Picking SIPs Is Like Picking a Cooler

Picking a structural insulated panel and picking a cooler…not two things you’d normally connect. But they actually share a lot in common. Let’s start with coolers. They generally use either expanded polystyrene (EPS) or polyurethane foam. EPS models are the common “throw-away” coolers found in grocery stores – plain white and not very sturdy.

EPS coolerEPS cooler

Top-of-the-line coolers from brands like Igloo or YETI use polyurethane foam. These coolers are sturdier and can keep items cold for up to seven days. They work better because the polyurethane foam allows for better construction and, most importantly, better performance.

polyurethane coolerPolyurethane cooler

Now here’s the connection between coolers and structural insulated panels: There are two types of SIPs, as well – EPS and polyurethane. They differ significantly when it comes to R-value and their response to fire. The R-value of EPS foam is just 3.8 per inch; polyurethane foam has an R-value of 6.9 per inch. While EPS softens at around 180 degrees and completely melts when exposed to flame, Thermocore SIPs made with polyurethane NEVER melt. In fact, we add a fire-retardant to make the foam self-extinguishing.

When choosing your structural insulated panels, think about how you’d choose a cooler. Do you want the option that won’t last as long or work as well? Or do you want to invest in something that makes a big difference in performance and your long-term return?

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