What continuous insulation products are best way to insulate curved buildings?
Curvature or unique shapes in modern building design, although aesthetically beautiful, can, at times, prove to be a challenge for designers and even general contractors to ensure that these design elements are an active part of the entire building envelope and do not compromise the overall performance of the building.
One of the challenges that we face within the building industry is that most traditionally used materials are linear in their shape. For the most part, buildings are a series of rectangles, boxes or squares, making the use of traditional linear materials suitable for use. But what happens when the building takes on a curve or unique shape? How do components of the building envelope work synergistically with the rest of the design?
Let’s look at insulation, specifically the use of continuous insulation products. What is the best way to insulate curved buildings effectively? Are there continuous insulation requirements or criteria for the best performance? Traditionally, XPS rigid foam board is used in a continuous insulation application. These boards are pre-cut and require taping or sealants at every joint and penetration and are mechanically fastened creating multiple wall penetrations (which also has an impact on the insulating performance). Installation of rigid board panels on curved surfaces opens itself to multiple thermal breaks which again has an impact on the insulating performance of the building.
Further to the multiple penetrations and extensive sealing required, XPS rigid foam board requires the addition of a separate air barrier material (either self-adhered or fluid applied). The inclusion of a separate air barrier not only adds labor, but also additional cost.
One of the most effective continuous insulation products is actually spray foam insulation. Applied in a continuous application, this all-in-one continuous insulation product is ideal for commercial buildings of all shapes. As an insulation, air barrier and vapor retarder, closed cell spray foam insulation products like Icynene ProSeal and Icynene ProSeal Eco provide a tight and complete seal over minimal required wall penetrations such as brick ties. Plus, it eliminates the need for additional sealing or taping like XPS rigid foam board requires.
Easily applied to curved surfaces or unique shapes in a smooth fashion, commercial buildings featuring spray foam continuous insulation applications are a total high-performance wall assembly solution that can enhance and work with virtually any architectural design approach.
Icynene SPF continuous insulation details
Both Icynene’s closed cell spray foam insulation products are ideal for continuous insulation in commercial buildings. Below are the product-specific continuous insulation details for these two high performance products:
- GREENGUARD Gold certified, this ultra-low VOC features an R-value of 7.1 per inch, making it ideal for continuous insulation applications
- Classified as a Class II VDR at 1.5” thickness (ASTM E-96), this product can be sprayed up to three inches thick in a single pass to achieve R-21
- Suitable for use on the exterior of a commercial building (continuous insulation) or on the interior, Icynene ProSeal can be sprayed year round, even at cold temperatures as low as 23 degrees Fahrenheit.
Icynene ProSeal Eco
- This 100% water-blown closed cell medium density innovation from Icynene features an R-value of 4.9 per inch.
- Icynene ProSeal Eco is classified as a Class II VDR at 2.4” thickness (ASTM E-96) and allows for construction to continue right through the cold winter months with spraying in temperatures as low as five degrees Fahrenheit.
With each of these continuous insulation products, they have been tested and NFPA 285 approved wall assemblies for more design flexibility as well as fire tested for commercial building types I, II, III, IV and V construction.
When assessing the requirements of your next commercial building design, whether featuring curved surfaces or linear angles, be sure to remember that the best continuous insulation products not only complement the building’s unique shape but also offer long term performance without compromise.