FAQ for INSTA-PANELS®

Q. What are INSTA-PANELS®?

INSTA-PANELS® are a metal or fiberglass skinned closed cell polyurethane foam insulation panel that come in a variety of sizes. The durability and high R-value of INSTA-PANELS® set them apart from competing products, like expanded polystyrene and extruded foam boards.

Q. What are the primary uses of INSTA-PANELS®?

The main use of INSTA-PANELS® is for insulating under radiant and non-heated concrete floors. In addition, INSTA-PANELS® can also be used to line walls and ceilings of shops and barns.

Q. What is the R-value?

INSTA-PANELS® were tested by Exova, a well-renowned third-party testing organization. The results indicated INSTA-PANELS® have an R-value of R-11 for 1 3/4″ thickness for both the metal and fiberglass skinned products.

Q. How do you seal the seams of INSTA-PANELS® where they join?

INSTA-PANELS® seams can be sealed easily and effectively with tuck tape or any other vapour barrier membrane. Many people also use 6 mil poly under the INSTA-PANELS® to maintain vapour barrier continuity; this process can be done for all other board insulation, including Celfort and Styrofoam SM.

Q. Is steel mesh a requirement for INSTA-PANELS®?

In the Ontario Building Code (OBC), steel mesh is not listed as a requirement in basement floor insulation; however, mesh may be a requirement for specific projects. As such, please review your current plans and engineer specifications to ensure you are following the best process for your project.

One of the advantages of using INSTA-PANELS® in a basement is you can staple radiant tubing directly onto the panel and therefore don’t need any expensive or laborious add-ons for the radiant tubing. Both our fiberglass and steel-lined panels can be stapled; however, it is easier to staple tubing onto the fiberglass product.

Q. How thick should concrete be poured over INSTA-PANELS®?

The OBC dictates 4″ of 25MPA concrete for a basement slab. Many people try to make slabs thinner so they gain head room as well as reduce the amount of money they spend on concrete; however, pours that are less than four inches tend to crack more readily. Pouring over INSTA-PANELS® is no different than pouring over gravel as far as strength goes, providing all else is equal. A four-inch pour is always best.

Q. How much weight can you put on INSTA-PANELS® when you are pouring the concrete?

Installing concrete over INSTA-PANELS® is easy. INSTA-PANELS® will not crack when walked on and will require no additional protection if you are using a wheelbarrow. Concrete buggies are also used for placing concrete on INSTA-PANELS®. Although it has been done, we do not recommend driving on INSTA-PANELS® with a concrete truck.

Q. What is the thickness of INSTA-PANELS®?

INSTA-PANELS® are typically 1 3/4″ thick and are R11 for the 20” x 64” and 22” x 64” sizes.

Q. Are INSTA-PANELS® Ontario Building Code approved?

INSTA-PANELS® below grade/under slab insulation/radiant floor insulation are used across Ontario on a daily basis. INSTA-PANELS® now have a CCMC listing and are an approved product meeting government standards and the building code for insulation for below grade/basement concrete or under slabs. E-mail or call our office if you would like a technical data sheet on INSTA-PANELS® sent to you.

Q. What is the difference between steel and fiberglass skinned panels?

There is minimal difference between metal and fiberglass skinned panels other than the skins are 26 gauge metal and 1/16″ of high density fiberglass. Clips for hydronic radiant floor heating systems can be fastened to both metal and fiberglass with screws and staples, saving on installing costly metal mesh that tubes are tied to by zippy ties.

Q. How do you install INSTA-PANELS®?

INSTA-PANELS® are easy to install. Panels come in predominantly 20″ x 64” and 22″ x 64″ and are shipped in skids of 50 pieces. INSTA-PANELS® can be installed on gravel or most dirt floors. It is recommended to maintain a smooth, even surface so that the INSTA-PANELS® don’t shift. This is the same for all board insulation products.

Q. Who installs the INSTA-PANELS®?

INSTA-PANELS® can be installed by anyone. Depending on how the job is orchestrated, it is not uncommon for the home owner to install their own insulation prior to the radiant tubes going in. INSTA-PANELS® radiant floor insulation is used and installed by plumbers, heating and cooling (HVAC) contractors, and general contractors alike.

Q. How do we cut the panel if needed?

INSTA-PANELS® are fairly easy to cut; however, the tool you should use to cut the panel depends on whether the panel is metal or fiberglass skinned. Electric, circular, and gas cut off saws are the tools of choice when cutting INSTA-PANELS®; however, you shouldn’t need to do much cutting.

Q. Where can we see the product, and do you send samples?

There are many job sites in Ontario that are using INSTA-PANELS® as the insulation of choice for radiant floor applications and non-heated floors. If you would like to see our product, please contact us to find a location near you. We can also have an insulation sample sent to you. In the mean time, check out our INSTA-PANELS® board insulation video and see how easy they are to use.

Q. How much do INSTA-PANELS® below grade insulation cost?

INSTA-PANELS® insulation for under concrete floors varies in price. The flush, smooth panels that have been tested for R-value, compressive strength, and moisture absorption are priced as follows:

20″ x 64″ metal skinned $0.80/ft2
22″ x 64″ metal skinned $0.80/ft2

20″ x 64″ fiberglass skinned $1.00/ft2
22″ x 64″ fiberglass skinned $1.00/ft2

Other non-tested sizes:

22″ x 36″ metal skinned $0.50/ft2
22″ x 36″ fiberglass skinned $0.55/ft2

Volume discounts on full truckloads are available (15,000 ft2 and more). Call our office to discuss.

Q. Is there a charge for delivery?

Yes, there is a nominal delivery fee. Call our office for your closest dealer and inquire about the cost of your insulation delivery.