When it comes to walls, the use of continuous insulation can greatly improve performance and simplify design and installation.  In particular, foam plastic insulating sheathing (FPIS) products can serve as an air barrier, water resistant barrier, water vapor control/retarder, and cut down on the detrimental effects of thermal bridging.

Tools & Education

This wall calculator is a tool to help coordinate energy code thermal insulation compliance and building code water vapor control compliance for a proposed wood frame wall assembly on a commercial or residential building.

Cladding installation through foam sheathing used in light frame steel exterior wall applications. Available as a sealed code compliance report. 

This session, presented at IBS 2017, provides actionable prescriptive guidelines for integrated insulation and vapor control strategies. 

This research report provides a central location for the identification of foam sheathing products that have been approved for use as an air barrier material in an air barrier assembly. Available as a sealed code compliance report. 

Details and information on the use of CI to avoid thermal bridges

Discusses types of thermal bridges and their impacts as well as repetitive metal penetrations for cladding and component attachments. 

Best Practices

Standard commercial wall assembly featuring steel framing and brick cladding. Applicable to Climate Zones 1-6 & 7 (ex. Group R). 

Standard commercial floor/ceiling assembly featuring steel framing and brick cladding. Applicable to Climate Zones 1-6 & 7 (ex. Group R). 

Standard commercial wall assembly featuring wood framing and lap siding. Applicable to Climate Zones 1-7.

Standard commercial wall assembly featuring steel framing and fiber cement siding. Applicable to Climate Zones 1-6 & 7 (ex. Group R). 

Foam plastics used in buildings of Types I-IV construction require an assessment of their ability to resist vertical and lateral flame spread.

When a builder comes across an R20 + 5ci insulation requirement, it can be easy to think: R20 + 5ci? Why not just use R-25 in the cavity? This guide goes through the math comparing R20 + 5ci and R25 walls.

Practical Research

A comprehensive assessment of the state-of-the-art of water vapor control for modern, code-compliant, light-frame wall assemblies.

Overview of current knowledge supporting the attachment of cladding through foam sheathing used in exterior wall assemblies to comply with the 2015 editions of the International Building Code (IBC) and the International Residential Code (IRC).

This work provides practical guidelines for the mitigation and reduction of thermal bridge problems in existing and new Army facilities. A wide range of building types was investigated from which nine common types were identified, and a number of important thermal bridge details were chosen for each.

This investigation seeks to quantify the effects of thermal bridging in commercial facades and then propose alternative solutions to improve performance by comparing infrared images of recently completed buildings to theoretical models. 

This Research Report provides actionable guidelines to effectively consider, evaluate, and manage the balance of wetting and drying potential in common above-grade, light-frame wall assemblies in a broad range of climate conditions.

Additional Information

Research findings on the long-term performance of cladding attachments through foam sheathing. Covers fastening techniques, material expansion and contraction, and deflection (creep). 

Information on the use of Polyiso in commercial wall applications

Information on the use of XPS in commercial wall applications

Information on the use of EPS in wall applications