For contractor Yves Voyer, Plasti-Fab EPS products have become a go-to solution for energy-efficient retrofits. Voyer owns YVEX Construction, a Gatineau, Quebec-based general contracting firm specializing in residential and commercial remodeling. On residential remodels, Voyer is able to increase the energy efficiency of nearly any home by applying Plasti-Fab PlastiSpan® insulation to the exterior walls.
PlastiSpan is a moulded expanded polystyrene insulation that provides long-lasting thermal insulation and eliminates thermal bridging through
“PlastiSpan insulation is very easy to install, and with 4’x8’ sheets it goes up very fast,” said Voyer.
On a recent remodel of a 1,200 sq. ft. bungalow in Gatineau, Quebec, Voyer was able to quickly wrap the house with 2.25-inch PlastiSpan insulation.
Coupled with new doors and windows, the remodel increased the air tightness of the house by 200 percent and earned the client ecoEnergy Retrofit grants from Natural Resources Canada for both added insulation and airtightness. PlastiSpan insulation is listed with the federal Environmental Choice Program.
“When I finished the job and the testing results came in, the client was very happy,” said Voyer. “In the future when I need to insulate, I will always look for Plasti-Fab products.”
“PlastiSpan insulation is an easy way to significantly increase the energy efficiency of a home,” said François Brossard, a Sales Representative for Plasti-Fab.
“Adding insulation provides the most bang for your buck when doing an energy-efficient remodel. PlastiSpan is inexpensive, easy to work with, and available from most building supply stores.”
As the weather begins to turn towards spring, many get the urge to begin home renovations. One of the easiest ways to make a space usable is to insulate it. So today, we are going to discuss how to insulate your basement floor with a laminated EPS product called DuroSpan. DuroSpan (also known as DuroFoam in Canada) has a green film laminated to the top of the rigid foam board, and a silver film laminated to the bottom. The laminated faces enable the board to be curled, bent, twisted, and cut without breaking or chipping. Your work space is cleaner and your project is finished in a short amount of time!
Now for some basics on what DuroSpan is. DuroSpan is a closed cell EPS (Expanded Polystyrene) insulation, sold in 4×8 foot sheets. DuroSpan is suitable and recommended as the insulation component in the topic of our discussion: basement floors. Below is a step by step guide on how to insulate your basement floor above the slab to create a comfortable, usable space.
STEP 1: Be sure to follow the building code requirements applicable in your region.
STEP 2: Install a Moisture Barrier – Cover the entire floor area with a 6-mil polyethylene moisture barrier to eliminate moisture migration into your living area. Plan your project to place your insulation and nailers at 24” on center across the floor in one direction.
STEP 3: Attach Perimeter Nailers – Attach nailer with the same thickness as the insulation, around the perimeter, using self-tapping concrete screws penetrating the concrete floor as recommended by the screw manufacturer.
STEP 4: Install Nailers and Insulation – Cut the first row of insulation to a 21-3/4” width. Cut subsequent rows to 22-1/2” widths. Use the insulation cut as guides to place successive rows of nailers at 24” on centers. The green face of DuroSpan insulation should face up to make use of the markings for ease of cutting insulation spacing the nailers.
STEP 5: Prepare to Lay Sub-Floor – Mark the walls where the nailer centres intersect it to help locate the nailers when attaching the sub-floor. The sub-floor thickness should be 5/8”. Snap chalk lines across the nailers to ensure the sub floor material is placed squarely.
STEP 6: Secure the Sub-Floor -Be sure to stagger the floor sheathing joints for extra stability. Apply adhesive to the nailers. Fasten the 5/8” floor sheathing directly to the nailers using either ringed nails or deck screws every 8”. With an air nailer, use 2-inch ringed floor sheathing or screw nails. With a screw gun, use 1-1/2” or 1-3/4” deck screws.
STEP 7: Ready for Floor Finishing. – Your basement floor is now correctly insulated and ready for your final decorating touch. You should notice the finished floor is now much more comfortable.
For more information on Plasti-Fab’s DuroSpan insulation, visit: Plasti-Fab
A frequently asked question I get is, “what-to use for damp-proofing on my Advantage ICF foundation walls?”
Many types of damp-proofing products are suitable for use with the Advantage ICF system. From traditional spray on ones (water based) to the various types of wraps. We recommend the dimpled type of membranes as they provide damp-proofing, drainage and protection from back-fill. Below I will take you through the pros and cons for the 4 most common types.
Standard Spray On
Mineral colloid emulsifiers can be applied to the exterior face of the Advantage ICF system. Follow manufacturer instructions for application; however, it should be noted that liquid coatings will not bridge gaps between insulation panels, so vertical EPS (expanded polystyrene) joints that are not butted tightly together must be filled before application. The specific product used must be recommended as compatible for use with EPS insulation.
Note: Do not apply highly solvent extended asphalt emulsions as they are not compatible with EPS insulation.
The Roll-on types of waterproofing are a rubberized liquid coating that is either rolled or sprayed on depending on the manufacturer. It usually comes in a bucket. The pro to the roll-on membrane is that because it is liquid it easily rolls on and fills any of the gaps.
Note: Some of the roll-on systems cannot be installed in cold weather below a certain temperature. See manufacturer’s specifications to confirm.
Peal and Stick Membrane
These types of membranes are considered waterproofing. Several manufacturers of sheet type peel and stick membranes provide product intended for use with EPS insulation. Follow membrane manufacturers installation requirements, including application of a primer coat where necessary, to ensure best adhesion to the exterior face of the Advantage ICF system. Many contractors use this method in combination with a dimpled membrane to get a superior waterproofing and drainage plane.
Note: Some of the peel and stick systems cannot be installed in cold weather below a certain temperature. See manufacturer’s specifications to confirm.
Several types of dimpled sheet membranes, such as SUPERSEAL Dimpled Membrane, have been evaluated for use as damp-proofing materials by the Canadian Construction Materials Centre (CCMC). Membrane manufacturer instructions for installation as a damp proofing membrane must be followed when installing on the Advantage ICF system. The pros to this type of system is that it is a stronger thicker plastic that both protects the EPS foam from back-fill and also creates a permanent drainage plane between the soil and the foundation wall. Regardless of the type of damp-proofing you choose the dimpled membrane offers protection to your choice.
Damp-proofing or waterproofing is required by most building codes. Using one of the above methods of damp proofing should help greatly increase the chances of keeping your basement dry and comfortable for years to come.
Note: Contact an Advantage ICF sales representative for recommendations on specific products available in your area.
Visit http://www.advantageicf.com for further information in damp-proofing and ICFs.
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
Contractor Brennen Mills has specialized in insurance contracting for nearly a decade, repairing homes damaged by fire and flooding as the owner of Saskatoon Fire and Flood. In 2015, a house fire rendered one Saskatoon residence damaged beyond repair. Working closely with the homeowners, Mills helped them design and build a new 2,144 sq. ft. home in its place that would be comfortable, energy efficient, and sustainable.
Mills’ energy-efficient design started below the home’s basement floor. He placed three inches of Plasti-Fab® DuroFoam® expanded polystyrene (EPS) beneath the concrete slab. DuroFoam’s closed-cell structure resists moisture and delivers a long-term, consistent R-value of 3.9 per inch of material.
“We insulate below the slab for the comfort factor,” said Mills. “It keeps the basement floor a lot warmer.”
For the below-grade walls, Mills selected the Advantage ICF System®. Advantage is a patented insulating concrete forming system that provides a continuous layer of EPS insulation on both the interior and exterior walls. It offers superior thermal resistance and lower air leakage for improved energy efficiency.
“The intent was to make the home energy efficient,” said Mills.
“Advantage ICFs are user friendly, they are available locally, and they create a great finished product.”
Mills also installed two-inches of DuroFoam on the outside of the home’s above grade walls for added insulation and to reduce thermal bridging through the wood framing.
“The walls have spray foam insulation with DuroFoam on the outside,” said Mills. “The exterior insulation stops the thermal bridging and creates a really energy-efficient wall.”
By combining the insulating power of DuroFoam and the Advantage ICF System, Mills constructed a home that exceeded the homeowner’s expectations for both energy efficiency and thermal comfort.
“Brennen really utilized the full capability of Plasti-Fab’s EPS products to build an excellent, energy-efficient home,” said Plasti-Fab Sales Representative Wade McClelland. “His use of DuroFoam created a perimeter of continuous insulation around the exterior of the home and really helped the homeowners save on energy costs.”
Just like building a custom home, every tiny house is unique. Building on a smaller scale allows the homeowner to really dig into every detail, every finish, and every material that is being used. Tiny house owners must use as efficient design tools and building materials as they possibly can to make the most of their tiny home. This is where the Insulspan SIP system shines. Being a structurally insulated panel, not only is the process of enclosing the shell complete in one step, but you get superior energy efficiency.
The speed of installing an Insulspan Ready-To-Assemble System was put to the test one Saturday morning in July when we arrived in site to help the homeowner to construct his Tumbleweed home. Armed with tools and an installation manual provided by Insulspan, we began the process of assembling the home on an approved, weight-bearing trailer.
Following the plans, we assembled the house piece by piece, with the only difference being the need for the engineered fastening system to secure it to the trailer. By mid-afternoon, we had a completely enclosed shell that created an insulated building envelope.
You can follow our progress throughout the day in the gallery below:
The homeowner, who’s desire to have a home that he could easily place on his wooded property in Northern Michigan, completed the house wrap (provided by Insulspan), and began to work on his exterior finishes.
“One of the nicest things about a tiny house, is I could pull it into my barn and work on finishing it at my pace.”
With his Tiny House complete, the homeowner is ready to take it to its final destination in Northern Michigan.
“I could literally heat my home with one space heater because of how energy efficient it is! And I can’t believe how fast and easy it went together. It saved me a lot of steps later on.”
For more information on Insulspan Structural insulated panels and how you can build your tiny home, visit www.insulspan.com
Recently, Green Builder Media published an article titled “The GreenGuard Difference: Specifying the Right Products for your Green Homes.” This article is well-timed, coming on the heels of our recent GreenGuard and GreenGuard Gold certifications from UL Environmental for our EPS product lines. While the article itself is a good read for builders and homeowners alike, I wanted to highlight a couple areas that struck me.
As a society we now spend 90% of our time indoors. This has changed drastically from the days where kids played outside until dark, mothers hung clothes out on a line, and nearly everyone had their own gardens. Developments in innovation have allowed us to move indoors for more hours of our day. In doing so we have also created the need for healthy homes, clean air, and air quality testing.
These types of requirements have created a laser like focus on the products we bring into the home. They have also created standards and certifications for the very materials with which we build our homes. This is where UL Environmental illustrates their strengths and desire for health, safety and environmental health by supporting the growth and development of environmentally friendly, low VOC products.
This is where UL Environmental illustrates their strengths and desire for health, safety and environmental health by supporting the growth and development of environmentally friendly, low VOC products. UL Environmental is a two part organization, both a testing agency and a certification agency. Building materials in over 28 categories must pass rigorous testing before being sent to the certification stage, where yet more consideration is given to the building materials before they are stamped with a GreenGuard certification level.
As a consumer, you will begin to see the Greenguard certification label on products that range from lighting to insulation, paint to tile, and more. This label is a way to highlight the products that are above and beyond the norm. They set the threshold. The certification mark proves the manufacturer or builder has made a commitment to the environment and to the health of consumers everywhere.
As I mentioned above, as part of our commitment to quality and ongoing sustainability initiatives, Plasti-Fab Expanded Polystyrene (EPS for short) products received the GreenGuard GOLD certification level. Our EPS product solutions including PlastiSpan®, DuroSpan®, DuroFoam®, EnerSpan®, and ENERGREEN® insulation.
Our other insulated building systems Advantage ICF System® (Greengard GOLD) and Insulspan® SIP System (Greengard) are also certified by UL Environmental. So truly when you are building for “green” you are no longer simply building sustainable homes with sustainable products, you are creating healthy spaces for future generations.
“Now that green is squarely mainstream – neither a trend nor a luxury – it is just smart business. Over time, there won’t be green products, just products. And they will be healthy” – Josh Jacobs, Technical Information Manager, UL Environmental
Download “The GreenGuard Difference” article