Polystyrene Insulation

We stock two types of polystyrene insulation boards: expanded polystyrene (EPS) and extruded polystyrene (XPS). These rigid boards are efficient barriers against heat loss and can also insulate your home against unwanted sound. Polystyrene boards have excellent compressive strength, which makes them ideal for both domestic and commercial floors and roofs. You can find a range of EPS and XPS insulation in our online shop, with a range of sizes to suit every kind of insulation project.

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What Is Polystyrene Insulation?

Polystyrene is a synthetic hydrocarbon polymer. It can either be solid or foam. Polystyrene foam insulation is 95-98% air. There are thousands of pockets of air trapped inside the material. Still air is a poor conductor of heat. The air pockets function as a barrier that heat has to travel through. Expanded polystyrene foam and extruded polystyrene foam are the two most popular types of this insulation. 

Lots of people invest in polystyrene boards to improve the thermal envelope of their homes. Polystyrene can reduce the amount of heat that you lose from your roof and floor. Polystyrene can also be considered a soundproofing material. When sound vibrations hit the pockets of air, they dissipate. The sound vibrations that exit polystyrene boards are far weaker than those that enter the material. 

 

Jablite Polystyrene Insulation Boards

The EPS boards on our website are sourced from different manufacturers who all produce the same product. All manufacturers use the same standards and methods to ensure a consistent product across the board. Jablite is one manufacturer of EPS insulation, although the term jablite insulation has become ubiquitous with this product. Jablite polystyrene insulation boards are essentially EPS boards: the terms can be used interchangeably.

Expanded Polystyrene Insulation

Expanded polystyrene insulation has a thermal conductivity value of 0.038 W/mK. It is also known as EPS insulation. It is made from styrene (which creates the cellular structure) and pentane (the blowing agent). These materials are hydrocarbon compounds that are sourced from petroleum and natural gas byproducts. 

To create EPS, small foam beads are placed in a mould. The mould is heated, which forces the beads to expand and fuse. The finished boards contain lots of polystyrene foam beads and pockets of air. There are often voids between the beads, meaning EPS does not have a closed-cell structure. 

EPS insulation is predominantly used in floors. Most people invest in jablite insulation boards when they want to reduce the amount of heat they lose through their floorboards or floor tiles. Homeowners lose an average of 10% of their heat through their floors. Investing in this type of insulation can create long-term energy savings. EPS insulation is available in a range of thicknesses from 25mm to 100mm, which makes it suitable for a range of insulation projects. 


Extruded Polystyrene Insulation

Extruded polystyrene insulation is sometimes referred to as XPS insulation. Kingspan is the main manufacturer of this insulation in the UK. Kingspan has decades of experience in the insulation industry. As the name suggests, this type of insulation is manufactured through an extrusion process. Kingspan melts the plastic resin and other materials together. The resulting liquid is extruded through a die several times. While XPS cools, it also expands. Unlike EPS, XPS has a closed-cell structure. 

Kingspan GreenGuard boards have a thermal conductivity of 0.034 W/mK. As such, XPS foam is more marginally more effective than EPS foam as a thermal insulator. 

GreenGuard insulation has lots of different uses. It is installed in both residential and commercial properties. You can install Kingspan GreenGuard XPS foam in inverted roofs, basements, car parks, and even underneath industrial cold-flooring. GreenGuard foam boards have a compressive strength of 300 kPa. These boards will not lose their thermal properties when placed under pressure. We stock a wide range of extruded polystyrene insulation thicknesses from 30mm to 120mm.


Polystyrene Insulation Compressive Strength

The numbers in the titles of each expanded polystyrene board refer to the compressive strength. The EPS70 range has a compressive performance of 70 Kilopascal (kPa). When buying polystyrene foam insulation, it is important to think about compressive strength. The greater the compressive strength of the material, the more load resistant it is. External pressure like footfall and vibrations will not impact the longevity of EPS boards that have a high compressive strength. 

Like EPS, XPS foam boards have numbers in the title. All the XPS products in our range have a compressive strength of 300kPa. They are far better for commercial spaces than EPS. We recommend extruded polystyrene insulation for people who want to insulate heavy floors and roofs.

Frequently Asked Polystyrene Insulation Questions


Is Polystyrene Insulation a Good Insulator?

The main benefit of polystyrene insulation is that it improves the thermal envelope of domestic and commercial properties. Polystyrene boards have a thermal conductivity value between 0.034 and 0.038 W/mK. XPS foam boards are more efficient thermal insulators than EPS insulation boards. 

Polystyrene does not deliver the best thermal conductivity values on the market. Phenolic insulation has a thermal value of 0.018 W/mK, which makes it the most efficient material available for thermal protection. Polystyrene is more suited to applications where thermal values are less of a consideration, but where compressive strength is important.


Are Polystyrene Insulation Boards Good For Compressive Strength?

Polystyrene insulation boards have excellent compressive strength. Kingspan GreenGuard boards have a compressive strength of 300 kPa, whereas EPS70 jablite polystyrene boards have a compressive strength of 70 kPa. 

The higher the compressive strength, the longer the material maintains its properties. GreenGuard boards perform well when they are installed in heavy roof structures and underneath heavy floors. Lots of commercial property owners invest in polystyrene foam because it maintains its thermal properties despite heavy footfall. 


Do Polystyrene Insulation Boards Reduce Noise?

EPS boards and XPS foam boards have excellent thermal properties, but also help to reduce sound transmission between rooms and floors. Unwanted noise can have a big impact on your peace of mind. Sometimes, the only answer to noisy neighbours is acoustic insulation. 

Although polystyrene boards are marketed as thermal insulation, they share some of the same properties that acoustic insulation has. There are lots of pockets of still air inside polystyrene. When sound vibrations enter the foam they hit air pockets and dissipate. Fewer vibrations exit the foam, which reduces or even eliminates the amount of noise that you hear.