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Insulation Material Types and Their Uses

There are many types of insulation materials on the market, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.

Each material can be used for a different set of applications, so it’s important to know which one is best for the project at hand.

Some of the most common insulation materials are PIR insulation, fibreglass insulation, and mineral wool insulation.

PIR Insulation

PIR insulation is also referred to as polyisocyanurate insulation, which is made up of small cells that are filled with gas. This gas helps to keep the material warm in winter and cool in summer, making it an ideal choice for year-round use.

They are made into a rigid board and are used in a variety of applications, including walls, ceilings, and floors which makes them multi-purpose insulation boards.

Brands such as Celotex, EcoTherm and Kingspan all make PIR insulation. PIR insulation boards come in different thicknesses, so it’s important to choose the right one for the job. The most commonly used thickness for applications is 100mm, and Celotex 100mm (GA4100) is probably the most widely used board.

Fibreglass Insulation

Fibreglass insulation is made of tiny glass fibres that are bonded together with resin. It is available in slabs or rolls and is used in both residential and commercial applications.

It’s environmentally friendly as it’s generally made from recycled materials, and it has a high R-value, making it a good choice for colder climates.

Fibreglass is easy to work with and is often used in lofts, as well as walls, ceilings, and floors.

Some of the most popular brands of fibreglass insulation are Knauf Insulation, Isover, and Superglass.

Mineral Wool Insulation

Mineral wool insulation, also known as rock wool, is made of natural minerals that are melted and spun into fibres. It is available in slabs and is used in both commercial and residential applications.

It has a low thermal conductivity value, making it a good choice for colder climates, and it is also fire-resistant and environmentally friendly.

Mineral Wool insulation is most widely used as acoustic insulation in walls and ceilings, but can also be used in separating floor applications.

One downside to mineral wool insulation is that it can be dusty when installed, so care must be taken to avoid respiratory problems.

Some of the most popular brands of mineral wool insulation are Rockwool and Knauf Insulation.

The most popular brand of mineral wool insulation is Rockwool, with RWA45 100mm the most commonly selected slab.

Phenolic Insulation

Phenolic insulation is made of small cells that are filled with a gas, similar to PIR insulation. However, the gas used in phenolic insulation is typically lower in conductivity than the one used in PIR insulation.

This makes phenolic insulation a good choice for applications where low thermal conductivity is required, such as walls and ceilings.

Phenolic insulation is also fire-resistant and environmentally friendly, making it a good choice for many applications.

However, it is more expensive than some of the other types of insulation, so PIR is often used instead.

Kingspan is the exclusive manufacturer of phenolic insulation in the UK, with a range called Kingspan Kooltherm; the K5, K103, K106, K107, K108, and K112 are all phenolic insulation.

Multifoil Insulation

Multifoil insulation is a type of insulation that consists of multiple layers of reflective material, typically foil.

This type of insulation is used in a variety of applications but is most commonly used in roofs.

Multifoil insulation is a good choice for thermal performance as it has an extremely low thermal conductivity value, and it is also fire-resistant.

However, it can be expensive and difficult to install, so it’s not as popular as some of the other types of insulation.

The most popular brands of multifoil insulation are SuperFOIL and Actis.

Polystyrene Insulation

Polystyrene insulation is made of small beads of polystyrene that are bonded together with resin. It is available in two forms; extruded polystyrene (XPS) and expanded polystyrene (EPS).

Polystyrene insulation is most commonly used in walls, floors, and ceilings, as well as in foundation applications.

Natural Insulation

Natural insulation is made from materials that occur naturally, such as sheep’s wool, cellulose, and cotton.

This type of insulation is most commonly used in walls, floors, and ceilings, as well as in foundation applications.

Natural insulation has several benefits, including being environmentally friendly and fire-resistant.

However, it is not as effective as some of the other types of insulation, so it is not as widely used.

Summary

All these materials have pros and cons, and there is no clear winner – it depends on the specific needs of your project. If you’re looking for high-performing insulation with a long life span, PIR or phenolic are good choices. If you’re after an environmentally friendly option, mineral wool or natural insulation are good options. Whichever type of insulation you choose, make sure you get it from a reputable manufacturer.

Our team at Materials Market can help you pick the right insulation for your project.

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