NFDC Drids


Demolition Refurbishment Information Data Sheets

Z2 Foam Insulation

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Foam Insulation 17 06 04

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Foam insulation is a rigid closed cell product made from blown insulation and manufactured in a wide range of styles, sizes, thicknesses and finishes depending on the specification required. It can be bound to another product to form a composite. It will sometimes include an insulating metal film and/or an architectural face e.g. vinyl. Testing may be necessary to determine the presence of CFCs.

Waste Streams     


The demolition industry is committed to ensuring that the most efficient and environmentally friendly waste stream is chosen for your demolition arisings. Please hover the disposal routes to view the waste options available for this material.

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Reclaim & Reuse

There are limited opportunities for the reclamation and reuse of foam insulation at this time. There are other issues such as REACH which will have some bearing on the possibility to reuse.

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Foam insulation can be recycled when it is not contaminated and where markets exist for the feedstock. Product placement opportunities are likely to vary throughout the UK.

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Foam insulation has very good calorific value so incineration with energy recovery is possible at those WFE sites accepting such materials.

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Sending foam insulation to landfill is the only option where materials are contaminated or type unknown. NFDC is involved with the Building Insulation Foam REAP to improve future options for reuse, recycling and recovery

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Usage & Probable Locations

Foam insulation sheet is mostly used for insulating cavity walls, floors, ceilings and stud walls but is also used as an insulating and decorative layer underneath vinyl steel sheeting and cladding of commercial and industrial buildings. It is commonly found on roofs, gable ends, external walls, ceilings, rafters, over and above suspended and concrete floors and in stud walls.

Personal Protective Equipment

PPE requirements indicated are for guidance purposes only. DRIDS has identified the PPE that is mandatory on all demolition projects and ones that may be required subject to site specific Risk Assessment & Method Statement (RAMS). Hover over the icon to determine the types of PPE required for the removal of this material.

Removal, Segregation & Storage

Foam insulation sheets that are in good condition, not damaged and not coated with paints or other coatings may have some reuse value. They should be segregated and stored flat on a suitably sized pallet and away from plant movements. Foam insulation destined for recovery or recycling should be stored in a similar fashion or collected within a covered segregated skip to avoid contamination. Foam insulation destined for landfill should be segregated from any hazardous materials and placed in a mixed waste skip.


Hammer, saw, nailbar, crowbar, screwdriver, jemmy bar, chisel, electric screwdriver, spade end tool.

Fixtures, Fittings & Connections

Foam insulation has been traditionally fixed in place with nails or underneath roofing sheets with screws or drive nails For cavity walls, inbetween trusses or above/below/inbetween suspended and concrete floors, the foam insulation sheets will be tightly run between the timbers or concrete joists or just laid in place over or under the slab. Products like thermal laminated boards containing plasterboard, foam insulation and insulating film are bound together with adhesives and difficult to separate for recycling.

Health & Safety

Subject to task-specific Risk Assessment & Method Statement (RAMS). Use correct protective equipment for removing fixings, especially nails and screws. Wear gloves when handling sheets with damaged edges, coated in insulating film or decorative film to prevent irritation, cuts and friction burns. Wear eye protection when removing nails or screws with a crowbar, hammer or nailbar. Do not walk on wet and slippery sheets. Wear mask when cutting or breaking foam insulation to prevent inhalation. Do not walk on insulation boards between joists.

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