How Is Siding Insulation Made?

Posted on August 29, 2012 within

Siding insulation can enhance the performance of any new siding by increasing its energy efficiency, providing effective moisture management and making your home quieter on the inside, just to name a few benefits. The process by which the siding insulation is manufactured will determine the overall quality of the product, how well it will perform on the home and how its creation impacts the environment.

Siding insulation from Progressive Foam is made of expanded polystyrene (EPS), and is manufactured under strict conditions to ensure that every piece of insulation performs as promised:

Expanded polystyrene looks similar to white sand before being manufactured into insulation

1.) Mixing Raw Material

The raw material used in our siding insulation is expandable polystyrene bead that looks like very fine, white sand. The bead is mixed with additives such as our systemic insecticide, PREVENTOL?TM EPS, which helps to protect the finished product from termites. Color dyes may also be added to the bead to help identify different products.

2.) Pre Expansion

The raw bead mixture enters the pre-expander, where steam is applied at a very precise flow and pressure. Pentane gas inside the bead begins to boil from the heat of the steam, causing the bead to expand. State-of-the-art machinery is used to carefully monitor the speed of expansion and ensure the best quality beads are produced.

3.) Molding the Product

A molded block

Once the pre-expanded beads have a chance to dry for up to 36 hours, the next step is molding the material into shapes. There are two types of molding, block molding and shape molding:

With shape molding, the expanded material is loaded into a machine like a jello mold. It is then heated with steam until it expands and fills the mold cavity, creating a finished insulation board. This method requires more energy to create the boards but also creates no scrap in the process.

With block molding, the expanded bead is blown into a rectangular chamber and hit with steam to form the shape of a block. The blocks can be anywhere from 10′ to 18′ tall and weigh between 120 to 350 pounds.

Once the blocks have an opportunity to dry out, they are then cut into their final shape using a computer numerical control (CNC) machine with hot wires that are heated with electricity. The wire moves through the block to ?cut a pattern, creating the finished piece and setting aside the scrap.

4.) Lamination

Compression rollers seal the insulation and siding together after adhesive is applied.

After the insulation is formed into the finished piece, some products then go through an additional step of lamination, where the insulation is adhered directly to the siding panel during manufacturing. This process combines the siding and insulation into one piece, creating products such as insulated vinyl siding and insulated steel siding.

5.) Recycling

The scrap insulation material from wire cutting and our other manufacturing processes is sent to a separate machine where it is formed into other building materials. This allows us to consume all of our scrap and send minimal amounts of material to the landfill.

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