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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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Aloha Chris,

Would coating EPS with a latex paint strengthen it?

Paint will not strengthen EPS enough to make a difference. The main reason to paint foam is to keep UV light from breaking it down.Paint will not stop roots from growing through EPS foam. Blue foam is just a few bucks more and well worth it!

Derek said:

Aloha Chris,

Would coating EPS with a latex paint strengthen it?

what thickness of foam do you prefer? 

Aloha Chris,

 

Thank you for the e-mail.  I use the Dow Blue Board, but I met a guy from Palolo (Oahu) who earlier this year bought the Friendly Aquaponics micro-system manual (I bought the condo/indoor manual).  I bought mine in August.  Anyway, he said in his manual that EPS was suggested as being used, so he used that.  But, in my manual it highly recommended Dow Blue Board and discouraged another one that had polycyanite (sp?).  

 

I mis-worded my previous post.  I didn't think that painting would make the EPS stronger, but I wondered if perhaps the latex paint would keep the EPS foam pellets together better than if it were not painted.  I've seen photos of other raft systems where EPS was used and it looks like it also breaks apart easily.  So, again, I thought maybe latex might keep it together better much like how taping a glass window supposed keeps the window from shattering into may different pieces.

 

On O'ahu, Dow Blue Board is very difficult to come.  Home Depot doesn't carry it.  Lowe's is the only place I've found that has it, and when I went there it only had the score board at around $50 a sheet.  

Chris Smith said:

Paint will not strengthen EPS enough to make a difference. The main reason to paint foam is to keep UV light from breaking it down.Paint will not stop roots from growing through EPS foam. Blue foam is just a few bucks more and well worth it!

Derek said:

Aloha Chris,

Would coating EPS with a latex paint strengthen it?

In FL, the blue board is twice the cost of the EPS.

Derek, in a differant post, one of the members mentioned 2 # EPS. It's a lot stronger then the 1 #.... which is what lowes/ HD normally carrys. I wonder if there is a manufature of EPS in HI ? You might be able to get the 2#. (?)

 

You might get a better price on the Blue board, if you call  commercial supply yards. One of the big concrete companys here in FL, also carrys the Dow board.

Lowes in Kona is the only place to get blue foam on the Big Island. It costs $54 here. I have a sheet of the EPS in my system and it is taking much abuse after 1 year. I grow many different crops and some have grown into the foam or expanded the holes so much that my net pots do not fit anymore. I will never use EPS for rafts again for rafts.

Derek said:

Aloha Chris,

 

Thank you for the e-mail.  I use the Dow Blue Board, but I met a guy from Palolo (Oahu) who earlier this year bought the Friendly Aquaponics micro-system manual (I bought the condo/indoor manual).  I bought mine in August.  Anyway, he said in his manual that EPS was suggested as being used, so he used that.  But, in my manual it highly recommended Dow Blue Board and discouraged another one that had polycyanite (sp?).  

 

I mis-worded my previous post.  I didn't think that painting would make the EPS stronger, but I wondered if perhaps the latex paint would keep the EPS foam pellets together better than if it were not painted.  I've seen photos of other raft systems where EPS was used and it looks like it also breaks apart easily.  So, again, I thought maybe latex might keep it together better much like how taping a glass window supposed keeps the window from shattering into may different pieces.

 

On O'ahu, Dow Blue Board is very difficult to come.  Home Depot doesn't carry it.  Lowe's is the only place I've found that has it, and when I went there it only had the score board at around $50 a sheet.  

Chris Smith said:

Paint will not strengthen EPS enough to make a difference. The main reason to paint foam is to keep UV light from breaking it down.Paint will not stop roots from growing through EPS foam. Blue foam is just a few bucks more and well worth it!

Derek said:

Aloha Chris,

Would coating EPS with a latex paint strengthen it?

What are the prices there? I have tried every supplier in the state and I cannot get much better price than about $50 for bulk orders. The next best option is shipping a container full, but that is a LOT of foam! Off the shelf at Lowes blue foam is $54 and EPS is $47

David Hart said:

In FL, the blue board is twice the cost of the EPS.

Derek, in a differant post, one of the members mentioned 2 # EPS. It's a lot stronger then the 1 #.... which is what lowes/ HD normally carrys. I wonder if there is a manufature of EPS in HI ? You might be able to get the 2#. (?)

 

You might get a better price on the Blue board, if you call  commercial supply yards. One of the big concrete companys here in FL, also carrys the Dow board.

Great that you have got so much use out of your foam! I grow many different crops and some like mint have aggressive roots that will grow into the foam. Others like celery will expand at the base and widen the holes so that the net pots do not fit for the next crop. Blue foam does not have these problems. Personally I am done with EPS.

Peter Shaw said:

I have been using 1" EPS for 4 years, uncoated or painted in the greenhouse, with no breakdown. Lettuce is not that aggressive in my experience to root heavily into the boards but yes it will to a smaller degree,

 

It is a total mess to cut holes that is for sure, 

 

I have extra boards, so when I harvest I put those aside for a week and they dry out nicely.

 

This is all deep raft hydroponics experience and is what i am starting to use on my aquaponics deep rafts as well.

In central FL, I've found 2" Dow for 32 $ (@ commercial suppliers)

The 2 " EPS.... @ HD is aprox 15$   ( 1 # )

Our lowe's, normally only carrys the 1 " dow

 

I'm not normally awake and posting at this time of the night/morning. Checking on my AP

system and checking if my pipes are freezing.  I moved to FL, so I could be warm..????....:-(

I'm not normally awake and posting at this time of the night/morning. Checking on my AP

system and checking if my pipes are freezing.  I moved to FL, so I could be warm..????....:-(

You should have moved to Hawaii. Shorts and flip flops year around. Sometimes on a winter morning  I need a light sweatshirt to go with shorts and flip flops, but then I am located 1500' up a volcano.

That's our 'normal' winter wear too. My elevation is aprox 50 feet :-)

I'm blaming Al Gore for it being cold.  If I saw his movie, I'd be wanting my money back !



Chris Smith said:

I'm not normally awake and posting at this time of the night/morning. Checking on my AP

system and checking if my pipes are freezing.  I moved to FL, so I could be warm..????....:-(

You should have moved to Hawaii. Shorts and flip flops year around. Sometimes on a winter morning  I need a light sweatshirt to go with shorts and flip flops, but then I am located 1500' up a volcano.

Hmmmm... "Cool White' ...?  Maybe 'Kool Seal'......used on metal roofs....

http://www.lowes.com/pd_12050-256-KST063450-20_0__?productId=300993...

 

I've used it on my travel trailer.It's pretty durable.

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