At Lujan & Sons Construction Inc. we add insulation to exterior of older homes. There are three basic foam insulation board products. The basic types of foam board insulation include: polystyrene, polyurethane or polyisocyanurate. They include expanded polystyrene, extruded polystyrene, and polyisocyanurate unfaced or foil faced.
Expanded Polystyrene Foam
Expanded polystyrene foam (EPS) is the cheapest and least used foam board product on the market. This product typically has an R value of 3.6 to 4.0 per inch of thickness. Expanded polystyrene insulation is similar to the foam used for packing “peanuts” and it’s typically used for insulated concrete forms also known as ICF’s. It is also sometimes used on commercial buildings for roof and wall panel insulation which is typically sandwiched between light gauge metal.
Extruded Polystyrene Foam
Extruded polystyrene foam (XPS) also known as blue board or pink board comes in many different thicknesses and edge profiles. This insulation board is probably one of the most widely used foam board insulation products in the residential construction industry. XPS has an R value of 4.5 to 5.0 per inch of thickness.
This is the product that I typically use to insulate basement walls. It’s reasonably priced, light weight and easy to use. This product is also used to insulate the outside of foundation walls and even under slabs.
Polyisocyanurate and Polyurethane
Polyisocyanurate also known as polyiso is seen in all kinds of commercial building applications and more recently with residential building projects. Polyiso is typically used with a foil facing and it has an R value of 7.0 to 8.0 per inch of thickness. The reflective foil facing makes it an excellent insulation board when radiant heat is involved. The foil facing also makes it very easy to seal with good quality foil faced tapes.