Is Styrofoam A Good Insulator For Sound & Heat?

Is Styrofoam A Good Insulator For Sound & Heat?

Preventing your house from sound and heat transfer requires better insulation from inside and outside.

Usually, better insulation requires a handsome amount to invest. But if you don’t have that kind of money then this time styrofoam insulation works.

According to the report of the HomeAdviser, the average price of insulation will cost around $1 to $2 per square foot in the US only.

So if the average size of your house is about 2,301 square feet. Then this will cost you around $2301 to $4602.

That’s why choosing the right and best insulation becomes so important. So that you can manage your house budget.

Because if you are facing heavy climate change in your city or area. Then this will safeguard you and your family as well.

But now you should know is styrofoam a good insulator for your house or not? Because after insulating the complete house again if you want to change it.

Then it will add the cost to your budget. That’s why you need to read this complete article.

Because I have covered all the information related to styrofoam like the pros and cons, types, alternatives, and more.

This will let you know if styrofoam is a good insulation material or you have to find another. So first let’s start with a basic understanding of what styrofoam is?

What Is a Styrofoam Insulation

Basically, styrofoam is a trademark brand owned by Dow Chemical. They are manufactured of polystyrene insulation foam, boards, petroleum-based plastics, and more.

Styrofoam is a very lightweight, effective insulator, and excellent shock absorber. Usually, styrofoam is heavily used for packaging and serving food.

Because it has fewer chemicals and better strength than common plastic.

That’s why people like you prefer styrofoam instead of using plastic. Also, most of the major appliances like refrigerators, air conditioners, ovens, and more.

Because this can easily handle the heat and sound transfer.

Mainly styrofoam is made from a specific type of polystyrene called extruded polystyrene foam (XPS). Which is blue in color that’s why this is also called “Blue Board”.

It is much more dense and thick than other insulation materials. So whether you want to install this styrofoam insulation in your ceiling, wall, and floor.

This will easily block the heat and sound transfer. But after installing what other advantages and disadvantages will you get? If you want to know this then read below.

Styrofoam Insulation Pros

  • This is much more affordable than any other insulation.
  • It can be recycled easily so it is eco-friendly.
  • This is very lightweight, which is why you can easily carry it.
  • It can easily block the heat and sound transfer.
  • This is water and moisture-resistant.
  •  This is very durable which has around 50 to 60 years of lifespan.

Styrofoam Insulation Cons

  • It has some harmful chemicals.
  • So much waste is produced while making it.
  • It will easily catch fire.

Properties Of Styrofoam

Usually, styrofoam is an insulation that is built with many materials. That’s why it also has many properties that may be a benefit or harm you. What are those?

Technical NamePolystyrene (PS)
Chemical Formula(C8H8)N
Melting Temperature210 To 249 °C
Typical Injection Molding Temperature38 To 66 °C
Heat Deflection Temperature (HDT)95 °C At 66 PSI
Tensile Strength7700 PSI
Flexural Strength12000 PSI
Specific Gravity1.04
Shrink Rate0.3 – 0.7 %
Credit to MetWeb

So if you are a chemistry student or have some knowledge. This information will help you know what properties styrofoam has and how well it will perform.

If you install it in your house. But what is another type of polystyrene?

Types Of Polystyrene

As you know styrofoam is made from a specific type of polystyrene. But do you know what is it and what is the other one? Can you also use it or not? That’s why you need to read below.

1. Extruded Polystyrene Insulation (XPS)

Extruded polystyrene insulation also known as thermoplastic polymer and styrofoam has a very closed cell.

That often provides higher mechanical performance.  But this is a little bit more expensive than the expanded polystyrene insulation.

Because it has more density of about 28–45 kg/m3 than EPS.

However, XPS is recognizable in blue, green, and pink colors. But using a single product to create multiple thermal layers will not pass through air transmission.

Also, properly installed XPS will improve the entry consumption inside the house. Because this will hold the temperature of your house.

2. Expanded Polystyrene insulation (EPS)

Expanded polystyrene insulation (EPS) is also a thermoplastic product that refers to a tough and lightweight surface.

But as the name suggests this can be expanded 20 to 30 times from its actual size. This is usually made from the pre-expanded polystyrene beads that have the color white.

It is primarily used for packaging, construction industries, and also insulation.

That’s why it doesn’t have close cell bonding like XPS. So when you try to freeze water in it the EPS product will burst easily.

However, this will reduce the effect of moisture and water vapor. So if you are living near any rainy city. Then this EPS product becomes very helpful for you.

How Does Styrofoam Insulation Works

Before installing the styrofoam insulation in your house for protecting you from critical climate change.

You should know how it works. So that you know which insulation provides the same functions as well.

1. Thermal Insulation

How much do you know about heat transmission? Do you know how heat passes through the wall? If not, then you should know that before understanding how styrofoam can block this process.

So heat is also an energy that can only be transferred in three ways: conduction, convection, and radiation.

So let’s understand all of them one by one.

  • Conduction is a heat transfer from molecules colliding through any matter but without bulk motion.
  • Convection refers to the heat transfer between two bodies with the bulk movement of molecules in gas and fluid.
  • Radiation is the energy that emits photos or electromagnetic waves which have wavelengths of between 0.1 and 100 μm.

So these are ways that heat can transfer through any surface. But styrofoam insulation added a new material that is not conducive to heat.

That’s why this can easily block the heat transfer in your house.

2. Acoustic Insulation

Basically, the acoustic transmission works the same as the heat transmission.

Because this can also travel through any matter and surface including air, water, wall, and musical instruments.

This will usually produce from any molecule movement upon vibrating another molecule. The combination of these molecules produces a sound that will transfer.

So when the sound waves reach your ear this will convert into singles that send information to your brain. 

That’s why when you hear a little bit of low-frequency noise you will start reacting. However, it is very low if you are concentrating on your work.

Then this will definitely disturb you.

As you know, styrofoam insulation has very close cells that will not capture the sound waves and never let them pass through from it.

That’s why after insulation your house from styrofoam insulation. 

This will make your house protected from any kind of noise especially if you are living near any heavy traffic area.

Is Styrofoam Eco Friendly

According to the report of Molygran, no matter what you have heard, expanded and extruded polystyrene are eco-friendly.

Because they are made from 98 percent of air with no substance of toxicity. However, extruded is denser than expanded polystyrene.

That’s why it takes more time to recycle.

However, some other products like packaging are mixed with some plastic materials. That’s why when you throw it anywhere it takes around 500 years to break down.

But according to Green Dining Alliance, the US produces more than 3 million polystyrenes every year and only 20 percent of them are recycled.

So 80 percent of polystyrene products will end up in the trash that takes around 500 million years to break down.

But the ordinary styrofoam insulation used in your house can easily be recycled and break down.

Because it doesn’t have plastic mixing properties. It is original styrofoam that has only air and other nontoxic materials.

Styrofoam Using Appliances

Styrofoam works in a vast collection of boards, film, blocks, and especially the foam.

Styrofoam foam is used in many home and commercial appliances to maintain temperature and sound insulation. But what are those?

  • Home Appliances: Refrigerator, air conditioner, oven, vacuum cleaner, blenders.
  • Automotive: Knobs, Instrument panels, energy absorbing door panels, trim.
  • Electronic Products: Computers, televisions, and all IT equipment.
  • Foodservice: Coffee cups, plates, water cups, and most food packaging.
  • Medical: Test tubes, Petri dishes, diagnostic components.

So now you understand how vast the use of styrofoam is. This is all around you and you are using it without what it is.

That’s why using it in your house is really a great thing for insulation.

Styrofoam Alternatives

Using styrofoam is not necessary if you don’t want there to be plenty of other insulation available in the market.

Those are more eco-friendly and provide better insulation. So let’s understand what those are.

1. Aluminum Sheet

Have you ever used any aluminum sheet to protect food? Usually, aluminum is a chemical material that has a lower density than other metals.

Also, it has a protective layer of oxide that provides great affinity when exposed to air and has the color silver. That’s why this will easily reflect the heat and sunlight.

Experiment: If you want to check how much it can bear the heat and provide better insulation.

Then you can check it by using aluminum foil and then directly put it over your stove. Then let your stove on and don’t worry this aluminum foil will not burn up.

That’s why if you want to block heat transmission inside your house. Then you can easily do that using it inside the wall or ceiling.

But keep in your mind that an aluminum sheet can’t block the sound transmission.

2. Cellulose Fiber

This is the most eco-friendly insulation kit for your house. Because it is 100 percent biodegradable and will not let heat pass through from it.

However, the installation is difficult because it comes in a loose fill. That requires a blow in your house. But this will easily fit in any cavity in your house.

Usually, cellulose fiber is made from ethers or esters of cellulose which are obtained from nature like wood, plants, leaves, and so on.

It is also available in many structures like boards, paper, blocks, and so on. This is also very lightweight and easy to carry like styrofoam.

This is usually filling under the roof of a house.

Because this is the main place where your house loses temperature. But you can also use it on your ceiling, wall, and even floor. Before installing the drywall.

3. Fiberglass Insulation

Fiberglass insulation is a group of fine glass fibers. That has a slightly higher R-value and can be found in most homes.

Because this is available in three types: blankets, loose-fill, and rigid boards. So when it comes to cell formation they are extremely close.

So that the heat and even noise can’t travel through from the surface.

That’s why people like using fiberglass insulation in their houses. Because at one expense you can expect two benefits: the first one is heat transmission and the second one is sound transmission as usual.

Also, with the availability of many types, you can easily use it wherever you want in your house.

4. Spray Foam Insulation

Spray foam is a chemical product made from two major materials such as isocyanate and polyol resin.

That’s why after you spray it on any surface it will expand up to 30 to 60 times from its actual size.

That’s why this can be fit in any shape and cavity that works as a heat and sound barrier.

So whenever you use it in your house it will block the heat and sound transmission and provide you better comfort and relaxation.

Because this also comes in higher R-value insulation material. However, this is available in two different densities: low and high.

That provides you many options to choose from.

Spray foam is usually a simple insulation material that will easily fit in any cavity and space in your house whether it is inside the ceiling, wall, or even floor. 

Wrap Up On Is Styrofoam A Good Insulator For Sound & Heat

Protecting ourselves from the outer waste is important to have a protective layer on your house.

That provides you better insulation against heat and sound. However, this is required to have some space in your house for excess heat and sound transmission.

But this depends on you how well you maintain your house. 

Also, heat and sound can travel through your exhaust system so you don’t need to be tense about it.

That’s why you come here to check the ability of styrofoam. So that you can make a wise decision about using styrofoam insulation in your house.

However, some polystyrene is not biodegradable.

But ordinary styrofoam can easily break down. That’s why many people like you using it in their house.

Because this is an affordable and very helpful way to insulate your house. That’s why I have provided each and every piece of information related to styrofoam.

So that you can know is styrofoam a good insulator against sound and heat. 

But if you are not convinced with the result of styrofoam then you can also replace it with its alternatives.

Because there are plenty of other installations available in the market to choose from. 

FAQ: Is Styrofoam Insulation Good For Sound & Heat Transfer

Understanding whether the styrofoam is a good insulator or not is quite difficult. That’s why many people like you have any questions.

That can be solved easily. That’s why I have added some of the questions in this article to provide appropriate answers. 

How much does it cost to install styrofoam insulation in the house?

However, styrofoam is more affordable insulation than any other.

But this also has some expenses and costs that you need to add to your budget. That will cost you around $750 to $1800.

Which insulation is better than styrofoam?

Styrofoam Is better insulation but not as much that can handle too much noise and heat disturbance.

That’s why if you have also that much disturbance. Then you can prefer the mixture of fiberglass and aluminum insulation.

That will increase the performance of the insulation.

Does styrofoam have toxic chemicals?

No, styrofoam is made from the extruded polystyrene that is a part of natural resources.

However, some chemicals are used for building it. But those are not harmful to you.

Hey, I am Kirtish Vyas a YouTuber and believer in making life peaceful, a couple of years back I started soundproofing my house, bedroom, studio, and Car to reduce the unwanted noise, and the same experience I am sharing on SoundProofidea. Read More