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[Polystyrene Fact Sheet]
to Size Available in most all types starting @ $59.00 per order
Shipping centers are conveniently located throughout North America.
Normal shipping time for un cut sheets is 4 to 8 days. Add a
few days for custom cutting. We save you money on
Truck orders will start @ $129.00
& up on 4X8ft sheets.
$50.00 for 10ft lengths. Note: sizes 32" X 48" X 6" and under can
ship UPS starting @ $49.00. Call for Quote.
[CANADA] For Canadian orders: Use the prices in US
Foam core boards are made with a polystyrene foam core and either a
white clay coated, black or brown Kraft paper facing. The original white
foam core board was produced for the graphic arts industry by Monsanto
and was named Fome-Cor. Today there are several other competitors, as
well as a generic version. The way the polystyrene bubbles are formed
during manufacture allows the edges to stay sealed, or at least crimped,
during die cutting. This creates a characteristic pillow effect. It also
means that any accidental impressions or dents can permanently damage
the foamboard. The foam center is not affected by moisture, but the surface
paper is, and outdoor use as well as wet mounting can be a problem. The
surface of foam boards will readily accept oil paints and acrylic paints, but the foam
is sensitive to solvents, particularly those in lacquers and shellacs.
Fome-Cor cuts easily with a razor blade, if the blade is sharp and
without defects; if it is not, it can tear the foamboard instead of cutting
it. My experience with this particular foamboard is that it behaves as if it
had a grain and tends to cut well in only one direction. This board is
commonly used in dry mounting and vacuum mounting, as well as in wet
mounting when counter mounting is done.
There are three types of Fome-Cor: original foamboard, acid-free (ARCHIVAL)
super thick foamboard. The original is made in two thicknesses, 1/8 and 3/16 inch,
and four sizes, 20"X40", 32" x40", 40"X60", and 48"X96", of which the
first two are most common. In the 3/16-inch thickness, there is a
greater variety of available sizes, but only the first three are readily
found. The surface pH is slightly acidic, 5.5 to 6.5, and it is for this
reason Monsanto produces an acid-free Fome-Cor where the surface paper
is buffered to a pH of 7.5 to 8.5. The printed literature for this board
suggests that it is archival and may be used as a substitute for museum
board. This seems questionable because, for example, the surface of this
foamboard is made from a Kraft paper and not a purified cellulose, or cotton
fiber. It is uncertain how much alkaline reserve the buffer can provide
in neutralizing air pollutants and the natural formation of acid during
the aging of Kraft paper. There are also questions about the permanency
of polystyrene itself. This foamboard is obviously an improvement on the
original; nevertheless I have reservations about its archival qualities.
The acid-free foam core is produced in thicknesses of 1/8 and 3/16-inch,
and sizes of 32"X40" and 40" x60". The super thin variety is
identical to the original foamboard but is -1/8-thick instead of 3/16-inch.
The available sizes are 30" x40", 32" x40", and 40" x 60".
Fire Resistant Foam Board
InSite® Flame Resistant
This foamboard is used in applications requiring additional fire safety.
The board has paper liners that can be easily painted, screen printed,
mounted or laminated. Insite Fr, is manufactured by
which uses flame retardant
additives in the foam center and in the paper facers. The
polystyrene foam center is UL® classified, R4712N and the specially
formulated flame resistant facers meet TAPPI T4610M-94 standards.
Foam-X ® Board
Foam-X is produced by
Primex Plastics Corporation. With all its
similarities to Fome-Cor, it has some significant differences. The
formation of the foam bubbles and their higher density in this board
allow for better retention of shape and minimize damage. This board is
said to have "memory" because slight indentations tend to heal
themselves. Consequently, in die-cutting the edges do not crimp or seal
as they do with Fome-Cor. I have found that Foam-X does not have any
directional cutting resistance and cuts well in all directions. It is
manufactured in the same sizes as Fome-Cor and is also available in an
acid-free version. This board is now produced with a UV inhibitor to
reduce the possibility of ultraviolet light breaking down the foam.
There are two thicknesses-0.125 inch, or '/e inch, and 0.210 inch, which
is almost 1/4-inch thick and is thus often referred to as '/a-inch
nominal. Primex prefers to use thousandths of an inch rather than
fractions in referring to thickness. The surface pH is between 6.5 and
7.0 for the regular surface and 7.5 for the acid-free surface.
Prime-Foam-X is a little more expensive than Fome-Cor.
Gatorfoam has a foam center of Dow styrofoam polystyrene with a Luxcell
veneer. The veneer is a multi layered, resin-impregnated, Kraft paper
surface. Styrofoam is a much harder form of polystyrene foam and is much
more durable, but does not have any better aging properties. The
hardness of the core combined with the Luxcell veneer results in a board
that can only be cut with a table saw, which significantly reduces its
ease for use in picture framing and storage. The major advantage of
Gatorfoam is its thickness, which ranges from 3/16 to 2 inches.
Gatorfoam is manufactured by
3A composites with three surfaces, one white, one Black the
other brown. The brown Kraft is better for receiving paint and for
mounting. There are also two grades: Gatorfoam I is the standard,
Gatorfoam II is a less expensive version with an expanded polystyrene
foam center. This board is primarily used in model building and as a
lightweight substitute for plywood.