Highrise Pool Construction »

What is the best fill for constructing a pool in a high-rise building?

When a swimming pool contractor is asked to bid on a pool in a high-rise apartment or condominium, typically construction is more than 50% complete and the basic “tub” where the pool is to be located is already complete. The tub or vault, as it is also called is usually formed larger than the required pool and has a flat bottom. Since weight is always a consideration, the best material to use to create the final shape of the pool is EPS Geofoam. It is extremely light weight and is available custom cut to create the bottom slope speeding up construction. Steps and tanning shelves can also be provided precut. Gunite is applied directly to the EPS.

EPS Geofoam weighs one to two pounds a cubic foot, a fraction of the weight of conventional fill materials such as gravel or sand. The lightweight sheets and blocks can be placed by hand and are easy to get from the ground to the pool location. This pool in Orlando Florida is one of many around the country that have been built using EPS Geofoam for light weight void fill supplied by Universal Foam Products. We ship from over 100 location in the US and Canada.

Sales Person

Kevin Baker
E-Mail Kevin Baker
Universal Foam Products, LLC
EPS | Styrofoam | Solutions
410.825.8300 Ext 228 PHONE | 410.825.5050 FAX

What is the most cost-effective concrete block-out material? »

Careful planning for vertical chases in the construction of a high-rise building can save thousands of dollars in rework later in the project. For this 50-story high-rise in Morrisville, PA the contractor carefully laid out the location of vertical penetrations on each floor and used .9 lb density EPS of various sizes to create the block-outs. All the block outs were the same thickness as the slab that was to be poured and they were all secured in place using strapping. The EPS was delivered to the site, several floors at a time, labeled per the contractor’s instructions. After the concrete set up and the forms were removed the EPS block-outs were easily punched out.

Expanded polystyrene is used for both horizontal and vertical block-outs in concrete. It is used to form architectural treatments and waffle forms for concrete floors. EPS form liners are used to form columns and vertical and horizontal bridge supports. They are more economical than steel or wood forms and can usually be produced much faster. The high strength to weight ratio of EPS makes it ideal for most of these applications.

Let Universal Foam Products take a look at your next project to see if we can save you time and money with block-outs or form liners.

Sales Person

Les Rush
E-Mail Les Rush
Universal Foam Products, LLC
EPS | Styrofoam | Solutions
410.825.8300 ext 226 PHONE | 410.825.5050 FAX

Swimming Pool Lightweight Infill Material »

What is the best way to infill a swimming pool no longer needed in a multistory apartment building or a high-rise condominium? It cannot be filled with stone or sand because the additional weight would over stress the structural integrity of the space. EPS geofoam is the answer.

The density of the EPS geofoam to be used will be determined by the new application of the space. With densities ranging from under 1 lb per cubic foot to 3 lbs per cubic foot, there is a correct density for any application.

If the pool has a tapered bottom, tapered pieces of geofoam can be provided to install first to create a level area. Once the space is level rectangular blocks up to 36” thick can be installed to finish filling the space. Any small gaps between pieces on the top layer can be filled with EPS scraps, sand or foaming adhesive.

EPS geofoam pieces up to about 6” thick can be cleanly cut with a reciprocating saw with a metal cutting blade. Pieces from 6” to 10” thick can be cut with a battery operated hot knife with a 10” blade. For pieces over 10” thick, either a Hotwire Bow Cutter or a Geofoam Hotwire Kit should be used. When the last blocks are installed, the woven wire is installed, and the concrete slab poured directly onto the EPS geofoam.

EPS blocks are lightweight and easy to carry and maneuver on an elevator. They are clean and easy to work with making them the ideal material for any interior infill projects such as raising recessed lobbies and fill to limit the weight in large planters.


Sales Person

Jason Isennock
E-Mail Jason Isennock
Universal Foam Products, LLC
EPS | Styrofoam | Solutions
410.825.8300 Ext 250 PHONE | 410.825.5050 FAX

Expanded polystyrene used to create a brick entry to the haunted cemetery »

With EPS your only limitation is your imagination. This haunted house in Texas used blocks and sheets of expanded polystyrene to create a brick entry to the haunted cemetery and EPS sheets and blocks to create the brick walls around the cemetery. As you can tell from the photos everything looks incredibly real. The brickwork, mortar and even aging of the fence are completed to perfection.

EPS is one of the most popular materials used in creating scary cemeteries and haunted houses because it is easy to work with and light weight, making it easy to move and store after the season is over. EPS panels are also used to construct permanent privacy fences where the panels are placed between posts set in the ground and coated with concrete or an EIFS coating.

Call 410-498-0000 for help with your next “scary” project.

Sales Person

Lisa Astrin
E-Mail Lisa Astrin
Universal Foam Products, LLC
EPS | Styrofoam | Solutions
410.825.8300 ext 224 PHONE | 410.825.5050 FAX

Create Rocks and Caves using EPS Foam »

Expanded polystyrene blocks are easy to carve but it takes real skill to turn them into a rock grotto like the one shown here. Our customer in New Iberia, LA travels around the country teaching classes on turning EPS into rocks. After the blocks are carved and glued together, the coating and coloring process begins. The finished product is a stone structure that looks as real as mother nature could make it.

Most people that work with EPS use two main tools for cutting and carving. The first is a hot knife which has a blade that heats up and melts the EPS instead of cutting it. Battery operated models are available with blades up to 10” long. The second tool is a bow cutter which has a bow shape with a wire that runs from tip to tip. There is a controller to adjust the temperature of the wire. The bow cutter also cuts the EPS very cleanly and can cut up to 48” at a time. Other tools used are serrated knives, reciprocating saws and even chain saws.

Sales Person

John Tamburo
E-Mail John Tamburo
Universal Foam Products, LLC
EPS | STYROFOAM™ | Solutions

410-498-0000 ext 232 PHONE | 410-498-0300 FAX

How to use EPS Geofoam to protect buried pipelines and utilities »

Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) Geofoam is an ultra-lightweight yet rigid engineered material with high compressive strengths and predictable yield characteristics. It considerably reduces vertical and horizontal loading when used around utilities or buried pipework. It particularly provides pipeline security in seismic zones and can avoid costly relocation or upgrading of existing utilities.

How does EPS geofoam offer load reduction and seismic protection?

EPS is 100 times lighter than soil with well-defined compressibility characteristics. When placed above a culvert, pipeline or utility supply it can provide a ‘compressive soft zone’. This creates a positive ‘arching’ effect which significantly reduces the vertical loading of the surrounding earth.

When used under concrete structures, it can also absorb upward strain from the expansive forces of a clay-based soil or freezing conditions. Easy to shape around networks of existing pipelines, it reduces both horizontal and vertical loading of the new construction.

What are the applications for using EPS Geofoam to protect pipelines and utilities?

* Protection of buried pipelines – in one major research study EPS was shown to protect a high-strength steel gas transmission pipeline

* Dead load reduction on buried utilities

* Protection of pipes and culverts – often as part of embankment construction

* Protecting pipework in areas at risk of permanent ground deformation e.g. Land sliding, Areas of high to moderate seismicity & Liquefaction

* Sites requiring both vertical and horizontal load reduction

* As a fill material for slot-trench cover systems

* As a lightweight trench backfill material with low density

* Areas requiring additional thermal protection

* Protection for existing internal pipework when floors are being raised or altered

Advantages of using EPS Geofoam in a project that involves buried pipework

* Can allow existing utilities to stay in place – saving significant time and money.

* Can eliminate the need to replace existing utilities as long as vertical loading is reduced.

* Can create any shape required – pre-cut before site delivery with additional onsite changes done with minimal equipment.

* Lightweight EPS blocks are easy to move and store around site; minimal disturbance in sensitive or restricted locations.

* Improves seismic resiliency of the pipeline or utility

* Provides high thermal insulation

* Provides vibration damping properties

* Used as pipe protection for both internal and external construction.

* Used globally for many years with proven success

Talk to the experts on load reduction and pipework protection

Our experts offer advice on specifying Geofoam in all areas of protection for utilities and buried pipework. Our design team assists at all stages of the project from specification and design to delivery and project conclusion. Call Universal Foam Products at 410-498-0000. Shipping from over 100 locations we are local to almost everywhere.

Slurry Wall Forms »

Slurry Wall Forms

Slurry wall construction is used to build reinforced concrete walls in areas close to water or areas with a high water table in order to block the water. Expanded polystyrene forms are used here in the same manner they are used in secant pile foundations, in that the EPS sections are placed in a trench where the wall will be constructed and concrete is installed on both sides of the EPS creating a guide for the hydromill, which is used to dig the foundation. After the concrete sets, the hydromill moves down between the two concrete guide walls to excavate the walls. For a more detailed description of this method go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slurry_wall Universal Foam Products is the industry leader in both Slurry Wall and Secant Pile Forms. Shipping from over 100 locations in the United States and Canada, we are local to almost everywhere. Call us at 410-498-0000 for your next project.


Sales Person

John Tamburo
E-Mail John Tamburo
Universal Foam Products, LLC
EPS | STYROFOAM™ | Solutions

410-498-0000 ext 232 PHONE | 410-498-0300 FAX

EPS Foam Panel used as cushioning for heavy precast concrete panels »

EPS panels and blocks provide cushioning for heavy precast concrete panels during storage and transport. Expanded polystyrene is available in densities ranging from under 1 lb per cubic foot to 3 lbs per cubic foot with compression strengths up to 60 pounds per square inch at 10 percent deformation. This precast manufacturer in DeBary, FL purchased 1x3x5 pads and 2x2x96 strips of .9 lb density EPS, one of the lightest densities available, to help cushion and protect their panels during storage and shipping. Even though the panels compressed substantially in certain areas, they still protected the panels.

EPS blocks are used in shipping a variety of items from finished architectural pieces to stacked utility trailer chassis. Contact Universal Foam Products at 410-498-0000 to assist you. We ship EPS products from over 80 locations in the US and Canada.

Sales Person

John Tamburo
E-Mail John Tamburo
Universal Foam Products, LLC
EPS | STYROFOAM™ | Solutions

410-498-0000 ext 232 PHONE | 410-498-0300 FAX

Creative wall finish produced using EPS foam sheets. »

Creative wall finish produced using EPS foam sheets.

This creative wall finish in Baltimore, MD was produced using 24 sheets of nominal 1 lb density EPS foam and 11 sheets of 3 lb EPS foam sheets. The builder cut the pieces to size, coated them, and glued them to an aluminum panel. The aluminum panel was then attached to the wall and is easily removable if they decide to change the façade.

For a project like this EPS can be easily cut using a hot wire or hot knife. It also cuts well with a band saw. Water based coatings can be applied directly to the surface to provide a variety of different finishes and textures.


Sales Person

Jason Isennock
E-Mail Jason Isennock
Universal Foam Products, LLC
EPS | Styrofoam | Solutions
410.825.8300 Ext 250 PHONE | 410.825.5050 FAX

Custom cut geofoam inserts »

Custom cut Geofoam inserts

When the Vancouver Waterfront Grant St Pier required custom-cut foam inserts to reduce the weight of their structure, Rotschy, Inc turned to Universal Foam Products to provide the tapered and chamfered pieces. EPS15 was approved, and Rotschy, Inc and Universal Foam worked closely from the budgetary stage through several revisions to help create a landmark to be enjoyed for many years to come.

EPS15 Geofoam can be used as a non-structural void fill where structural slabs are used due to heavy live loads, and is often used as a structural fill when live loads are typical of residential or light commercial requirements.

Sales Person

Scott Hefflon
E-Mail Scott Hefflon
Universal Foam Products, LLC
EPS | Styrofoam | Solutions
410.825.8300 Ext 246 PHONE | 410.825.5050 FAX