Roof Insulation Performance in Cold Climates

By: Pat Austin, Sales Representative – Architectural Products

In the northern parts of the United States and Canada, insulation usage is largely designed to keep buildings warm. In Wisconsin, where I live, our average year-round temperature hovers around 45°F, depending on which part of the state you live in. This means insulation performance is very important when temperatures drop.

Recently, the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) conducted research on the cold-temperature performance of polyisocyanurate insulation. The results were both surprising and disappointing considering the volume of polyiso installed in heating climates. To summarize the NRCA’s findings, polyiso performs at R-5.55 per inch at 75°F, and drops as the temps fall.   At 40°F polyiso is not quite achieving an R-5.0 per inch and at 25°F it’s down to R-4.0 per inch.

Read more in the NRCA March 2015 Tech Talk Bulletin

To further study the impact of this in northern climates, I looked at the heating degree days in Wisconsin, as compared to the temperature curves in several cities across the state. It turns out that we spend upwards of 75% of our energy budget heating on days averaging 40°F or below and over 50% of our dollars on days 25°F or below. Insulating with a product that loses R-value as the temperature falls makes zero sense and costs money.


Comparatively, Foam-Control® and Foam-Control PLUS+® EPS roof insulations gain R-value as temperatures decrease. Our Foam-Control PLUS+® 150, for instance, increases from R-4.2 per inch at 75°F to R-4.8 per inch at 25°F. We gain R-value when we need it the most! And best of all, EPS provides this performance at a cost-savings to the owner.

In northern climates, when designing insulation envelopes to keep our buildings warm in the most cost-effective manner, the choice is clear. Foam-Control® and Foam-Control PLUS+® EPS roof insulation provides performance, saves money, and keeps you warm!

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Facts About EPS and Water Absorption

By: Doug Wehrwein, Sales Representative

Extensive testing has confirmed that the closed-cell structure of EPS reduces moisture absorption over prolonged periods. Even when moisture absorption has reached the maximum threshold there is minimal effect on the thermal performance of EPS insulation. When you review the Expanded Polystyrene Industry Alliance Technical Bulletin 103 you’ll see that even when the moisture absorption level reached 4.8% the EPS insulation’s R value was still at 94% of what was expected. Conversely, the R-value of a comparable sample of XPS was only at 52% of what was expected and moisture level of the XPS sample was 18.9%.

The area in which water can migrate into in the EPS material is the tiny channels (or the interstitial space) between the fused beads of expanded polystyrene. These channels naturally exist in EPS rigid insulations boards and serve as the means to easily release the water when drying occurs. Moisture is present in the EPS long enough for adverse effects to take place. When XPS is exposed to bulk moisture repeatedly over long periods it may allow water in, where it them becomes trapped. See Expanded Polystyrene Industry Alliance Technical Bulletin 104 and 105. Generally, neither water nor water vapors affect the properties of EPS.

Foam-Control Plus+® Architectural EPS Insulation is a very cost-effective way to provide both superior thermal resistance and protection for underlying foundation moisture protection systems.

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Summer time, need to ship wine?

By: Bryan Buchanan, Packaging Specialist

1673DuraTherm® wine shippers is a great packaging solution for shipping your wine from summer through the winter months. It is designed to resolve any issues with shipping a temperature sensitive product safely when the outside temperature is high; in addition to ensuring that it travels from point A to point B without breakage. Our design, with input from industry leaders, distributors, and freight carriers has helped to make this a solid and dependable program. DuraTherm® wine shippers have passed the rigorous ISTA 7E Summer Profile test. Is has also received ISTA 3A drop test certification, which confirms that your product is shipped in a package that will avoid content damage. Passing these critical tests provides our customers with peace of mind that their product is in good hands!

The summer DuraTherm® shipper comes in a 2-Pack, 6-Pack, and 12-Pack versions. We can provide the specially designed EPS foam in a corrugated box with designated gel packs as a complete kit.  Over the years we collected valuable customer input and have modified the summer shipper to create an unparalleled quality product with unique features for your valuable wine contents.

For more information on this product category please go to

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Does EPS Bead Size Really Matter?

By: Joe Kurz, Packaging Specialist

EPS Bead and PennyAs the nations  2nd largest processor of expanded polystyrene bead, ACH Foam Technologies runs many different beads sizes through its facilities. These sizes vary depending on the intended usage.

While our Lost Foam operations in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin requires a very small bead in order to properly fill the detail areas of the molds used for this application, larger size beads are favored for production of billets used in our fabrication processes. Many variables come into play here, and our production experts at the plant level are the most knowledgeable about choosing the proper size bead for your intended use. Feedback from our customers, some of whom use our billets to create their products, is also very helpful in dialing in the proper recipe for their needs. One such customer will first hotwire our foam, and then mills it using a CNC router system. We supply them with billets in a “C” sized bead, which satisfies both processing methods perfectly. Another customer, one that cuts shapes and flat sheets, prefers a billet made with a mix of “B” and “C” size beads.

When a new customer comes to us for quotes, our trained, experienced sales and estimators know the proper questions to ask regarding how our EPS foam will be used. Armed with these answers, we can offer the correct product the first time, and ensure customer satisfaction. ACH Foam Technologies strives to continue to be the leader in EPS industry.

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The Performance and Sticker Price (R-Value) of EPS Insulation Ensures a Consistent Long-Lasting Positive Experience

By: John Myers, Sales Representative – Architectural Products

Wait a minute! You mean the published R-Value is not always an accurate reflection of the actual performance I will receive? How does that happen?

The reality of published R-Values for rigid foam insulation is somewhat like the estimated fuel mileage on the sticker of your new car. Rarely is it an accurate reflection of your actual mileage. Driving conditions, your lead foot, and other real life conditions will have an effect on your car. As will the quality of the fuel you put in your tank.

In the world of rigid insulation, the factors to consider are as simple as the method of production. First to consider is that all foam insulation boards are made from a type of plastic. The raw material is expanded into blocks then cut into sheets OR extruded into sheets. When the production process requires the use of gasses to extrude a raw material, the initial R-Values of the finished product can be overstated. The gas that is used for expansion is not permanent, and is eventually replaced with atmospheric air that rem

So when do we measure the R-Value? Just like the auto industry, the R-Value is calculated at the best possible condition, and in the case of rigid insulation it is at the time of manufacture. This is not always the R-Value you can expect to receive in the field, as verified by outside entities such as the National Roofing Contractors Association and Building Science to name a couple.ains for the life of the product. At that point the R-Value becomes stable.

What is the answer? There is one type of foam that does not temporarily capture gas in the manufacturing process. Expanded Polystyrene (EPS)

does not inject gasses into the product and therefore arrives at the job with an R-Value that will remain constant throughout its lifetime. It is manufactured with trapped atmospheric air and thus never changes its R-Value.


A drive with EPS with Leave you Surprised with Its Performance.

Take a drive with EPS Insulation and know that you will enjoy the consistent performance as your insulation of choice for below-grade, roofing, and cavity wall applications. You will feel confident that the R-Value you thought you were designing with or purchasing is exactly what was stated on the sticker.

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