New Jersey Lightweight Fill

Geofoam Alternatives

CJGrout & CJFill

There are a few different geofoam alternatives on the market. One, plural component geotechnical polyurethane, is similar in density. A second, cellular concrete, is a bit heavier, but significantly faster to install, and much less expensive.

What Is Geofoam

Geofoam is another name for expanded polystyrene, or styrofoam. It’s made in factories, where a resin is expanded and cured into large blocks. The blocks are then cut to size. Because the material is so lightweight (usually around two pounds per cubic foot), blocks that are around 4′ x 4′ x 8′ are typical. But they can be cut to pretty much any shape at the factory.

Geofoam is sent to a site already expanded, and is stacked in place by labor in the field.

Benefits of Geofoam

Geofoam is really lightweight, which is a huge advantage over may types of traditional fill materials. It is well suited for things like built up ramps inside of existing structures where adding loads could be a concern.

Downsides of Geofoam

Geofoam (Expanded PolyStyrene, or EPS) is a petroleum based plastic. Because of that, the cost of geofoam can fluctuate significantly with oil prices. The transportation costs for geofoam are also relatively high. Because the material is bulky, and made in a factory, every cubic yard of in place material is a cubic yard of material that’s got to be hauled significant distances.

It’s fairly labor intensive to install geofoam blocks in mass placements. They also have to be laid in a particular stacking pattern to keep the entire mass from shifting like dominoes.

Geofoam Alternatives

CJGeo furnishes and installs two geofoam alternatives.

CJGrout Geotechnical Polyurethanes

CJGrout is our line of rigid cellular plastics, specifically plural component polyurethanes. Unlike geofoam, which is expanded from resin to a large mass at a factory, CJGrout is transported to the site as a liquid, in IBC totes, then expands as part of being sprayed or poured in place. The density of the most common CJGrout geofoam alternative, CJGrout 20SDB is 2.2 pounds per cubic foot. This is right around the density of geofoam.

Installing CJGrout 20SDB.

The raw material for geotechnical polyurethanes is a bit more than geofoam. So, if your project requires material piled above grade, geofoam is usually the way to go. If you’re filling pits or irregularly shaped cavities, CJGrout 20SDB is the way to go. Because 20SDB expands during placement, it exactly conforms to the shape of the space that it’s filling. No trimming required, and no chances of void spaces that could cause future problems.

Unlike geofoam, geotechnical polyurethanes are not affected by petroleum. Many polyurethanes will actually react normally when injected straight into diesel. So, no need for expensive membranes to keep a mass of lightweight fill from melting.

CJFill Low Density Cellular Concrete

CJFill is CJGeo’s line of cellular concrete. Unlike geofoam and CJGrout polyurethanes, cellular concrete is a cement-based foam, not a plastic based foam.

RiverRenew Lightweight Fill
Installing CJFill-Ultra Lightweight

CJFill weighs more than the plastic foams – the lowest density of CJFill is typically around 20 pounds per cubic foot in place. However, CJFill tends to cost significantly less in place per cubic yard than geofoam.

Cellular concrete is called Low Density Controlled Low Strength Material by the American Concrete Institute. It’s very lightweight, and has all the constructibility benefits of flowable fill, such as:

  • production – CJFill-Ultra Lightweight is made onsite at up to 200 cubic yards per hour
  • poured in place – conforms to any shape
  • economical – at scale, typically costs about half the price of geofoam
  • higher strength – CJFill is significantly stronger, and less elastic, than EPS
  • permeable – CJFill-High Permeability provides lower buoyancy load reduction

Speak With An Expert

Facing a challenge, or need guidance picking the right geofoam alternatives? Give us a shout or shoot us a text. Click the state marker for the location of the project for contact info for the appropriate rep.