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EPS vs Kingspan K5 Insulation

When it comes to building insulation, you want something that ticks all the boxes – cost-effectiveness, efficiency, ease of installation, and an excellent environmental profile. In this blog, we’ll delve deep into a comparison between EPS (Expanded Polystyrene) insulation and Kingspan K5 insulation, two popular options in the market. We aim to provide a clear guide on their benefits and drawbacks so that you can make an informed decision.

Many other forms of insulation offer other benefits. Another form that we stock at EWI Store is Mineral Wool, manufactured from volcanic rock. Due to the manufacturing process, Mineral Wool (specifically Rockwool) is infinitely recyclable. It also holds multiple other benefits, best displayed on the Rockwool YouTube series.

Natural insulation is also an option and is particularly suitable for any ECO home projects.

What is EPS Insulation?

EPS or Expanded Polystyrene is a type of foam insulation widely used in the construction industry. This type of insulation is known for its versatility, lightweight nature, and cost-effectiveness.

Advantages of EPS Insulation
  • Cost-effective: One of the main advantages of EPS is its cost-effectiveness. It tends to be less expensive than many other types of insulation, making it a popular choice for budget-conscious projects.
  • Versatility: EPS can be used in various applications from wall insulation to floor and roof insulation. This versatility makes it a go-to for many projects.
  • Water Resistance: EPS has excellent water and moisture resistance properties, which can significantly contribute to the longevity of the building structure.
  • Lightweight and Easy to Handle: EPS panels are lightweight and straightforward to install, reducing labour costs and shortening project timelines.
  • Sound Insulation: EPS has decent sound insulation properties, making it a good option for partition walls and floors where soundproofing is desired.
  • Resistant to Mould and Rodents: EPS does not provide a food source for mould or rodents, adding to the longevity and safety of the structure.
  • Environmentally Friendly: EPS is 100% recyclable, making it a good choice for those interested in sustainable building practices.
  • Dimensionally Stable: EPS maintains its physical and mechanical properties over time. It doesn’t settle or shrink, ensuring long-lasting performance.
  • Customisable: EPS insulation can be custom cut to fit any specific measurements, adding to its versatility and ease of use in a wide range of applications. The easiest way to cut EPS is with a hot wire cutter as it ensures precision and minimises wastage.

What is Kingspan K5 Insulation?

Kingspan K5 insulation is a premium performance rigid thermoset phenolic insulation used in walls. It’s known for its thin profile and high thermal resistance.

Advantages of Kingspan K5 Insulation
  • High Thermal Performance: The most significant advantage of Kingspan K5 is its impressive R-value. It is much higher than many other insulation materials on the market, including EPS. This means it offers excellent thermal resistance, improving energy efficiency.
  • Slim Profile: Given its high thermal performance, less thickness of Kingspan K5 is required to achieve the same insulation value as EPS, providing more internal living space.
  • Fibre-free Core: Kingspan K5 features a fibre-free, rigid thermoset phenolic insulation core which is resistant to the passage of water vapour and makes it suitable for a range of conditions.
  • Fire Resistance: Kingspan K5 insulation boards are more fire-resistant than EPS and meet more stringent building code requirements.
  • High Compressive Strength: Kingspan K5 has high compressive strength, meaning it can resist deformation under load. This feature makes it suitable for applications where insulation material needs to withstand heavy loads, such as floors.
  • Negligible Smoke Emission: In the case of fire, Kingspan K5 emits negligible amounts of smoke and negligible non-toxic gases.
  • Non-Deteriorating Performance: The thermal performance of Kingspan K5 is consistent over its lifespan. Unlike some other materials, its insulating properties won’t diminish over time.
  • Unaffected by Air Infiltration: Kingspan K5’s performance isn’t affected by air infiltration, which can reduce the overall thermal performance.
  • Resistant to the Passage of Water Vapour: Kingspan K5 has a closed cell structure, which resists the passage of water vapour. This means it can contribute to limiting moisture ingress, a key factor in maintaining the thermal efficiency of insulation over time.
  • Sustainability: The manufacturing process of Kingspan K5 involves a low energy consumption method with zero Ozone Depletion Potential (ODP) and low Global Warming Potential (GWP).

EPS vs Kingspan K5 Insulation

One of the most significant distinctions between Kingspan K5 and EPS insulation is their respective thermal efficiencies. Kingspan K5’s higher R-value means it offers superior thermal efficiency compared to EPS insulation. Therefore, if the primary requirement for your project is optimal thermal efficiency, Kingspan K5 is the most fitting choice.

When it comes to fire safety, Kingspan K5 again takes the lead. It provides better fire resistance than EPS and emits negligible smoke and non-toxic gases in case of a fire. This superior fire safety feature is crucial in scenarios where this aspect is of paramount importance.

Another unique advantage of Kingspan K5 is its high compressive strength. This allows it to withstand heavier loads without deforming, a capability that EPS does not have. Therefore, in applications such as floor insulation, where the insulation material needs to bear substantial weight, Kingspan K5’s high compressive strength makes it the most appropriate choice.

Contrarily, EPS insulation shines when it comes to sound insulation. Unlike Kingspan K5, EPS provides decent sound insulation properties, which can play a pivotal role in enhancing comfort within living or working spaces by reducing noise transmission. If soundproofing is a major factor for your project, EPS could be the better option.

When considering cost, EPS insulation generally proves to be more budget-friendly than Kingspan K5. This cost-effectiveness can be an important consideration for budget-conscious projects, positioning EPS as a more attractive option.

Customisability is another area where EPS stands out. Unlike Kingspan K5, EPS can be custom-cut to specific measurements, offering greater versatility for unique applications. Lastly, while both materials have sustainable aspects, EPS is 100% recyclable, providing an added advantage if the building’s end-of-life plan involves the recycling of materials.

Which do you prefer? Let us know in the comments.


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