comfort. The strength of the ICFs combined with the all steel framing is very important in hurricane prone areas. In this area you’ve got wind, water, heat and humidity—ICFs help mitigate all of that.”

Despite the home’s robust structure that is designed to withstand 140 mph winds, it retains the character of an authentic turn-ofthe- century Charleston-style home.

“You can use a new technology like ICFs and finish with a home that looks appropriate in the Charleston Lowcountry,” said Eason. “What’s behind the walls is very different than what you expect. It is very high-tech, energy-efficient, and it enhances the safety and durability of the house.”

icf blog 03“The home provides us with a great example of disaster-resistant and energy-efficient construction using the Advantage ICF System,” said Advantage ICF System Product Manager Greg Doren.

For more information on the strength of ICFs and how to integrate them into your project, visit

Insulspan® R-PLUS SIP System for Higher R-value SIPS

October 3, 2016

Insulspan SIPS SIPS are cool. Where else can you get an entire insulated wall or roof system that just drops into place like a puzzle, and by the time you are done you have an entire thermal envelope ready for finishes? As great as they are, ease of installation, pre-cut and ready to install when they arrive on site, etc. R-value is always a point of discussion.

The Insulspan SIP System consists of 2 layers of 7/16” structural-grade OSB, laminated to an EPS core, creating a solid, one-piece, pre-cut SIP that is ready to be installed as a wall, floor or roof component in many residential and commercial building applications. A standard EPS core has an R-value of 3.9 per inch. The thicker the panel; the higher the R-value. It’s simple math. However, now with the help of BASF, Plasti-Fab (EPS manufacturer of Insulspan’s EPS core material) has developed a new product with a higher R-value called EnerSpan. This core material uses graphite Polystyrene called NEOPOR®, creating a higher R-value product.


panel-cutaway-for-insulspan-r-plusThrough the use of the NEOPOR core known as EnerSpan, we have developed the Insulspan R-Plus product line. The Insulspan® R-Plus SIP (Structural Insulating Panel) System is an energy efficient building system consisting of an EnerSpan® insulation core with oriented strand board (OSB) structurally laminated to the interior and exterior faces. The core of the SIP known as EnerSpan insulation, is an expanded polystyrene (EPS) insulation with a silver-grey color manufactured using Neopor® F5300 Plus provided by BASF. Neopor F5300 Plus is a graphite-enhanced expandable polystyrene raw material that reduces radiation heat transfer resulting in EPS insulation with a higher R-value/RSI-value compared to standard white EPS insulation.

The combined higher overall R-value/RSI-value and lower air leakage characteristic for building assemblies built with the Insulspan SIP System results in significant long-term energy cost savings versus other construction methods such as wood frame construction. With the addition of the NEOPOR in the EPS core, it provides a higher R-value of 4.7 per inch.

Below are the standard panel thicknesses we manufacture with their NEOPOR R-values:

4 1/2″ NEOPOR SIP = R-value of 21.2
6 1/2″ NEOPOR SIP = R-value of 30.6
8 1/4″ NEOPOR SIP = R-value of 38.7
10 1/4″ NEOPOR SIP = R-value of 48.2
12 1/4″ NEOPOR SIP = R-value of 57.6


For more information on Insulspan R-Plus, visit 


Who Really Uses Exterior Insulating Sheathing?

September 21, 2016

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 5 products mentioned above is the right insulation solution for this application.

A little overview of the 5 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.

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.


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 –
PlastiSpan Insulation –
PlastiSpan HD Insulation –
DuroFoam Insulation (Canada) –
DuroSpan Insulation (USA) –

Insulspan’s engineers are paying attention to building science advancements

August 29, 2016

Insulspan SIPS CanadaRoger Bowser, the manager of Energy Programs and Services at Midwest Energy Cooperative, is as passionate about energy efficiency as he is about serving his customers, who number around 35,000 throughout southern Michigan, northern Indiana, and Ohio. When they call him about high energy bills, and are looking for tips on making a cold, drafty house less so, “I take those questions seriously.”

SEED house Adrian MIWith that kind of commitment already in mind, Roger jumped at the opportunity for the public utility to join forces with the Lenawee Intermediate School District (LISD) in southwestern Michigan to build a home on their Adrian, MI campus, and alongside groups of vocational high school students learning the residential construction trades. After a year of design work, the Sustainable Energy Efficient Demonstration (SEED) house took shape as legions of professional contractors worked shoulder to shoulder with students. The house, Roger explained, is a state-of-the-art “permanent classroom” with cut-a-ways to teach not only students about energy efficiency, but consumers, contractors, appraisers, and architects – “anyone who wants to see what the future of energy efficiency looks like.”

SEED House Finished Photo 10x6

To stay true to the mission of providing an education in optimum energy efficiency, it was important to incorporate as many available types of building technology as possible.
Plasti-Fab’s Insulspan® Structural Insulating Panel (SIP) System was selected as a SEED house preferred materials for three key reasons.

SEED House - Adrian MIFirst, innovation. SIPs, he points out, are a product of advancements in building science and “proof Insulspan’s engineers are paying attention and applying that knowledge.” Second, industry leadership. In Roger’s view, this is secured by the fact that walls built with SIPs are energy efficient, durable, and sustainable. Faster to install, too. Students put up the SIP garage walls in considerably less time versus hand-framing.

Finally, with another nod to sustainability, the SEED house needed to be as ‘local’ as possible. Given that the SIP manufacturing facility is about 20 minutes away, “why wouldn’t we partner with an industry leader in our backyard?” The compelling benefits of SIPs were solidified after a day of working with the Insulspan team who showed the students “how to build it right – not just almost right,” says Roger.

Expanding on that idea, Temira Kaser, Director of Digital Marketing for Plasti-Fab said continuously educating audiences about what the product can do is essential. “That means reaching not just the consumers and professionals who walk through the SEED house, but the students who built it – the future of the industry.”

To learn more about Insulspan SIPs visit 

The Top 4 Reasons you should be building with Advantage ICFs

August 2, 2016

Advantage ICFICF interlockInsulating concrete forms are not a new concept to the building industry. However, there are some features that set each manufacturer apart from one another. At Plasti-Fab, we have 4 key features that set the product apart from the rest in the industry, creating a better building product that meets the needs of not only the homeowner but the builders that work with them.

1. Patented Interlock Design
The Advantage ICF Systems patented tongue and groove interlock design on the horizontal joints allows tight nesting of the blocks. The groove on the bottom edge of EPS panels interlocks with the tongue on the top edge of EPS panels making it easier to apply a consistent even bead of foam adhesive in critical areas to interlock the blocks tightly. This eliminates the need for internal metal hooks that
interrupt concrete flow during placement or interfere with internal mechanical vibration essential for proper concrete consolidation as recommended by the Portland Cement Association to avoid voids in ICF walls (see PCA Bulletin RD134 “Concrete Consolidation and Potential for Voids in ICF Wall”).

The Advantage ICF System tongue and groove interlock design provides an additional barrier for moisture migration through the horizontal seams.

2. TTabs for surface attachmentabs to keep attachment surfaces aligned
Advantage ICF System is the only ICF product that features tabs within the horizontal interlock design. Advantage ICF block internal webs tie the monolithic EPS insulation panels in place and provide 1 ½” wide attachment surfaces for your interior and exterior finishes. Tabs incorporated into the tongue on the top edge of the EPS panels slip into grooves on the bottom edge of the row above to keep the webs aligned making attachment of finishes easier and faster.

There are some areas where the tabs may have to be removed due to project specific installation issues. This is done with little effort with the horizontal tongue and groove interlock between blocks maintained. This interlock feature means less waste than reversible ICF Blocks.

3. Easy to find Markings
An embossed line on the exterior surface of EPS pan¬els marks the middle of the 1 ½” wide vertical attachment surfaces on internal webs making it easy to find the surfaces for fastening interior and exterior finishes. All Advantage ICF System blocks are also marked with a vertical recessed cAdvantage ICF Easy to use tabsut line every inch to facilitate cutting blocks to length when required.

“Because this was our first ICF home, it was a bit of an unknown at the beginning. Advantage provided us with on-site support and training and once we got into a bit, everything worked well. I’m very comfortable working with ICFs now, it’s really a breeze—light, clean and easy to handle.”

4. Brick Ledge Block
The Advantage ICF System Brick Ledge Block features a continuous uninterrupted concrete ledge. When brick ledge blocks are included in any ICF system horizontal steel reinforcement and stirrups are required in the concrete ledge portion to support loads. The Advantage ICF Brick Ledge Block features a web unique to the ICF industry that is molded into the EPS panel that forms the brick ledge. Attachment surfaces on internal webs within the EPS panel are consistent to the top of the ledge for easier fastening of required exterior finish materials to, a benefit only provided by the Advantage ICF Brick Ledge Block.

This superiBrickledgeor design of the Advantage ICF Brick Ledge Block allows it to be used to provide uniform support for cladding such as brick or stone and can also be used for support of interior or exterior concrete slabs. All concrete reinforcement is totally encapsulated within the concrete so it is not exposed to moisture which can lead to long term deterioration through corrosion. This is a significant improvement over other ICF designs that use EPS haunches molded into one face of the EPS panel. These haunches are considered structural voids and do not allow the steel reinforcement to be protected from moisture.

An added bonus to building with the Advantage ICF product is the peace of mind you get, knowing it has a GreenGuard GOLD certification status. It’s not only a green product, but the company works to maintain the highest standards of sustainability in product and practice. To learn more about the sustainability initiative, visit

GREENGUARD_UL2818_gold_CMYK_GreenRead more on the Advantage ICF System today!