Home builders and general contractors need waterproof building materials for kitchens and bathrooms. Commercial construction companies also need specialized materials that can prevent water from weakening structures such as shower frames or sink backsplashes. There are several different categories of water damage, but even the least harmful type (Class 1) can mean costly repairs or renovations.
Water damage doesn’t just rot and weaken built structures, however. Moisture promotes the growth of mold and other organisms that can harm human health. For example, exposure to so-called “black mold” may cause skin rashes or respiratory distress, especially in children and people with compromised immune systems. Sometimes, these toxic molds remain hidden behind tiles or beneath flooring for years.
Types of Building Materials
To reduce the risk of water damage, builders need to choose the right materials for the job. Wooden two-by-fours can provide support for shower frames, but these materials aren’t the best choice for direct water and high-humidity environments. If the wooden panels behind a tub or shower enclosure become wet, damage from insects such as termites and carpenter ants can occur.
Moisture-resistant gypsum board (green board) and cement panels are good choices for kitchens and bathrooms, but builders want materials that are easy to work with, too. For example, cement board is durable but heavy. That’s probably not a problem for two builders who are working on a downstairs bathroom, but it may be an issue for a solo contractor who needs to move panels of materials upstairs.
Advantages of Polystyrene Foams
Polystyrene foam from Elasto Proxy is a strong, waterproof, and lightweight structural foam that’s also mold-resistant. Whether used as a tile substrate or as a building panel, this specialized material supports bonded waterproofing assemblies. Available panel thicknesses vary, and boards can be cut-to-size easily. Gridlines on some polystyrene foam panels even facilitate the installation of stone or ceramic tile.
Importantly, polystyrene foams help to prevents problems – such as black mold or insect infestation – that even the best builders can’t see until demolition begins. With these specialized foams, preparing the surface properly also supports the installation of tiles that are flat, plumb, level, square, and dimensionally stable. Polystyrene foam panels are light enough for a single builder to carry, too.
Custom Fabricated Polystyrene Foams
As an experienced custom fabricator serving the building and construction industry, Elasto Proxy uses water jet cutting to convert panels of polystyrene foams with thicknesses ranging from 3/16” to 2”. Unlike other cutting methods, water jet cutting is fast, precise, and doesn’t require the use of expensive tooling. For prototype parts and low-to-medium production volumes, water jetting is especially cost-effective.
With our lamination capabilities, Elasto Proxy can also create sandwich-like structures that incorporate other insulating materials. Alternatively, builders can create their own “structures” using polystyrene foams. For example, the polystyrene foam that’s used for a bathtub surround supports the installation of ceramic tile or natural stone tile. These coverings resist water, but are also aesthetically pleasing.
How Can We Help You?
For over 25 years, Elasto Proxy has provided the construction industry with high-quality sealing and insulation solutions. In addition to polystyrene foams for building panels and tile substrates, we offer custom seals for windows, doors, skylights, rooftop HVAC units, and hatch covers. Because our technical team listens to all of your requirements, we can help you chose the right solution every time.
Do you need polystyrene foam for your next building and construction project? To learn more about Elasto Proxy and how we can help you, contact us.