FAKE NEWS: Are Published R-Values for Polyiso and XPS Insulation Real or Fake?

By: Dale Mullikin, Sales Representative – Architectural Products

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It can be hard to know what is real or what is fake. If it is published somewhere it seems to be accepted as real. If a manufacturer produces a Tech Data sheet then it must be true. Is that the case? In the insulation world that seems to be the only thing designers and owners have to make the decision on what insulation to specify or purchase for their projects. Product Tech Data sheets seem to be the only source for R-Values when it comes to insulation. Tech Data sheets use ASTM standards that give us tests/methods for measuring R-value but are they real world values? ASTM standards are used by all insulation manufactures for quality control purposes to guide their process and to hold them accountable. These standards were never intended to be used for long term performance of the insulation.

What happens to insulation R-Values when they have been in service for three years or fifteen years? What happens when insulation gets wet? What happens in freeze/thaw environments? Do the ASTM tests cover these variables? The answer is NO!

ASTM information is valuable for manufacturers to conduct quality control testing in the factory. However, there are other tests and studies that will help you determine how insulation will perform long term on the building whether it is buried in dirt and concrete under the slab or covered with membrane on the roof.  Look at the links below and read about real world testing.  And watch out for fake news about R-values.

Read the Facts about R-Values:

About Dale Mullikin

Dale Mullikin has been in the EPS business for 14 years. He has done hundreds of educational Lunch & Learns for architects and engineers all over the midwest.
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