Fanfold EPS Insulation, an Answer to Roofing’s Labor Shortage
The United States construction industry is experiencing a severe shortage of skilled laborers.
According to the National Roofing Contractors Association, “The first-quarter USG Corporation + U.S. Chamber of Commerce Commercial Construction Index reports the numerous ways the labor shortage continues to affect the industry, including asking workers to do more work, struggling to meet deadlines, increasing costs for new work and having to reject new projects.”
The 2019 State of the Roofing Industry Report corroborates these findings, stating: “Even the experts agree that the pace of overall construction, already showing signs of slowing over the past few months, will continue to lose momentum in 2019. The larger culprits are anticipated housing shortfalls and a continued shortage of skilled workers to complete jobs.”
However, professional roofers need not entirely despair. Multi-functional roofing products like R-Tech Rigid Foam Fanfold Insulation (R-Tech FF) can save time and labor in recover and single-ply applications, while still providing the dimensional stability, compressive strength and water resistant properties experts have come to expect with expanded polystyrene (EPS). With its lightweight physical properties and fold-out functionality, R-Tech FF bundles require significantly fewer person-hours on the jobsite, saving recover and single-ply budgets.
Defining R-Tech FF Insulation
R-Tech FF is a sheathing consisting of closed-cell, resilient EPS combined with polymeric facers. The insulation meets or exceeds the requirements of ASTM C578, Standard Specification for Rigid, Cellular Polystyrene Thermal Insulation.
Like other EPS insulation products, R-Tech FF’s chemical properties prevent thermal drift and the migration of moisture into insulation. Its facers add additional benefits, such as durability and increased water resistance. Specifically, R-Tech FF has advanced polymeric laminate facers on either side of the EPS, which provide a surface that is virtually impervious to moisture.
From performance to time and labor savings
To understand R-Tech FF’s time and labor-saving properties, picture individual 2’ x 4’ foam panels that are joined together edge to edge and folded up much like an accordion.
These panels are extremely lightweight. For example, 25 panels folded together only weigh about 11 pounds, making it quite easy for one worker to carry and install the panels. “Compared to carrying numerous separate sheets of individual foam panels, these fanfold bundles require about 60% fewer hours to install, saving up to $25 per square vs. using other cover boards,” an Insulfoam expert states in an Architectural Products article on Roof Assembly Insulation. Crews can, therefore, “handle more material faster,” explains Insulfoam’s Product-Marketing Manager Ram Mayilvahanan in Today’s Facility Manager.
In addition, R-Tech FF allows installers to carry 400 square feet of folded insulation panels at one time. By comparison, conventional 4’ x 8’ cover board requires teams to carry 13 individual sheets, which weigh almost five times as much as fanfold insulation does. Fanfold bundles also unfold quickly, reducing the number of skilled workers required to install the EPS insulation, while simplifying the overall process.
Fanfold EPS has roofers covered
The latest labor forecast needn’t have contractors down. By thinking creatively and using industry-proven, high performance solutions such as R-Tech FF and other EPS insulation, roofing professionals can breathe a sigh of relief as they save time and labor on the roof.
 “Insulation Considerations: The Case for EPS.” Architectural Products Nov. 2013: 14.