Expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam for geotechnical applications

Bridge Reconstruction with Geofoam

What is Geofoam?

According to the EPS Industry Alliance, Geofoam is defined as follows:

“EPS Geofoam is used in geotechnical applications such as lightweight fill for construction on soft ground, for slope stabilization, and retaining wall or abutment backfill; as well as for roadway and runway sub-grade insulation and foundation insulation.”

Today, Geofoam has become so much more than that definition. Its uses have expanded due to its affordability, R-Value retention, light weight, and in most cases, the availability for expedited implementation.

Expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam has been used as Geofoam in geotechnical applications for more than 30 years. The extraordinary properties of EPS make it a great choice for use as a slope stabilizer, retaining wall backfill, road embankments, or pavement insulation, to name a few.

EPS foam has many specific advantages for use as a soil substitute, being only 1% the weight of soil and rock and less than 10% the weight of other lightweight fill alternatives. Geofoam blocks provides stability to unstable soil conditions. Its lightweight characteristics make it a great solution for lightening the load of concrete in bridges, decks, green roofs, etc. 

ICA Geofoam New Jersey Turnpike Project

ICA Geofoam New Jersey Turnpike Project

The uses for EPS are expanding as it is providing manageable solutions for various types of projects. The ease of cutting and shaping EPS foam make it ideal for swimming pool construction. For roofs and rooftop gardens, it is lightweight and easily tapered to provide the necessary drainage. Going together like building blocks, Geofoam also sets the stage for stadium seating. In passive building construction, to achieve the highest ratings, EPS is now being specified for the first layer of construction to attain an advanced building envelope.

Benefits of Geofoam Blocks

These many unique attributes make Geofoam a multifunctional, optimal choice for a broad scope of projects:

• Lightweight
• Low Density
• Thermal Insulation Value
• Compressive Strength
• Long Life Performance
• Reduced Construction Time
• Lower Construction Cost
• Stability
• Limited Water Absorption
• Ease of Handling

ICA can manufacture EPS foam blocks in densities of .75 PCF to 2.85 PCF, with or without recycled content. Although not necessary, an insect repellent can be incorporated into the EPS foam if so specified. Generally, EPS blocks are requested in full billet sizes, i.e. 36 x 48 x 96, but can be custom cut to your specifications. ICA-GEOFOAM meets or exceeds the requirements of ASTM D6817, Standard Specification for Rigid Cellular Polystyrene Geofoam.

ICA has long recognized the exceptional value of this multifunctional EPS foam product which has been used abroad for many years. We are excited about its increased awareness and growing applications. Operating at the forefront, ICA worked closely with Dr. Dawit Negussey, the founding director of the Geofoam Research Center (GRC), at Syracuse University in 1997. GRC continues to be the leader in developing the standards and performance verifications of Geofoam projects.

Download your FREE PDF copy of the Expanded Polystryrene (EPS) Geofoam Applications & Technical Data provided by EPS Industry Alliance.

Download Our GEOFOAM Spec Sheet Geofoam Installation Instructions

If you are working on a geotechnical project and are concerned about UV Exposure, please read the following document provided by the EPS Industry Alliance:

EPS & UV Exposure
ICA Geofoam PennDOT Road Stabilizing Project

ICA Geofoam PennDOT Road Stabilizing Project

Geofoam Applications

  • Road Construction
  • Road Widening
  • Bridge Abutment
  • Bridge Underfill
  • Culverts, Pipelines & Buried Structures
  • Compensating Foundation
  • Rail Embankment
  • Landscaping & Vegetative Green Roofs
  • Retaining & Buried Wall Backfill
  • Slope Stabilization
  • Stadium & Theater Seating
  • Levees
  • Airport Runway/Taxiway
  • Foundations for Lightweight Structures
  • Noise & Vibration Damping
  • Compressible Application
  • Seismic Application
  • Permafrost Embankments
  • Rockfall/Impact Protection

Geofoam in Green Roofs

The benefits of installing a green roof are both environmental and economical. Proper materials and installation are important. The lightweight and versatile characteristics of Geofoam make it a popular choice for insulation in green roof systems. Quality insulation is a critical layer in this sprouting business.

See how Geofoam makes a large green roof possible on a parking deck in Chicago – Maggie Daley Park.

Structure of a Green Roof - Geofoam insulation

Download Our Green Roof Literature

ICA’s Geofoam Projects throughout the Northeastern United States

ICA's Pennsylvania Geofoam Projects

  • 8th Street Bridge
    Allentown, PA
  • Bryn Mawr Hospital Parking Garage
    Bryn Mawr, PA
  • University of PA
    Philadelphia, PA
  • Penn Cinema
    Lititz, PA
  • Franklin Smedley School
    Philadelphia, PA
  • Flagship Cinemas
    Mechanicsburg, PA
  • Frank Theaters
    York, PA
  • Independence Mall
    Philadelphia, PA
  • The Worship Center
    Lancaster, PA
  • Philadelphia Art Museum
    Philadelphia, PA
  • PennDOT Pearce Mill Road Project
    Cranberry Township, PA
  • Brownstown Elementary
    Brownstown, PA
  • Penn Manor School
    Millersville, PA

ICA's New York & New Jersey Geofoam Projects

  • School of the Holy Child
    Rye, NY
  • Palisades Mall
    West Nyack, NY
  • Ferry Point Golf Course
    Bronx, NY
  • William Vale Hotel
    Brooklyn, NY
  • Newton Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant
    Brooklyn, NY
  • Ground Zero
    New York, NY
  • American Dream Meadowlands
    East Rutherford, NJ
  • AMC Theater
    West Orange, NJ
  • Pier C Park
    Hoboken, NJ
  • NJ Turnpike Authority Wall Project
  • Spohn Ranch
    Long Branch, NJ

ICA's Other Geofoam Projects - New England, D.C., DE, MD, VA, WV, OH

  • Heaven Skate Park
    Hartford, CT
  • American University East Campus
    Washington, D.C.
  • Watergate Hotel
    Washington, D.C.
  • Allegro Condominiums
    Washington, D.C.
  • MGM National Harbor
    Oxon Hill, MD
  • EZA
    Arlington, VA
  • Columbus Commons
    Columbus, OH
  • Chevy Chase Lake Apartments Project
    Chevy Chase, MD
  • Joppatown High School
    Joppatown, MD

Geofoam Specifications

D1622.70 min..90 min.1.15 min.1.35 min.1.80 min.2.40 min.2.85 min.
Compressive Resistance
Min. psi at 1%
Min. psi at 5%
Min. psi at 10%
Flexural Strength
(Min. psi)
Oxygen Index
(Min. Volume %)
Water Absorption
(by total immersion)
Max. % by volume


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