Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

General Applications
Wall Insulation Systems
Roofing & Insulation Solutions
Below Grade Applications
Agricultural Building Solutions



General Applications


What are the typical applications for FOAMULAR® rigid foam board insulation?

FOAMULAR® Insulation is used in many residential and commercial construction applications. Its uses range from below grade in foundations, to under concrete slabs, to all types of wall construction (steel and wood stud, masonry and concrete), and in commercial roofing systems.
FOAMULAR® Insulation offers superior performance for a wide range of applications including:

  • basement walls and other below ground structures, particularly where ground water is present
  • frost protected shallow foundations
  • concrete floors, including those with high load traffic and/or storage such as industrial floors and cold storage floors
  • walls, including steel and wood frame, and masonry walls
  • low-slope roofs, including ballasted, mechanically attached, and fully adhered systems, protected roof membranes systems, roof terraces, green roofs and parking decks
  • pitched roofs with metal or shingle coverings
  • wind energy, windmill blade cores
  • agricultural and livestock buildings
  • frost protection for roads, railways and other civil engineering works
  • composite panel cores, such as those for refrigeration and walk-in coolers


How can I get a sample of FOAMULAR® insulation?

There are several sources. Contact your local FOAMULAR® Insulation sales agent by using the "Find a Sales Rep" feature of this website, or, use the "Contact Us" feature to send an e-mail or call 1-800-GET-PINK®.


What fasteners are recommended for FOAMULAR® applications?

It depends on the application. In sheathing applications screws for steel or wood studs are used with plastic washers or large bugle heads to hold the foam. In masonry cavity walls, the masonry brick ties often have clips or hooks as part of their design that hold the foam board in place in the cavity. In exterior insulation finish systems (EIFS), screws with special plastic washers that cover the head of the steel screw are often used. The plastic cover minimizes thermal shorting or "ghosting" of the screw head through the EIFS coating. In roofing systems, foam board is held in place over steel decking by screws with 2" or 3" stress plates. For roofing systems the amount and placement of fasteners is often dictated by roof system performance listings through Underwriters Laboratories or Factory Mutual. Over concrete roof decking, rather than fasteners, low rise polyurethane adhesives are often used to secure FOAMULAR® Insulation.

 
Wall Insulation Systems

 

Can FOAMULAR® be installed directly against steel studs?

Yes. FOAMULAR® is an excellent choice for use as continuous insulation (ci) directly against steel studs. When using FOAMULAR® or any other type of non-structural sheathing (foam, gypsum) the steel stud framing must be independently braced against lateral and rotational forces. See Underwriters Laboratories wall assemblies V414 and V434 for fire rating details with FOAMULAR® applied directly to steel studs.


What products does Owens Corning recommend to be used in a wall construction consisting of a brick veneer and steel frame?

The steel stud cavities should be insulated with Owens Corning fiber glass batts, either Thermal Batt insulation or Flame Spread 25 insulation depending on the type of building construction, and the type of facer needed to comply with building code flame spread requirements. Batt facings have different perm ratings that should be considered to suit the particular building conditions. Also, a FOAMULAR® insulating sheathing product should be installed over the steel studs to create a layer of continuous insulation. FOAMULAR® 150 or 250 may be used as sheathing. Also consider FOAMULAR® INSULPINK® and PROPINK® sheathings, both of which are reinforced with facers to increase strength.


Can FOAMULAR® be used between wood studs?

It can but is generally not the preferred method of installation. FOAMULAR® is not manufactured in sizes that fit readily between wood studs. Therefore it must be field cut to fit. There are other insulation products such as Owens Corning Thermal Batt Insulation that is more efficiently utilized between wood studs.


Does FOAMULAR® used as sheathing on the exterior of a wall create a double vapor retarder?

It may seem that it would because it is perceived to be "impermeable plastic", but, when considered in the context of the wall, generally, it does not. All sheathing materials resist moisture vapor penetration to some degree. So, in that regard, all sheathings are a "vapor retarder", that are often used opposite an internal vapor retarder, thus creating a "double vapor retarder". To really assess, it is important to differentiate a couple of key properties, perm rating and R-value. 1" FOAMULAR® sheathing actually has a vapor permeance (1.1 perm) that is higher (passes more water vapor) than the commonly accepted definition of a vapor retarder (1.0 perm), and, higher than ½" OSB (0.70 perm), commonly perceived as an acceptable sheathing. So, from that perspective alone, FOAMULAR® passes more water vapor (is less of a vapor retarder) than does commonly accepted OSB sheathing. Then, consider the fact that FOAMULAR® is an insulating sheathing, having an R-value of 5 per inch. An insulating sheathing keeps the wall stud cavity warmer. Warmer air and surfaces are less likely to experience condensation than colder air/surfaces at any given level of humidity. So, FOAMULAR® insulating sheathing, that is also semi-permeable, is not a "double vapor retarder" concern.


Roofing Insulation Solutions

 

What Owens Corning FOAMULAR® Insulation products are recommended for commercial roofing applications?

FOAMULAR® THERMAPINK® (18, 25 or 40) is used in traditional low slope commercial roof applications where the insulation is placed below the roofing membrane. FOAMULAR® 404 and 604 are used in protected roof membrane assemblies (PRMA) where the insulation is placed above the roof membrane to insulate and protect it from environmental extremes. FOAMULAR® 404Rb and 604RB with ribs on the top surface are used in PRMA roofs where concrete pavers are used. The ribs provide drainage channels under the pavers.


Can FOAMULAR® be used in a Built-Up-Roof (BUR)?

Yes. Due to the temperatures at which BUR layers are installed, FOAMULAR® must be covered with a protection board layer before BUR layers are installed. Common protection boards include gypsum and high density wood fiber, usually with joints taped to prevent hot asphalt from seeping down into the polystyrene layers.


What are the typical methods to achieve a Class A rated roof assembly for FOAMULAR® Insulation?

Class A (the best) fire resistance rating is based on ASTM E108 testing of fire spread, and in the case of wood decks, penetration, on the top side of roofs. Ratings are based on complete assembly performance and depend on variables such as deck type, membrane type and the slope of the roof. Commonly extruded polystyrene insulation products have some type of cover placed over them before the roofing membrane is installed. Cover materials include board products like gypsum or high density wood fiber. Or, depending on the type of membrane, a slip sheet may be used.

 

Below Grade Applications


Can FOAMULAR® be used in commercial exterior foundations?

Yes. FOAMULAR® provides excellent water resistance and R-value retention in below grade use. It also protects foundation waterproofing and dampproofing from damage during backfill. If a solvent based foundation treatment is used, allow the coating to fully cured, and solvents to dissipate before placing FOAMULAR®. Polystyrene may be damaged by solvent base materials. This caution is not necessary with water based emulsions.


Can FOAMULAR® be used over foundation dampproofing?

Yes. FOAMULAR® provides excellent water resistance and R-value retention in below grade use. It also protects foundation waterproofing and dampproofing from damage during backfill. If a solvent based foundation treatment is used, allow the coating to fully cured, and solvents to dissipate before placing FOAMULAR®. Polystyrene may be damaged by solvent base materials. This caution is not necessary with water based emulsions. 


Agricultural Building Solutions

 

What building codes do agricultural buildings have to comply with? What building codes do agricultural buildings have to comply with?

Agricultural buildings are usually given certain exemptions from building codes due to the low hazard nature of their use. For example, Section 312.1 of the 2006 International Building Code says, "...(agricultural buildings) shall be constructed," equipped and maintained to conform to the requirements of this code commensurate with the fire and "life hazard incidental to their occupancy...". That statement gives some leeway to forego code requirements that are inappropriate for the use, but, always verify plans with local code officials before proceeding.