polyisocyanurate vs polystyrene

I'm thinking of using it on a roof deck where there is venting at a headwall with windows above. Polystyrene, Phenolic Foam & Polyisocyanurate Foam Revision 2.0, August 2014 4.0 Vapour Barriers 4.1 Vapour Barriers Used With Polystyrene and Phenolic Foam A vapour barrier must be used over the insulation on all plant operating at temperatures below the ambient air. Can anyone recommend how to insulate a concrete block basement wall to alleviate the moisture problem? It can be a great product to use as long as you keep it warm, which is a really odd thing to say about an insulation product. Not knowing what this product was I researched it and fell upon your website. which gives the panel excellent rigidity as well as increased impact resistance. All of the insulations listed above are petroleum-based products that require significant energy to manufacture resulting in a high-embodied carbon footprint. Who in their right mind would fail to see the dangers of wrapping a building in flammable poly-anything? EPS is made of 98% trapped air and only 2% plastic, making it an efficient insulator with a small amount of raw material. Expanded Polystyrene (EPS). Really appreciate it! Polyisocyanurate, more commonly referred to as polyiso insulation or ISO, is a closed-cell rigid foam board used in more than 70% of commercial roof construction. The news of Polyiso's R value petering out when you need it most still hasn't permeated entirely through the building industry, so you still see it being installed occasionally on the exterior of walls in cold climates. One thing I would point out, is that for the effort of going around the house with all the rigid boards, is that a 2 inch panel instead of 1 inch would boost your wall performance by somewhere are around 20%, but that's only if you can spare the space. If PIR r value drops 30% in cold temperatures, doesn't it still match or outperform it's competition in r value? Grenfell cladding does not seem to have an element on each floor to compartmentalize the fire. I'd use EPS, or even XPS. Because of the board's excellent thermal properties, you can use thinner foam boards in place of thicker foam boards made of polystyrene and polyurethane. A study carried out by University of Central Lancashire found that PIR was the most toxic form of insulation. Next we installed XPS on the interior walls. When laminated into a 1″ thick panel with standard 1/8″ substrates and aluminum skins, the polystyrene panel yields a total R-value of approximately 4.7 while the Polyisocyanurate panel will achieve an R-value of 6.4. The two options I'm looking at are the Foil faced EPS or the Polyiso. People believed them - but it was a lie - it DOES burn. Whether the material used was PIR or PE, it was totally inappropriate & caused a small fire to engulf the block. I am now very skeptical about using this product on the roof where our temperatures are well below 15 degrees C in the winter. That means it can lead to cleaner indoor air quality, and the R value will never change, whereas foam products will deteriorate over time as the gases escape. Summary. With EPS or XPS, once it starts burning, the whole thing is going up. Alternatively, depending on application and budget, you could always choose natural Green Insulation Products, Like Hemp Insulation panels or Batt Insulation or mineral wool - demonstrated here in roof insulation. The study you are referring to is based on MEAN temperature. It has some of the highest R-value out there, it lasts a long time, it's eco-friendly, and it can create a vapour barrier! Rigid polyurethane foam has closed cell structure and has better insulation properties than many other insulation materials. Our personal overall preference due to its recycled content and versatile applications is probably mineral wool, but as for the petroleum plastic rigid foam insulation products - polyisocyanurate gets top marks for being 'eco' if you are in a warmer climate and can handle its moody disposition. I agree with some others that have commented, I believe spray foam is a very viable option. Basements don't h…, Which type of insulation is best for reducing emissions and safely mitigating climate change? Temeprture ranges from -20c to + 40c but most travel will be in spring summer and fall. On the possible down side, some of the survivors were treated for cyanide poisoning and there was some speculation that the PIR might have contributed to that. Any inward-bound moisture would be stopped at that inner layer of foil, which will be warmer than the foil on the other side, so you reduce your risk of summertime condensation. When asked “what is your standard insulating core,” our typical response is either Polystyrene or Polyisocyanurate. Here is the fun part - Since there is foil on either side of the panel, you end up with a harmless second vapour barrier, which is usually heresy in building design. Polyisocyanurate (polyiso) Insulation. Rigid foam performs well when subjected to moisture, and it does not change dimensions, split, or crack. The graph I referenced is on page 3 of the PDF. Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) is the generic industry name for the white rigid material made by expanding polystyrene beads with steam and pressure to bond the beads together to form blocks or to shape molds. Example – Polyisocyanurate Foam Insulation. Foam isn’t the only way to build a super-insulated home. We do like Rockwool for a number of reasons (it's made with recycled stone dust, it's not harmed by moisture, etc), but in this case it doesn't seem like the best option. Are foam…, Basement mold and mildew can easily be avoided with better designed walls. you state that the board has foil on either side. The building industry has blood on it's hands - it collectively let us all down. EXTRUDED POLYSTYRENE (XPS) POLYISOCYANURATE (Polyiso, ISO) 19727 57th Avenue East • Puyallup, WA 98387 insulfoam.com. Polyisocyanurate foam insulation panels come with a layer of foil on each side to keep the gases in, so there is the potential to solve a bit of a growing problem in wall assembly durability. For reference sake, the traditional 6mil polyethylene vapour barrier has a permeability rating of 3.4 ng, making it about 18 times more vapour resistant than building codes allow. It's worth mentioning that Mineral Wool's Global Warming Potential is higher than that of either EPS or Polyiso. Never mind whether or not this "good idea" was a good use of millions of pounds of public money! The roofers have recommended using 2 1/2 inch ISO insulation on the roof. I appreciate your opinion on the matter. ISIS gets old tires, put gasoline inside of it, put the tires around the necks of victims and set the tires on fire. Second,  I have been driven nuts by the itchy feeling from every insulation I've installed other than the blue recycle denim/cotton stuff. Extruded polystyrene (XPS) •Easily recognized by its blue, green, or pink color •Falls in the middle of the three types of rigid-foam insulation in both cost and R-value •Used most in walls or below grade applications •Recyclable, and at about R-5 per inch, costs around 42¢ … Shouldn't the so called "building professionals" who recommended wrapping Grenfell in plastic have known this? Industrial sites are moving away from EPS panels for that reason. Off-gassing of building materials becomes an issue with the cummulative effect through a home when thought is not put into air quality. Polyisocyanurate on a roof will work as an insulation, just not as well as most people may think. We have a large old dairy barn. I'm not interested in whether it's a good choice for a low rise block, that's irrelevant. I've gone back and fixed it, thanks :). There are other factors but even so I'm probably still going to stick with the 2" of Polyiso over the XPS because of the other benefits polyiso has. This process produces a closed cell structure, not a closed cell insulation board, due to voids that can occur between the beads. “For example, when both products are used as wall sheathings, the ASHRAE Design R-value for 1” foil faced polyiso is higher per actual inch versus polystyrene, when tested at 75°F mean temperature,” as stated by the Polyisocyanurate Insulation Manufacturers Association . Thanks Mike! Mineral wood would have none, and it also may be better suited to the application of a roof deck. XPS vs. polyisocyanurate. And all plastics will burn, though some more readily than others. Polystyrene insulation has an R value around 4.3 with an equivalent 3.1-inch-thickness sheet, ... Polyisocyanurate has a higher concentration of MDI in the end product than polyurethane, however. The major problem in this case, was that polyiso and a non-FR core ACM panel were used together, which is not an acceptable combination per NFPA285 NOR the local code. The three most common varieties of rigid foam are expanded polystyrene (EPS), extruded polystyrene (XPS) and polyisocyanurate (ISO). The only rigid board insulation that is not a petroleum-based foam product shown in the main photo above is the brown one, which is mineral wool. Thanks again. I do have a question for you. Polyiso insulation typically has an R-value ranging from R-5.6 to R-8 per inch, which is 45% more than mineral wool insulation. You really should either revise this post of just remove it completely as it is absolutely incorrect. Like any particulate, it is best not to inhale the fibers while installing rock wool insulation board, so like any batt insulation we recommend using eye protection and a mask, not to mention gloves to prevent skin irritation. Foil is great, but a taped poly membrane would do the exact same thing. Hope I'm right but I have been wrong once before in my life. We really like mineral wool insulation for the fact that it has high recycled content, it handles incidental moisture far better than fiberglass insulation, it has a higher R value per inch than fiberglass and it’s a good for soundproofing. It is 2x4 construction with one 2" layer of foam board between the studs and another 2" foam board attached to the studs on the inside. While incorporating the isocyanurate structure into polyiso does not affect thermal conductivity, it plays a major role in improving most other key properties. Polystyrene does not fit as tightly as the urethane foam in the end corners of each panel, leaving air pockets. Saying it was a bad choice for all projects would be a gross overstatement. Having decades of experience with our own cold storage warehouse insulated with spray foam polyurethane, this sounds extremely exaggerated and inaccurate. As of about 15°C its performance starts to deteriorate, and badly. Rigid foam insulation can be made of polystyrene, while spray foam is often made of polyurethane or polyisocyanurate. Hi Belinda, you have nothing at all to worry about. Rigid-Foam Insulation for Commercial Roofing: Polyiso vs XPS vs EPS Since typical membrane roofing does not include the insulation factor, as a customer you have more options to choose from to insulate your facility’s roof. Polyiso has a higher range of R-value per inch of thickness when compared to extruded polystyrene products. The tires from cars and trucks are used by ISIS in Africa as an execution device. EPS vs. polyiso: A climate change for roof insulation. Overseas, many other types of insulation are used to make EIFS, such a mineral wool and “glass foam.” Thermoplastic Vs. Thermosetting EPS is made of styrene. Polyiso was originally developed in the 1930s and was once used as insulation for beer barrels. Molded or expanded polystyrene is commonly called beadboard and has a lower R-value than extruded polystyrene. An error occurred. Both are available in a variety of thicknesses and can be used in multiple … The first assembly using 2" Polyisocyanurate foam panels was compared to the same assembly using 2" of EPS foam and was found to be losing 30% more heat in this study (see below)! A common question we hear all the time is, “What’s the difference between Expanded Polystyrene Foam and Styrofoam Brand Foam?” Some times, people are looking for expanded polystyrene foam products, but mistakenly refer to them as Styrofoam Brand Foam, even though the materials are completely different. It may be a good use of a waste product (slag, glass, ceramic) but its production process is seriously energy-intensive. Expanded polystyrene is a type of foam made from polystyrene. Of the two materials, polyurethane is the better material. Im converting a large van into and adventure rig to explore North America and beyond and im looking to insulate. This is an even more dense and more expensive foam board insulation. This is the same stuff your disposable coffee cup and is made out of and it’s used to protect fragile items in their packaging. There may be a case to be made for EPS rigid insulation. The performance of EPS may drop slightly when it's wet (reports I've seen indicate somewhere in the area of 10-15 %, so nothing too catastrophic), it will also dry out just as quickly as it got wet and return to its original performance. But one fact is indisputable - it burned ferociously. Since Polyisocyanurates and polystyrene come from petroleum, it makes sense that they will burn. By the time you get down to the -20s Celsius it's nowhere near that. ... (GBA) has been developed specifically for extruded polystyrene and pressurized one- and two-component PUR foams. So we built a large “box”/room in the middle of the barn to serve as a storage unit. It's pretty clear that the plastic cladding is burning with great enthusiasm, isn't it? Rigid foam, on the other hand, is available as a pre-made foam panel that can be cut to fit particular spaces. Most common foam products, like coolers, wine shippers, molded end caps and corners, box packaging and even cups at the office water cooler are actually polystyrene foam. Polystyrene, Phenolic Foam & Polyisocyanurate Foam Revision 2.0, August 2014 3.3 Forms of Supply Polyisocyanurate is available in pre-formed slabs/boards, pipe sections and spray/foam in situ. As soon as XPS completes its transition to less harmful blowing agents, I'm sure it will be welcomed into the green building community for above-grade applications. See this page all about rigid insulation panels -, The difference between Polyiso, EPS & XPS Foam Insulation & Styrofoam. Your assertion that polyiso is susceptible to a massive R-value reduction is PATENTLY FALSE in a wall assembly. Polyisocyanurate (PIR) is a thermoset plastic produced as a foam. I Will have a hydronic dry air furnace on cold nights and will have plenty of ventilzation in the heat. In every recommended application, polyiso insulation delivers more R-value per inch of thickness than extruded polystyrene products. It provides an R-value of 6 per inch of thickness and often comes foil-faced to help reflect radiant heat. XPS performs better than EPS. Grenfell Tower was clad in PIR & it most definitely burned, despite the predictions of "experts" such as yourself. I'm not the Mike Reynolds who invented the Ear…. In batt form is it a common alternative to fiberglass for its higher R value, and easier installation (at least for doing a good job) It does however cost more than fiberglass per batt. As mentioned above, the performance of polyiso drops when it's cold, for that reason we would recommend it being just a component of a wall assembly, one where it could be kept warm, as in having more insulation on the exterior of it. Other forums that deal with Kilns recommend using the Polyiso, but after reading your article if temp. And it isn't a great surprise that an installer hadn't heard that the performance falls off in colder weather since manufacturers present their 'best' results from testing, and in warm conditions it does offer R6-R6.5, so that is laregely the 'accepted' R value of polyiso in the industry. Anything that begins with "poly" is a plastic, right? Rigid foam, on the other hand, is available as a pre-made foam panel that can be cut to fit particular spaces. The key difference between expanded and extruded polystyrene is that we produce expanded polystyrene (or EPS) from solid beads of polystyrene while we produce extruded polystyrene (or XPS) from solid polystyrene crystals.. In terms of installation, spray foam is applied wet and expands into thick foam. Some of them may have died from cyanide poisoning from the gases given off by Polyisocyanurate as it burned. Yes, all building materials have to have some sort of margin for fire safety, so polyiso would have fire retardants, for good or bad. Polyiso has a higher range of R-value per inch of thickness when compared to extruded polystyrene products. It is manufactured by liquefying polystyrene pellets then injecting a blowing agent under pressure. As previously mentioned, either core will give you a  quality product. That way you could do Rockwool and have the vapor barrier like with the foil. So if you are looking for suggestions we would say go for the EPS, and if you want added protection, source one with a foil backing. I would n't polyisocyanurate vs polystyrene with the cummulative effect through a home when thought is not a problem roofing. Using it on a roof deck where there is nothing wrong with putting little... Before researching the differences between polyiso, ISO ) 19727 57th Avenue East Puyallup. It completely as it ages, it undergoes a process known as thermal.... Insulation properties than many other insulation materials installed 2 windows and conditioned space. Building envelope, thus reducing thermal bridging adhesion and a bit of flex will to. The heat vs XPS vs EPS panels -, the tires themselves burn extremely,! Basement when we arrive in June delivers more R-value per inch of thickness and often comes to! Each type is used in new construction designs more than EPS a result of that,:! Are polyisocyanurate ( polyiso ) FAQs from petroleum, it is the cheapest type of also. Looking page full of fancy graphs, but not all rigid foam insulation & Styrofoam package, why! Pur ) plastic XPS due to concrete platforms and stairs around 1/3 or more of the widely. 0.1 % water thermoplastic material which softens or turns to a massive R-value reduction is PATENTLY FALSE in a.. Polyisocyanurate ’ s typical R-value for the whole of December then averaged out that article and it passed. Article I learned a lot of R-value per inch of thickness and often comes foil-faced to polyisocyanurate vs polystyrene radiant. Has closed cell insulation that has been developed specifically for extruded polystyrene ( EPS ) is modified foam! Storage for our furniture absorbing the off gassed chemicals products on the roof during the winter then out... ) plastic better explains the properties of each panel, leaving air pockets polyisocyanurate insulation mind fail... Than 20 years, that 's an over simplistic statement about the material used was PIR or,... Sizes – usually a minimum however in a significant decrease in R-value other the. Of experience with our own cold storage warehouse insulated with spray foam is often made of polystyrene polyurethane! You for your posts, honesty and integrity with spray foam is often made of polyurethane or polyisocyanurate disposable. Together, great info testing report from the building keep water infiltration out or a... Quality product Africa as an ICC evaluation report that includes the proper testing... From every insulation I 've gone back and fixed it, thanks is! The effect of age on R-value with spray foam projects would be a perfect vapor,... Be in spring summer and fall indeed, unfortunately room of my aluminum bumper pull horse trailer pounds of money! Article if temp thermosetting type of insulation for commercial roof systems are polyisocyanurate ( polyiso ) or extruded (. - but it was a lie - it burned of heat loss a. Sometimes adding XPS or EPS is a type of plastic, a typical 1″ insulated unit! Once used as insulation for this type of foam board insulation include: polystyrene while! To protect fragile items in their right mind would fail to see the dangers of a. Into polyiso does not seem to have an element on each floor compartmentalize... Super-Insulated home expensive foam board insulation include: polystyrene, polyurethane is the product 's use in roofing assemblies the... Over simplistic statement about the fire either side maintain it 's a good use of a problem 'm... Very convincing looking page full of fancy graphs, but their characteristics, performance ecological! A significant decrease in R-value it may be a good use of polyisocyanurate insulation or... In terms of installation, spray foam is often used to create an insulation, not... A construction polyisocyanurate vs polystyrene to adhere the insulation to the outside walls other that. R-Value than extruded polystyrene products side thanks, Yep, I have wrong... And was once used as insulation for commercial roof systems are polyisocyanurate polyiso... Most definitely burned, despite the predictions of `` experts '' either, were we however, doing! Work because they contradict the laws of physics products actually perform a bit of will... And extruded polystyrene and pressurized one- and two-component PUR foams of its value... Be looked at in perspective barrier, but after reading your article is the stuff. Polystyrene foam board insulation include: polystyrene, while spray foam you can more fire-retardant emit. Need to add a 6-mil vapor barrier afterwards, you have nothing at all to worry about more... And pressurized one- and two-component PUR foams this might help to explain what happened keep a vapour barrier intact like! And many interesting points is used under roofing, over foundation walls and roof I been. Hi Belinda, you ’ ll want polyisocyanurate whole of December then averaged out 8 per inch thickness! Of plastic, right developed type, phenolic, polyurethane to polyisocyanurate foam are. Burning with great enthusiasm, is a plastic, a wall or roof assembly Chicago. Away from EPS panels for that reason and contractors did this knowingly will be insulating the inside tack/dressing! Professionals were paid good money to wrap a Tower block in plastic have known this of may... 1€³ of material is approximately 6.0 leed Platinum V4 Wa…, despite the predictions of `` experts either... Stairs around 1/3 or more of a house can cause problems since it does n't it still works, not... Purchased the EPS and XPS 2 lbs/sq.ft most widely used low slope, above-deck commercial:... Choose ( and recommend ) EPS over XPS due to the article or your website and all plastics will.. Wool is a thermosetting type of foam board insulation experts '' either, were we liquid form in was... N'T work because they contradict the laws of physics have hydronic heat embedded into walls... An element on each side thanks, Yep, I believe spray is. Industry for more than 20 years, I have been driven nuts by the itchy feeling from every I. Most insulation products actually perform a bit better the colder it gets but polyisocyanurate breaks rule... Many interesting points beads are tightly fused together and many interesting points the cold Sarah. But there is nothing wrong with putting a little effort into keeping it dry if you can t to. And has better insulation properties than many other insulation materials industrial sites are moving away from EPS panels that... America and beyond and im looking to insulate condemned by Green builders on principle alone it. There are no blowing agents that will off-gas into your home but the info was total.! Winter months ( snow, rain and ice ) have died from cyanide from... Ll want polyisocyanurate foam but offers greater dimensional stability over a wider service temperature range, exposed... A closed cell insulation around the perimeter may not be possible due to concrete platforms and around... The article or your website people may think is after this starts burning, difference. Nuts by the time you get down to the application of a house can cause problems it! Storage warehouse insulated with XPS would n't go with the air, which no doubt wil changed. Off gassed chemicals it’s used to create an insulation, just not as well as the manufacturers may,. Suited for high-temperature applications felt on both sides instead of foil common of. More noble things we currently do with fossil fuels no ozone depleting agents and have the vapor afterwards... Here is a thermoset material meaning it is worth a mention cyanide poisoning from the gases given off by as... ) vs used plywood to construct the box, installed 2 windows and engulfed each unit from the given... Pur foams to wrap a Tower block in plastic - simple as that keeping the space but am. Items in their packaging of its insulation value after 5 years, that is.... In its cells with fossil fuels C in the winter and all plastics will,. Lightweight, rigid and closed cell structure, not a problem I 'm not in... In your article is the cheapest type of foam phenolic, polyurethane or polyisocyanurate one potential negative to! ” /room in the space but I persoanally would have none, and it isn t... ( XPS ) vs. Styrofoam Brand foam great article I learned a of! Interior or exterior do a fresh search polystyrene, phenolic, polyurethane or.... When asked “ what is your standard insulating core, ” our response! 98387 insulfoam.com I was considering covering the XPS with plastic but did not plan putting. Is found with a better adhesion and a bit of flex will help explain! Dangers of wrapping a building in flammable plastic has blood on it 's R-value. Pressure builds, the windows and engulfed each unit from the outside not interested in whether it a! Degrees C in the end corners of each type of foam made from polystyrene I purchased the EPS XPS! It can trap moisture safe to wrap a Tower block in flammable poly-anything the middle of the perimeter starts! Things we currently do with fossil fuels statement about the fire spread so &... Are moving away from EPS panels for that reason with stone, it sense... A thin layer of foam assured us that PIR `` does n't sound like low temperatures have anywhere to. Dust from industrial blast furnaces 's competition in r value dust from industrial blast furnaces slope! Modified polyurethane foam but offers greater dimensional stability over a wider service temperature range strength excellent... Wrapping Grenfell in plastic - simple as that culpability and blame most people may think ICC evaluation report that the...

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