April 7, 2015

CompaCFoam Primer


Therm image of door on CF100 insulation4CF100 insulated threshold75 has been a vocal and outspoken proponent of the foam-free building. But as we’ve said, we also know that in the push toward foam-free construction, targeted and limited applications of foam still make sense.

We always look for products that solve issues building professionals face when optimizing the building envelope. Not only does a high-performance building need a continuous air barrier – it also needs an uninterrupted layer of insulation. Load-bearing connections in or through exterior insulation materials can be particularly challenging. Supporting windows and doors is a common problem, but other trouble spots include balcony connections, mounting shades at lights, and heavy rain screens. These interruptions (aka thermal bridges) lead to a number of issues, including excessive heat losses, reduction in overall insulation effectiveness, and condensation formation inside at cold surfaces.

CompaCFoam window installation

Linear thermal bridges

When installing windows or doors, it has generally been tricky to mount the window out in the middle of the insulation on the exterior of CMU buildings. The conventional alternative, namely setting the window directly on the block wall, is not ideal thermally. With CF100 (203 psi) and or CF200 (508 psi), the architect and contractor now can move the window out into the insulation and thereby dramatically improve the installed insulation performance. As defined by the Passive House Institute, linear thermal bridges can be disregarded in energy modeling if they are below Ψ ≤ 0.0058 (BTU/hr.ft.°F) (or <0.01 W/(mK)). With CompaCFoam, thermal performance can be improved by as much as a factor of ten. Gone are the days when highly thermally conductive brackets or screws used to connect windows and doors create inefficient and potentially damaging thermal bridges.

Compacfoam facade attachements 475 - rainscreen thermal breakPoint thermal bridges

When mounting rain screens, shades, tie back balconies, railings and any other way that screws go through the insulation layer, CF100 can help as blocking to space the brackets from the wall and insulate them.

However, if there is a steel to steel connection, CF200 or higher can be used, and screws can be offset. So the CF200 is secured to the metal structure behind and the item to be mounted is secured into the CF200. This completely eliminates the metal to metal conductivity and as a result drastically improves the installed values.

High Load bearing applications

High compression at columns with CompacfoamMoutning lights with CompaCFoam in EIFS facadesUnder columns at foundations and other elements where structrual loads are being transferred to CompaCFoam, the higher density CF300 and CF400 can be used. Do make sure to properly fireproof such elements or the building itself.


CompaCFoam is very easy to tool, and practically can be worked in similar way that wood can and with the same tools. However when cutting, routing CompaCFoam it is important to use the right blades – large tooth spacing recommended, but please contact us when in doubt (and do not it does create a distinct odor). Other prefabrication methods that are available are milling for window profiles, or hot-wire cutting – which is also possible in multi-axis.




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3 Responses to CompaCFoam Primer

  1. Cody April 8, 2015 at 1:13 pm #

    This is highly needed around windows and ledgers. Nice job!

  2. Russell Crosby November 19, 2016 at 8:26 am #

    Hi 475,
    Can this foam be used under footings and basement slabs?

    • John January 4, 2017 at 11:04 am #

      Hi Russell,

      Yes, CompaCFoam can be used under structural elements at the higher densities: CF300 or CF400. However, we currently stock the lighter densities in North America (CF 100 and CF 200), with the intended use of insulating window and door frames. If you would like to make an order for higher densities, we’ll be happy to help – just contact us with with plans and specifications that you need.

      Thank you!

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