Once again, the “in” box on my desk is beginning to fill up with a stack of brochures describing interesting new products.
I’ve selected four products to review in this latest roundup: an insert panel to improve the thermal performance of insulated concrete forms (ICFs); a new wall system for manufactured stone veneer; and two new water-resistive barriers (WRBs).
Polystyrene panels to improve the performance of ICFs
A manufacturer of insulated concrete forms (ICFs), Reward Wall System of Omaha, Nebraska, is now selling polystyrene panels that can be slipped inside of ICFs to improve a wall’s R-value. This product will prove useful, since many ICFs have a relatively low R-value.
Called Boost-R panels, the new foam rectangles come with notches that slide over the ICF form ties and rebar chairs. Of course, these Boost-R panels take up room that would normally be filled with concrete. So if you want to use these insulation inserts, you’ll need to order ICFs with thicker-than-usual cores. If you ordinarily use an ICF with a 6-inch-thick concrete core, and you’d like to insert 4 extra inches of foam on one side of the wall, you’ll need to order ICFs with a 10-inch core.
Boost-R panels are 2 inches thick and are available in several different densities (1, 1.5, and 2 pounds per cubic foot). If you want more than 2 inches of extra insulation, it’s possible to insert two layers of 2-inch thick Boost-R panels inside the core of a thick ICF.
The manufacturer claims that its 1.5 pound/cubic foot polystyrene has an R-value of R-4.17 per inch. That means that a 15-inch ICF with a 10-inch-thick core equipped with a 4-inch-thick Boost-R panel can have an R-value of R-38.
Two-inch-thick Boost-R panels cost between 95¢ and $1.85 per square foot, depending on the foam…