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A Practical Guide to Insulating your Exterior Foundation Walls with EPS Rigid Foam

June 28, 2017

It’s that time of year when building is in full swing. You can hardly drive down the road without seeing a new home in some stage of the construction process. While building a new home is exciting, there are stages that are not always glamorous, and can be sometimes forgotten, or even literally buried in the dirt. However, these parts of your building are some of the most important elements to the success of your home. As the old adage goes, you have to start on a good foundation.

Enerspan Insulation is made with Neopor by BASF for enhanced R-value – Making it a great exterior foundation insulation

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.

That’s where we come in. If you are doing a poured or block foundation wall, it is important to insulate the outside of that wall with code approved insulation. Be sure to check with your building code before getting started. We have put together a step by step installation guide for a start to finish seamless install….

Step 1: Building Code
We’ve already covered that, so you have confirmed what you need for the codes in your region.

Step 2: 2. Install Insulation.
Ensure that the concrete surface is dry and free of dirt. Starting from a corner, apply Plasti-Fab EPS insulation boards to the wall from the top of the footings to the top of the basement wall. Use an adhesive compatible with expanded polystyrene (EPS) insulation. 

Step 3: Measure & Trim Insulation.
Measure and trim the EPS insulation with a utility knife or fine tooth hand saw to fit around any openings such as windows.

Step 4: Drainage at Footing.
Place drainage tile covered by coarse gravel at the base of the wall, as per local building code.

Step 5: Protect Exposed Insulation.
EPS insulation must be protected from the top of the basement wall to 12″ below grade to prevent damage. Stucco parging is one common protective layer that may be applied. Talk to your building supply professional about other options.

Step 6: Backfill.
Backfill the foundation wall to the required grade using backfill material that will permit drainage to the drainage tile at the bottom of the wall. Grade the site so that the top soil is sloped away from the foundation wall.

Take a look at these excellent insulating products for below-grade insulation on your exterior foundation:

PlastiSpan HD Insulation | PlastiSpan 2o Insulation | DuroFoam Plus HD Insulation | Durofoam Plus 25 Insulation | EnerSpan Insulation

Plasti-Fab’s Exterior Sheathing Insulation – Keeping You Cool When Temperatures Soar

June 14, 2017

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It’s June, and depending on your climate, you are probably experiencing the joys of summer, including temperatures that can really put a strain on the air conditioner.   We are all trying to find the best way to keep our conditioned air and the heat 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.

Plasti-Fab GeoSpec® saves unstable slope along South Saskatchewan River

June 12, 2017

Plasti-Fab GeoSpec® saves unstable slope along South Saskatchewan River


Three years ago, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan city officials discovered cracking in the pavement of the Saskatchewan Crescent roadway at the intersection of 17th Street East, a well-known thoroughfare that follows the South Saskatchewan River through the city. The problem was investigated by engineering firm Golder Associates and suspected the cracks were the first signs of a much bigger issue: the slope below the roadway descending to the riverbank was failing.

Golder Associates engineers hatched out a plan to sustain the slope aiding the road using expanded polystyrene (EPS) geofoam from Plasti-Fab. Used instead of soil or other lightweight fill materials, Plasti-Fab GeoSpec® lightweight fill material lowers the mass and associated gravitational forces on the sloped embankment.


Plasti-Fab GeoSpec is up to 100 times lighter than in-place soil and it granted project engineers the opportunity to sustain the failing slope next to the road surface, with nominal disturbance to the trees and vegetation along the riverbank.

“We did the analysis and looked at a variety of potential remediation options,” said Laurie McEachern, the project coordinator for Golder Associates. “The benefit of this design choice is that it reduces the loading at the crest of the slope because EPS is a lightweight material.”

“One of the key benefits of using EPS for this particular site was that the remediation plan involved minimizing the amount of trees that had to be removed along the riverbank,” McEachern added.”

Starting in September of 2013, working with GeoSpec permitted construction to advance seamlessly through the winter months. Since GeoSpec is made in large blocks, labor and overall construction time is minimized, allowing the roadway to be finished much quicker and with less traffic issues.

“By specifying GeoSpec lightweight fill material from Plasti-Fab, Golder Associates helped speed up the construction schedule and preserved the trees along the South Saskatchewan riverbank,” said Plasti-Fab Sales Representative Neil Henrikson.”


Learn more about Plasti-Fab’s GeoFoam Solutions.

Products of PFB – A look inside the World of Molecules to Mansions

June 7, 2017

For our last blog of the 3-part series, we are going to talk about the products of PFB Corporation. So how does one company go from supplying molecules all the way up to mansions? With a vertically integrated supply chain, beginning with EPS resin and ending with insulated building products and whole-home solutions, PFB Corporation maintains quality control over the materials from the ground up. Broken out into different divisions, we provide a wide range of products for varying market places and stages of construction, always with the mission to provide Quality, Service and Expertise.

With locations across North America, PFB is dedicated to the sustainable development of products that enhance the comfort, energy-efficiency, and beauty of the residential and commercial buildings that utilize the brands.

Plasti-Fab® – The EPS Product Solution
Plasti-Fab provides expanded polystyrene (EPS) product solutions for constructing energy efficient buildings, floatation for marine construction, lightweight fill and compressible fill for Geotechnical construction projects, EPS packaging solutions, roofing, and component solutions for Original Equipment Manufacturers. The expanded polystyrene product solutions range from rigid foam insulation, to geofoam solutions for below grade applications and road work, specialty molded products and packaging solutions. To learn more about the Plasti-Fab EPS product line, visit

Advantage ICF System®
The Advantage ICF System® is a patented insulating concrete forming system consisting of two layers of expanded polystyrene (EPS) insulation connected with web connectors molded into the EPS insulation. The top and bottom edges of Advantage ICF System blocks have pre-formed interlocking mechanisms which ensure web connectors align vertically for attachment of surface finish materials.
When the installed Advantage ICF System blocks are filled with concrete, an insulated, monolithic concrete wall of uniform thickness is formed. The result is a superior, energy efficient wall that will provide long-term energy cost savings while adding resale value to the building. To learn more about the Advantage ICF System, visit

Builders install the Insulspan SIP walls for this southern Michigan homeowner.

Insulspan® – Structural Insulated Panel System
Insulspan leads the industry in the development and manufacture of structural insulated panels (SIPs). The Insulspan SIP System consists of a solid, one-piece precut SIP, that is ready to install as a wall, roof or floor component for residential and commercial construction. The use of SIPs provides increased energy efficiency, faster construction, and a healthier home due to reduced air infiltration with the thermal envelope. Insulspan provides an industry-leading RTA (Ready-to-Assemble) SIP package along with other product lines such as nail base panels, pre-cut, or blank panels. To learn more about the Insulspan SIP System, visit

Riverbend® – Timber Framing
At the pinnacle of PFB’s vertically-integrated marketing and manufacturing model is one of North America’s leading brands in the timber framing industry – Riverbend Timber Framing.
Homeowners and guests marvel at the elegance and strength of the beautifully-crafted solid wood posts and beams that make up the “bones” of the home. The timbers are custom-crafted to exacting standards and connected by the kind of pegged mortise and tenon joinery that has been used for centuries. The precision craftsmanship ensures fast, trouble-free assembly.
In addition to the beauty of the timber-framed interiors, owners of Riverbend homes enjoy the benefits of PFB’s state-of-the-art, energy-efficient enclosure systems. Riverbend’s traditional timber frame structures are integrated with Insulspan® SIPS and the PFB Advantage ICF System®. To learn more about Riverbend Timber Framing visit

Precision Craft® – Log Homes
PrecisionCraft Log & Timber Homes has a wider product selection than any other company in our industry: milled log, handcrafted log and timber frame products all of the highest quality. Many of our clients’ designs require a combination of different products in order to achieve the intended look and feel. We don’t want our clients’ homes compromised because they are locked into any one product.
At PrecisionCraft Log & Timber Homes, we continue to ask our clients what we can do to make their experience with building log homes and timber homes even easier. After listening to our clients, we have decided to expand our services in one of the most critical areas of the log & timber homebuilding process – the construction of your home. In addition to designing your home and producing the log & timber structure at our state-of-the-art manufacturing facility, we now provide custom construction solutions. Learn more about Precision Craft Log Homes at

PFB Corporation is a combination of brands that complement each other, and work cohesively together to provide the Better Building Solutions we offer today. Visit our web sites or for more information on our company and mission.

About PFB – A look inside the World of Molecules to Mansions

June 6, 2017

When you hear the name PFB Corporation, what first comes to mind? Most people say, I wonder what the letters PFB stand for. We jokingly like to say it stands for Paul Frank Bob, but since none of them work for PFB Corporation, it’s definitely an inside joke. Truly though, those letters represent Plastics Foam Business. This is at the very core of what we do and what we stand for.

PFB® manufactures innovative, high-quality insulating building products and technologies that, when used as components of a building envelope, enable residential and commercial structures to be highly energy-efficient. We are experts in geotechnical application of our products.

Our core competency is our expertise in expanded polystyrene foams (EPS). We are the only vertically integrated EPS Company in North America; which as a consequence, provides us with technical expertise positioning us in a unique leadership position in the EPS industry.

Our corporate culture is rooted in sustainable development. It is our policy to set goals, to measure our continuous improvement, and to transparently report our progress to our stakeholders. We measure performance on the basis of economic, environmental and social factors and report annually through the publication of the PFB Annual Report and report continuously through our PFB Sustainability website.

Our insulating products are enabling building envelope technologies that support Net Near Zero Energy (NZE), Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED™) certification and Built Green programs. We are proud of the many awards our people and our products have received for technical expertise, quality and high levels of service all our brands promise to stakeholders.

PFB is a brand you not only stand behind, but stand with, because of what they stand FOR.

To Learn more about PFB Corporation visit

The “How” and the “Why” of using Rebar in Advantage ICF Walls

June 5, 2017

Rebar in Advantage ICFs

Frequently, I get asked what do I need for Rebar in my ICF walls?  What sizes and how often?

Compared to conventional foundation walls, ICF’s require more rebar.  However you can have a  6”  thick concrete wall with ICF opposed to an 8” conventional foundation wall in most cases.  Therefore the extra rebar can save you 2” of concrete throughout your foundation walls.

Since ICF’s incorporate more rebar  and are considered reinforced concrete walls, they will allow you to build a taller wall giving you a higher ceiling height compared to conventional concrete walls.

Rebar is used to solve structural design requirements related primarily to compression, tension and shear loads.  Rebar will also control concrete shrinkage cracks.

Concrete is strong under compression loads, but tensile strength is much lower.  Rebar for below grade foundation walls with backfill on the exterior face is always installed in the inside third of the wall which is the tension side of the wall. For above grade or Party Wall applications the rebar is typically placed in the middle of the wall.

When you look in the Advantage ICF block you will see rebar clips on the plastic webs that space the 2 layers of EPS. For below grade ICF Walls install your horizontal rebar in clip #1 on the first row of block and #3 on the second row and alternating between #1 and #3 for all the sub sequential courses of block. Staggering the rebar from row to row creates a “weave” effect that enables the horizontal rebar to cage (another term “hold) works also)your vertical rebar in place. Vertical rebar is installed once the wall is at full height.

Jobsite tips for rebar:

Make sure you know where on the jobsite you want the rebar unloaded.

Keep the rebar as clean  as possible from dirt and other contamination as this will affect  the performance

Have a proper rebar cutter and bender on site or arrange to have this done for you prior to having the rebar delivered  to achieve required tolerances.

Cut 4 foot lengths and pre-bend them for corners and T-Walls

Place plastic caps over the top of vertical rebar sticking out of footings or walls to prevent injury from sharp ends .

You can click the following link to find out what rebar you will need for your job.

It is critical to review all applicable building codes and ICF manufacture’s engineering, technical manuals as well as CCMC Reports to understand the proper spacing and sizing requirements of rebar.

If you have any questions about the rebar placement for your project, call us today at (888) 446-5377.

ICF Products by Plasti-Fab – An EPS Solution

May 29, 2017

Check out more EPS product solutions at or today!