Phenolic foam is comprised of phenolic resin, a blowing agent, and an acid catalyst. It is used to make a range of products, one of the most popular being insulation boards. It has over 90% closed-cell formation with a fine cell structure, making it extremely rigid and easy to handle.
You do not have to worry about rot or fungal growth when you choose phenolic insulation boards; the rigid thermoset insulation core is protected by two facings, which act as another barrier against the elements.
What's more, these lightweight rigid phenolic boards are both easy to handle and install.
Phenolic foam is often confused with PIR insulation due to the fact that these two materials share a lot of similarities.
Both PIR and phenolic are rigid thermoset foams that function as insulating cores between two facings. The main difference between them is the materials and the manufacturing process.
PIR foam is made from isocyanate and polyol. PIR insulation boards are manufactured in much the same way as Kingspan Kooltherm insulation. The main difference is that PIR insulation has to be cured for much longer than phenolic insulation.
Whereas phenolic boards are cured before they are packed, manufacturers cure PIR boards after they have already been packed. The boards cure in a temperature-controlled environment for one day per each 25mm of thickness.
Whilst PIR has good thermal insulating properties, phenolic excels in thermal performance, reaching lows of 0.018 W/mK compared to the 0.022 W/mK of PIR. Despite the many rigid thermoset insulation materials on the market, you will not find a lower thermal resistance figure than phenolic insulation.
Both phenolic and PIR foam have combustible properties. However, they do deliver excellent protection against moisture and are ideal for areas with high rainfalls. Rot or fungi growth won't be an issue when you invest in phenolic insulation.
Kingspan Insulation lives up to the 'King' in its title by being the only manufacturer of phenolic foam insulation in the UK. Kingspan is well recognised within the construction industry for its vast range of insulation boards. Their standard Kooltherm range contains the first phenolic insulation boards that Kingspan made. Whilst they can improve the thermal envelope of your home (with thermal conductivities between 0.020 and 0.023 W/mK), they are not as thermally effective as the newer K100 range.
They are suitable for a host of different applications including ceilings, walls, and floors.
The Kingspan Kooltherm K100 range contains the most popular phenolic foam insulation boards in the UK. K100 boards are a newer addition to the Kingspan range and benefit from improved manufacturing processes.
With a fibre-free rigid thermoset phenolic core, the boards boast an exceedingly low thermal conductivity value of 0.018 W/mK. If you want to improve the thermal envelope of your home, look no further than this premium performance insulation range.
Kingspan Insulation is renowned for taking an environmentally-friendly approach to insulation, as is demonstrated in the eco-friendly manufacturing of K100 boards; Kingspan uses a blowing agent with zero ozone depletion potential and a low global warming potential. Eco-concious individuals can reduce their energy consumption with Kingspan phenolic insulation.
Manufactured to the highest standards under a management system certified to BS / I.S. EN ISO 9001: 2008 (Quality management systems. Requirements),Kingspan creates a board for every kind of insulation need. You can install K100 Kooltherm insulation in floors, walls, and roofs.
To make phenolic insulation boards, Kingspan applies a layer of wet phenolic directly onto a facing. The plastic foam forms an insulating core and expands to meet the top layer, achieving the desired thickness.
When phenolic dries, it becomes tacky. It adheres to the top and bottom facings to create thin sheet material.
Kingspan cooks the resulting board under immense heat, then cures it in a second oven. Cooked and cured phenolic is a distinct pink colour, which is distinguishable from yellow PIR foam.
The boards have very low thermal conductivity and provide the best thermal protection that you can buy. They can also withstand continuous temperatures of up to 120 degrees C, making them the ideal choice for high specification projects
You can install Kooltherm insulation in floors, walls, and roofs. Each board has a different code in the title. K108 and K103 are part of the same K100 range but have different uses and properties.
Boards in the same range are often not suitable for the same insulation project. Make sure that you choose the right code for your insulation needs.
Here are a few examples of where you can install Kingspan Kooltherm boards.
Kingspan K103 insulation is designed for floor insulation in floor buildups. You can install K103 phenolic foam boards in block and beam, solid concrete, suspended ground floors and timber floors. The insulating core is surrounded by glass tissue facings.
Kingspan K106 insulation is the most thermally efficient full-fill cavity wall insulation board available in the UK. When you choose K106 boards, you are getting the best of the best. These boards have a composite foil facing on one side and a polypropylene fleece on the other. They have a lambda value of just 0.018 W/mK.
Kingspan K108 insulation is ideal for people who need a thermally efficient partial-fill insulation board. K108 boards are purposed for use in partially filled cavity walls and boast a low emissivity composite foil facing. They are often installed alongside a build-up of other materials that have low thermal conductivity ratings.
Kingspan K110 insulation is tailor-made for structural ceiling systems. These phenolic insulation boards are often used in commercial spaces such as car parks. They feature a glass tissue-based facing on their front surface and low emissivity composite foil on their reverse surface.
We recommend Kingspan K110 boards for people who want long-lasting products for their new build or refurbishment project.
If you're after insulated plasterboard with a composite foil-based facing, we stock Kingspan insulated plasterboard that can be bonded and mechanically fixed (such as Kingspan Kooltherm K118). For other Kingspan products, check out here.
When fire touches phenolic foam insulation it undergoes thermal decomposition, which is called pyrolysis.
There are two byproducts of pyrolysis: the first is pyrolysis gas and the second is a black char on the surface of the board. Pyrolysis gases are hot and combustible, meaning that phenolic insulation is not entirely anti-flammable.
The fire resistance of insulation boards is measured against the Euroclass rating. Insulation materials undergo up to five different tests and get a rating that ranges from A (non-combustible) to F (very combustible).
There are lots of Kingspan Kooltherm boards to choose from, which means that there are a few different ratings to consider when meeting thermal performance targets and building regulations.
Most Kooltherm boards have a rating of C on the Euroclass scale, meaning that they are classed as combustible materials with limited contribution to fire.