5 Ways to Reuse Styrofoam

Posted by Ben Thompson on 10.6.09
Here is a recent Q & A conversation.
Q: I am adding an addition to my house.  I have removed the cedar lap
siding and the 1" Styrofoam board from the existing exterior walls and
attached the addition.   The new addition has OSB with Tyvek and then
cedar lap siding to match the look of the existing structure.

Can the Styrofoam be reused or recycled?  Can I use it for attic
insulation in the new addition by laying it between the rafters and
blowing insulation over top? Can the Styrofoam be shredded and used for
attic insulation?  I hate to throw it away.  - Julie

A: Styrofoam re-uses:
1) You could cut it into the right sized squares and use 2-3" in your bandjoist (where the wood touches the foundation of your home).  Most homes have fiberglass batt insulation jammed in there.  A table saw works well in this case.  Then caulk or use spray foam (the kind that won't eat the Styrofoam) around the edges of each bay.
2) Cover any "knee walls" in your attic.  These are the vertical walls on the second floor that adjoin the attic.  Again, you could do two layers of 1" if you wish.  I also recommend taping the seams with Tyvek tape or duct tape as a second choice.
3) If you have an attic hatch you can adhere foam to the back of the cover and then make another cover at the top of the attic hatch shaft so you have two covers.
4) You could use it as additional attic insulation but it's very easy to do it in a way that will make things worse...think like "hot air" and try to stop its path and tape seams.
5) You could donate the Styrofoam to www.homerepairservices.org through their Builder's Abundance program and get a tax credit and some other lucky homeowner could use the excess building materials and fixtures.
Best of luck, Julie.  I love the way you're thinking of ways to reuse building products vs. just throwing them into a dumpster.
Ben Thompson, CGR GCP
Certified Graduate Remodeler (NAHB)
Green Certified Professional (NARI)
Thompson Remodeling, Inc.
616.942.1866 x 229 voice
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Topics: On the Radio, Q&A, recycle, styrofoam