Construction costs increase steadily, with increasing demands for alternative building materials which are relatively cheaper and similar in performance to conventional ones. Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) is one of such material options. It is strong, durable, light weight, water resistant with excellent thermal insulation. Most importantly, it is Environmental friendly (Green). Popularly referred to as Styrofoam™, the name styrofoam is actually a trademarked term for closed-cell extruded polystyrene foam made for thermal insulation and craft applications. EPS foam is the correct term for any form of expanded polystyrene. Expanded Polystyrene is a lightweight, rigid, closed cell panel, affordable and incredibly sustainable choice in the construction industry due to versatility and performance. Numerous applications of EPS in construction abound for about every part of the building envelope. It can be used as a structural base infill for example in floor Slab, Roads, Bridges Railway infrastructure, or as a structural element of its own, Roof Eaves, wall (partition), Décor Materials and so on. Structural tests carried on EPS show that its initial strength is sustained over a period of up to 30 years.
A common example of an EPS application is in External Cornices, easily installed with 2 x 2 softwood around the building area where the parapet will seat and set on a straight line and nailed at intervals of 600mm . The parapet is simply placed over the wood, next is fastening of the Roof parapet to the open roof beam reinforcement after which loose concrete is cast over the roof beam to cover all open reinforcement. The Last stage is to screed the joints of the Roofing parapet to have a uniform and smooth surface.
In Nigeria there are a handful of manufacturers of EPS products notable among these are Polystyrene industrie Ltd Based in Abuja and Vitapur, a subsidiary of Vitafoam Nigeria PLC