What Can Concrete Insulation Do for Me?

Concrete Foundations

Goodmanson Construction strives to deliver significant concrete tips and trends directly to our customers. This month we focused our case study around Tamarack Village Shopping Center’s usage of concrete insulation and the benefits associated with insulating your concrete.

Briefly, What Are the Benefits of Concrete Insulation:

  1. Reduces Tripping Hazards
  2. Increases Durability and Lifespan of Concrete
  3. Eliminates Risk of Pressure Cracks
  4. Lowers Long Term Maintenance Costs

OK, well I could just be telling you that in order to sell you one of our insulated parking lots or insulated concrete foundations, so what’s the real deal with concrete insulation. Does it really work and why would I need it?

The principle behind insulation is simple. It provides a barrier both to block cold from the one side and retain heat on the other.

People have been using insulation in their homes for centuries, maybe even millennia, without knowing what it was or why they did it. They just knew that if they put a little extra material, like stucco or what have you, that you could regulate temperatures better than if you didn’t use it.

Sometimes people used it to keep their homes cooler in the summer, other times to keep it warmer in the winter. Whatever material we use, we use insulation because it helps regulate temperature.

But now, thanks to the marvels of technology, the insulation that helps keep your home warm in the winter is available to use in a parking garage, concrete parking lots, concrete pavements, concrete foundations, asphalt parking lots, you name it!

Do I Really Need Insulated Concrete?

Could every concrete or asphalt project use insulation? That really depends on where you are. If you’re talking about a place where temperatures can fluctuate between above 100 degrees in the summer to below zero in the winter, then you’re going to need some thermal mass to provide continuous insulation from those fluctuations.

The ground itself has its own radiant heat, usually keeping a temperature of about 55 degrees Fahrenheit year-round. What we want to do with insulation is retain that radiant heat as much as possible. That’s why when we build concrete walls for our foundations, we use icf walls.

ICF construction isn’t too hard of a concept to grasp, but it’s an important advance in technology. Using insulating concrete forms (ICF) we pour concrete that both cures properly in the wintertime (very important for structural integrity) and also provides a modicum of energy efficiency if you’re trying to remodel your basement as a living space. ICF can be made from something as simple as expanded polystyrene foam (eps) which is like the stuff you find in your packages in the mail.

Insulation is nothing fancy, it’s nothing new, but it makes a big difference.

Our installation process enhances your concrete’s defense against the cold and frost, that are common in the Midwest.

From the setting up of our signature concrete base made of recycled materials, to the installation of our insulation boards, we are able to capture and retain the earth’s core temperature.

The criss-cross pattern of rebar that are applied directly above the insulation completes the reinforced concrete and acts as the final defense in reducing the chance of your concrete heaving or buckling.

All of these great benefits can thus reduce the risk of tripping for your customers or family.

The bottom line is, insulation is worth it.

Let’s say you’re thinking of buying a commercial parking lot, or rebuilding one you already have. Some contractors might not include the option of insulation because you’re trying to get a low bid. You’ve got a lot of bids on the table from the low end to the high end and you’re asking yourself which one you want to go with.

You’re thinking you want to save money right now, so you’re about to pick the lowest bid possible, with no concrete insulation included.

While that’s certainly your prerogative, let me just give you a short pitch here (not like I haven’t been pitching you this whole time).

When you’ve got an investment like a parking lot or staging yard or something like that, we have a little saying: you only want to do it once.

Even if you get a lower price today, if you don’t get it done right (and done with insulation) the first time, you’re going to have to take bids all over again in 2-5 years time. You’ve got to keep that in mind when you’re entertaining bids from any contractor. Do they offer insulated concrete? Do you live in a place that gets both very cold and very hot?

Especially consider it if you live in an area that’s subject to frost heaving. Frost heaving is going to wreck your parking lots every time. We see it every year! But getting that insulation helps prevent that. So give it a thought when you’re going through your bids.

Look, we get it, you’ve got a bottom line. We’ve got those too. But here’s some advice, business to business, if you want to protect your bottom line, you’ve got to do the best you can to protect the investment you’re making. Again, you only want to do this once. Trust us!

Do you have a question on concrete insulation or other concrete based questions? Submit your question(s) online HERE! Your question could be featured on our FAQ page, future case study’s, or in our monthly newsletter’s.