What Compressive Strength Do You Really Need?

Many projects design & build for higher load bearing densities then are required, thus costing significantly more time and money than is necessary.  ASTM’s D6817 is the specification for rigid cellular polystyrene geofoam. Designing to this standard not only helps engineers meet technical specifications, but also helps save money and time by using EPS (expanded polystyrene) geofoam, which is listed by the standard, as a structural void fill.  Geofoam has the compressive strength to bear heavy loads like concrete slabs, soil overburden, highway trucks and even airplane traffic and has gained widespread acceptance in load-bearing applications with federal and state entities like DoTs, airports and commercial projects.  
Similarly referring to ASTM C578 (Specification for Rigid Cellular Polystyrene Thermal Insulation) while selecting your below-grade insulation products, not only helps you design the right product for the job, but also helps avoids unnecessary costs associated with over engineering. 
ASTM C578 publishes compressive strength, deformation and dimensional stability values for both EPS & Extruded Polystyrene – XPS. Insulfoam’s wide range of plain and coated-facer insulation products meet ASTM C578 specifications, providing the same compressive strengths and long-term moisture prevention as competing below-grade insulations. But Insulfoam products come at a lower cost to the building owner, helping deliver significant savings in project costs.
  • Project:  San Francisco 49er’s New Football Stadium
  • Location:  Santa Clara, CA
  • Product:  Insulfoam GeoFoam 2,500 cubic feet of EPS39 and 25,000 cubic feet of EPS15
  • Application:  Below grade structural void fill to support foundation for the fan seating areas

EPS Geofoam

EPS Geofoam

The contractors (Conoco Company of Concord and Turner & Devcon Construction) chose EPS Geofoam due to it’s extremely low weight and high load-bearing capacity to support the dimensional stability required for concrete topping slabs.  Insulfoam’s multiple manufacturing locations in California and nearby states provided just-in-time deliveries direct to the job site, which was a welcome bonus.

The single largest benefit to concrete contractors when using EPS is the ability of the material to constitute half of the form and the fill simultaneously, which completely eliminates the concept of a two pour operation. Read the full project profile here:  San Francisco 49er’s Find EPS Geofoam Useful In Future Home.



  • Geofoam is 98% lighter than traditional fill
  • Geofoam does not settle
  • Geofoam eliminates lateral stresses from retaining structures
  • Geofoam can be designed for seismic forces

Reducing Loads for Soft Soil Remediation

Geofoam Installation, Phillis Wheatley Elementary

Geofoam Installation, Phillis Wheatley Elementary

Built in 1954, Phillis Wheatley Elementary School in New Orleans has been closed since Hurricane Katrina flooded the area and was left in a state of disrepair.  The 57 year old school was originally built as a segregated school for African Americans and was decided to be demolished and rebuilt after much opposition, debate and protests.  Demolition was completed in 2011 and the new school is in construction.

InsulFoam Geofoam was chosen as a lightweight fill to raise the main slab from its original elevation and lighten up loads on the subsoils.  Geofoam’s lighweight nature takes up space without adding stress to the underlying soil or structure.  There are many benefits of using InsulFoam Geofoam for reducing loads for soft soil remediation such as:  INCREASES speed of installation and productivity, DECREASES rights-of-way concerns, traffic closures, heavy equipment costs, soil removal costs, borrow-fill placement, ELIMINATES surcharging time/cost, soil settlement, and secondary compaction.

InsulFoam Geofoam is also environmentally friendly and 100% recyclable, containing no HCFCs or formaldehyde. With superior stability and long-term R-value, InsulFoam Geofoam resists insects, mold, decomposition and severe weather conditions, including freeze-thaw cycles and moisture penetration.

CLICK HERE to see Phillis Wheatley Elementary GEOFOAM construction installation photos

Phillis Wheatley Elementary, Geofoam Installation

Geofoam Installation, Phillis Wheatley Elementary

Phillis Wheatley Elementary

Geofoam questions or need to discuss your project?

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Slope Repair Problem & Solution

PROBLEM:  Infrastructure challenge, road creep slide in Santa Barbara, CA

CAUSE:  Gravity

SOLUTION:   InsulFoam Geofoam, a predictable & long lasting foundation for new pavement

Conejo Road

Conejo Road Geofoam Installation, Santa Barbara, CA

The City of Santa Barbara, CA had been experiencing continual maintenance concerns and costs due to a creep slide on Conejo Road. The project engineers and the city decided to permanently fix the problem by addressing the core cause of slope failure, gravity. During this 2012 project, the delivery of the InsulFoam Geofoam was delayed a few days because the contractor found that the asphalt pavement was up to 18″ thick due to continual settlement and repaving operations over the years.   John Madonna Construction of San Luis Obispo, CA was awarded the prime contract which included installing the EPS Geofoam. This was their 1st project using the ultra-lightweight large block fill material. Steve Alkyer of Insulfoam’s Chino, CA plant came to the jobsite to help train the installation crew on reading the shop drawings and hot wire cutting tools both provided by Insulfoam. This project utilized about 400 cubic yards of InsulFoam GF EPS19 which will provide a very predictable and long lasting foundation for the new pavement section in a difficult access residential neighborhood.

Time lapse video of the complete job install for the Conejo Road slope repair project in Santa Barbara.


Geofoam questions or need to discuss your project?

Contact Nico Sutmoller, Geofoam Specialist


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Energy Efficient Construction at World of Concrete

EVENT:  World of Concrete, Las Vegas   |   DATE:  February 5-8th   |   BOOTH:  N2915


The future of architecture and construction is not only going to expand and grow at a rapid pace this New Year, but it is also becoming one of the r-tech_blog copybest industries in regards to saving the environment. When it comes to ultimate respectability in the industry, two names have come together to form one truly amazing ‘gift’ for all the building-owners and contractors out there. The name, Insulfoam, is synonymous with the creation of quality polystyrene-based engineered insulation products that have become even better than before. In addition,Carlisle Construction Materials has been known in all areas of architecture and construction for single-ply roof systems and waterproofing products that are unmatched in quality, durability, and savings. With Insulfoam, the largest manufacturer of expanded polystyrene in all of North America, being a part of Carlisle Construction Materials for several years now, these two powerhouses have shown the rest of the industry that they are not only still among the most respected names in construction, but are also constantly looking out for everyone from architects to building owners to contractors. With this ‘team,’ everyone has the ability to purchase and utilize energy-efficient construction products that are a ‘must-have’ in this ‘greener’ world. Insulfoam’s products insulate buildings, from the foundation to the roof and everything in-between. Versatility is a key word when it comes to these products. Not to mention the product line is 100% recyclable. Being leaders and visionaries when it comes to new product development, the latest in technology, and code approvals, the brands of InsulFoam® and R-Tech® also contribute immensely toward LEED® credit requirements, which is one of the biggest and most important issues to address nowadays. Insulfoam products, which have warranted long-term stable R-values with no thermal loss, are built upon sustainable manufacturing practices. Dye-free, free of formaldehyde and HCFCs, no toxic chemicals or heavy metals are leeched, and prevention of mold or mildew growth, are just a few of the benefits that come with these products. Offered under the InsulFoam® and R-Tech® brands, Insulfoam’sexpanded polystyrene (EPS) products for under-slab and below-grade applications insulate foundation walls, protect water and/or damp proofing, and can be used during backfilling in both commercial and residential projects.

roofing copyStudies have shown that R-Tech® below-grade insulations have some of the lowest levels of long-term water retention among below-grade insulation products. Combined with high compressive strength and long-term stable R-values, these properties make Insulfoam’s products among the most efficient in below-grade insulation. When speaking about wall installations, Insulfoam offers a variety of insulations that cover applications ranging from exterior, interior and cavity wall applications to tongue-and-groove sheathing, whole wall, and gable end applications. Not to mention, these products are extremely lightweight and have physical properties that are well ahead of their time. But below-grade and wall installations are not all that Insulfoam is renowned for. It also makes GeoFoam, a geo-synthetic structural fill that literally exceeds the requirements of ASTM D6817 Standard Specification for Rigid Cellular Polystyrene Geofoam. This is a fantastic alternative to other fill-materials, providing excellent lateral-load support and dimensional stability as a soil and slope stabilizer in various engineered applications.  And, yes, before one asks - roofing applications are also completely covered by offering roof insulation panels that help reduce overall energy consumption, and end up creating a fantastic and comforting environment for the occupants of the building. The company has a wide-range of code-approved composite roof insulations that work with fully adhered, mechanically attached and ballasted roof systems without the need for coverboards or slip sheets. Insulfoam’s high-density composite has code approval for direct-to-combustible decks without a thermal barrier, an excellent illustration that Insulfoam products work for virtually every type of roofing system. And what’s one of the most important words to hear when it comes to building and construction products? Cost-effective! Insulfoam’s products provide some of the best R-values per dollar. These products resist almost everything, which makes these products necessary for a long list of projects ranging from highway retaining walls to parking structures to foundations, loading docks, levees, underground utility protection, railways, runways, and so much more. Are you working on an entertainment construction project that will involve theater or stadium seating? This is what you need. Working on creating that pool with deck outside? …Need I say more? Even the website that is available discussing each and every one of these products proves how efficient and up-to-date this company is. Data, research, analysis, facts, figures – even instructional and technical information is offered on each one of these products, leaving absolutely nothing to doubt. And this includes questions and data regarding global warming, RA standards and the true goal that Insulfoam and Carlisle have to decrease our ‘carbon footprint and make this a healthy place where the next generation can thrive! For more information, head to this amazing website now and get to work making that next project the absolute best and ’greenest’ it can possibly be. http://www.insulfoam.com

Geofoam Offers Performance and Efficiency for Bridge Reconstruction

Modern Contractor Solutions Magazine

Modern Contractor Magazine, April 2009

Originally published in Modern Contractor Magazine, April 2009

Full article (pdf)

Known as one of the Top 10 High-Tech metropolitan areas in the nation (as cited by Newsweek magazine), the city of Omaha, Nebraska, leads the nation by pursuing the most innovative technologies in virtually every field imaginable, not the least of which is road construction.  With more than 100 road construction projects currently under contract, the Nebraska Department of Roads (NDOR) strives to utilize the most effective and efficient construction products in its continuous improvement of the state’s road structures.

That is why, when NDOR officials decided to reconstruct the Pacific Street Bridge, they chose to use expanded polystyrene (EPS) geofoam for the below-grade void fill portion of the construction project.  By spring of 2008, Pacific Street, which provides commuters with convent access to and from downtown Omaha, was experiencing significant traffic congestion, decreasing the ease and efficiency of local commutes.

The Pacific Street Bridge, which spans Interstate 680, experienced the heaviest congestion, affecting the flow of both local and regional traffic.  It became apparent to NDOR officials that this situation required a remedy that would not only be effective in streamlining the flow of traffic, but could also be completed in a short time frame.

The NDOR decided to widen the bridge by adding one lane, while maintaining the current length of the bridge.  Construction, which was managed by Hawkins Construction Company, a local Omaha-based construction contractor, began in March 2008.

The existing 2:1 slope protection was removed and replaced by abutment walls allowing room for t he needed extra lane

Pacific Street Bridge, Nebraska:  The existing 2:1 slope protection was removed and replaced by abutment walls allowing room for the needed extra lane

In order to build an additional lane without lengthening the bridge, Hawkins had to first construct abutment walls at each end of the bridge.  To avoid creating excessive lateral pressures on the new abutments, a lightweight void fill material was needed for filling in the embankments.  Because of this requirement, the NDOR chose to use geofoam for this portion of the application.

After comparing a number of geofoam manufacturers, Hawkins Construction chose to use geofoam manufactured by Insulfoam, the nation’s largest manufacturer of block-molded expanded polystyrene.

“It was vital that we use a product that would not increase the amount of lateral load placed on the new abutments,” said Omar Qudus, NDOR Geotechnical Engineer.  “We chose to use geofoam because it would do just that, and would enable us to fill the embankments while still being able to build the additional lane.”

As this was the NDOR’s first specification of geofoam, Qudus and his team consulted multiple geofoam manufacturers in order to ensure that the geofoam was used correctly and in a way that would enhance both the performance of the bridge and the efficiency of the construction.

“We talked to a number of geofoam manufacturers,” says Qudus, ”because we wanted to make sure that we were using the geofoam product correctly. Insulfoam provided ample feedback and a detailed specification of how InsulFoam® GF can be used in this type of application.”

The construction project required a total of 2,045 cubic yards of type 15 EPS low-density geofoam blocks that were installed as void fill at the bridge abutments.

After pouring the abutment walls, the Hawkins crew installed the geofoam blocks, which not only provided easy handling, but also sped up the installation process. The use of geofoam eliminated both the need for surcharge and the settlement that is experienced with typical fill products, such as soil.

“We used geofoam for this project because we did not have enough time for both the surcharge and settlement that are typical with the application of traditional fill products,” says Qudus.


Pacific Street Bridge, Nebraska

Hawkins’ on-site supervisor, Lance Winkler, agreed that the use of geofoam significantly reduced construction time. “With traditional fill products, we typically backfill with sand at 8-inch increments and then compact; with geofoam, we just placed the blocks in position and then backfilled the minimal area that was left with sand. The InsulFoam® GF made installation easier and more efficient.”

Installation of a drainage mat was also necessary in order to ensure that any water that might collect around the abutment would drain properly and decrease the potential for any damage that might be caused by moisture penetration. By ensuring that water drained away from the abutment, the drainage mat would also eliminate the horizontal pressure that standing water would create.

The entire construction project was completed by September 2008, a short 6 months after it was started, and the bridge was re-opened to traffic. The use of geofoam in this project not only offered enhanced labor and cost savings, but also provided the increased, long-term stability and superior performance needed for the ever-moving technological hub of Omaha, Nebraska.

 Full article (pdf)



Nico Sutmoller, Insulfoam Geofoam Specialist

Nico Sutmoller, Insulfoam Geofoam Specialist

Contact Nico Sutmoller, Geofoam Specialist


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San Francisco 49er’s Find EPS Geofoam Useful in Future Home


EPS Geofoam

EPS Geofoam

Candlestick Park was built in 1960 and has been the home of the San Francisco 49ers NFL team since 1971.  “The Stick” was originally built as a baseball stadium for the then New York Giants baseball team to convince them move to San Francisco.  Due to the wide spread popularity of the “Niners” football franchise, a new stand alone stadium in Santa Clara was approved and a groundbreaking ceremony was held in April of 2012.  The project has a very demanding schedule that requires engineers and contractors to employ many methods to speed the construction phasing due to the fact that the new stadium is scheduled to open for the 2014 NFL season.  View the 49er’s blog where you can see aerial photo gallery of the new stadium.

EPS Geofoam

EPS Geofoam

The open air football stadium employs thousands of stepped/ pre-cast concrete panels that will serve as the foundation for the fan seating areas.  These pre-cast structures are steel reinforced and manufactured off site to reduce the forming cost/time on site and increase the consistency of the “skin on the bones” of the steel structure.  These stair stepped panels were installed in late 2012 after a record breaking steel erection timeframe of the super structure.  As part of the overall seating and viewing area plan, hundreds of flat platforms were included in the design to accommodate ADA ramps, wheelchairs, TV cameras and various other uses.  Engineers with HNTB, one of the world’s foremost firms specified the use of Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) Geofoam to constitute the structural void fill to support the ramps and platforms.   They chose EPS Geofoam due to its’ extreme low density and high bearing capacity to support the concrete topping slabs.  By using an ultra-lightweight soil replacing fill material, EPS Geofoam significantly reduced dead and lateral loads on the pre-cast panels by adding elevation and slope without a lot of weight.

EPS Geofoam

EPS Geofoam

Conco Company of Concord, CA worked as a sub-contractor to Turner and Devcon Construction, the prime contractors to furnish and install the Geofoam as part of their large concrete package.  Conco workers installed 3,500 cubic feet of EPS39 and 25,000 cubic feet of EPS15 for various ramps and platforms throughout the new stadium.  The lightweight fill was provided by Insulfoam of Dixon, CA along with electric hot wire tool kits to allow workers to cleanly and easily fabricate the blocks on the jobsite.  The single largest benefit to concrete contractors when using Geofoam is the ability of the material to constitute half of the form and the fill simultaneously which completely eliminates the concept of a two pour operation.



Nico Sutmoller, Insulfoam Geofoam Specialist

Nico Sutmoller, Insulfoam Geofoam Specialist

Contact Nico Sutmoller, Geofoam Specialist


Ask Nico to Connect on LinkedIn  |  Follow Insulfoam on LinkedIn

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How to change an existing sloped elevation in a building

Northwest Hospital Auditorium

Northwest Hospital Auditorium

The University of Washington operates the Northwest Hospital & Medical Center on the north end of Seattle.  Recently a remodel of one of the buildings included a change of use for an existing sloped floor lecture auditorium.  The space was redesigned to serve as a state of the art surgical facility to improve care and offer additional professional services for patients.  Part of the construction process involved changing the existing sloped elevation of a slab on grade floor to create a flat usable space for the new surgical suite.  The project Engineers specified InsulFoam GF EPS15 as a structural void fill to reverse the slope.  One of Insulfoam’s territory sales managers, Dan Michaels worked with the contractor to design a custom factory cut puzzle with shop drawing to minimize field fabrication on the job-site   Due to no access for heavy equipment and a prohibition of mechanical compaction noise required with standard soil fill, EPS Geofoam served as an excellent alternative lightweight structural fill material that provided a strong, stable sub-base for the new concrete floor slab.

Northwest Hospital Auditorium Leveling

Northwest Hospital Auditorium Leveling

Prior to this installation, the project manager with Abbott Construction of Seattle had not yet been involved with an EPS Geofoam project.  They received several furnish and installation bids from various sub-contractors as part of the prime bid package.  Abbott received several F&I bids as high as $23,000 from the sub-contractors.  Once the contract was awarded, the GC was considering a value engineering change order to eliminate the Geofoam due to initial high cost of the bids.  The PM contacted one of Insulfoam’s Geofoam Specialists for consultation and soon learned the EPS material package would cost less than $5,000.  Insulfoam provided the contractor education and installation techniques that demonstrated the low labor costs and the GC decided to self-perform the installation.  The PM was very happy to discover how simple the factory cut pieces went in less than 1 day and appreciated the service and fabrication tools that the Insulfoam representatives provided to ensure a smooth installation.
Northwest Hospital Auditorium Leveling

Northwest Hospital Auditorium Leveling

Northwest Hospital Auditorium Leveling

Northwest Hospital Auditorium Leveling


Nico Sutmoller, Insulfoam Geofoam Specialist

Nico Sutmoller, Insulfoam Geofoam Specialist

Contact Nico Sutmoller, Geofoam Specialist


Ask Nico to Connect on LinkedIn  |  Follow Insulfoam on LinkedIn

Read more on Insulfoam.com

Cold Climate Housing Research Center uses EPS Foam to Save on Costs & Energy

Written by:  David Shong, Insulfoam Architectural & Engineering Technical Specialist

CCHRC Expansion, Alaska

CCHRC Expansion, Alaska

The Cold Climate Housing Research Center, CCHRC, in Fairbanks, AK constructed an addition to their facility in the spring of 2012.  The project Engineers specified 12″ of InsulFoam GF EPS39 which has a minimum compressive resistance of 2,160 psf @ 1% strain as a sub-base and below slab insulation.  EPS39 was placed around the perimeter under the exterior wall footings and within the zones of influence of interior columns that required higher bearing capacity to withstand the axial loads of the walls,roof and snow load.

The rest of the areas that were simply supporting the 6″ floor slab used 12″ of EPS22 (1051 psf @ 1% strain).  They were originally considering only 9″ of EPS46 (2,678 psf @ 1% strain) for the entire building footprint, but were happily surprised to hear the idea of using a lower density under the floor slabs where the decreased dead loads justified a lower EPS density.

They ended up being able to install 12″ of EPS under the entire footprint for less than the original budget which provided more insulation while saving on initial costs as well as long term energy expenditures.

CCHRC Expansion, Alaska

CCHRC Expansion, Alaska

CCHRC Expansion, Alaska

CCHRC Expansion, Alaska

Local Governments use Geofoam to Overcome Common Geotechnical Challenges

US50 near Montrose, CO

Over 100 times lighter than soil, EPS Geofoam continues to prove to be successful in high-volume fill and soil stabilization projects such as roads, bridges, levees and buildings.  Local city and county agencies have used Insulfoam Geofoam in many projects to simplify construction and reduce costs for public works projects.  Geofoam has many features and benefits to help overcome common geotechnical challenges:  high load-bearing capacities, does not decompose, decay, or produce undesirable gases or leachates, fully recyclable, durable and does not require maintenance under normal conditions throughout service life, unaffected by freeze-thaw cycles, moisture, and road salts.

Read more on how the following Geofoam applications were used from project to project in Government Engineering Journal’s article, Geofoam:  A Primer.

Slope Stabilization:

  • US50 near Montrose, CO
  • Highway 12 near White Pass in WA State
  • US101 in Northern CA

Lightweight Void Fill:

  • Fairfeld-Suisun Water Treatment Plant channel walls in Solano County, CA
  • Idaho Transportation Department

Lateral load reduction on Retaining Structures:

  • Pacific Street Bridge Widening in Omaha NE

Soft Soil Remediation:

  • Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement in Seattle, WA
  • I-80/I-65 interchange widening in Gary, IN
  • North Creek Levee raising in Bothell, WA


Insulation Solutions at Greenbuild

Greenbuild 2012 We are in full swing with final preparations for Greenbuild 2012 in San Francisco Nov 14-16, the largest international conference and expo dedicated to green building.  With 35,000 participants expected this will be one of the largest Greenbuild shows ever.  Exciting!

1,000+ exhibitors, how do you decide what booth to go to, who to talk to?  Ok, we aren’t Kohler who seems to have one of the BEST booths possible every year (and the one booth I always make sure to sneak away and visit), but  we do have plenty of good information to help you with your next insulation project and meet your energy efficiency goals.  Insulfoam (booth #3169N) provides insulation solutions from roof to foundation and everything in between.

High Performance.  Lower Cost.  Most R-Value Per Dollar.

With a broad range of insulation products available, it’s easier than ever for designers to create an energy efficient building project.  InsulFoam EPS (Expanded Polystyrene) rigid foam insulation has been used for decades by smart industry professionals looking to achieve high thermal properties for a cost-effective price.  In fact, EPS offers more cost savings and higher R-Values than any other rigid insulation.  The benefit of lightweight EPS goes far beyond price, since it also helps contractors significantly decrease material and labor expenses.  EPS is also one of the most versatile engineered insulations, making it a designer’s dream product.  You tell us what you need and we make it fit within your design.  Not limited by stock sizes InsulFoam blocks can be molded, cut, shaped, tapered into virtually any design need, regularly solving challenges for contractors on the jobsite.

InsulFoam EPS is the only rigid insulation that does not experience “thermal drift” (loss of R-Value over time).  In fact, the R-Value is backed with a 20-year non-prorated thermal performance warranty.  ISO and XPS rigid insulations don’t come close in warranty, so you can be confident that Insulfoam’s EPS products are the best rigid insulation option for your project.

The following Insulfoam product lines will be highlighted in our Greenbuild booth with specialists to talk you through technical attributes  applications, projects and more.  And not to mention we got some pretty great and easy to talk to guys!  As you gear up for planning mode this coming week, put Insulfoam’s booth #3169N on your route.

Premier SIPs by Insulfoam

FRAMING SYSTEMS:  Premier SIPs by Insulfoam:  Structural Insulated Panels are an extremely strong building panel that need no additional frame of skeleton for support.  Premier’s large, pre-fabricated SIPs make the framing process faster than other building methods and enable a more airtight, well-insulated building for high energy efficiency.

Insulfoam Below Grade Insulation

BELOW GRADE INSULATION:  Insulfoam’s Below Grade Insulation products are designed to insulate the foundation wall or slab and protect the waterproofing or damp proofing, especially during backfilling for both commercial and residential below-grade applications.  Compressive strength, moisture protection and thermal stability.

ROOF INSULATION SOLUTIONS:  Insulfoam’s roofing insulation applications are green, high-performing and economical products that help reduce overall energy consumption, create improved comfort for the building’s occupants and provide an excellent substrate for a new or retrofit roofing system.

Insulfoam Roof Insulation Solutions

INSULFOAM GEOFOAM:  InsulFoam GF provides structural and architectural void fill  applications that are lighter, easier to handle and faster than soil.  Hardscapes, landscapes, soil remediation and load reduction.

Insulfoam Geofoam

For real time updates before, during and after the expo follow us on Twitter:  @PremierSips @Insulfoam @InsulFoamGF.  Be sure to also check out Greenbuild’s official twitter feed, @Greenbuild and conversation at #Greenbuild.

For more event information:  Greenbuild Schedule  |  Greenbuild Expo Tools & Map

Infrastructure Challenges, Geofoam Solutions

Patterson Creek Bridge, Sammamish WA

CHALLENGE:  In a fairly remote area of unincorported King county in Washington State, an existing bridge was only 20 feet long which barely spanned the creek at high floodwater.  The existing bridge was founded on creosote treated wooden piles and needed to be replaced.  The new bridge which is 60 feet long and required new footings and abutment walls; however, over fairly soft soils.  How do you create a structure designed to hold up a bridge AND retain soil?

SOLUTION:  Insulfoam Geofoam was used to reduce differential settlement of the bridge approach fill AND was used to reduce the cost of the wall based on the reduction/elimination of the lateral pressures. You can view construction photos here.
Project:  Patterson Creek Bridge Approach
Location:  Sammamish WA
Client:  King County DOT
Product Used:  Geofoam, 10-15 truckloads
Click here for Construction Photos

GeoFoam and the site development/geotechnical community is in the news!

Don’t take our word for it, we love geofoam. But others are really talking about it too. Check out the latest and greatest buzz in the industry and some great examples of how GeoFoam is used on the jobsites to save time and money.

Critical 13 Mile Stretch of US-30 uses Geofoam in Bridge Replacement and Road Expansion

McCammon, Idaho’s heavily used trucking route and bridge (circa 1940) along the U.S. 30 trucking route between Idaho and Wyoming, expands from 2 to 4 lanes to increase safety and capacity using InsulFoam GF – Geofoam.

Geofoam blocks were used to construct a new 500 foot long, 30 foot tall EPS block embankment. The new embankment supports the US-30 road expansion and its approach to the new Topaz Bridge – notably the longest span in the state of Idaho.

Project Overview:

Idaho Transportation Department’s first EPS Geofoam project was designed by Terracon Engineers and JUB Engineers of Boise. EPS was specified as a soil replacing embankment fill material due to poor foundation soils and 2 steel fish culverts that could not bear the weight of traditional soil fill.  A new three-span bridge replaced the existing bridge (from the 1940’s) crossing rail road tracks, the Pontneuf River and expanding the highway to 4 instead of 2 lanes. In all, 23,000 cubic yards of large block EPS was installed by Scarsella Brothers Inc. and supplied by Insulfoam.

US-30 provides a heavily used trucking route and bridge between Wyoming and Idaho

The Problem:

The expansion of US-30 and bridge replacement required a new fill embankment to support the new roadway and bridge approach on a very steep side slope.

The new (500 ft long) expanded bridge clears The Pontneuf River as well as the Union Pacific Railroad tracks, and required a new higher grade of both thte bridge structure and the existing roadway to support the new wide and long center spans.

As a result the new bridge approach embankment would be 45-50 feet high, too costly to be retained by conventional concrete cantilever or MSE wall, and raised concerns about global stability.

Near “Net-Zero” surcharge loads: The void in between the blocks and the native slope was filled with sand.

Further challenges to the projects design were the site conditions.  Located adjacent to the Pontneuf River, shallow bedrock and loose or soft sediments under lie the new approach embankment.

Custom fabricated “tongs” grip the large EPS blocks without damaging them.

The EPS Geofoam Fill Solution:

 To reach the new bridge’s approach embankment height of 45 feet, engineers chose a combined fill solution.  The lowest 15 feet was a small earthen embankment, while InsulFoam GF constituted the upper 30 feet. 4 1/2 feet of granular fill retained in wire gabions and an asphalt pavement section were installed directly on top o the EPS blocks to complete the full height of the new embankment.

The exposed vertical face of the EPS is eventually covered with an economical, fast to install, protective shotcrete facing.

The soft sediments underlying the site required the lower earthen embankment to settle (80 days), but the InsulFoam GF block fill required no additional surcharge time or secondary compaction by the contractor. Traffic moved on the existing roadway throughout the installation of the upper embankment, which was a key factor for the expansion to finish when weather conditions permitted.

The ultra lightweight nature of EPS allowed the total design weight of the tall embankment to be well under the bearing capacity of the poor foundation soils which aided ITD in successfully completing their first EPS Geofoam project.

The Geofoam blocks during construction

For more information about Geofoam visit www.insulfoam.com

Atlantic City’s new $2.4 Bil Revel Resort Casino Sports Insulfoam!

The Revel Resort & Casino grand opening is this weekend. This state of the art and one of it’s kind resort used Insulfoam XV Carlisle Coatings & Waterproofing on roofs & corridors. It also uses Insulfoam’s Geofoam to support all the marble benches throughout the lobbies. Check out details at: http://travel.usatoday.com/destinations/story/2012-03-08/Could-new-megaresort-be-Atlantic-Citys-game-changer/53422466/1