Insulation is an important part of creating and maintaining a healthy and environmentally sustainable home. It helps create a comfortable environment for its inhabitants all year round, whatever the outside temperature and weather conditions may be.
It also enhances the energy efficiency of the household in terms of reducing the unnecessary operation of heating or cooling units.
One of the biggest challenges in insulating a home is choosing from the variety of insulating methods and materials that are available in the market today.
For many years, fiberglass has been the most popular insulating material used in homes across the US. It is a common choice among homeowners because it is relatively cheap, available almost everywhere, and generally provides good insulation wherever it is applied.
It is also commonly found as rolls of pre-sized blankets or batts that can easily fit standard-sized joists and studs.
However, there are a number of disadvantages when using fiberglass. One, it has been found that fiberglass as a material is correlated to several adverse health effects involving the skin and mucous membranes such as the eyes and the respiratory tract. Inhaling the microscopic fibers of fiberglass has also been thought to increase the risk of lung illnesses in people.
That is why fiberglass insulation installation requires strict safety protocols such as wearing a dust mask and protective goggles.
Second, fiberglass is a non-renewable material, being made from plastic reinforced with fibers from molten glass. As the world increasingly strives to address climate change, more sustainable sources of insulation are being preferred. Continued use of fiberglass is seen to eventually lead to waste management problems.
Among many construction professionals these days, mineral wool insulation is fast becoming a preferred material. It is typically made from materials like basalt rock, chalk, diabase, and iron ore waste, which are heated at extremely high temperatures before being spun into fibers.
Here are just some of the advantages of mineral wool as a good insulating material:
Mineral Wool Has a Higher R Value Compared to Fiberglass
Mineral wool insulation products provide relatively better insulation than comparable fiberglass fiberglass insulation options.
For example mineral wool batts that are meant for 2×4 stud walls provide an R value of R-15, while fiberglass batts made for the same architectural assembly only provide an R value of R-11 to R-13. R value is the unit of measurement that describes a material’s capability to resist heat flow.
The R-value of Mineral Wool Keeps the Same over Time
Other types of insulation may experience loss in R-value as the material degrades, sags or becomes more compact. This isn’t the case with mineral wool. Mineral wool typically has a longer lifecycle than other insulation materials.This also means less replacement or repair costs when it comes to home insulation.
Mineral Wool Is Naturally Fire Resistant
Mineral wool can withstand temperatures of up to 1,000 degrees celsius and more. What’s more is that it does not release any toxic fumes or byproducts when it is burned or exposed to high temperatures.
Mineral Wool Is Non-Water Absorbent
Moreover, mineral wool is non-water absorbent. This means it won’t hold water to the detriment of the other architectural elements inside a house, and it also won’t promote the growth of harmful mold and mildew even if water does infiltrate the roof, ceiling, or walls of a house. These organisms can severely affect the health of a home’s inhabitants by causing allergies, asthma, toxic mold syndrome, and other problems.
Mineral Wool Can’t Be a Breeding Ground for Mold
Since mineral wool is made of inert or non-organic substances, it is also resistant to the growth of mold and mildew by itself. Compared to other insulating materials such as cellulose, which is made of recycled paper, mineral wool will not encourage the growth of such harmful organisms.
Mineral Wool Is as Useful as Fiberglass
Mineral wool looks and feels just like fiberglass loose-fill insulation material, thus making it easy to handle and use for those who have been used to the latter. Renovations or remodeling are a great opportunity to replace previously installed fiberglass insulation with mineral wool.
Mineral Wool Insulation Is Easy to Install
Mineral wool insulation can also be installed without necessarily tearing down or opening up walls and cavities through innovative methods such as blow-in insulation application.
The loose-fill material is blown into the spaces of walls, filling in the areas that would otherwise be out of reach.
Mineral Wool Helps Dampen Noises
Another useful characteristic of mineral wool insulation is its good acoustic dampening properties. Thus, it is ideal for multi-dweller homes where privacy is a consideration, or residences near busy city intersections or transportation hubs where noise pollution is a major problem.
Mineral Wool Is More Environment Friendly
Mineral wool is a more sustainable insulating material in the long run since it is sourced from natural, renewable, or recycled materials. Mineral wool made from slag puts to good use the tons of waste produced by the steel and iron ore industries.
For mineral wool made from natural minerals, consider that the earth produces 38,000 times more rock annually through natural activities such as volcanic eruptions and underwater movements—the raw ingredients will never run out.
Mineral Wool Is More Cost-Efficient Over the Long Term
While mineral wool insulation material is a bit more expensive than traditional fiberglass, it lasts a long time and will not require frequent earlier replacements or repair. Think of it as a long-term investment rather than a quick fix.
Achieving proper insulation in a home means considering a number of important factors. Mineral might just be the right solution if you need a material that ticks a lot of boxes, including durability, reliability, energy efficiency, and many other benefits.