Concrete, Styrofoam work well together

I've been watching the progress on the office complex known as One West Main around the Evergreen garage. I never thought I'd see anything built there. It always struck me as peculiar to build a building around another building, but nobody asked me.

Anyway, I was watching the guys pour concrete the other day and noticed they were putting white Styrofoam down. Styrofoam under concrete — what gives? Doesn't seem like that would last to me, but then nobody ever asks me, anyway.

— Dick S., Medford

We're sorry nobody asked for your opinion, Dick. But we will answer your question, so you can say that Since You Asked headquarters listens.

We also had noticed the stacks of white Styrofoam at the construction site for the 116,599-square-foot office complex bordered by West Main, Fir and Eighth streets and the railroad tracks.

We checked in with Adroit Construction Co. of Ashland, which is the general contractor for the job.

It turns out that high-density Styrofoam is commonly used in many projects to lessen the amount of concrete needed for a job. A prime example is the stadium-style seating you see at many movie theaters.

According to Adroit, the Styrofoam was used at the One West Main project to bring the concrete deck up to grade. The Styrofoam is completely enclosed in concrete, by the way.

The company wanted to avoid putting too much of a load on the concrete slab that was above the underground parking structure. Styrofoam has been used for decades in many commercial applications, so it's stood the test of time.

The foam has another benefit, Dick — it adds an insulating layer below the concrete floor of the building.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering them all.

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