Polystyrene Insulation: Is It Right for Me? Everything You Need to Know!

Polystyrene is the things that Styrofoam and disposable foam dishes are manufactured of, but it is also widely utilised as an insulator and soundproofing material for properties and businesses. With outstanding thermal and seem resistance houses, extensive availability, and a extended lifespan, polystyrene would seem like a excellent insulator, but is it? Let us locate out below as we cover how polystyrene foam insulation works, its pros and cons, and a lot of other related data.

How Does Polystyrene Insulation Operate?

Polystyrene insulation is a rigid, shut-mobile foam insulation composed of extruded (XPS) or expanded (EPS) polystyrene. This sort of insulation is horrible at conducting heat since it literally has tens of millions of air bubbles within that trap air and stop it from heading through the insulation. General, this signifies that polystyrene has outstanding R-values, which is a way to measure thermal resistance for insulation.

To be far more certain, XPS board normally ranges from R-four.fifteen to R-five.2 for each inch, although EPS ranges from R-3.eighty five for every sq. inch to R-four.2 for every square inch. The specific R-value of your insulation will count on regardless of whether it’s EPS or XPS as effectively as no matter whether the solution is reduced or high density.

Polystyrene Insulations
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Polystyrene’s superb humidity resistance is a blessing as well, as mold is the best enemy of any homeowner. Simply because the insulation is so tightly compacted and has so many air bubbles, it’s almost impossible for humidity to permeate via it. It aids a great deal that it is incredibly low-cost to generate and effortless to install—it can be speedily cut to fit almost any area with just a knife and a little bit of psychological geometry. You can also easily stack it, which offers even a lot more set up overall flexibility.

Yet another important house of polystyrene insulation is its exceptional compressive energy. Typical foam insulation is usually open-mobile, even though polystyrene is shut-mobile. However, typical foam insulation will also suffer compressive hurt over time and via use and tear. Compressive injury will compromise the insulation’s capability to resist heat, air, and dampness.

Polystyrene is also infamous for being practically not possible to recycle. It breaks into little foam particles that can pose wellness risks to fish and other animals, in addition has carcinogenic houses when burned or melted to boot.

You cannot chuck aged polystyrene in the recycling bin, either. There’s so small actual polystyrene in insulation that it is not even value-powerful for recycling organizations to approach it. A couple of organizations do, but it is extremely intensive to search for a recycling middle in close proximity to you that also accepts polystyrene. Even if you find a single, they probably will not accept less than bulk deals of polystyrene.

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What Are the Different Kinds of

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Polystyrene Insulation?

As we briefly touched on, the two primary kinds of polystyrene insulation are extruded board (XPS) and expanded board (EPS). Let us delve into every of these down beneath.

Expanded Polystyrene (EPS)

EPS is produced by means of a foaming method that uses steam to melt and mold polystyrene resin to molds, trapping air in the tens of millions of resulting pockets. The finished products are light and ready to be set up as insulation. EPS is a great external wall insulation to prevent humidity from entering the residence and penetrating internal insulators.

expanded polystyrene pellets
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Extruded Polystyrene (XPS)

XPS starts out as resinous polystyrene just like EPS but, alternatively, goes through a special extrusion device to tightly compress the substance. At the exact same time, steam and gaseous refrigerants are compelled and sealed into the insulation’s minuscule pores. All round, XPS’s rigid construction helps make it really tough for air to pass via, and virtually extremely hard for humidity.

The place Is Polystyrene Insulation Utilised?

EPS is primarily utilised to insulate houses and organizations, but it may demand XPS or a much more rigid insulation to serve as a vapor barrier. In a lot of chilly climates, this could even be a lawful need, but you will have to check the wonderful print to see what varieties of vapor barriers are suitable for use with EPS. It has some other incredibly widespread utilizes as well, so let’s look at these actually rapidly.

EPS Utilizes:

  • Reasonably priced and disposable foodstuff packaging
  • Supplementary insulation for refrigerators and freezers
  • Affordable and disposable coolers
  • Padding for helmets and other security products
  • Padding for furnishings
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XPS Employs:

  • Thermal insulation for load-bearing structures like automobile parks
  • Roof insulation for environmentally friendly roofs
  • Insulation for cavity walls, inside partitions, and external partitions
  • Insulation for basement partitions and foundations

Positive aspects of Polystyrene Insulation

Polystyrene insulation is really adaptable. Let us briefly summarize some of its core strengths for your thing to consider.

Advantages of Polystyrene Insulation:

  • Exceptional thermal resistance
  • Excellent compression resistance
  • Effortless to manufacture
  • Straightforward to install
  • Reasonably priced
  • Numerous sorts available for a variety of applications
polystyrene slabs
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Drawbacks of Polystyrene Insulation

Even with its positive aspects, polystyrene insulation has some essential flaws you need to be informed of if you choose to use it for your property or enterprise. Let’s get to ‘em.

Disadvantages of Polystyrene Insulation:

  • Tough to recycle
  • Environmentally harmful
  • Poses wellness risks to humans when burned or melted
  • Constrained power
  • Typically requires a independent vapor barrier

Often Questioned Questions (FAQs) About Polystyrene Insulation

When should I use polystyrene insulation?

Polystyrene is an excellent option in humid climates or when you count on humidity, like with exterior partitions or foundations. Basement partitions that tend to get chilly could advantage from foam’s outstanding thermal resistance homes. Polystyrene is pricier than traditional batt-type insulation, so we’d primarily suggest it for spaces that assume dampness.

Polystyrene Insulation foam
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How is polystyrene insulation put in?

Foam boards are usually affixed to the walls with construction adhesive and specialised screws with big washers that will not puncture the foam. Lighter boards can be cut or scored with a razor knife and snapped, even though heavier XPS might phone for a circular or hand saw.

How can I safely dispose of outdated polystyrene?

Most household recycling applications really do not take polystyrene products simply because it is just not value-effective to do so. Throw outdated polystyrene insulation in the trash. The very best way to minimize polystyrene waste is to take treatment of your foam insulation and stay away from goods that use it as packaging. Plus, keep absent from disposable foods!


Polystyrene insulation is very helpful for insulating areas you assume moisture, but it is not best. It poses environmental pitfalls and wellness dangers to humans as effectively. The good news is that it is truly effective for the time that you have it.



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