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Keeping the Cold out Part II: How to Insulate your Basement Walls

September 13, 2017

Yesterday we looked at how to begin insulating your basement by using PlastiSpan insulation on the floor. Walls can be just as important as the floor when insulating, especially if you have a walkout basement or exposed foundation walls. Our goal is energy efficiency, letting you condition your basement and providing a comfortable environment for everyone. Below we cover the second part of your basement insulation process, the walls.

Step 1: When insulating a basement wall, make sure the wall surfaces are clean, dry and free of foreign materials and sharp projections. Start from a corner attach PlastiSpan insulation to the basement wall using PL300, it’s a foam safe adhesive (there are other foam safe adhesives you can use. BUT make sure they say “foam safe”).

Step 2: Measure and cut the PlastiSpan to fit around windows. When cutting PlastiSpan insulation use a utility knife or fine tooth hand saw like a drywall saw to fit openings such as windows. You don’t need to wear gloves or a mask when cutting rigid insulation like you would with conventional fibreglass insulation.

Step 3: To create a vapour barrier, the PlastiSpan insulation should be tightly butted together. Joints should be no wider than 1 mm. You can ensure this by applying adhesive between the boards (or tape using tuck tape).

Step 4: Now to frame the wall, construct a separate wood framed wall and install it in front of the PlastiSpan insulation to support the ½” drywall. The vertical framing should be at least 2″X2″ and separated at either 16″ or 24″ on center.

Step 5: To attach the framed wall, fasten it to the upper floor joists and basement floor leaving a small gap between the PlastiSpan insulation and the framed wall. Electrical can be placed within the framed wall by running wiring behind the small gap behind the framing. You will need to use shallow electrical boxes.

Step 6: You can attach your drywall to your framed wall when this is complete.

Following these six simple steps for insulating your basement walls will help increase your energy savings and decrease your heating costs.

Want to see the video on this project? Check out How to Insulate Interior Basement Walls

Keep the Cold Out Part I: How to Insulate your Basement Floor

September 12, 2017

As we inch closer to the winter months, thoughts of comfort and heating bills are more prevalent than ever. What IS the best way to keep your warm air in, providing a comfortable environment for everyone without breaking the bank? Consider insulating your basement for added comfort and energy savings.

Take a look at your basement space – You have two areas where you can improve your energy efficiency with EPS rigid insulation, immediately affecting the comfort of the room for the better – the floor and the walls. While Plasti-Fab has a variety of insulation solutions for these applications, today we will talk about the use of PlastiSpan Insulation. (To see other insulation solutions visit: http://www.plastifab.com/solutions/residential/insulating-interior-basement-walls.html and http://www.plastifab.com/solutions/residential/insulating-a-basement-floor.html)

Now on to insulating the floor….
Follow these simple how-to steps to install your PlastiSpan Insulation to have an insulated subfloor in place and be ready to install your final floor finishing such as carpeting, tiles or linoleum.  Follow along with us as we insulate above the slab of your home….

Before you do anything, be sure to reference the building code requirements applicable in your region. Usually you will need to install a moisture barrier, cover the entire floor area with 6-mil poly.  Do this to eliminate any moisture migration. (HINT* To limit the cutting of PlastiSpan insulation plan your area to include 2×2 strapping across the floor in one direction.)

Following the installation of the moisture barrier, you will then attach perimeter nailers around the space. Use a nailer that is the same thickness as the insulation. Attach the nailers around the perimeter using self-tapping concrete screws penetrating the concrete as per the screw manufacturer’s recommendations. Now to install the PlastiSpan 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 center. Continue on to the opposite wall.

Now that you have insulated the floor with PlastiSpan insulation, you can prepare to lay the subfloor. Make sure you use an appropriate subfloor material that will support the span. Check with your building supply dealer before you purchase it. It’s easier if you snap chalk lines across where the strapping is to ensure the subfloor material is placed squarely. It’s time to secure the subfloor. Be sure to stagger the subfloor joints for extra stability. (HINT *Rent an automatic nailer, screw gun or automatic screw gun it makes life easier). Secure your subfloor by adding adhesive to the strapping (Use PL300), then fasten the 5/8″subfloor directly to the nailers as per the subfloor manufacturer recommendations.

Alright now your basement is properly insulated and ready to use. You are ready for your finished floor. You will notice right away that the finished floor is more comfortable. You have created a space your family will want to spend time in, without 2 pairs of socks on their feet.

Check back with us tomorrow  for Part Two: How to Insulate your Basement Walls…

Train, Network, and Thrive with AEC Daily’s CEUs on Plasti-Fab EPS Solutions

September 5, 2017

Distance learning is a useful and convenient method for professionals to gain knowledge and earn continuing education credits. Considered to be a viable alternative to traditional, classroom style education, online learning is a practical and affordable way for procuring ongoing, state-of-the-art, and up-to-date continuing education.

You can download a course 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. Since the course then resides in your desktop or laptop computer, you can participate in the learning experience at the convenience of your home, office, or while on the road.

Plasti-Fab Ltd., a leader in providing EPS Product Solutions, has developed an online training seminar. Standing behind education being the key to an industry of successful better building ideas, it explains expanded polystyrene, its uses and applications as well as the building systems that utilize the EPS technology: ICFs and SIPs. Highlighting energy efficiency and R-values, along with product quality and years of service and expertise

We also have specific market and product expertise to share with you in detail that stretches beyond the content of the online seminar. Please explore with us the option of learning more about design considerations and options associated with EPS building envelope insulation, Geofoam as a lightweight fill, and our ICF/SIP buildings systems.

Start your next continuing education through online learning today at http://www.plastifab.com/lp/aec-daily.html

 

The Importance of a Vapor Barrier in Renovation & New Construction

August 22, 2017

Moisture moves all the time. Whether you are in an older home that you are remodeling, or building a brand new home from scratch, moisture management needs to be on your checklist of “Things to Do.” In the “Rules of Building Performance” from Construction Instruction, Rule #2 is that moisture moves from warm to cold, followed by Rule #3, that moisture moves from more to less. The concept to remember here is that moisture is always moving.

Thankfully, the solution to this is known as a vapor barrier. Vapor barriers keep moisture away from the building material you are trying to keep dry.  Building materials are going to wick moisture, some more than others, but all will to some extent. By keeping your building materials dry, you prolong their life and maintain the efficiency of the task you installed them to do.

What IS a Vapor Barrier
The type of vapor barrier required for your specific project will be determined by your local building code. A widely accepted vapor barrier is a sheet of 6-mil polyethylene that you place before applying the building product you are installing.

In the example below, you can see the 6-mil poly has been placed under the EPS rigid foam insulation providing a barrier from the earth below.

under-a-basement-floor

While Plasti-Fab EPS is a closed cell insulation, a vapor barrier is still recommended based on local building codes to protect it from the elements. Let’s look at a few installation examples using Plasti-Fab’s EPS Insulation.

Insulating Exterior Foundations
Continuous insulation applied to the exterior of foundation walls reduces
expansion and contraction concrete foundation walls would be subject to
due to temperature differences between the interior heated space and the
exterior air/soil. Learn how to install exterior foundation insulation

Insulating Above a Concrete Floor
Insulating your basement floor provides added comfort and increased
energy savings. Learn how to install insulation above your basement floor

Insulating Below a Concrete Slab
Continuous insulation under your slab eliminates thermal bridging,
increasing your total effective RSI/R-value. This reduces energy costs and
increases your energy savings. Learn how to install insulation under a basement floor

underslab high compressive

Commercial and Residential Applications
Vapor barriers are important in both residential and commercial applications as R-value and insulation is important for any structure. You can learn about the commercial applications in our Commercial Solutions section.

What Did We Learn
While moisture is present in in every facet of building science, it is manageable through the use of properly installed vapor barriers, therefore protecting your home, business or commercial investment for years to come.

Do you have more questions regarding this topic? Contact us today in the ASK US section of our web site, and we would be happy to help!

 

 

GeoSpan® Grade Beam for Commercial Construction

August 18, 2017

Plasti-Fab

This week we delve right into the applications for commercial construction. To start, I will be covering a geotechnical application for compressible fill material.

Let’s discuss compressible fill material, specifically Plasti-Fab’s GeoSpan compressible fill material. When looking for a compressible fill material Plasti-Fab GeoSpan Compressible Fill material is a closed cell expanded polystyrene (EPS) product. It is designed to act as a compressible fill material which will reduce the potential forces on structures in the event soil expansion occurs after construction is completed. It can be distinguished from other EPS materials because of its brownish earth tone.

Something to note, before construction begins a site review needs to be conducted by a geotechnical engineer. It is important to know what kind of soils are on the building site, because soil deposits which contain substantial proportions of clay mineral particles can have different expansion possibilities. Soil expansion may affect the performance of structural members even when pile foundations are used. The magnitude of soil expansion experienced will depend upon factors such as moisture loss during construction and new conditions imposed on the soil as a result of construction.

GeoSpan Compressible Fill material is intended to be used primarily as a compressible medium under concrete grade beams or heavier structural members supported on piles. GeoSpan compressible fill material is designed to support expected construction live loads and the weight of the structural member until the concrete has cured and gained enough strength to be self-supporting. 

Commercial-Insulation-Solutions-GeoSpan-GeoVoid

If reinforcing is to be supported directly on GeoSpan compressible fill material, reinforcing support chairs used must be of a type, and in a sufficient quantity, to ensure that point loads do not exceed 10 kPa (1.4 psi). Normally, deformation due to initial weight of freshly placed concrete can be ignored. (Check out Plasti-Fab’s graph of compressive stress versus deformation)
When choosing your compressive fill material a couple of advantages of Plasti-Fab’s GeoSpan compressible fill material are:

1. It is an engineered product designed to meet specific requirements for each application
2. The engineered properties of the product are not affected by the presence of water
3. The product does not depend upon a voided configuration (which may become filled during backfilling) to reduce stress on the structure
4. If required, dimensions can be adjusted easily on the job-site using a fine-toothed hand saw to accommodate job-site obstructions
5. The product does not support the growth of insects or vermin nor does it contain any ozone depleting chemicals (ODC free)
Application, design criteria and design example
GeoSpan is supplied to customers pre-cut to the required dimensions. The standard dimensions are: length 96” (8’), width up to 48” and thickness up to 24”.
Required thickness of GeoSpan is determined by the following information provided by the customer:
1. Self-Weight the structure member temporarily supported
2. Net structural uplift resistance capacity of the structure
3. Maximum GeoSpan compressive stress
4. Maximum anticipated soil swell

*Things to note*
• Maximum compressive stress (U) is equal to the maximum compressive stress anticipated on the long term after compression of the GeoSpan induced by soil swell
• The net structural uplift load (required uplift resistance capacity of the structure) is the maximum GeoSpan compressive stress less the self-weight of the structure
• The GeoSpan final strain (D) is determined from the graph of compressive stress versus deformation provided based upon the maximum GeoSpan compressive stress (U)
• The required thickness (T) of GeoSpan compressible fill material is then calculated based upon maximum anticipated soil swell (E) using the following formula
T=(E X 100) /D

Quality Control testing
Designers are cautioned that GeoSpan compressible fill material utilizes different manufacturing and testing criteria than standard EPS insulation board in order to obtain the engineered properties necessary for this application. The physical properties of GeoSpan compressible fill material are controlled within close tolerances during manufacturing.

There we go, hopefully this helps answer questions about GeoSpan, if not send me your questions and I will get you some answers.

For more on Geotechnical applications, visit plastifab.com

7 Reasons Why Building with the Advantage ICF System Is the Way To Go

July 17, 2017

Any builder knows setting up concrete forms for a residential basement application can be a tedious and time consuming process. Not only that, once the foundation walls have been poured, you have to go back and take all those forms off the poured wall. Once those forms come off, with today’s Code basement insulation requirements now you have to insulate the exterior of the wall at the very least. There must be an easier way…..

Imagine if you can stack up blocks that not only provide the forming for the concrete, but an internal and external layer of insulation comes built right in. No stripping forms, or heavy equipment required for lifting that comes with other concrete wall forming methods. Think of it as building walls like you may have done with Lego blocks when you were young. The blocks can be carried right into the hole by one guy, and it’s literally a system of measuring and placing those blocks in courses up to your desired wall height. If the wall is a length that is not divisible exactly by the length of each block, you can cut them to length with a hand saw, in about 2 minutes. (You know, to account for the measure twice cut once method) There are tabs at the top and bottom of each block to help with alignment and “lock” the blocks into place. (Hence the Lego analogy)

So what are the true benefits of building with the Advantage ICF System?

  1. Lightweight forms provide stay-in place insulation for energy efficiency. Not only is the forming crew able to work quickly and efficiently with a lighter weight building material, but you only build it once. No more going back to remove the forms and insulate the perimeter. In the process, you are providing the homeowner with a higher level of energy-efficiency for their home.
  2. The Advantage ICF system has internal webs with 38 mm (1 ½ inch) wide flange surfaces provided for attachment of interior and exterior finishes. Depending on the thickness of the block, you have an attachment surface every 152 mm (6 inches) or 203 mm (8 inches). This helps your sub trades out by providing a consistent attachment surface that does not require concrete screws.
  3. Fast, year round construction. Advantage ICFs can be placed in extremely hot days (yep – we’ve been there) or even when the snow is flying (been there too). The foam is unaffected by the temperature change, and are much easier to handle in conditions made challenging by the weather.
  4. Advantage ICF blocks are dimensionally sized to coincide with standard lumber for window and door bucks, and top plate. Save time in your lumber cutting by only having to cut to length, and not order special widths or rip the lumber down, making the installation of the lumber much more time effective.
  5. Allows use of internal vibrators to assure concrete consolidation. The combination of the foam strength, with the molded tie (cross web) spacing creates a strong forming system, allowing for the recommended internal vibration. Vibration ensures that your concrete is completely consolidated and eliminates the “honey-combing” effect inside the forms. You can be confident you have a monolithic concrete wall without gaps or weak points.
  6. The Advantage ICF System provides the air and vapour barrier for wall area. You need to address air and vapour barrier system continuity issues at windows and other openings, but you do not apply a separate material to the ICF wall area. (Note – those internal ties are marked for you on the block in the form of a slightly recessed channel so you can see right where to attach your finishes)
  7. We provide excellent field support. In order to ensure you have the best experience possible for the installation of the Advantage ICF system, we have numerous resources from installation manuals, technical details, field guides, how-to videos, and if you have questions we have not addressed, we will happily talk to you about your specific needs

As you begin your planning for your next foundation, frost wall, landscape applications, above-grade wall system, or party walls, consider the benefits of the Advantage ICF System. Give us a call (888) 446-5377 or Start your project now 

The Advantage ICF System® is an EPS Product Solutions from Plasti-Fab Ltd.

7 Reasons Why Building with Advantage ICFs Is the Way To Go

July 10, 2017

Any builder who has ever set up concrete forms one by one knows how tedious and time consuming the process can be. Not only that, once you have poured your walls, you have to go back and take all those forms off the poured wall. Once those forms come off, now you have to insulate the exterior of the wall at the very least. There must be an easier way…..

Imagine if you can stack up blocks that not only provide the forming for the concrete, but an internal and external layer of insulation comes built right in. No stripping, or lifting of the heavy equipment that comes with other forms of concrete walls. Think of it as building walls like you may have done with Legos when you were young. The blocks can be carried right into the hole by one guy, and its literally a system of measuring and placing those blocks in courses up to your desired wall height. If the wall is a length that is not divisible exactly by the length of each block, you can cut them to length with a hand saw, in about 2 minutes. (You know, to account for the measure twice cut once method) There are tabs at the top and bottom of each block to help with alignment and “lock” the blocks into place. (Hence the Lego analogy)

So what are the true benefits of building with the Advantage ICF System?

  1. Lightweight forms provide stay-in place insulation for energy efficiency. Not only is the crew able to work quickly and efficiently with a lighter weight building material, but you only build it once. No more going back to remove the forms and insulate the perimeter. In the process, you are providing the homeowner with a higher level of energy-efficiency for their home.
  2. The Advantage ICF system has internal webs with 1 ½” wide attachment surfaces for interior and exterior finishes. Depending on the thickness of the block, you have an attachment surface every 6 or 8 inches. This helps your sub trades out by providing a consistent attachment surface that does not require concrete screws.
  3. Fast, year round construction. Advantage ICFs can be placed in 90 degrees days (yep – we’ve been there) or even when the snow is flying (been there too). The foam is unaffected by the temperature change, and are much easier to handle in conditions made challenging by the weather.
  4. Advantage ICF blocks are dimensionally sized to coincide with standard lumber for window and door bucks, and top plate. Save time in your lumber cutting by only having to cut to length, and not order special widths or rip the lumber down, making the installation of the lumber much more time effective.
  5. Allows internal vibrations to assure concrete consolidation. The combination of the type II foam, with the molded ties creates a strong form, allowing for the recommended internal vibration. The vibration ensures that your concrete is completely consolidated and eliminates the “honey-combing” effect inside the forms. You can be confident you have a monolithic concrete wall without gaps or weak points.
  6. The Advantage ICF System provides the air and vapour barrier requirements for wall area. There is no need to install additional air and vapour barriers to the ICF. Instead, you simply apply your drywall or other finishes directly to the face using the internal ties as the attachment points. (Note – those internal ties are marked for you on the block in the form of a slightly recessed channel so you can see right where to attach your finishes)
  7. We provide excellent field support. In order to ensure you have the best experience possible for the installation of the ICF system, we have numerous resources from installation manuals, technical details, field guides, how-to videos, and if you have questions we have not addressed, we will happily talk to you about your specific needs.

As you begin your planning for your next foundation, frost wall, landscape applications,  above-grade wall system, or party walls, consider the benefits of the Advantage ICF System. Give us a call (888) 446-5377 or Start your project now 

The Advantage ICF System® is a product of Plasti-Fab® EPS Product Solutions.