Planning Your Project

Determine the condition of your wall – will InSoFast work for me?

There are several steps you should address and plan before you start gluing your InSoFast panels. Think of it as a game plan, specifically for your project space. To make the process easier to jump-start, we’ve listed out some Prep Steps you need to tackle:

Determine the Condition of Your Walls 

Make a “map” of your space by taking note of any wall protrusions, pipes, windows, etc. You’ll need to cut the panels accordingly. See our video about, dry stacking”  is a method to determine the proper fit  and layout or any special cuts of panels before you adhered the panels to the wall. Preplanning , “dry stacking” (keeps glue off your hands and off everywhere else.) If it’s possible to remove pipes, old electrical wiring, and other obstacles, do it. It will make your job easier in the long run.  

Cutting around bumps in the wall.

Are the walls structurally sound?

“Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should!”

It is important to inspect the walls you want to cover before you order InSoFast. InSoFast panels are not suitable for every project. It is up to you to decide if your walls are suitable for InSoFast and if you have the skills necessary to fix structural wall defects.  InSoFast panels are a veneer insulation panel designed to be applied to structurally sound walls. 

Are your walls bowed and out of plumb? 

Walls are rarely as level as you’d hope they are. Contractors installing InSoFast against the extremely uneven stone wall pictured above used spray foam and long fasteners to attach the panels. The interlocks that connect each panel together create a self-leveling monolithic wall surface that can be attached using advanced techniques. See Plumb and Leveling Walls

How do I decide if I should use screws or Glue?

Loctite PL Premium’s 3X Stronger Adhesive is tested for use with InSoFast panels.

Glueing the panels to the walls generally is faster, stronger and helps to flatten, plumb, and level a bumpy concrete or cinder block wall.  It is designed to cure 3 times stronger than the average construction adhesive without shrinking. Additionally, it is not a solvent-based chemical. This means it won’t melt the foam and can be used in insufficiently ventilated spaces like basements.

In order for Loctite to “lock tight,” you must prep your walls. This means removing any dirt, debris, loose paint or anything else that may disrupt a wall’s surface. Cleaning the walls also helps prevent future mold and mildew issues by removing dust and pollen from the wall surface.

Mold grows on concrete because of the organic components like dirt and dust that stick to it. You can protect against these issues and ensure a strong adhesive bond by thoroughly scrubbing your walls with a masonry cleaner such as Trisodium Phosphate (TSP) mixed in warm water. If you are still unsure about your wall conditions after cleaning you can try an adhesive test 

Adhesive Tests

It’s generally a good idea to perform an adhesive test if you are unsure about the conditions of your walls. Start the test by spreading a bead of Loctite PL Premium 3X Stronger adhesive onto a 6” long scrap of 2×4 wood or a sample InSoFast stud. Press the “test block” against the wall with one end resting on the floor. This helps to keep it from sliding down and falling off the wall.

Support it in place if necessary. You’ll need to wait 24-48 hours for the adhesive to cure, but always remember that PL Premium takes 14 days to reach its full strength.

When the curing time has passed you are ready to test the strength of the bond! Try to pry the test board off the wall. If you can manage to pull it off with your hands, you will need to mechanically fasten the panels to the wall.

You can either use 3” mechanical fasteners by themselves or in addition to the adhesive. Our President and inventor recently noted that, “There have been some unnecessary doubts in terms of the adhesives…it’s easy to understand why it would seem unbelievable that an 8-ft stud section could hold 7,000 lbs of straight pull off, but we’ve engineered our product to meet those capabilities.” Believe in the stud!

What do I do If the glue does not work?

For adhered applications using PL Premium adhesive on walls that are subject to peeling or flaking paint, you can supplement the installation of InSoFast panels with mechanical fasteners such as Tapcon® screws or Perma‐Grip nails. See: Using Screws & Fasteners:

If you are doing a basement, now is the time to fix any water issues

This is your last chance to fix anything before you cover it up. It is always better to keep water out than to try to manage the water inside. InSoFast panels have built-in drainage planes designed to channel water out of a wall system, but it’s important to understand that InSoFast panels are not a substitute for waterproofing.

Water Redirection

The back of the InSoFast panel features a series of channels that prevent water from becoming trapped in a wall system by allowing it to flow out. These channels are specifically-sized cavities that moderate wall pressure so that the wall assembly is continuously drained. Adding a perimeter drainage system to your basement improves the functionality of these channels by providing a space for the water to escape. See Perimeter Drainage Systems for Basements

You may also wish to consider a system for Active Dampness Control (PDF, 740kb).

Drylok Extreme Masonry Waterproofer was tested for adhesive use with InSoFast Panels.

This smooth waterproof paint is perfect for the most demanding conditions including interior, exterior, above or below grade masonry walls, basement walls and more. It is also specially formulated to resist mildew growth. There are many other options for added waterproofing protection for concrete walls. Learn more about waterproofing on our Waterproofing and Moisture Management Page.

Plan out for the window, door, and other openings

InSoFast is an insulation panel with studs. The studs are not always going to align with the windows and doors for your InSoFast project. This can leave you with a foam edge that you will need to frame out the openings with wood or metal furring that meets the thickness of the InSoFast panels. This step is easier to accomplish with EX 2.5 (2½”) panels because they are the same thickness as standard 2×3 lumber. Framing openings for UX 2.0 (2″) panels may require additional work.

You also need to make sure the framing is at least 2″ wide for attachment purposes. You can use pressure-treated lumber, western cedar, or cellular PVC for the material. This framing will ensure an even attachment point for things like drywall in case the InSoFast’s embedded stud does not perfectly meet the edge.

To attach the framed out opening to concrete, you can use the same methods you’ve selected for the InSoFast panels. To keep it simple use PL Premium adhesive. We also recommend Tapcon concrete screws or Perma-Grip nails.

Alternative method for outside corners around openings.
  • Use a metal corner angle (2″ x 2″, 25ga sheet metal) to wrap outside corners of the window or door opening.
    • Generally available in the roofing/flashing section of home improvement stores or drywall supply yards.
  • Place a bead of adhesive approximately 1-2″ from each side of the corner. Press 25 ga. sheet metal angle into adhesive. 
  • To hang drywall use all-purpose drywall screws into the InSoFast studs and into the sheet metal corner angle.
  • Fasten the trim molding with light gauge finishing nails.

Make a plan on where you will need electric wiring

Electrical wiring chases are one of the many features built into the InSoFast panel. They run vertically at 16″ on center and horizontally at 24″ on center in the panels. This grid-work provides easy access to pull the wiring to any location. The chases also address the necessary separation from the drywall that’s required by electrical code.

Before you start your project you should plan out how you intend to run the electrical wiring. Use the built-in wiring chases as a guideline. If there is pre-existing electric running along your walls that does not match up with the InSoFast chases, you have a few options:

  1. Measure the distance of your channels to the floors and corners. Cut the first row of panels to adjust for this distance so that the built-in channels will line up.
  2. Carve a custom groove into the panels to add the necessary space for the wiring.
  3. Re-run your electric to follow the channels.

Some projects may require the consultation of a certified electrician.