A Beginners guide to insulation part 3
Types of insulation materials
When building your new home or renovating your existing one Insulation is a major part of the construction. There are many different types of insulation and brands which can seem quite daunting to a novice. Here we will try to help clear the mist and hopefully make it a bit easier to understand. In previous parts of this beginners guide to insulation we discussed where and what could be used. Please do take time to read them and all should become clear.
PIR Insulation boards
These types of board come in various thicknesses from 20mm up to 200mm. Manufactured by companies such as Celotex Insulation , Recticel Insulation , Kingspan Insulation and Ecotherm Insulation. A board made up of Polyisocyanurate foam sandwiched between two layers of low emissive foil.
These are a mid range rigid insulation board which at the time of writing are the most common used in housebuilding.
Importantly these can be used in most areas where insulation is required being a general application insulation board.
Phenolic Foam insulation boards
This board is manufactured by Kingspan Insulation and used where higher insulation values are required. Alternatively where there is not enough room to fit a PIR board. This Phenolic foam insulation is made with various backings on the phenolic foam to suit different applications. For instance a flooring board might have a foil on one side and fleece on the other to allow for direct screed application.
Extruded Polystyrene insulation
Kingspan also make a range of Extruded polystyrene insulation boards. These tend to be used where extreme loading conditions are required. Including such things as car parks , garden roofs, swimming pools etc. This high density polystyrene has good thermal capabilities as well as large compressive strength.
Expanded polystyrene insulation
This medium density polystyrene insulation is generally used in underfloor insulation where there is room for large quantities of it. A fairly low insulation value requires much greater thicknesses. Expanded polystyrene is no longer just a plain white colour as it used to be years ago due to the amount of recycled materials used in manufacture. Companies such as Jablite insulation an Kay Metzler manufacture this type of insulation. Various compressive strengths are available for your requirement.
Aged or grey Polystyrene
This type of Grey Polystyrene insulation board have high-purity graphite particles infused into its structure. These particles give it a reflective property and its grey colour. Radiant heat reflects it hundreds of times as it moves through the particles. This slows down the transfer of heat making it more energy efficient. Generally used in external wall insulation applications.
Spray Foam Insulation
An insulation sprayed into roof voids by registered installers. Many homes have come into the news lately with people being unable to insure their home or even sell it with this type of insulation.
Fibreglass is the most commonly used insulation for lofts and is very popular in partition walls and cavity wall insulation. This can be a low cost easy fix to insulating a loft area. Full fill cavity wall construction can be used with various grades of fibreglass insulation. This type of insulation is made using mainly recycled glass materials. Available in different densities which can give greater acoustic and thermal properties. Importantly this product comes in both roll and batts so can be easily installed in various applications.
Rockwool is manufactured from volcanic rock and gives a much higher fire and acoustic rating than many other insulation materials. Mainly used for its acoustic insulation properties in walls and thermal in roofs. This insulation comes in both insulation batt and roll form. It is a spun rock insulation material. Importantly this insulation can withstand temperatures as high as 1000 degrees without melting.
Once known as space age insulation as the type of material was used in lunar modules. This is an insulation that uses radiant reflective technology. Meaning the foil facings reflect heat both inwards and outwards. This type of insulation is good for keeping your property warm in the winter and cool in the summer. There are many different types of multifoil with varying degrees of insulation properties. Interestingly these are made up of layers of foil and wadding stitched or thermally bonded together at the seams. Multifoil insulation can be used in walls, floors and roof insulation projects following manufacturers recommendations. Top manufacturers of multifoil insulation include Superfoil insulation , Actis insulation and Web Dynamics.
Loose fill insulation
Loose fill insulation is usually a product such as micafil vermiculite which is a naturally occurring mineral. This is expanded at high temperature to produce aerated particles which are 90% air by volume. This loose fill insulation is fireproof and fibre free and is easy to install by just pouring across the area required. Used in loft floors, internal partition walls as well as many other applications including around chimney flues.
Sheep Wool Insulation
Sheep wool has been of increased interest over the last 10 years as peoples perspective is that it is a Eco insulation. When you actually look into things there are other types of insulation with equal attributes. This sheep wool insulation is made by using a chemical binder to bond the sheep wool fibres together making either roll or batts. Used in roof and wall insulation where people like to use eco friendly products. But like we mentioned other types of insulation are using recycled materials which must also be seen as eco friendly.
Straw Bale insulation
This type of insulation is not generally used in the UK but could be in the future. This is an Eco friendly way to construct as less timber is requires in the construction. Straw is a very good insulant and can definitely be classed as eco friendly being a renewable source which is usually burnt or composted. Many people fear that this product provides a fire hazard but tests have shown quite the opposite. As this type of construct usually has the bales covered in plaster this starves the fire of any oxygen slowing down any spread of flame.
Wood fibre insulation
Wood fibre insulation is an insulation material made from bi-products from the sawmill industry. The raw material is sawdust, offcuts and woodchips. These softwood materials are broken down to fibres which are then formed into boards. Another form of Eco insulation if you like as again it would be a waste product usually.
So that about wraps up this beginners guide to insulation, I hope you have found it helpful. If you require any more help with pricing and availability on your insulation materials do visit BMD Insulation.