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Thornton Roofing: Article About Insulation Materials

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Polystyrene insulation is becoming increasingly popular due to its lightweight and versatile nature. Often referred to by the brand name of Styrofoam, this kind of insulation offers flexibility in both its form and function. An experienced Thornton roofing contractor can help any homeowner sort through the pros and cons of using this material to insulate their attics and the undersides of their roofs.

Polystyrene can be used to make three different kinds of insulation, including beads, foam board and concrete block. The beads are installed like a type of loose fill, while the boards and blocks can be affixed with a thermal barrier and adhesive facing for their installation. All of these types of insulation are best when installed by experts with proper safety equipment.

Molded expanded polystyrene, or MEPS, is the type used to make the loose fill beads. These beads are lightweight and have an R value between 2.8 and 3.2. However, they can be difficult for anyone except a professional to control as the pros have specialty equipment that pushes the beads into the cavities of a home's walls. They also build up a static electricity charge and may cling to one another.

The expert roofers at Roof Worx of Thornton can assist you with any questions regarding flat roofing or windows.

When molded into large sheets, the same product becomes a much easier to handle foam core board. The R value of the sheets is 4.0 to 4.5.

Expanded polystyrene, or EPS, is another popular styrene material and consists of beads that have been fused together to create sheets or blocks. It has an R value of about 4.0 per inch when in the block form. It can also be used as panels and then inserted into concrete walls in a home's foundation.

Extruded polystyrene, also referred to as EXP, is less commonly used for insulation materials. It begins as a molten plastic and then is flattened into sheets. It can be used in concrete forms to insulate concrete blocks as they are cast. Its R value is around 3.8.

Any polystyrene affixed to an unfinished attic wall, ceiling or floor must be covered by gypsum boards that are at least one half inch thick. This is due to fire and building code safety regulations. If the insulation will be put onto a foundation or basement wall, it must have a waterproof facing on both sides so that it can repel moisture from accessing the concrete. If foam core boards are used in the attic, a thermal barrier is desirable. This helps enhance the insulation's ability to stop passive solar heating.

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