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In 3 steps about polystyrene. Which product to choose to avoid mistakes during insulation of the building.

In 3 steps about polystyrene. Which product to choose to avoid mistakes during insulation of the building.

Styrofoam, also known as a closed-cell extruded polystyrene foam, is (along with wool) one of the most popular insulation materials. There is a wide selection of styrofoam types and many investors wonder which one to choose. Do you as well? Then you should definitely read this article! I will answer here three most important questions regarding styrofoam. Let’s get started!

1. ‘I’ve heard styrofoam is used only as facade insulation’

Generally styrofoam splits into three diffrent application types:

  • FASADA styrofoam, used as insulation of the facade, i.e. insulation of external walls;
  • DACH/PODŁOGA styrofoam, used as floor and roof insulation;
  • waterproof styrofoam, used as foundation walls insulation.

As you can see, styrofoam isn’t just an insulation of walls, but also floors, roofs, foundations, ceilings, even as dilatation or permanent shuttering element. Now let’s move to the second step:


2. ‘Thickness is styrofoam's most important factor.’

And here I may surprise you - for each type of polystyrene a different parameter will be the deciding one. I’ll try my best to put the record straight about what you should consider when choosing styrofoam.

      Styrofoam in Realbud

If you decide to choose facade styrofoam, firstly consider the thermal conductivity factor (λ). The lower value it has, the better are styrofoam’s insulation properties.

One of the most common facade styrofoam on the market has thermal conductivity factor λ = 0,040 W/mK. Trust me, it is the absolute minimum, when insulating facades. Perhaps right now you are choosing facade styrofoam with a lower λ factor (that is 0,042, 0,044, 0,045 W/mK etc.) – wow, what a bargain! This offer has to pay off. Well, not really! You should think it over before you go for that kind of styrofoam. Although the price would be the lowest, you’ll end up buying more material. You may deem the above type of styrofoam as dross. It appeared on market as a result of ‘price war’ between the manufacturers aiming at the lowest price per m2.

Of course, facade styrofoam with λ = 0,045 W/mK is far lighter than the one with λ = 0,040 W/mK, it has higher density and costs less. But are you sure? My answer is definitely no. Such a purchase is only a short-term saving.  Let's look at the example.

Realbud branded styrofoam


Firstly, let me tell you few words about U-factor - it is a factor that determines how much heat is able to pass through the barrier. Less means better, right? After all, we want as little heat loss as possible.

Let’s assume you have the choice of two styrofoam types, both with the same thickness: FASADA 040 and FASADA 045. First of them is marked by lower heat conduction; the second one is cheaper.

Therefore you choose  FASADA 045 and pay lower price for material. But now, in order to get the same U-factor as for the FASADA 040 styrofoam, you have to choose a higher thickness and, consequently, buy more cubic meters. Now consider whether you will actually save, deciding on poorer-quality polystyrene.

Naturally, there are tools making it easier for the customer to choose polystyrene, for example very helpful specially designed calculators. Muggle that has no idea about these dependencies will probably catch on to seemingly lower costs, you – after reading this article - would already know that it is just a marketing trick.

In the case of DACH/PODŁOGA styrofoam the compressive strength is the most important thing - higher means better for you. Why? Well, polystyrene used as a roof and floor insulation mustn’t undergo considerable deformation, because concrete floor and other loads work on it like a press. It is generally accepted that usually applied styrofoam is EPS 80, which has compressive strength factor equal to 80 kPa/m2. As a matter of curiosity I will tell you that in public sector investments, EPS 100 with compressive strength factor not less than 100 kPa/m2 becomes a standard!

Of course, even choosing this styrofoam type you have to be careful. You can meet on the market lean types of polystyrene, i.e. ECO POSADZKA 060, which has only 60 kPa/m2. I do not recommend it – safety is not a thing you want to save on, right?



3. ‘It is commonly known that polish styrofoam is of poor quality.’

Not true! There is about 80 polystyrene manufacturers in Poland, each one is restricted by European standards. Product that enters the market have to be safe, tested and complying with the requirements. Admittedly, there will be better and worse ones, but don’t worry about it - Realbud cares for your materials to be those of the highest quality. Our suppliers are members of the Polish Association of Styrofoam Manufacturers. Their main mission is to ensure good quality of marketed styrofoam products. After all, satisfied customer is the most important goal to us.

Therefore, for the best quality polystyrene visit!

For the moment that’s everything I’d like to tell you about styrofoam. I sincerely hope that my tips will be of use to you and that your choice will prove to be satisfactory. Be sure to share your opinion in the comments space below!

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