More stringent building codes, advances in building science and building owners’ desire for more comfortable environments are driving increased interest in the role of continuous insulation. Both emerging construction trends (i.e. more innovative claddings) and market shifts (i.e. growing interest in sustainable building materials) are influencing how continuous insulation is used in today’s high-performing wall assemblies. Continuous insulation installed in the building enclosure delivers much more than thermal performance. Fire resistance, moisture mitigation and sustainability are just some of the performance attributes continuous insulation provides.
Today’s building product marketplace offers many continuous insulating material choices including extruded polystyrene (XPS), polyisocyanurate, expanded polystyrene (EPS), spray polyurethane foam (SPF) and mineral wool. In selecting an insulating material for the exterior wall assembly, factors to consider include the raw products composing the insulation as well as the manufacturing process, operational performance, combustibility, and moisture mitigation properties, as well as overall durability. Jobsite considerations such as the installation methods required to affix insulation should also be considered along with aesthetics and even the acoustic performance of an insulating material.