Types of insulation
There are several types of insulation available, including:
- Glass mineral wool
- Rock mineral wool (or stone mineral wool)
- Rigid foam
- Sheep’s wool
Glass mineral wool (glasswool)
The world’s most popular and widely used insulation material, glasswool is made from recycled glass bottles, so it is ultra-eco-friendly. It is easy to handle and install, plus it is the most cost-effective insulation available.
Click here for examples of glass mineral wool insulation.
Rock mineral wool (Mineral Wool)
Rock mineral wool has a more solid structure, so is ideal for situations where it may be under compression, (e.g. on a flat roof).
Click here for examples of rock mineral wool insulation.
Mineral wool insulation products are available in rolls of different widths and thicknesses for quick and simple DIY installation – for example, between the rafters in a roof or joists in a ceiling or floor. It can also be produced as lightweight ‘slabs’ for installing into the cavity walls when building new houses. ‘Loose’ mineral wool can also be used to fill cavity walls and is blown in through a hole drilled in the wall after it is built.
Installing mineral wool insulation is also an effective fire safety measure, as it does not burn easily, so can prevent fire spreading. In fact, rock mineral wool can resist temperatures above 1,000°C.
Rigid foam insulation has high compressive strength and is usually used where it needs to support weight (e.g. under a floor, or in lofts as a storage solution). As well as strength and durability, rigid foam insulation can also provide additional properties such as fire resistance and acoustic insulation to minimise the level of sound travelling through walls and floors.
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Sheep’s wool insulation is a fairly new insulation product, however before it is used as an insulation material, it must undergo an intensive cleaning process in order to remove the dirt and oils from the wool. The chemicals and energy used during this process must be taken into account when measuring its environmental impact.
Click here to find out how mineral wool and sheep’s wool are rated by independent sustainability experts, The Green Guide.
Click here for more information about where insulation can be used.