What Is Extruded Expanded Polystyrene Foam Board?

Lead Image for What Is Extruded Expanded Polystyrene Foam Board?

In reviewing options for home insulation types, expanded polystyrene insulation will probably be one of the types you will consider. Expanded polystyrene is a popular choice for home insulation and is readily available at many local home improvement centers and hardware supply stores. However, before you choose this or any other type of insulation for your home, you should take the time to find out as much as you can about the various types of insulation. With that in mind, here is some useful information on the polystyrene foam board, and why it may or may not be the best insulation solution for your home.

Expanded Polystyrene Basics

Expanded polystyrene is a plastic foam material that is usually used as insulation material. Most of the time, expanded polystyrene insulation comes in the form of a foam board. This type of insulation is extraordinarily light and is easily installed. Compared to other types of foam board installation, it is an excellent insulator against heat and even sound.

Expanded polystyrene insulation is often referred to simply as EPS. EPS foam boards are recyclable and they are not bio-degradable; therefore they makes an excellent fill material for landfills when discarded. When burned, EPS foam board produces much less ash and carbon-based emissions than other types of plastic or paper insulation products. However, some people see the fact that EPS is not bio-degradable as a disadvantage and recommend that it not be used. Nevertheless, the fact that it is one of the most effective types of home insulation is one that most experts agree on.

Best Uses for Expanded Polystyrene Foam Board Installation

Expanded polystyrene foam board installation is primarily used in the installation of basement insulation. However, it can also be used to insulate outer walls as well as in-ceiling applications. However, when using expanded polystyrene foam board installation, it is important to remember that you cannot use nails, screws, or other fasteners to attach the insulation. Expanded polystyrene insulation must be attached using other methods.

This is because of the way expanded polystyrene foam board insulation is constructed and the way the beads or molecules in the board are connected to each other. Expanded polystyrene insulation uses closed pocket cells that contain air as part of the insulation material. Therefore, holes or punctures and expanded polystyrene foam board can drastically reduce the "R" rating or effectiveness of the insulation against heat loss. When installing EPS, it is always best to use a construction adhesive to attach it to a wall or studs.

Also, when installing expanded polystyrene information, you should never place a covering directly on top of the foam board. Whether you are installing on a basement wall or in a ceiling, there should be at least a one or two-inch gap between the foam board and the drywall or wood panel covering. This allows the EPS foam board installation to breathe and slightly expand or retract as needed.