Polystyrene Insulation Boards

Energy efficiency has become a byword for renovation and refurbishment in the modern home. A three bedroom semi-detached house with no insulation, for example, costs £500 a year to heat.Yet, according to the National Energy Foundation, fuel bills can be cut by up to 50% by adopting energy saving measures. Heat is lost through the roof of a house, but, if underfloor heating is installed, it can also be lost through the floor. Adequate insulation in the loft, or attic,space and between underfloor heating elements and the subfloor can keep heat where it is needed and, in so doing, reduce heating costs and harmful carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

Polystyrene Insulation Boards – 2 Types

Polystyrene (PS) insulation boards can be used to insulate a loft or in conjunction with underfloor heating. There are essentially two types, expanded polystyrene (EPS), which is composed of polystyrene beads in various densities and extruded polystyrene (XPS), which contains air pockets and is often considered to be the better insulator of the two. Testing has shown that both types of polystyrene insulation board perform equally well in typical applications, both experiencing increases in thermal conductivity of between 2% and 13% over periods up to 18 months. There is a form of high-density EPS, known as DPS, but this typically performs less well because of the difficulty in fusing polystyrene beads together in high-density board. Loose, unexpanded polystyrene beads are heated, injected into a mould and subjected to more heat and pressure to create EPS, which can be shaped as necessary.

Polystyrene Insulation Boards – High Strength, Used With Underfloor Heating

Certain types of polystyrene insulation boards are specifically designed to meet the needs of underfloor heating. They have high physical strength and are capable of supporting loads, such as tiles or thin screeds. In fact, some polystyrene insulation boards actually feature a fibreglass mesh encased in a skin of cement on the top and bottom surfaces; this adds strength and stability to a floor, but can also provide an excellent surface for tile adhesive, for example. Of course, they have high thermal insulation properties, but they are also typically lightweight, easy to handle and cut and waterproof. On cement sub-floors polystyrene can be bonded using floor tile adhesive, but on wooden floors care must be taken to ensure that the floor is screwed firmly to the joists before applying adhesive. The highest quality polystyrene insulation boards carry the "Energy Saving Recommended" logo; this means that they comply with the appropriate British Standards and Building Regulations.

 

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