Top Questions of Newcomers to Geofoam

By Nick Harvill, Sales Representative – Architectural Products

I have been working in the EPS industry for over 35 years, starting right out of College in 1977.  My experience has involved Sales, Tapered Roofing, Packaging Design, and Manufacturing.  Before joining ACH Foam Technologies at the beginning of this year, my Geofoam experience was limited to floor fill.  Geofoam is used as floor fill when a concrete floor needs to be raised for leveling purposes or for Stadium Seating.  The raised area beneath the concrete is filled with Geofoam. Since joining ACH, I have been exposed to a few other uses: Foundation Walls, Retaining Walls, Floor Slab Fill, Roadbed Fill, and more.

Quite often Contractors and Designers have been tasked with using Geofoam in their project but have had no previous experience with it.  I appreciate their questions and have learned much from them.  Here are a few common questions that frequently come up:

1) Is there any special preparation for the foundation or base layer? 

The foundation is always important.  You will need a drainage material to carry away water, in addition to a flat, level base.  Geofoam will lighten the load on subsoils but the base has to be substantial enough to carry the load that is placed on it.  This is determined by your Soils Engineer.

2) Do I need aggregate between the wall and the Geofoam for drainage?

No.  Don’t place the Geofoam tightly against the wall.   You can hold it off the wall several inches to allow water to flow freely for drainage.  Only the top layer needs to be against the wall to prevent materials from falling into the drainage gap.

3) Do I need to cover the Geofoam before backfilling?

A filter fabric will help prevent loose debris from settling between the cracks.

4) Will the Geofoam eliminate the lateral load on the wall?

Soil places a lateral load at an angle of about 60 degrees.  By stepping the Geofoam out at this angle on each layer, the lateral load is virtually eliminated.

5) I have calculated the volume of Geofoam I need, can you give me a cost?

Geofoam comes in a variety densities with compressive strengths ranging from 5.8 to 50.0 psi at 10% deformation for different load requirements.  Your Engineer will have to determine what density is needed for your project based on the load it will have to carry.  Once we have this information, we will be able to provide you with accurate material costs.

6) How do we keep the Geofoam from moving after placement?

We have optional Gripper Plates available that are placed between the layers to keep them from slipping.

7) How do we fabricate or cut the material?

While you can cut EPS with just about anything (any kind of saw or knife), Geofoam is typically thick, 36”or more.  It is best to cut it with a Hot Wire.  The best is a paddle cutter.  Two insulated handles (like electric fence handles) a power supply (frequently called a rheostat), and some cutting wire.  You can acquire a complete assembly from a number of companies or contact your ACH Foam Technologies’ Rep for more info.

I hope you find these answers beneficial in designing your project using GeofoamThe ACH Foam Technologies Rep in your area will be glad to assist you with any additional questions you may have.

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ACH Foam Provides Rays of Hope

By:  Ryan Olson, Packaging Specialist

For the past nine years, my family has heard the word foam and ACH many times.  My daughter recently asked if she could help me write my next blog article about ACH Foam Technologies providing fabricated EPS foam to the Lutheran Church of Hope.  Sure, why not!  A new perspective never hurts and it saves me from doing some writing.  Enjoy:

Hi, I am Jenna Olson.  I’m 10 years old and live in West Des Moines, Iowa.  I can’t wait to tell you how much ACH Foam rocks! 

One day while I was at church my dad pointed out that the circles near the back of the stage were made with ACH Foam’s EPS!  I also learned that there was a cool lighting effect on the foam to make it glow and that it has recycled material. That is amazing!

ACH Foam circles at HopeCROP  ACH Foam

Do you see the circles in the back of the stage?  Guess what that is?  ACH’s Foam! 

Hope is my church and I love it.  ACH Foam is helping Hope design their stage.  I was glad when I found out that my dad was providing Hope with foam so that every time I went to church I could see it.  It also means more fun work for everyone. Maybe even me one day!

When you think about walking into your church, look at the stage and picture the ACH Foam circles at Hope!  And remember, ACH Foam can always lend a hand.

– Jenna Olson

ACH Foam offers our fabricated EPS products in .70 pcf to 3.1# pcf that can be wire cut into a variety of shapes and thicknesses.   We can find you the right solution from our wide range of block sizes.    As you can see in the photos our natural clean white color of fabricated EPS foam makes a unique lighting contrast color experience.

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The Art of Insulation

By:  Rick Shinn, Sales Representative – Architectural Products

Exterior Insulation Finish Systems or EIFS have been around for many years. They provide almost infinite color choices and are compatible with a variety of building designs. EIFS also compliment other exterior finishes such as brick or stone. And don’t forget that under the attractive finish is a continuous layer of high R-value Expanded Polystyrene Insulation. That layer of insulation contributes greatly to the energy efficiency of any structure.

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Examples of Exterior Insulation Finish Systems using Expanded Polystyrene (EPS)

Based on appearance and energy efficiency alone, EIFS sounds like a great choice for any building project. In fact, EIFS is commonly used for educational, medical, lodging, retail and many other commercial projects. What if you want a distinguishing mark on the exterior of your building? Many designers are choosing the same EPS used for insulation to create three dimensional murals.

The easy to cut EPS can be incorporated into the EIFS system to provide an artistic flare to the exterior of any facility. Whether simply detailed moldings and trim or elaborate design, the versatility of EPS allows for almost endless possibilities. School mascots, company logos, or a Patron Saint are a few ideas to personalize a facility for its occupants.

No canvas, easel or brushes required for The Art of Insulation.

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Polar-R®: The right rigid insulation for your siding project

By: Aaron Weatherbie, Sales Representative – Architectural Products

Polar-R® has long been the preferred insulation for commercial and residential siding projects. The 4’ x 8’ sheets add continuous insulation and are designed to give you flat and level surface to attach your siding. Polar-R® can be used on new construction and remodel projects. When using Polar-R® you are increasing the building’s energy efficiency and providing an effective weather resistive barrier.

The tough film facers that are heat laminated to the EPS are what create the weather resistive barrier. The films also make the product very durable for easy installation in tough weather conditions. Wind can be very problematic when installing rigid insulation. The film facers give Polar-R® added strength which allows the material to bend and helps to prevent it from breaking.

Polar-R® is made with Expanded Polystyrene and is the only rigid insulation that provides a 50-year 100% R-value warranty. EPS is a stable product that will retain all of its R-value. EPS is one of the most energy efficient insulations per dollar used in the construction industry and will provide a lifetime of energy savings.

Benefits of Polar-R® Siding Underlayment

*Superior Moisture Resistance
*Continuous Level Surface
*Energy Efficient
*Less Cost Per R-value
*Durable and Strong
*Easy to Handle & Install
*Termite Resistant
*Environmentally Friendly

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DuraTherm Insulated Shipping Containers

By: William Hill, Packaging Specialist

ACH Foam’s line of insulated shipping containers is available to be used for the products you need to be protected by temperature changes.  Whether it’s a cooler from our wide variety of standard sizes or a custom-designed insulated shipping container, let ACH Foam Technologies provide you with the best combination of protection and thermal value.  ACH Foam is the quality source!

ACH Foam has several sizes of insulated shipping containers in stock and ready for use.  Our sizes range from an ID of 8” x 6” x 5” to as large as 21.5” x 13.5” x 12.5”.  Most sizes are made with a beefy 1.5” wall thickness, made in 1.25/pcf EPS density and manufactured to tight standards for product integrity for temperature control and for a quality presentation to your valued clients.  ACH Foam can evaluate your cooler needs and shipping methods to design a custom sized cooler.  Our in house test lab can provide valuable insight about how your pack-out will perform, provide validation feedback, and drop testing results.

Benefits of ACH’s line of stock insulated coolers or custom coolers include:

-Environmentally Friendly EPS : Totally recyclable.

-Tested for transit considerations / performance results.

-Interlocking Lids

-Protection and Thermal Value:  Tested!

-Quality Consistency

-Industry recognized design

-IATA Certification

-Custom Imprinted Logos on Request

-Sold as foam only coolers (base & lid) or kitted (foam assembled in corrugated).

ACH Foam’s line of coolers, whether stock or special order, are available in a variety of sizes to meet virtually any need.  Along with our variety of cooler offerings we can supply you with corrugated, gel packs, and packaging fulfillment.

See a complete list of stock coolers.  In many instances ACH Foam manufactures specific sizes in multiple locations for your convenience.

For additional answers to your important questions regarding ACH Foam’s line of insulated coolers, please contact a Product Representative in your area.

We look forward to being your insulated shipping container supplier.

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