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Wool Insulation Pros And Cons: The Great Debate

Wool Insulation Pros And Cons

In this article we are going to discuss the pros and cons to wool insulation - lets get into it!

We all know that insulating our homes can be the best way to improve the energy consumption and bring down both our energy bills and our carbon emissions. But what type of insulation should you choose, and why are some more popular than others?

Here we will look at the advantages and disadvantages of wool insulation, and, in particular, mineral wool and rock wool. Both are very popular, but may not be the perfect solution to your insulation needs, as the following article reveals…

What Is Mineral Wool Insulation?

Mineral wool insulation is made from a mixture of glass, stone or slag that has been heated to a high temperature, and spun into a light fibre structure (similar to cotton candy).

The materials used are often industrial waste that couldn’t be easily used for other things. Mineral wool is the term used to cover any fibre insulation that is made from either glass or stone.

The main component of glass wool is recycled glass or sand, while rock wool is made up of volcanic rock such as basalt or dolomite and sometimes from slag that is the leftover products of various industrial processes.

It is a renewable product, and has received an “A” rating by the BRE Group’s Green Guide to Specification, due to the small amount of waste that results from its manufacture.

Rockwool does not differ from the glass and rock wool insulation types mentioned above, but it is the brand name of a particular insulation that is made from rock.

For the most part, all types of mineral, rock and glass wool insulation have similar benefits and disadvantages which we will list below.

Wool Insulation Pros And Cons

Mineral wool insulation is one of the cheapest types of insulation to install in your home, and is available as part of the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme, where those on low incomes or benefits are offered the material free of charge

Mineral Wool Insulation: Primary Plus Points

● The thermal benefits of mineral wool are impressive as the way it is produced allows it to have a high number of air pockets within its construction. This traps air, and make it difficult for heat to pass through. This is the main way that mineral wool insulates your home.
● Mineral wool is non-combustible and will withstand temperatures of up to 1000 degrees celsius. Glass wool may melt at a lower temperature, but overall it is considered to be a perfect material to use in homes and between homes to prevent the transmission of fire.
● It is thought that it takes around 5 months to recover the energy balance after installation of a mineral wool insulation. This means that the energy used to produce it is saved within this period of use within the home.
● As already mentioned, mineral wool insulation is great at recycling and using materials that may otherwise be useless. It also uses all natural materials that are readily available, and do not require manufacturing.
● Mineral wool insulation is considered to be highly effective and safe for use within buildings. It has been intensively tested by The World Health Organisation, and has been subjected to more than 1000 studies across the globe.
● Mineral wool insulation is flexible in how it can be used. Usually, it is left as batts or rolls and then can be cut to the sizes required. However it can also be compressed into rigid boards for use in wall insulation.
● Mineral wool is great at blocking sound, due to its ability to slow down or even trap sound waves as they pass through a building. It is often used between floors to prevent noise moving from one room to another, and is good at reducing sound coming from neighbours or outside.
● The air pockets in the fibres are good at ensuring this is a breathable product which could slow down or prevent moisture buildup.
● Mineral wool insulation is one of the cheapest types of insulation to install in your home, and is available as part of the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme, where those on low incomes or benefits are offered the material free of charge.
● Mineral wool is rarely affected by rodents or other creepy crawlies. They simply don’t like eating shards of rock or glass.

Wool Insulation Pros And Cons

Mineral wool insulation will start to sink, compress and sag as it ages – this is especially the case if it has been laid into a ceiling or vertical wall. This can leave large gaps where it has fallen, and reduces its effectiveness

Mineral Wool Insulation: Disadvantages And Drawbacks

● Mineral wool can be irritating to the skin and the lungs if breathed in. The tiny fibres are made from glass and stone, and therefore can become embedded in the skin, or can do damage to the lungs if inhaled. It makes sense to wear gloves and use a mask if working with this type of material.
● The nature of mineral wool batts and rolls is that there will always be gaps when it is laid. This means that it is never 100% able to stop airflow and heat loss in your home. Even the smallest of margins along the sides and between the layers can mean loss of R-values of up to 50% in some cases.
● Mineral wool insulation will start to sink, compress and sag as it ages – this is especially the case if it has been laid into a ceiling or vertical wall. This can leave large gaps where it has fallen, and reduces its effectiveness.
● Mineral wool will not easily dry if it becomes damp or wet. In many cases, the only solution is to remove the wet parts and replace them. This can be time consuming and expensive, and is only possible if the insulation is exposed for you to check.
● Mineral wool insulation has been associated with damp and condensation in your home. This is because it requires good airflow to prevent a build up of warm air. Some homes become too efficient at holding on to warm air and result in a build up that rapidly cools and causes condensation.

Wool Insulation Pros And Cons

Spray foam may be a slightly more expensive option than mineral wool insulation, but it will last longer, fill any awkward spaces, and can offer better insulation qualities, and, ultimately, take up far less space

Wool Insulation Alternatives: How Spray Foam Can Help

If the above disadvantages of mineral wool insulation have put you off, you might wish to investigate spray foam insulation, and, in particular, the open cell versions.

This type of insulation is sprayed into place, and expands to many times its original size to create an entirely filled area that cannot let heat out of your home. The open cell structure holds air pockets that slow down the movement of air, but still gives enough airflow to prevent any buildup of excess heat.

Spray foam may be a slightly more expensive option than mineral wool insulation, but it will last longer, fill any awkward spaces, and can offer better insulation qualities, and, ultimately, take up far less space.

In many cases, your home will need a combination of insulation types to achieve exactly the result you want, which is a warm and comfortable home that does not require constant maintenance over the years.

Knowing the benefits and disadvantages of each option will help you to decide what you should spend your hard earned money on.

Worried that wool insulation won’t offer your property the total protection it needs and deserves? Spray foam offers a far superior sealing, keeping warm air inside, and the cold firmly locked out. Take back control of your comfort today, by calling 0800 1700 636, or by simply clicking the button below!