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Insulating Ice Rinks with PlastiSpan Insulation

January 9, 2017

Using PlastiSpan Insulation for Ice Rinks

ice-rinksWinter has officially arrived! Cold weather, mittens, scarves, etc. It’s all part of the season. However,  it’s still good to know that during this season there are several recreational activities available to enjoy with family and friends, including the popular ones like ice skating, curling and ice hockey.

These activities share a common place: the ice rink. Whether it’s a natural one where freezing happens from the cold climate temperatures, or from an artificial one, where a coolant creates cold temperatures in the surface below the water, ice rinks should ensure both quality and safety to fully provide the best possible winter experience.

Using Artificial Ice

In any climate, an arena surface of ice can be placed in a well-built space. It is composed of a bed of sand or at times a slab of concrete, through which pipes run. The pipes carry an icy fluid which can reduce the temperature of the slab so that water placed atop will freeze. This method is called ‘artificial ice’ to differentiate from ice rinks created by simply freezing water in cold temperature, indoors or outdoors, although both types are of icy water. A more proper technical term is ‘mechanically frozen’ ice.

Plasti-Span insulation: commercial solution for ice rinks


With all the ice rink solutions, you may wonder how the ice stays frozen. Insulation is placed beneath the ice, this helps keep the temperatures at a controlled level.  PlastiSpan insulation board meeting CAN/ULC-S701, Type 1 is adequate for this service. If a higher compressive strength material is required due to additional compressive loads on the insulation, PlastiSpan HD insulation board meeting CAN/ULC-S701, Type 2 or PlastiSpan insulation board meeting CAN/ULC-S701, Type 3 may be used.


Plasti-Fab PlastiSpan insulation board is placed under the floor slabs of artificial ice rinks to lessen the effect of soil frost heaving below the ice surface. It also shortens the time required to make or remove an ice surface and may also allow a reduction in the capacity of the refrigeration equipment. These benefits are significant as they reduce the energy costs for the operation of the ice rink.


So the next time you are out skating, playing hockey or even curling, you just might be skating right over our insulation – and you would never know it! Visit for more information on ice rinks and other commercial solutions using the higher compressive resistant insulation.

Using DuroFoam/DuroSpan to Insulate your Basement Floor

December 1, 2016

Today is December 1. For those of us in the Northern regions, December represents that colder weather is here to stay for a few months. Aside from bundling up in sweaters and thick socks to feel comfortable in your home, there are other ways to make your home comfortable in the cold. At Plasti-Fab, we offer a very durable insulation product called DuroFoam (In Canada) or DuroSpan (In the US). This product is not only easy to work with, cut and install, but you can buy it from Home Depot and complete a weekend warrior-style project in no time!

If you are not familiar with the DuroFoam/DuroSpan products, they are an EPS (Expanded Polystyrene) rigid insulated that has a laminated film on one side, and silver on the other. You can buy then in different thicknesses (based on your R-value requirement or code) and they come in 4′ x 8′ sheets. Just look for the GREEN at your local Home Depot, or check in at the Contractor Desk about ordering the product. You can also call us today 1-88-THINK EPS®.

Below is a video of our DuroFoam product being installed in a basement floor application.

For more information on Plasti-Fab’s DuroFoam insulation, visit: and

Going Green for the Holidays

November 29, 2016

PFB Sustainability

Christmas tree
The Holiday season is here once again; that time of the year when decorating, choosing gifts and shopping are on top of our to-do lists.

In making our Holiday choices, we can choose to Go Green and influence our decisions that leans towards sustainability.

The following are some Holiday Season tips that are helpful in being able to have a Go Green Holiday Season:


Energy-efficient decorating

– Purchase a living tree that you can plant outside – or keep as a houseplant once the holidays are over.

– Go for freshly-cut trees; these are recyclable. When the season is over, see if you can find tree-recycling pick up days in your community. Otherwise the trees you throw away in the trash bin ends up in a landfill.

– Own an artificial Christmas Tree that you can have for many years to come.

– Plan on having less Christmas lights or none at…

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Green Roof Transformation: Repairing & Redefining Space with Plasti-Fab GeoSpec®

November 21, 2016

Plasti-Fab_WTagline_surveyNovember 21, 2016 | Calgary, Alberta
Plasti-Fab® EPS Product Solution provides compressive resistance and quick installation

When the city-owned roof covering a portion of a local fire hall and hotel began to leak, the task of repairing the 300 s.f. area began, and with it came the re-imagining of the space overall. Up to that point, the ill-defined and publicly-accessible rooftop patio was not regularly maintained. Over time, it became unkempt, was used primarily as a smoking area, and attracted too many late-night visitors. After leveling the existing structures that served as seating or planter boxes, the city elected to gate the area and turn it into an outdoor venue for hotel functions.

calgary-firehall-project-2016-01Repairing the space and redefining its purpose required special consideration for the materials to be used. The city engaged a local landscape design firm that contacted Plasti-Fab for a solution. Aaron Rennie, Director of Market Development at Plasti-Fab, explained the firm specified “the project needed a fill material that could add height, be used across a wide area, have compressive resistance to withstand weight from snow, landscaping and people, while minimizing additional weight on the structure below.”

calgary-firehall-project-2016-02The answer was Plasti-Fab’s GeoSpec® lightweight fill material, also referred to as expanded polystyrene (EPS) Geofoam. Plasti-Fab’s GeoSpec blocks are designed to support heavy compressive loads, but has a density of less than 1 percent of traditional earth materials. It was ideal for this project given the uniform elevation requirements above the roof deck would level changes in the roof line and create the desired public space. Adding thousands of pounds of material to achieve that could have exceeded the capacity of the concrete roof structure beneath.

calgary-firehall-project-2016-03Not only did GeoSpec address the weight issue, it checked another construction box as well: speed of installation. EPS Geofoam can be cut with a handsaw, and certainly a power ripsaw, thereby allowing for “field fitting,” Aaron points out. “It can be easily cut to fit in the typical areas – like corners and edges – but allows installers to easily accommodate changes in elevation.”

For more than 50 years, EPS Geofoam has been used in projects involving roads, bridge approach fills, slope stabilization, embankments, foundations, and landscaping. Plasti-Fab is proud to add this project to our profile list, and contribute to a new, beautifully designed public space that offers hotel guests and event attendees stunning vistas of downtown Calgary.

Learn more about Plasti-Fab’s GeoFoam solutions now at 

Designing with Insulspan SIPs

November 14, 2016

Written by guest writer Keith Nelson, Insulspan Designer

Why Design with Insulspan SIPS?  A panel is a panel is a panel, right?

I believe in helping people, giving the best possible effort, and doing right by others. I believe that the “pictures” I draw are more than lines on a screen or a page. I believe that they are a person’s dreams, realized.   My name is Keith Nelson and I design SIPs at the Insulspan plant in Blissfield, MI.

Insulspan SIPs for Walls and Roof

Insulspan SIPs for Walls and Roof

Being entrusted with someone’s dream is an awesome and daunting responsibility, with equal parts trust, excitement and trepidation.  Architects have the visionary work; designers translate their concepts into reality. Mechanics and metrics, software and load paths are all part of that translation, but those things are just the tools that I use to actualize their dreams.    The purpose behind those tools is improving the quality of life that the homeowner will enjoy, the pleasure they’ll take everyday living in their dream. I endeavor to give each of them the most energy efficient, cost effective version of that dream.

After receiving the plans from the customer, I recreate their two dimensional information in a 3D model using HSB Cad.  HSB is cutting edge software that integrates with AutoCAD Architecture.  Starting at the top, I work my way down through the structure, I trace the loads imposed on the panel, transferring them out and down to the foundation. Each door and window, opening and exterior wall is digitally recreated.  Every SIP and piece of lumber in the project is then modeled from that data for maximum efficiency and minimal waste.  Panels are maximized in size, thermal breaks are minimized, the design tweaked to provide the best performance possible within the given structural requirements.  That care and attention to detail will have direct impact on every utility bill the customer receives.

Insulspan panels are consciously designed for the people who will use them, for their comfort and enjoyment, for their future and the actualization of their dreams.

What I do everyday makes a difference in people’s lives; not just in their energy savings, but in their level of comfort, and in their sense of home. I maintain that an Insulspan panel isn’t like any other you can purchase, by design.

Visit for more on panel design and options.

Make Yourself Comfortable with EPS Insulation from Plasti-Fab

November 1, 2016

Plasti-Fabfamily-timeIn the insulation industry we talk a lot about comfort and ways that you can have a more comfortable home by using our products as energy efficient solutions. What does comfort really mean? Not so much to us, but to YOU. What defines YOUR comfort?


For some, it is a warm home where you and your family can relax. For others, it’s a healthy home, where you don’t have to worry about harmful air pollutants. Or maybe it’s the safety of your home; trusting that the structure you have built is secure and strong against man AND nature. Whatever defines comfort for you, make it a priority, and find the insulation solutions that will help you achieve your comfort goals.

There are many EPS insulation products available that will help you reach your goals for your home, but knowing the right one for you may be a daunting task. While Plasti-Fab has a whole line of varying insulation options that are solutions to many applications, our strongest contribution is the service we give and the expertise we employ to help you find your right solution.

So whether your comfort stems from knowing your home is wrapped in a layer of insulation that keeps the cold out and the heat in (PlastiSpan & DuroFoam Insulations), or you breathe easier knowing dangerous gases are being trapped and removed before they can enter your home (Radon Guard™ Insulation), or if you simply want to know your family is protected from the elements outside (Insulspan SIPS, Advantage ICFS), give us a call…we can help.

Visit for more information on using EPS Insulation or any of our building systems in your project.

Fight the Cold – Insulate your home with Plasti-Fab’s Exterior Sheathing Insulation

October 25, 2016

written by Melissa Carruthers
Follow her on twitter: @MelissaC_PFB

It’s October and cold weather is just around the corner!  We are all trying to find the best way to keep our heat in and the cold out! So  let’s talk exterior sheathing. 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.

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. 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.

Let’s get down to work.  By adding PlastiSpan, PlastiSpan HD or DuroFoam insulation to your home we will increase your energy efficiency and decrease your costs.

*All insulation will be called PlastiSpan from here on, but any of the 3 is the right insulation solution for this application.

A little overview of the 3 types so you can chose the best for your application

  • PlastiSpan has the lowest cost/R-Value for rigid insulation
  • PlastiSpan HD is also a more cost effective product than other rigid insulations. It gives you a slightly higher R-Value and compressive strength than PlastiSpan too.
  • DuroFoam 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

The reflective facer on DuroFoam insulation contains a thin layer of foil embedded within the film. The reflective facer does not increase the nominal R-value of DuroFoam insulation. The green face of DuroFoam insulation should be left exposed to make use of the markings on this face provided for easy cutting of insulation and spacing of interior framing as required.

After you have chosen which type of PlastiSpan insulation you are going to use and have 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.

Make sure you are using the correct fasteners. PlastiSpan Insulation must be fastened to framing using fasteners with heads or washers at least ½” diameter where the cladding will be applied directly against the insulation. Fasteners with heads or washers at least 1″ in diameter must be used where an air space will exist between the PlastiSpan insulation and the cladding. (The fasteners are usually a nail with a green washer around it).

A sheathing membrane is not required if all joints between the PlastiSpan insulation and all openings in the wall are taped using a sheathing tape to seal them. Installing 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.

This should finish off the exterior of your home. New doors, new windows and by using PlastiSpan insulation under your sheathing, 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?

Visit for more information on exterior sheathing.