EPS Foam and Concrete Working Together at Hoyle Stone Products

EPS Foam and Concrete

When people think of concrete, what typically comes to mind are the big mixing trucks that pour concrete to make sidewalks. However, the concrete industry is so much more than that, as our friends at Hoyle Stone Products will show.

EPS foam and Concrete - Hoyle Stone ProductsHoyle Stone Products is a cast stone manufacturer that specializes in custom architectural and decorative precast stone and concrete. Their process is quite different, requiring a high level of craftsmanship, building the forms and hand finishing each piece. Unlike the big Redimix trucks carrying tons of wet concrete, Hoyle Stone’s material contains a mixture of premium aggregates, admixtures, colors and cement along with just enough water to allow the material to be moist. The consistency of their material is like that of a sandcastle you’d build at the beach! Just like building sandcastles, each bucket, or mold in Hoyle’s case, reveals the detail of the mold once it is releases from the mold. Each stone will then cure in a steam chamber overnight, allowing for a fully cured stone in the morning!

A lot of time and care is needed for each mold and some molds are more complicated than others. Much of Hoyle Stone’s work is custom, requiring a bit of ingenuity to create. Over the years they have acquired new techniques to build their molds and make their stones, purchasing a hot wire foam cutter in 2015. They’ve been using EPS foam in place of other materials, saving time and fine tuning their process. From using foam to create specific profiles in the molds to packaging for their stones for safe shipment, EPS foam has become a staple part of Hoyle’s manufacturing process.

 

Supports

Hoyle’s cast stone mix is put into each mold and compacted using a handheld, mechanical, air powered tamping tool allowing for the material to be packed tightly. Once the mold is full, it is turned, and the mold is carefully removed in sections. The stones are then hand finished to conceal any seams or blemishes. Typically, stones are flat on the bottom and can be flipped directly onto a piece of steel; however, if this is not the case, Hoyle uses foam supports for the stones to rest and maintain their shape during their cure time in the steaming chamber.

 

Foam Block Outs

Foam Block Outs

Some stones call for voids or block outs. This may be because they are going to be placed around an existing column or pole. Instead of using wooden blocks, Hoyle started using foam instead!

 

Hardshell Foam

In cases where customers want the look and feel of cast stone but are concerned about structural support or costs, Hoyle Stone offers hard shell foam pieces. The shape is cut out of EPS foam on the hot wire foam cutter and then treated with a cementitious spray, coating the foam entirely, making it hard, durable and look like stone.

 

Foam Party Props

Since Hoyle Stone began using foam, it was only a matter of time before they got creative in other ways. From tiki bars to small stage props, they’ve done some cool shapes over the years utilizing EPS!

 

Foam Plugs

Hoyle Stone Products has many customers that are masons and began offering foam plugs for circular windows and archways. Instead of the crew having to build a support out of wood on site, Hoyle cuts the exact size, shape and curvature they need to support their brick.

Last year we followed their process of making a custom fire bowl. They used a foam dome to represent the inside of the bowl and applied their specialized GFRC material on top.

Hoyle Stone is a prime example of the endless versatility of EPS Foam. We love getting a glimpse at how EPS integrates into our customers’ production processes. We are so thankful to Hoyle Stone for their continued business and friendship and for sharing their story with us!

 

When Creativity Meets Concrete

What do you get when concrete meets creativity? Wild Child Concrete! As an offshoot from her career in the concrete business, Mallory from Hoyle Stone has unleashed her creativity to encompass colorful and retail-oriented concrete products. From Lazy Susans to trays, soap dishes to planters, Wild Child Concrete adds a colorful twist to the world of concrete. Be sure to visit her Etsy store and follow on FACEBOOK & INSTAGRAM!

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This report is brought to you by Insulation Corporation of America (ICA) – a Women-Owned manufacturer of Geofoam and Expanded Polystyrene (EPS), which many commonly but mistakenly call Styrofoam™. ICA is located in Allentown, PA and services the entire Mid-Atlantic Region from Virginia to Maine to Ohio.