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How-to attach finishes to my ICF Walls

April 20, 2017

So you have your Advantage  ICF foundation or above grade walls installed and poured, now the question is how to finish it? Below one of our Advantage team members discusses how to apply finishes to your ICF walls….

Interior drywall
Drywall is fastened to an Advantage ICF wall the same way as it would be in a wood frame house except that I recommend you use drywall screws rather than nails.  When you screw it on make sure you hit one of the plastic webs or ties spaced at 8” on center for 6” ICF walls or 6” on center for 8” ICF walls. Typically a standard stud finder will find these ties as it would normal wood studs. I would recommend using a little longer than normal drywall screw with a coarse thread pattern.
Note: that an indented line marks all Advantage ICF System blocks at 25.4 mm (1”) intervals to simplify measuring and marking. Double lines mark web locations.

What types of fasteners are required for drywall?
Wall coverings can typically be attached to the ties or webs in your ICF system with  #6 or #8 Type W (coarse thread) drywall screws. The screws must be corrosion resistant and have a sufficient length to penetrate the plastic tie or web a minimum of ¼” (6.4mm). #6 Type W drywall screws will provide an allowable pull-out capacity of 36 lbs (160 N) and an allowable lateral load capacity or 66 lbs (294 N). #8 Type W drywall screws will provide a slightly higher allowable pull-out capacity of 44 lbs (196 N) and an allowable lateral load capacity or 98 lbs (436 N).

What about stucco?
Conventional stucco is applied by attaching the wire straight to the ties or webs with pan-head screws. Acrylic stucco manufacturers may require only typical foam preparation and the application directly onto the surface of the ICF with no stucco wire.

What about Siding?
Horizontal joints: strapping between the ties or webs using metal banding may be required if the siding joints line up with the joints in the block (where there are not ties or webs)

J trim: bucks may have to be modified to allow for certain types

Corners: strapping around corners with metal banding may be necessary for certain corner moldings. Use screws to install all sidings.

Note: All interior ICF surfaces must be covered by an acceptable thermal barrier. Exterior finishes and application requirements may vary based on local code requirements.

Basically anything that can be used as an exterior or interior finish on a conventional home can also be used with the Advantage ICF system. Want to learn more? Visit the Advantage web site for more information.

How to Insulate your Home with Exterior Sheathing from Plasti-Fab

March 24, 2017

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 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 a 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 then 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.

By the way, don’t forget below grade insulation. Check out our Below grade insulation blog here.


Plasti-Fab launches new website

March 11, 2017

Plasti-Fab is pleased to announce the launch of the newly redesigned website for the Advantage ICF System. After reviewing and listening to what visitors wanted from the web site, we have built in interactive elements, videos, easy to navigate information, and a whole new experience.

What to look for….
If you are ready to get started with your project, there are two applications that cater to you as a homeowner and to our builder audience. As a homeowner, you can submit your information under the Start My Project section, giving the sales team an opportunity to provide a free estimate in no time! For builders, use our Advantage ICF Estimator to determine how many blocks, corners, rebar and even yards of concrete needed for your project.

Videos, blogs, and interactive “how stuff works ” features are user-friendly and provide an interactive experience for visitors.

Additionally, we have added a new section featuring every one of our blocks in the Advantage line. Select a block from the carousel on the homepage and learn about product dimensions, R-value, uses and benefits of everything from the standard straight block to corners, brick ledges, and t-block systems.

Check it out today at

The Advantage ICF System is an insulated concrete forming product manufactured by Plasti-Fab EPS Product Solutions. Two molded expanded polystyrene forms are held together by engineered webs for stability, security, and energy efficiency to create walls, foundations, and frost walls for residential, commercial, industrial and agricultural applications.

What to use for damp-proofing on my Advantage ICF foundation

March 3, 2017

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.

Peel 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.

Dimpled Membrane
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 for further information in damp-proofing and ICFs.

Local College Chooses Plasti-Fab Energy Efficient EPS Products for Home Build

January 31, 2017

Insulspan SIPSWritten by: Aaron Hinde, Sales Manager, Insulspan Blissfield

One year ago, John Kope from Jackson College walked into my class to learn about our Insulspan SIPs and Advantage ICF system. The class, called Insulspan University, was developed to provide a hands-on learning environment for builders, homeowners, architects, and students alike. The class covers not just the application of our Insulspan SIP System, but also the ease of use and application for our Advantage ICF product line as well. John left the class excited about the potential of what SIPS and ICFs could bring to his residential construction program…

In the spring of the following year, a truck pulled up to the Jackson College job site, delivering the entire foundation of Advantage ICF blocks for the students to begin construction. With a class totaling 40 students between the morning and afternoon sessions John set out to build an energy efficient house with higher quality building materials.

“I will never build a foundation another way again,” Kope says of the Advantage ICF System. “It’s an easy to assemble product that is flexible and safer to install. It allows us to stop anywhere with the class schedules. It really saved me on time and money compared to building with forms.”

After the ICF system was in place, the class preceded to construct the rest of the house using Insulspan 6 inch wall panels and 10 inch roof panels. According to John, “This process was a great learning experience for the kids; there was a lot less installer error when the entire wall and roof system came ready-to-assemble.”

The home the students built is called “The Crawford,” selected from the Insulspan Home Plans that are available on the web site. Now that the home is fully enclosed with an Advantage ICF Foundation, Insulspan SIP walls and roof, the classes will begin interior and exterior finishing; getting the house ready to sell.

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Insulspan & Advantage; Plasti-Fab’s EPS Building System Solutions
Insulspan® Structural Insulating Panel Systems (SIPs) are used to create a building’s structural wall frame and replace trusses on roof systems to form an extremely energy-efficient structural “envelope.” This type of structural building envelope is so energy efficient that BASF chose Insulspan® SIPs for inclusion in its pioneering “Home, Sweet Hybrid Home,” the Net Zero Energy House built in a residential development in Paterson, New Jersey. This home recently earned a “Platinum” rating from the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED®-H Rating System, one of only two houses in the whole of North America to achieve that rating.

Insulspan, with more than 30 years’ experience in the building industry, is a leading brand of SIPs in North America. Insulspan SIPs have been a key part of a number of other high profile projects including:
•   In 2006, Insulspan featured prominently in a construction project that the Public Broadcasting System producers called “the centerpiece” of This Old House’s 25th Anniversary.
•   Insulspan SIPs were also selected as the structural insulating materials of choice for Sunset Magazine’s “Celebration Idea House,” built in California.
•   Insulspan also provided the roof for B.C. Canada Place built at the 2006 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Torino, Italy, to showcase Canada’s hosting of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.
•   Insulspan SIPs are the only SIPs in North America manufactured with both U.S. and Canadian code listings.

Advantage ICF System® is a one-piece, stay-in-place, insulating concrete form made of expanded polystyrene (EPS) insulation. A series of strong plastic web connectors are permanently molded into two EPS panels to create a building block. The integral plastic webs act as the studs in a wall assembly, and are spaced at either 6 or 8 inches on center.

Advantage ICFs have a patented interlocking system along the top and bottom edges, which allows the blocks to securely connect together, much like kids’ Lego™ blocks. Reinforcing steel is placed on the plastic web connectors inside the block cavity which is then filled with concrete. After the concrete pour, the insulating EPS remains in place on both sides of the structure, providing a highly energy-efficient building envelope.

Residential and commercial buildings constructed using the Advantage ICF System are strong, quiet, and highly insulated.. The Advantage ICF System is often teamed with our Insulspan® Structural Insulating Panel System to create our highest performing BUILDING SYSTEM – a fully insulated, air-tight building envelope that includes the foundations, floors, walls and roof. | |

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