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There are several choices when it comes to foam. I prefer to use Dow blue board. This is an extruded form of polystyrene. This means that the entire board is made of one continuous piece of foam. This foam of very durable and will last many years. Blue board comes in several forms and it is important to get the right one. The best is "square edge" and not the "score board". Square edge foam is a solid sheet of foam. The score board has scores top and bottom to make it easy to break. The scores are at a standard stud layout and intended for insulation in walls. The scores make it easy for contractors to break and install.

The other type of foam is EPS or expanded polystyrene which is thousands of small pellets that are expanded into a form. The EPS foam is not nearly as strong as extruded and will break down easily. Roots of aggressive plants will actually grow into the foam. I have one of these sheets in my system and it is now dedicated to mint as the roots are growing throughout the foam.

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DJ, I just used whatever white exterior latex paint was on sale. I'm not in production yet, so I can't tell if that was a good decision or not.
I have switched to white exterior semi gloss. Semi gloss is MUCH easier to clean after harvest than a mat finish.

I never got a call back from Whitecap but did get the names of 2 manufacturers for it in Colorado and will call them Monday to see what I can get prices on. Again if anyone needs foam let me know so we can get a good price.

Your welcome Chris..... and 'Thank you',  for all the great tips, tricks and ideas that you've shared too Chrs

 

I've tried some white 'rubber type' mobile home roof coating on my rafts. I have painted them, then drilled them later. There was no peeling or flaking of the coating.



Chris Smith said:

Thanks for your input David! You have given us an alternative to blue foam.

2-1/2 lb from a new source I found is $25.60 for a 4x8 sheet.

3 lb is  $30.40.

2 lb is $ 20,80

 

I am looking at either the 2 lb or the 2-1/2 lb.  I am getting samples next week.

I need to get at least 36 pieces to get this price. I need 30.

If we can get more people together on this they will give me another discount, so if anyone needs board now is the time to let me know.

Joe:

 

I am looking to get 64 sheets or more.  PM me.  Kevin

 

Chris,

   What is your recommended method of cutting the 2" thick Dow square edge blue board? I have been using a thin blade knife with a straight edge, but always seem to tilt the knife one way or the other as I struggle to pull the blade through the thick foam. This may not be too bad for a raft, but I am trying to make foam sidewalls to insulate my troughs and the angles make it challenging to join them. Any words of advice would be much appreciated.


Chris Smith said:

Dow square edge is the best foam to use. I have dow scoreboard that has been in use for two years now. It can be used just fine despite what has been said about it. It is important to make the first cut on the 4x8 sheet down the center score longways(leaving 2-2x8 sheets). Then cut the 2x8 sheets to 2x4 or into 2x2s. Cutting the score boards this way will leave 1 score in a cut down sheet instead of 3 scores (if the 4x8 sheet were cut into 2x4 down the length). If a piece of foam breaks on the score it is very easy ti repair using polyurethane sealant and a few long stainless lag bolts for support. DO NOT USE THE EPS FOAM!!!!!! The EPS foam is weak, will water log, and roots grow right through it. Most people prefer 2" foam because the 2" net pots are 2" deep allowing the bottom of the pot to sit in the water.


I have sourced blue board from White Cap building supply. They were the best price on quantity orders.

Hey Bill,  I am just now going to be cutting things.  In the past I used a hand saw and was able to cut straight cuts for insulating some old foam between my studs in the Utility room. I will try that again.


Are you trying to do miters for the corners?


Bill Barker said:

Chris,

   What is your recommended method of cutting the 2" thick Dow square edge blue board? I have been using a thin blade knife with a straight edge, but always seem to tilt the knife one way or the other as I struggle to pull the blade through the thick foam. This may not be too bad for a raft, but I am trying to make foam sidewalls to insulate my troughs and the angles make it challenging to join them. Any words of advice would be much appreciated.


Chris Smith said:

Dow square edge is the best foam to use. I have dow scoreboard that has been in use for two years now. It can be used just fine despite what has been said about it. It is important to make the first cut on the 4x8 sheet down the center score longways(leaving 2-2x8 sheets). Then cut the 2x8 sheets to 2x4 or into 2x2s. Cutting the score boards this way will leave 1 score in a cut down sheet instead of 3 scores (if the 4x8 sheet were cut into 2x4 down the length). If a piece of foam breaks on the score it is very easy ti repair using polyurethane sealant and a few long stainless lag bolts for support. DO NOT USE THE EPS FOAM!!!!!! The EPS foam is weak, will water log, and roots grow right through it. Most people prefer 2" foam because the 2" net pots are 2" deep allowing the bottom of the pot to sit in the water.


I have sourced blue board from White Cap building supply. They were the best price on quantity orders.

Hi Jo,

   No, not miters yet. I am insulating my grow troughs, sides and bottom. The width is slightly larger than the 48 inch width of the Dow blue foam and therefore need filler strips of foam. I am using 3M 78 Polystyrene Foam Insulation Spray Adhesive, which is recommended by Dow and would like my cuts to be reasonable square. I am pretty disappointed with the results using a knife - I will try the saw. Thanks.
  
Joe Bifano said:

Hey Bill,  I am just now going to be cutting things.  In the past I used a hand saw and was able to cut straight cuts for insulating some old foam between my studs in the Utility room. I will try that again.


Are you trying to do miters for the corners?


Bill Barker said:

Chris,

   What is your recommended method of cutting the 2" thick Dow square edge blue board? I have been using a thin blade knife with a straight edge, but always seem to tilt the knife one way or the other as I struggle to pull the blade through the thick foam. This may not be too bad for a raft, but I am trying to make foam sidewalls to insulate my troughs and the angles make it challenging to join them. Any words of advice would be much appreciated.


Chris Smith said:

Dow square edge is the best foam to use. I have dow scoreboard that has been in use for two years now. It can be used just fine despite what has been said about it. It is important to make the first cut on the 4x8 sheet down the center score longways(leaving 2-2x8 sheets). Then cut the 2x8 sheets to 2x4 or into 2x2s. Cutting the score boards this way will leave 1 score in a cut down sheet instead of 3 scores (if the 4x8 sheet were cut into 2x4 down the length). If a piece of foam breaks on the score it is very easy ti repair using polyurethane sealant and a few long stainless lag bolts for support. DO NOT USE THE EPS FOAM!!!!!! The EPS foam is weak, will water log, and roots grow right through it. Most people prefer 2" foam because the 2" net pots are 2" deep allowing the bottom of the pot to sit in the water.


I have sourced blue board from White Cap building supply. They were the best price on quantity orders.

I used this product.. http://www.insulation4less.com to do my insulation.  The r-value was R-15.65 and was real easy to tape together to get the correct width for the 2 sides and bottom.  The r value on the foam is maybe 1/2 that and the mess and gluing is not worth it. The cost for 700 sq feet was about 225 I think.  I was able to do all of my troughs with one roll.

Bill Barker said:

Hi Jo,

   No, not miters yet. I am insulating my grow troughs, sides and bottom. The width is slightly larger than the 48 inch width of the Dow blue foam and therefore need filler strips of foam. I am using 3M 78 Polystyrene Foam Insulation Spray Adhesive, which is recommended by Dow and would like my cuts to be reasonable square. I am pretty disappointed with the results using a knife - I will try the saw. Thanks.
  
Joe Bifano said:

Hey Bill,  I am just now going to be cutting things.  In the past I used a hand saw and was able to cut straight cuts for insulating some old foam between my studs in the Utility room. I will try that again.


Are you trying to do miters for the corners?


Bill Barker said:

Chris,

   What is your recommended method of cutting the 2" thick Dow square edge blue board? I have been using a thin blade knife with a straight edge, but always seem to tilt the knife one way or the other as I struggle to pull the blade through the thick foam. This may not be too bad for a raft, but I am trying to make foam sidewalls to insulate my troughs and the angles make it challenging to join them. Any words of advice would be much appreciated.


Chris Smith said:

Dow square edge is the best foam to use. I have dow scoreboard that has been in use for two years now. It can be used just fine despite what has been said about it. It is important to make the first cut on the 4x8 sheet down the center score longways(leaving 2-2x8 sheets). Then cut the 2x8 sheets to 2x4 or into 2x2s. Cutting the score boards this way will leave 1 score in a cut down sheet instead of 3 scores (if the 4x8 sheet were cut into 2x4 down the length). If a piece of foam breaks on the score it is very easy ti repair using polyurethane sealant and a few long stainless lag bolts for support. DO NOT USE THE EPS FOAM!!!!!! The EPS foam is weak, will water log, and roots grow right through it. Most people prefer 2" foam because the 2" net pots are 2" deep allowing the bottom of the pot to sit in the water.


I have sourced blue board from White Cap building supply. They were the best price on quantity orders.

I have found that a utility knife from both sides and then snap it to break it the rest of the way.This works pretty but the blade needs to be really sharp and sometimes it seems to go against the grain and does not turn out that great.

 If you want the squarest edge you can actually use a table saw with a very fine blade and crank the blade up just so it comes out the top. There is a tendency for it to bind up so be careful but it does leave a very nice edge.

Steve

Bill Barker said:

Chris,

   What is your recommended method of cutting the 2" thick Dow square edge blue board? I have been using a thin blade knife with a straight edge, but always seem to tilt the knife one way or the other as I struggle to pull the blade through the thick foam. This may not be too bad for a raft, but I am trying to make foam sidewalls to insulate my troughs and the angles make it challenging to join them. Any words of advice would be much appreciated.


Chris Smith said:

Dow square edge is the best foam to use. I have dow scoreboard that has been in use for two years now. It can be used just fine despite what has been said about it. It is important to make the first cut on the 4x8 sheet down the center score longways(leaving 2-2x8 sheets). Then cut the 2x8 sheets to 2x4 or into 2x2s. Cutting the score boards this way will leave 1 score in a cut down sheet instead of 3 scores (if the 4x8 sheet were cut into 2x4 down the length). If a piece of foam breaks on the score it is very easy ti repair using polyurethane sealant and a few long stainless lag bolts for support. DO NOT USE THE EPS FOAM!!!!!! The EPS foam is weak, will water log, and roots grow right through it. Most people prefer 2" foam because the 2" net pots are 2" deep allowing the bottom of the pot to sit in the water.


I have sourced blue board from White Cap building supply. They were the best price on quantity orders.

Hi Joe, which product from insulation4less.com did you use?  They seem to sell a variety of different items.  Thanks.

Joe Bifano said:

I used this product.. http://www.insulation4less.com to do my insulation.  The r-value was R-15.65 and was real easy to tape together to get the correct width for the 2 sides and bottom.  The r value on the foam is maybe 1/2 that and the mess and gluing is not worth it. The cost for 700 sq feet was about 225 I think.  I was able to do all of my troughs with one roll.

Bill Barker said:

Hi Jo,

   No, not miters yet. I am insulating my grow troughs, sides and bottom. The width is slightly larger than the 48 inch width of the Dow blue foam and therefore need filler strips of foam. I am using 3M 78 Polystyrene Foam Insulation Spray Adhesive, which is recommended by Dow and would like my cuts to be reasonable square. I am pretty disappointed with the results using a knife - I will try the saw. Thanks.
  
Joe Bifano said:

Hey Bill,  I am just now going to be cutting things.  In the past I used a hand saw and was able to cut straight cuts for insulating some old foam between my studs in the Utility room. I will try that again.


Are you trying to do miters for the corners?


Bill Barker said:

Chris,

   What is your recommended method of cutting the 2" thick Dow square edge blue board? I have been using a thin blade knife with a straight edge, but always seem to tilt the knife one way or the other as I struggle to pull the blade through the thick foam. This may not be too bad for a raft, but I am trying to make foam sidewalls to insulate my troughs and the angles make it challenging to join them. Any words of advice would be much appreciated.


Chris Smith said:

Dow square edge is the best foam to use. I have dow scoreboard that has been in use for two years now. It can be used just fine despite what has been said about it. It is important to make the first cut on the 4x8 sheet down the center score longways(leaving 2-2x8 sheets). Then cut the 2x8 sheets to 2x4 or into 2x2s. Cutting the score boards this way will leave 1 score in a cut down sheet instead of 3 scores (if the 4x8 sheet were cut into 2x4 down the length). If a piece of foam breaks on the score it is very easy ti repair using polyurethane sealant and a few long stainless lag bolts for support. DO NOT USE THE EPS FOAM!!!!!! The EPS foam is weak, will water log, and roots grow right through it. Most people prefer 2" foam because the 2" net pots are 2" deep allowing the bottom of the pot to sit in the water.


I have sourced blue board from White Cap building supply. They were the best price on quantity orders.

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