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Foam insulating board properties, types:

This article illustrates and describes properties of various types of foam board building insulation.

We give advice to owners and inspectors regarding the R-values, fire safety, insect resistance, and mold resistance of foam building insulation products.

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Solid Foam Product Insulating Products - Rigid Polystyrene, Polyurethane, Polyisocyanurate Insulation Characteristics

solid foam insulating  board

We provide photographs and descriptive text of asbestos insulation and other asbestos-containing products to permit identification of definite, probable, or possible asbestos materials in buildings.

Solid Foam Product Insulating Products - Rigid Polystyrene, Polyurethane, Polyisocyanurate Insulation products will not contain asbestos fibers and most of these products are rather mold resistant, possibly because of their chemistry or because closed-cell foam insulations simply do no take up and hold the moisture that is required for active mold growth on or in building insulations or surfaces.

See MOLD in FOAM INSULATION and also MOLD RESISTANCE of FOAM INSULATION for details about mold growth on or in foam building insulation products.

What are the Insulation R-Values of Foam Insulation Boards?

  • Expanded, extruded, and cut bead polystyrene insulation products have an R-value of about 4.0 per inch of thickness. Typical exterior foam board building insulation sheets have an R-value of 2.64 per inch. See POLYSTYRENE FOAM INSULATION for details.
  • Icynene foam, applied as a spray in insulation retrofits: see ICYNENE FOAM SPRAY INSULATION for details.
  • Expanded polyurethane building insulation products have an R-value of about 5.0 per inch of thickness. See URETHANE FOAM Deterioration, Outgassing for a discussion of foam board outgassing and R-value deterioration.
  • Expanded polyurethane insulation expanded using the refrigerant gas has an R-value of about 6.25 per inch. See URETHANE FOAM Deterioration, Outgassing for a discussion of foam board outgassing and R-value deterioration.
  • Polyisocyanurate insulation products have an R-value of about 7.04 per inch. See ICYNENE FOAM SPRAY INSULATION for details.
  • Polystyrene insulating board - see POLYSTYRENE FOAM INSULATION for details

See INSULATION R-VALUES & PROPERTIES for R-value and other properties of nearly all historic insulating materials as well as contemporary building insulation products. [ASHRAE Fundamentals Handbook.]

To compare insulating material R-values see our Table of Properties of Insulating Materials

Also see MOLD in FOAM INSULATION, RESISTANCE, see Mold On Foam Insulation for a discussion of when and why we find mold growth on foam insulating materials like foam board and air handler foam insulating board.

Fire Safety and Foam Insulation Board

Details are at FIRE PROTECTION FOR FOAM BOARD INSULATION. Excerpts are just below.

Polystyrene insulating foam board © Daniel Friedman

Foam insulation board should not be left exposed in building interiors.

While many modern foam insulating products do not themselves readily support combustion (that is they don't catch fire and burn alone) they may give off thick acrid or toxic black smoke in a fire, making it difficult to safely exit the burning building.

In the photograph at left, foam insulating board is shown on a garage ceiling below a second floor bedroom - this material should have been covered with fire rated drywall to meet local building code specifications for fire safety.

 

 

Continue reading at FIRE PROTECTION FOR FOAM BOARD INSULATIONor select a topic from the More Reading links shown below.

Or see POLYSTYRENE FOAM INSULATION

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FOAM BOARD INSULATION TYPES at InspectApedia.com - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice.

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