(EPS) The Use Of Expanded Polystyrene Boards For Construction Purposes

What is EPS?

Expanded polystyrene (EPS) is an innovative building material that lends to the design and structural integrity of many building projects. It consists of a large expanded polystyrene plate (EPS), high-strength lightweight steel meshes interconnected by electro welded steel bars and additional layers of mortar or concrete.

EPS is an inert material that does not rot and provides no nutritional benefits to vermin therefore does not attract pests such as rats or termites. Its strength, durability and lightweight nature makes it a versatile and popular building product.  Applications include insulated panel systems for walls, roofs and floors as well as facades for both domestic and commercial buildings.

Use of EPS technology in affordable housing

Affordable housing is housing that is appropriate for the needs of a range of very low to moderate income households. As a rule of thumb, housing is usually considered affordable if it costs less than 30 percent of gross household income.

Expandable Polystyrene has become an essential part on the development of affordable housing in developing countries. The EPS raw material has demonstrated all the benefits it brings to help the housing deficit in Africa.

The main benefits of building with EPS are:

CharacteristicConventional MasonryEPS Building Technology
Mechanical ResistanceExcellent mechanical strength, however,
lower than the system in EPS panels.
It drives more heat, but spends more energy
The compressive strength of EPS concrete
is governed by the quantity of EPS, followed by
the water to cement ratio. Its resistance to
compressive stresses increases as the density
becomes higher
Fire ResistanceExcellentLow
Thermal InsulationIt is constituted by good insulation, but the ceramic block has a lower resistive
capacity than the EPS
EPS has very low thermal conductivity due
to its closed cell structure consisting of 98% air
StorageIts storage takes up a lot of space,
reducing the mobility rate in the work
It can be stacked horizontally superimposed with a maximum of 20 panels. It reduces space occupancy
WeightVery heavyReduces the structural weight of the work,
as the EPS is 98% composed of air
ManpowerIt is labour intensive, however, it does not need a specialized workforceFor its simplicity, execution does not
require specialized labour, but a
qualification through training
Speed in constructionBecause of its fully artisanal system, it is
characterized by a much slower and less productive method
Due to the easy handling and simplified
application characterized by modularity,
buildings take a shorter time to build
PriceLow initial unit cost, due to the abundance of its materials and simple manufactureHigher initial unit cost, however,
if taken into account the entire context involved the price may become lower
DurabilityLarger than any other material, being can exceed 100 yearsThe cellular structure of EPS makes it
dimensionally stable and therefore does not deteriorate with age. EPS is also odourless and non-toxic
Execution of
complementary installations
Chasing done to accommodate pipes
or cables produces debris and is labour
Chasing is facilitated by passing a stream of
hot air over the panel to provide room for
electrical & plumbing systems
Material WastesBecause it is handmade, the amount of
construction wastes and debris is large
Due to their modular character, where the parts
arrive ready according to dimensional needs,
it is possible that there is a reduction of almost 100% in waste
Plaster adhesion Its adhesion capacity is much higher, due to a greater porosity that the material presentsThere is difficulty in joining this material,
due to its high im-permeability
Pavement limitationThere are no limitations and can be
checked in the most diverse quantities
There is a limitation of up to 4 floors.
Since to obtain larger numbers, it is
necessary to resort to auxiliary
structures such as beams and columns
SustainabilityLarge amounts of debris are used for further dumping, using a lot of water and
energy from its manufacture to execution
Expanded polystyrene 100% recyclable and reusable

Other advantages of this technology are;

  • Easy to transport
  • Soundproof
  • Design flexibility (Versatile)
  • Moisture resistant

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