Technical Information

Since 1992, we have focused on innovating, designing and testing our siding insulation products. Claiming that our products are superior to others is not enough for us. We insist on proving it. We engineer and manufacture all of our siding insulation products to exceed the highest standards and specifications set by standards organizations. Then, we commission independent testing laboratories to perform a broad series of rigorous tests to prove the performance of the product.

Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) Composition

Our siding insulation products are made of expanded polystyrene (EPS), which is 98% air and 2% plastic. Polystyrene is formed by linking together molecules of styrene monomer, which consists solely of carbon and hydrogen. Styrene occurs naturally and is found in many foods and beverages, such as coffee, milk, strawberries, tomatoes, olives and nuts.  

Pentane is used to blow polystyrene into its final lightweight, expanded cellular form. During the blowing process, pentane is reduced to water and carbon dioxide. Pentane has a low volatility and is created in nature when vegetable matter breaks down. It is a non CFC and is not harmful to the ozone later, unlike CFC's and HCFC's.

EPS has been proven to be a safe, highly-effective compound which provides excellent thermal insulation because air is a poor conductor of heat when trapped in the "bubbles" and not allowed to circulate.

EPS is non toxic, non carcinogenic and non mutanogenic.   

Molecular Composition

EPS Environmental Product Declaration (EPD)

EPS Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) - Summary

Expansion & Contraction

The coefficient of thermal expansion of our siding insulation has been tested to be .000035 in./in./°F.

Burning Characteristics

Progressive Foam siding insulation was designed to perform well in fire situations. Extensive tests by independent laboratories confirm excellent performance when exterior walls containing Progressive Foam siding insulation are exposed to a radiant heat source (as from a nearby burning building) and from open flame.

Fire Safety Performance

Foam plastics used in Progressive Foam siding insulation contain a flame retardant designed to limit rapid flame spread. Foam plastic insulation products are tested and classified for flame spread and smoke-development under ASTM E84/UL 723 by Underwriters Laboratories and other certified agencies. All foam plastics used in Progressive Foam siding insulation meet or exceed the requirements of the nation’s building codes and applicable federal, state and industrial requirements. For results pertaining to a specific foam plastic insulation product, consult the manufacturer’s technical data.

All organic materials (that is, anything containing carbon) can be made to ignite. EPS foam is relatively ignition-resistant, especially compared with wood. The table below shows the ranges of ignition temperatures cited by a variety of published sources for the three materials. A piloted ignition temperature is the temperature at which a material will ignite in the presence of an external spark or flame; the self-ignition temperature is what is needed for ignition without an external ignition source (this distinction is not applicable to wood). Clearly, Progressive Foam siding insulation resists ignition at temperatures significantly higher than needed for the ignition of wood.

EPS Foam Piloted Ignition: 650-700 degrees Fahrenheit (340-370 Celsius)

EPS Foam Self Ignition: 840-930 degrees Fahrenheit (450-500 Celsius)

Wood Framing Lumber Ignition: 480-660 degrees Fahrenheit (250-350 Celsius), depending on rate of heating

Additionally, ASTM D2863 tests show EPS insulation (minimum 24 percent) need higher amounts of oxygen than the 21 percent found in normal atmospheric conditions in order to sustain combustion. Therefore, Progressive Foam siding insulation is more difficult to ignite and less likely to sustain independent burning than most combustible building materials such as wood.

Exterior cladding is involved in only a fraction of all residential fires. Indeed, most house fires start on the insides of homes and are contained within their structures of origin. The National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) February 2007 Home Structures Fires report shows that fewer than 3 percent of all fires go beyond the structure of origin, and fewer than 2 percent of all home fires’ sources of origin are related to the exterior wall surface.34 In fact, only 4 percent of all residential fires start on the outside of the structure but do not necessarily originate with the exterior cladding. The report does not cite any exterior wall coverings as the cause of residential fires.

We are committed to keeping our products a low fire risk. Our siding insulation products are made from materials that have inherently favorable fire performance characteristics and are tested to confirm adherence to all applicable building and fire code requirements.

Flame Retardant

Progressive Foam siding insulation is manufactured using only modified grades of expanded polystyrene and therefore contains a flame retardant called hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD), which is designed to decrease flammability due to accidental ignition from a small flame source. The expanded polystyrene manufactured from these materials is routinely tested under UL specifications to insure that they meet or exceed the requirements of the nation’s building codes and applicable industrial, federal and state requirements.

When used as a flame retardant in polystyrene foam insulation, HBCD remains in the polymer matrix throughout the insulation's product life. The HBCD Risk Assessments issued by Environment Canada and the European Commission have confirmed that there are no human health concerns posed by HBCD.

Click here for more information on HBCD in our siding insulation.


Flame Spread & Smoke Developed Ratings

For nominal 1# product: Foamed Plastic Surface Burning Characteristics, R18532 <27TL> 6 Maximum +

Flame Spread = 5#
Smoke Developed 100-200#

 

For nominal 1.5# product: Foamed Plastic Surface Burning Characteristics, R18532 <27TL> 6 Maximum +

Flame Spread = 15#
Smoke Developed 165#

 

+ - Installed in a thickness, or stored in an effective thickness, as indicated, for a density of 1.50 lb.ft3
#- Flame spread and smoke developed recorded while material remained in the original test position. Ignition of molten residue on the furnace floor resulted in flame travel equivalent to calculated flame spread classification of 125 and smoke developed classification of over 500.
33Babrauskas, V., Ignition of Wood: A Review of the State of the Art, pp.71-88 in Interflam 2001, Interscience Communications Ltd.< London, 2001.
34National Fire Protection Association, Fire Analysis and Research Division. Home Structures Fires. February 2007. 
Moisture Absorption

Progressive Foam siding insulation is designed to be an exterior insulation used in conjunction with siding, not a water-resistive barrier. Because of its design and application, it provides a supplemental rain screen that enhances the water-resistive barrier system by reducing the amount of water that reaches the underlying water-resistive barrier.

A water-resistive barrier system is a system that includes water shedding materials and water diversion materials. Water-resistive barrier systems commonly consist of a combination of exterior cladding; flashed wall openings and penetrations; water-resistive barrier material; and sheathing. Effective water-resistive barrier systems will shed the water initially, control moisture flow by capillary and diffusion action and minimize absorption into the wall structure. The level of water resistance required is determined by the applicable building code and structure.

Besides improving a structure’s ability to keep heat in, Progressive Foam siding insulation does not inhibit efforts to keep moisture out. Our siding insulation provides a supplemental rain screen that reduces the amount of water that reaches the underlying water-resistive barrier. With a properly applied water-resistive barrier, siding insulation minimizes moisture penetration from the exterior into the wall assembly and provides a way for moisture to readily drain and dry. The presence of a layer of thermal insulation filling the space between the siding and the wall sheathing also aids in the moisture management system.

Studies of expandable polystyrene (EPS) insulation products make the case for our siding insulation's moisture management:35

  • A technical bulletin published by the EPS Molders Association highlighted third-party testing conducted by SGS US Testing Company Inc. to evaluate EPS’s resistance to fungi and mold growth. Using ASTM C1338-08 Standard Test Method for Determining Fungi Resistance of Insulation Materials and Facings, the research indicates that under a 28-day incubation period, the EPS had no trace of mold growth. EPS insulation is a closed-cell foam, and exposure to moisture has little, if any, effect on its thermal performance and dimensional stability.

  • Third-party, testing to evaluate EPS foam insulation in below-grade applications found that, following a 15-year period, the EPS performed as required by ASTM C578 with regard to R-value and moisture absorption.

PFT Bulletin: Moisture Performance

EPS-IA Bulletin 95-03: EPS & Moisture

EPS-IA Bulleting Nov. 2004: EPS Mold Resistance

Water Vapor Permeability

The average home produces six buckets of water vapor a day. If this is not released, it can condense on and between wall studs, and as a result can cause both structural and health related problems – moistened or wet drywall is transformed into a perfect growing medium for molds, fungi and bacteria. These organisms multiply quickly; the molds and fungi release spores into the home, promoting a host of respiratory related problems. The result is what has become referred to as the "sick home syndrome," an issue which is gaining momentum as a topic of concern with consumers.

Vapor Retarder

The effectiveness of a vapor retarder is measured by its perm rating, which is the ratio of porosity of material to the  passage of water vapor. A material having a vapor-transmission rate of 1 perm or less is considered a  vapor barrier. Accordingly, a material with a perm rating of more than the 1 perm is considered a vapor retarder.

Water Vapor Transmission

Perm ratings are tested in accordance with ASTM E96. A perm rating for a material is the number of grains of water vapor (7000 grains equal to 1 lb.) that will pass through 1 sq. ft. of the material in 1 hour when the vapor-pressure differential between two sides of the material equals 1 inch of mercury (0.49 psi).

R-Value Testing

As new building and insulation materials have entered the market, confusion over the nature and meaning of "R"-value has raised questions among building professionals and consumers alike. What exactly is "R"-value? Is it an effective and objective measure of the thermal performance of an insulation product or construction system? And how should the marketplace use it to compare the benefits of one insulation material over another?

Defining "R"-value

During the 1970s, as demand for quality building insulation soared, an oil crisis sent heating and cooling costs skyward. With many new products on the market – and with so many conflicting claims pertaining to the insulating abilities of those products – the Federal Trade Commission, with the participation and support of the insulation industry, created an objective method for reporting the performance of residential insulation materials. This method is called the "R"-value Rule.

The Rule provides requirements for product labeling ("R"-value) and advertising, and mandates specific ASTM methods for thermal testing. The "R"-value Rule has been helpful in comparing different brands of the same type of insulating material. However, as more sophisticated materials and higher technology construction systems are introduced into the building industry, we find that the "R"-value of a material does not tell the whole story.

"R"-value is based on a mathematical term known as "R"-factor. The term "R"-value was developed to represent the ability of an insulation material to restrict heat flow. It is determined by placing test specimens between two plates in a laboratory apparatus and measuring heat-flow through the insulation. The test specimen usually consists of a square foot of material exactly one inch thick whose surfaces have a temperature differential of 1 degree Fahrenheit. The thermal conductivity (k) of a material is expressed as the rate of heat flow in BTUs per hour.

Thermal resistance (R) of a material is its resistance to heat flow, and "R"-value is expressed as the reciprocal of the material’s thermal conductivity. Simply put, the greater the "R"-value the better the insulation.

R-value Testing

FTC regulations govern home insulation marketing claims, including claims regarding the thermal insulation value provided by the product or material.4The FTC regulations also specify the means by which the R-value is determined. The claimed or rated R-value must be based on actual testing conducted in accordance with one of the test methods specified in the regulations. For products such as insulated siding, the appropriate standard is ASTM C1363 Standard Test Method for Thermal Performance of Building Materials and Envelope Assemblies by Means of a Hot Box Apparatus.

In this test, the assembly, including the insulating material, is placed between two instrumented chambers: a “climatic chamber” and a “metering chamber.” The chambers are maintained at a specific temperature difference. The climatic chamber is usually cooler than the metering chamber, representing winter conditions. Wind is directed at the material in the climatic chamber to simulate outdoor winter conditions.

During the test, heat flows through the insulating material from the metering chamber to the climatic chamber, and the amount of energy needed to maintain the temperature in the metering chamber is measured. Calculations are done to convert this measured heat fl ow to the R-value of the assembly. The R-value of any mounting structure or other material that is not part of the insulation product is subtracted, leaving the net R-value of the insulation itself.

ThR-value Teste siding is installed over an 8-foot by 8-foot base wall in the same manner specified by the manufacturer for actual field installation. The installation includes overlap joints between sections of siding and other accessories to replicate normal installation. No artificial sealing of the assembly is done unless specified by the manufacturer for a normal installation. During the test, wind is directed against the surface of the siding, perpendicular to the plane of the wall.

The test is conducted according to the normal procedures specified in ASTM C1363. The base wall is tested by itself (without siding attached). The R-value of the insulated siding is determined by subtracting the measured R-value of the base wall from that of the entire assembly. This procedure ensures that the R-value claimed for an insulated siding product represents the actual thermal insulation value that will be delivered to the home.

Bulletin: Freeze-Thaw Cycle R-value Retention

Bulletin: XPS vs EPS R-value Retention

More Information (Specific to Insulated Vinyl Siding)

Life Cycle Analysis (LCA)

Progressive Foam Technologies, Inc. has been actively pursuing strategies to reduce our environmental impact and increase the sustainability of our products and operations.

We have conducted a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) in order to better understand how to improve our products. An LCA is a method for identifying the environmental impacts of a product, process or activity over its entire lifespan, including extraction and processing of raw materials, manufacturing, transportation and distribution, use, reuse, maintenance, recycling and final disposal.

To provide full transparency, we have submitted this data to the Building for Economic and Environmental Sustainability (BEES) software, a program designed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology(NIST) to compare building products on a life cycle basis. The Fullback® LCA has passed peer review and has been published.

In addition, we have conducted energy modeling with the Home Innovation Research Labs to determine the effect our product has on energy savings. The information and graphics contained in this document are based on the data from BEES and our energy modeling.

Overall Environmental Impact

LCA Chart

 

LCA Summary: Overview of Results for Insulated Vinyl Siding

LCA Full Report: LCA Results for Insulated Vinyl Siding (36 pgs)

Vinyl Siding Institute (VSI) LCA Report 7-18-016 (88 pgs)

Expansion & Contraction

Fullback®V Siding Insulation is extremely compatible with vinyl siding due to their nearly identical coefficients of expansion and contraction. The coefficient of thermal expansion in our siding insulation has been tested to be .000035 in./in./°F. Vinyl siding ranges from .000031 - .000036 in./in./°F.

Burning Characteristics - Vinyl Siding
  • All organic materials (that is, anything made of carbon compounds) will burn if exposed to a high enough temperature; but vinyl is harder to ignite and tends to burn more slowly than wood and most other plastics due to its chlorine base.
  • Vinyl siding won’t ignite, even from another flame, until it reaches about 730°F (387°C), and will not self-ignite until 850°F (454°C). Those ignition temperatures are significantly higher than common framing lumber and wood exterior wall covering, which ignites from a flame at 500°F (260°C) and self-ignites at 770°F (410°C).
  • Tests show that vinyl siding needs unusually high amounts of oxygen to burn and stay burning. It will not independently sustain combustion in air with a normal concentration of oxygen (about 21 percent) — so it extinguishes relatively easily.
  • The 2015 International Building Code allows vinyl siding to be a part of a prescriptive fire rated assembly approach because vinyl siding does not contribute to the growth of a fire.
R-value Testing

As new building and insulation materials have entered the market, confusion over the nature and meaning of "R"-value has raised questions among building professionals and consumers alike. What exactly is "R"-value? Is it an effective and objective measure of the thermal performance of an insulation product or construction system? And how should the marketplace use it to compare the benefits of one insulation material over another?

Defining "R"-Value

During the 1970s, as demand for quality building insulation soared, an oil crisis sent heating and cooling costs skyward. With many new products on the market – and with so many conflicting claims pertaining to the insulating abilities of those products – the Federal Trade Commission, with the participation and support of the insulation industry, created an objective method for reporting the performance of residential insulation materials. This method is called the "R"-value Rule.

The Rule provides requirements for product labeling ("R"-value) and advertising, and mandates specific ASTM methods for thermal testing. The "R"-value Rule has been helpful in comparing different brands of the same type of insulating material. However, as more sophisticated materials and higher technology construction systems are introduced into the building industry, we find that the "R"-value of a material does not tell the whole story.

"R"-value is based on a mathematical term known as "R"-factor. The term "R"-value was developed to represent the ability of an insulation material to restrict heat flow. It is determined by placing test specimens between two plates in a laboratory apparatus and measuring heat-flow through the insulation. The test specimen usually consists of a square foot of material exactly one inch thick whose surfaces have a temperature differential of 1 degree Fahrenheit. The thermal conductivity (k) of a material is expressed as the rate of heat flow in BTUs per hour.

Thermal resistance (R) of a material is its resistance to heat flow, and "R"-value is expressed as the reciprocal of the material’s thermal conductivity. Simply put, the greater the "R"-value the better the insulation.

R-value Testing

FTC regulations govern home insulation marketing claims, including claims regarding the thermal insulation value provided by the product or material.4The FTC regulations also specify the means by which the R-value is determined. The claimed or rated R-value must be based on actual testing conducted in accordance with one of the test methods specified in the regulations. For products such as insulated siding, the appropriate standard is ASTM C1363 Standard Test Method for Thermal Performance of Building Materials and Envelope Assemblies by Means of a Hot Box Apparatus.R-value Test

In this test, the assembly, including the insulating material, is placed between two instrumented chambers: a “climatic chamber” and a “metering chamber.” The chambers are maintained at a specific temperature difference. The climatic chamber is usually cooler than the metering chamber, representing winter conditions. Wind is directed at the material in the climatic chamber to simulate outdoor winter conditions.

During the test, heat flows through the insulating material from the metering chamber to the climatic chamber, and the amount of energy needed to maintain the temperature in the metering chamber is measured. Calculations are done to convert this measured heat fl ow to the R-value of the assembly. The R-value of any mounting structure or other material that is not part of the insulation product is subtracted, leaving the net R-value of the insulation itself.

Because ASTM C1363 does not include installation details for specific types of products, the VSI Technical Committee has developed the test installation configuration, environmental conditions and procedures that should be used to produce an accurate and consistent R-value for insulated siding. The siding is installed over an 8-foot by 8-foot base wall in the same manner specified by the manufacturer for actual field installation. The installation includes overlap joints between sections of siding and other accessories to replicate normal installation. No artificial sealing of the assembly is done unless specified by the manufacturer for a normal installation. During the test, wind is directed against the surface of the siding, perpendicular to the plane of the wall.

The test is conducted according to the normal procedures specified in ASTM C1363. The base wall is tested by itself (without siding attached). The R-value of the insulated siding is determined by subtracting the measured R-value of the base wall from that of the entire assembly. This procedure ensures that the R-value claimed for an insulated siding product represents the actual thermal insulation value that will be delivered to the home.

As part of the ASTM standard development process, VSI is proposing that a minimum R-value of 2.0 be included in a new ASTM standard specifi cation for insulated siding, as described later. Once this specifi cation has been submitted for ASTM balloting and approved through the ASTM process, an R-value of 2.0 will become the recognized minimum specification for insulated siding. This minimum R-value is consistent with the minimum R-value required for insulated sheathing in the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). R-values identifi ed through those testing methods can be used to meet the insulation requirements of the IECC. Chapter 6 of this guide provides detailed information on how tested R-values can be used to calculate a wall assembly’s U-factor.

Bulletin: Freeze-Thaw Cycle R-value Retention

Bulletin: XPS vs EPS R-value Retention

Environmental Product Declaration (EPD)

The Vinyl Siding Institute, Inc. (VSI) is the trade association for manufacturers of vinyl and other polymeric siding and suppliers to the industry. VSI focuses on factual data and science, like Life Cycle Assessment, to ensure true material understanding/evaluation and actual impact on the environment.

Led by VSI, the industry's commitment to sustainability has resulted in durable, long-life products that offer excellent overall environmental performance compared to other exterior cladding, with recognized environmental benefits to help make and keep homes green.

This declaration is an environmental product declaration (EPD) in accordance with ISO 14025 and ISO 21930. EPDs rely on Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to provide information on a number of environmental impacts of products over their life cycle. Exclusions: EPDs do not indicate that any environmental or social performance benchmarks are met, and there may be impacts that they do not encompass. LCAs do not typically address the site-specific environmental impacts of raw material extraction, nor are they meant to assess human health toxicity. EPDs can complement but cannot replace tools and certifications that are designed to address these impacts and/or set performance thresholds – e.g., Type 1 certifications, health assessments and declarations, environmental impact assessments, etc.

Download the EPD here >

Premium products made of Neopor are Building Code Compliant UL Certified Rigid Foam Insulation that helps builders and contractors meet IECC 2009, 2012, and 2015 Residential and Commercial Energy Codes for Exterior Continuous Insulation Sheathing.

Our premium Neopor products are third party tested, qualified and certified under BASF UL Code Evaluation Report 5817-02, exceeding ASTM minimum insulation requirements by over 20%.

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By participating in the Architectural Testing-sponsored Quality Assurance Program, manufacturers of products participating in the program validates that they consistently manufacture those products to be identical to those tested for program qualification. The manufacturer’s participation is validated through third-party review of their quality systems and in-plant audits.  Learn more