PIMA takes issue with Baxter

The Polyisocyanurate Insulation Manufacturers Association (PIMA) would like to respond to polyisocyanurate roof insulation issues raised by Dick Baxter, president of CRS Inc., Monroe N.C., in "A different look at polyiso," June issue, page 40.

PIMA understands Baxter's opinions are his and do not reflect the views of Professional Roofing or NRCA. However, PIMA believes the article lends credence to a poor technical investigation and continues a pattern by Baxter of attacking the polyisocyanurate insulation industry using inappropriate test methods and conditions. In one clear case, Baxter cites "problems" with a polyisocyanurate board he admits was stored improperly outside in shipping wrappers. His comments about job-site experiences are the result of improper storage, installation and material handling.

By paging through the article and reading the text below the pictures, one would get the impression polyisocyanurate roof insulation readily absorbs water and contractors can expect to find these problems at job sites. Only by digging through the article can one discover Baxter placed the depicted foam samples—with and without facers—"in an autoclave for 60 minutes." Not only is autoclave facer testing unique to Baxter, but left unsaid in the article are the conditions one can find in an autoclave.

For the uninitiated, an autoclave is used to sterilize materials by exposing them to saturated steam under pressure of about 15 pounds per square inch (103 kPa) at a temperature of about 220 F to 250 F (104 C to 121 C). Obviously, destroying a sample by an autoclave is not real-world conditions. PIMA is accustomed to criticism from Baxter that ASTM International standards don't reflect the real world. We feel the same about his autoclave test.