Is Armaflex ACE harmful to health?
Christin Busch Reading time approx. 5 minutes
If you search online for variants to insulate your camper, you will quickly come across Armaflex. You can buy the branded product in different versions for insulating your camper. As probably the best-selling insulation material for motorhome conversions, Armaflex has numerous advantages over other materials such as mineral wool.
Forums write about harmful ACE
Nevertheless, there are always rumours circulating on the net that Armaflex ACE is harmful to health.
In this article, we explain the similarities and differences between the Armaflex variants AF, XG and ACE and what you should look out for when buying the original products from Armacell. So if you are considering which rubber insulation from the brand manufacturer is best for you, read this article to the end.
Armaflex rankings by quality and price, Graphic; Isotec Isolierungen GmbH
Common features of Armaflex ACE, XG, and AF
Generally speaking, all three Armaflex variants are made of an EPDM rubber-based foam. The flexible elastomeric foam (FEF) is easy to process in the bodywork. Visually, all variants are also identical and can only be identified by the description on the back (more on this below).
All three variants are thus based on the same basic material, come from the same factory and in some cases even from the same assembly line.
The differences between the various versions are therefore not particularly significant and not recognisable from a purely visual point of view. Notable differences, however, can be seen in the thermal conductivity and vapour barrier value of the rubber panels.
Bronze medal: Armaflex ACE
The Armaflex ACE is the cheapest variant from Armacell and, without any special features, becomes a low-budget product for all van builders. In contrast to the Armaflex XG and AF, the ACE has a higher thermal conductivity and thus insulates worse than the other two variants in comparison. The water vapour diffusion resistance is also lower than the other two alternatives. Also worth mentioning is the fire behaviour, which according to fire protection class D-s3, d0 (normally flammable), can therefore burn.
Product ratings and reviews that speak of a strong chemical odour are unsettling when buying. Rumours keep circulating that Armaflex ACE is even harmful to health. The manufacturer's safety data sheet gives the all-clear. Although ACE's properties rank it last in comparison to XG and AF, it is not harmful to health.
Silver medal: Armaflex XG
In contrast to Armaflex ACE, a fire retardant is added to XG, which raises the fire protection class of this variant to B-s3, d0 (hardly flammable). The thermal conductivity is also lower here, which improves the insulating effect. This means it is also approved for commercial use.
The Armaflex XG is a good compromise: the vapour barrier value corresponds to that of the Armaflex AF and the thermal conductivity is lower than that of the Armaflex ACE.
Gold medal: Armaflex AF
Here, too, a fire retardant is used and fire material class B-s3, d0 (flame retardant) is achieved. The unique selling point of Armaflex AF is its Microban®. These antimicrobial additives provide proactive protection against harmful bacteria, mould and mildew. As a result, Armaflex AF is the preferred choice for insulation in hospitals and healthcare facilities. Whether such a standard is necessary when insulating a camper is a matter for each individual to decide.
Armaflex differences: ACE, XG and AF in comparison; Graphic: Isotec Isolierungen GmbH
So whether Armaflex ACE, XG or AF depends on the project (private or commercial) and purely personal preference. The eternal myth that the ACE has a stronger chemical odour or is even harmful to health is simply untrue: All three variants come from the same factory and are manufactured on the basis of the same material. Additives in the XG and AF optimise their insulating properties and mould protection. A safety data sheet from the manufacturer is available here.
Info: We noticed a more intensive smell with Armaflex insulation mats that are relatively new from production. However, this disappears after a period of time (the same for all three types).
How can I recognise an original Armaflex product?
All Armacell insulation mats have a company print on the back. The name and variant of the product are noted there. Only in the case of cut-to-size sheets can it happen that the printed part has been cut off.
If you do not see a print on the back of your Armaflex rubber mat, it is better to contact your specialist dealer before using it.
Travis S., 28.04.22 00:43Thanks for all this info! It was helpful to me.