XPS Board, short for extruded polystyrene, is a popular insulation material known for its excellent
thermal performance, high compressive strength, and resistance to moisture.
In this comprehensive guide, we will discuss how to use XPS for insulating ceilings, its advantages,
and the best practices for installation. We will also touch upon some alternative insulation
materials and methods such as Tile Backer Board Insulation.
Do you know About XPS Insulation Board?
Extruded polystyrene (XPS) is a closed-cell foam insulation made from polystyrene, a type
of plastic. It is created through a continuous extrusion process, which results in a
homogenous and consistent material with high insulating properties.
XPS is rigid, lightweight, and can be easily cut and shaped to fit various applications, making it a popular
choice for residential and commercial insulation projects.
Advantages of XPS Board Insulation
1. High R-value:
XPS offers a high R-value per inch, which means that it provides excellent
thermal insulation. This helps in reducing energy consumption and maintaining
comfortable indoor temperatures.
2. Moisture resistance:
XPS is water-resistant and does not absorb moisture, making it
an ideal insulation material for areas prone to dampness or high humidity levels.
3. Compressive strength:
XPS has a high compressive strength, which allows it to
maintain its insulating properties even under heavy loads. This makes it suitable for use
in load-bearing applications, such as beneath concrete slabs or in exterior walls.
4. Easy to install:
XPS is lightweight and easy to cut, shape, and install, making it a
convenient choice for DIY homeowners and professional contractors alike.
XPS is durable and has a long service life, with some manufacturers
offering warranties of up to 50 years.
Installing XPS insulation board on Ceilings:
When using XPS for ceiling insulation, it is essential to follow some best practices to ensure
optimal performance and longevity. Here are some guidelines for installing XPS on ceilings:
Measure and Plan
6. Calculate the amount:
Start by measuring the area of the ceiling that requires insulation. Calculate the amount
of XPS needed and choose the appropriate thickness based on the desired R-value.
7. Plan the layout of the XPS:
Ensuring that they cover the entire ceiling surface and
taking into account any obstacles, such as vents, pipes, or electrical fixtures.
Cutting and Fitting
8. Cut the XPS Board:
To size using a utility knife or a saw with a fine-toothed blade, ensuring
that the edges are straight and clean.
9. Fit the XPS Board:
Fix XPS Board between the ceiling joists or rafters, ensuring that there are no gaps or
spaces between the s and the framing members.
Attaching the XPS boards
10. Attach the XPS insulation board:
To the ceiling using adhesive, nails, or screws designed for use with foam insulation. Ensure that the s are securely fastened and flush with the
11. Apply adhesive
If using adhesive, apply it to the back of the XPS and press it firmly against the ceiling.
Use temporary supports, such as insulation hangers or wire supports, to hold the s in
place until the adhesive dries.
12. Using nails or screws:
Use fasteners that are long enough to penetrate the XPS and at
least 1 inch into the framing members. Space the fasteners approximately 16 inches
apart along the edges of the and 24 inches apart in the field.
Sealing Joints and Gaps
13. Seal all joints and gaps:
Seal all joints and gaps between the XPS s using foam-compatible tape, such as
aluminum foil tape or specialized insulation tape.
14. Fill Up Gaps:
Fill any gaps around pipes, vents, or electrical fixtures with spray foam insulation or
caulk designed for use with foam insulation.
15. Local building codes:
If required by local building codes, install a vapor barrier over the XPS to prevent
moisture migration into the ceiling assembly. Alternative Insulation Materials and Methods
While XPS is an excellent choice for ceiling insulation, there are several other materials and
methods available that may also be suitable for your project. Some alternatives include:
16. EPS (expanded polystyrene):
EPS is similar to xps foam board but has a lower R-value
per inch and is more permeable to moisture. However, it is less expensive and may be
suitable for applications with lower insulation requirements.
17. Polyisocyanurate :
Polios offers a higher R-value per inch than XPS and is also
moisture-resistant. It is more expensive but provides better insulation performance.
18. Fiberglass batts:
Fiberglass batts are a traditional insulation material that can be
installed between ceiling joists or rafters. They are less expensive than rigid foam s but
may not provide the same level of thermal performance and moisture resistance.
19. Spray foam insulation:
Spray foam insulation can be applied directly to the ceiling
surface, filling gaps and providing an air and moisture barrier. It offers a high R-value
and excellent moisture resistance but can be more expensive and challenging to install
than other insulation materials.
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20. Blown-in cellulose or fiberglass:
Blown-in insulation materials, such as cellulose or
loose-fill fiberglass, can be installed in ceiling cavities using specialized equipment. This
method is suitable for existing ceilings with limited access to the framing members and
provides good thermal performance, although it may not offer the same level of
moisture resistance as rigid foam s.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can XPS board be left exposed in a ceiling application?
No, XPS should not be left exposed in a ceiling application due to its flammability. Building
codes typically require that foam insulation materials, including XPS , be covered with a
fire-resistant material, such as drywall or fire-rated panels.
Can XPS be used in combination with other insulation materials?
Yes, XPS can be used in combination with other insulation materials, such as fiberglass
batts, spray foam, or blown-in cellulose, to achieve higher R-values or improve the overall
performance of the insulation system. For example, an XPS can be installed on the exterior
of a ceiling assembly, while fiberglass batts or spray foam can be used between the framing
members to provide additional insulation.
How does XPS insulation board compare to spray foam insulation in terms of cost and performance?
XPS insulation is generally less expensive than spray foam insulation but may not offer the
same level of thermal performance, air sealing, and moisture resistance. However, XPS is
easier to install and can provide excellent insulation value when installed correctly. The
choice between xps foam board and spray foam insulation will depend on your specific
project requirements, budget, and installation preferences.
Can I install XPS board insulation on a sloped or cathedral ceiling?
Yes, XPS insulation can be install on a sloped or cathedral ceiling. In this case, the XPS s
can be cut to fit between the rafters or installed below the rafters, depending on the desired
insulation thickness and the available space. Ensure that proper air sealing and moisture
control measures are taken to prevent condensation and moisture-related issues in the roof
XPS is an excellent insulation material for ceilings due to its high R-value, moisture
resistance, and ease of installation. Following the best practices for installing XPS on
ceilings, as outlined in this comprehensive guide, will help ensure optimal performance and
longevity for your insulation project. Additionally, considering alternative insulation
materials and methods can help you make the best choice for your specific needs and