Steel-and-foam construction gaining ground in Residential construction

NILES — In terms of home building, this steel-and-foam wall system is being described as ‘innovative’ and ‘cutting edge.’ To some in the industry, it simply makes a lot of sense.

Walls are constructed using light gauge steel studs, instead of wooden two-by-sixes, and filled in between with polystyrene, a material similar to Styrofoam and referred to in the industry as EPS.

The galvanized steel has a high strength-to-weight ratio, is quick and easy to install and the steel is 100 percent recyclable if the house is ever taken down in the future.

The EPS insulation is an outstanding insulating material — “the best insulating material money can buy” according to a Longmeadow flier. EPS has a natural radiant barrier and absorbs less than 1 percent of its volume in moisture. It is also moisture-impervious and reflects UV rays. This wall system will not attract mold or termites.

Chicago architect Kelly Andereck summed up perhaps the biggest advantage, explaining, “The EPS system keeps cool air inside during the summer and in the winter, it keeps inside air warm and moist. The energy costs are one-third of a typical home.”

While the initial cost may be comparable to a wood-frame house, these advocates indicate that savings will be realized in the long run, particularly on heating and cooling.

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