A New Approach to Referencing Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) for the Construction Industry

By:  Jim Nugent, Regional Sales Manager


Badger State Fruit Processing Expansion

For many years the EPS industry has used material density as a way to identify material types, in the construction industry, the time has come to reevaluate that terminology. While I have been in the EPS industry for over 25 years, I am not really sure how we evolved to using the density of our products as a way to identify the material (other rigid insulations do not). I suppose I can speculate that target densities are relevant to the expansion and molding in our manufacturing process, but to an architect or engineer knowing the weight of EPS insulation is not very helpful.

Characteristics like R-Value, compressive strength, and flexural strength can be used determine what EPS material should be used to thermally protect a building or structurally support a slab, paver, and soils.

In the architectural division at ACH Foam Technologies we have started an initiative to change the way we communicate about our products both internally with our teammates and externally with our customers, architects, and engineers.

Architects and engineers are very comfortable using ASTM designations in their specifications. However, we understand that for our distributors and their contractor customers it will take time to adapt to referring to EPS products by something other than density. A good example of this evolution is the Badger State Fruit Processing facility in Pittsville, WI where the owner and management team at Badger State saw the value and versatility of Foam-Control Plus+ architectural EPS insulation and specified Foam-Control Plus+ 150 (15psi) for their roof and Foam-Control Plus+ 250 (25psi) and 400 (40psi) for the their perimeter and under-slab insulations.

This new approach to referencing EPS insulation is not an easy task, especially since the industry has become accustomed to density when the other physical properties are a much more effective way to find the right EPS material for a project.  We understand it will take time; however, this change is part of the evolution of EPS becoming the most specified insulation and structural fill material for commercial construction projects.

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