Rigid foam boards are a really effective and cost efficient way of insulating spaces. Best suited to flat surfaces they are better thermal insulators than many foams or particles blown into gaps because they are dense and when properly installed by our professional fitters there are no gaps. The areas property owners most commonly look to insulate are walls, roofs, and attic or basement floors and for many of these rigid boards are easily the fastest way to improve the thermodynamics of your home. In some cases odd shapes or cavities make foam board not the best by itself but we can combine our board work with spray or blown in insulation as top ups to ensure that not even the tiniest gap goes unfilled.
Often the foam boards used for insulation are backed with an easily recognised aluminum foil which has fantastic properties both for adding strength to the boards and for battling certain types of heat - especially the radiant heat of the sun. For that reason aluminum foil backed boards are very popular in attics or other spaces that can otherwise get insufferably hot in the summer but become freezing cold in the winter. Where other insulation types work by absorbing the heat from the sun aluminum backed foam boards basically reflect it back where it came from.
Expanded Polystyrene Foam
Expanded polystyrene foam (EPS) is the most budget-friendly foam insulating material out there and has a reasonable R value of 3.6 to 4 per inch. On it’s own it is not very strong - think of the expanded polystyrene foam you find packing electronics or other delicate goods and you’ll get an idea. It’s cost effectiveness means that it is popular in commercial buildings but often where it is sandwiched within metal fittings or sheets as this means that its lack of strength is not important. It’s cheap, but we often think we can do better.
Extruded Polystyrene Foam
Extruded polystyrene foam (XPS) is also called pink board or blue board and comes in all kinds of thicknesses, sizes, and profiles to suit a huge range of construction situations. It’s stronger than its expanded cousin and more versatile, but what really seals the deal for its popularity is an R value of 4.5 to 5 per inch which means much less thickness is required to get the same insulation effect.
Polyisocyanurate and Polyurethane
These are both types of closed cell foam board that cost more than cheaper polystyrene but make up for that with their remarkable insulating properties. The closed cell approach means that the foam is formed of cells (think of bubbles) of particularly low-conductivity gases which means that poly boards can offer an R value of up to 8 per inch of thickness. That makes them particularly suitable for critical areas of external walls even though they are more expensive per square foot than cheaper polystyrene foam alternatives. When we’ve had a chance to survey your property we may propose a mix and match approach of different boards to match your needs with your budget.