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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Osceola, AR
    Posts
    310

    Default Loose fill polystyrene/styrofoam as attic insulation

    Had this issue turn up in at several homes in one particular area that I inspect in, but this has bugged me & I want to get what thoughts are here on this.

    I sometimes see the loose fill polystyrene/styrofoam beads used as attic insulation. I have been told that the styrofoam often comes from the FED EX facility in nearby Memphis, TN. But my question would be is this suitable as attic insulation? I know that the loose styrofoam has a low R value per inch, so it really isn't that great as far as insulating factor, but are there other issues? It looks to me that the stuff would melt/burn readily and I am unsure if there would be any added risk of any toxins in the products of combustion. Oh, and yes I did see and report the broken vertical support. 4 hours to go through this one, nearly every system or component had issues...


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    Alton Darty
    ATN Services, LLC
    www.arinspections.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Plano, Texas
    Posts
    4,162

    Default Re: Loose fill polystyrene/styrofoam as attic insulation

    Quote Originally Posted by Alton Darty View Post
    Had this issue turn up in at several homes in one particular area that I inspect in, but this has bugged me & I want to get what thoughts are here on this.

    I sometimes see the loose fill polystyrene/styrofoam beads used as attic insulation. I have been told that the styrofoam often comes from the FED EX facility in nearby Memphis, TN. But my question would be is this suitable as attic insulation? I know that the loose styrofoam has a low R value per inch, so it really isn't that great as far as insulating factor, but are there other issues? It looks to me that the stuff would melt/burn readily and I am unsure if there would be any added risk of any toxins in the products of combustion. Oh, and yes I did see and report the broken vertical support. 4 hours to go through this one, nearly every system or component had issues...
    Unless it is listed with a flame/smoke index then it is not allowed. No label means it is not approved unless they can produce the document specifically allowing it or a letter from the AHJ.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,139

    Default Re: Loose fill polystyrene/styrofoam as attic insulation

    Take a handful of the beads and put a lighter or match to it ... show your client how it burns.

    It's not just that it burns, it gives off toxic fumes too, as I recall.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Osceola, AR
    Posts
    310

    Default Re: Loose fill polystyrene/styrofoam as attic insulation

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Take a handful of the beads and put a lighter or match to it ... show your client how it burns.

    It's not just that it burns, it gives off toxic fumes too, as I recall.
    That was exactly what I did.

    Alton Darty
    ATN Services, LLC
    www.arinspections.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    MONTREAL QUEBEC-CANADA
    Posts
    1,823

    Default Re: Loose fill polystyrene/styrofoam as attic insulation

    Insulation is a critical component of buildings.
    Loose fill polystyrene is a hazard.

    Your images show mechanically crushed EPS
    polystyrene.

    Recent concerns have been raised about the brominated flame retardant HBCD (hexabromocyclododecane for the organic chemists among us)—see Flame Retardant Used in Polystyrene to be Banned by EU—that is found in all polystyrene insulation, both extruded (XPS) and expanded (EPS). HBCD may not (yet) be a household word like bisphenol-A has become, but it's been raising plenty of concern.

    What happened when your tryed to ignite the material?

    Behaviour of EPS in case of fire.

    Robert Young's Montreal Home Inspection Services Inc.
    Call (514) 489-1887 or (514) 441-3732
    Our Motto; Putting information where you need it most, "In your hands.”

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