insulation

Topics: Building insulation materials, Masonry, R-value Pages: 46 (3814 words) Published: November 11, 2013
1

INSULATION TYPES
The following pages provide general information on the range of insulation materials available.

Types of insulation products
Australian Standards cover most insulation
products. Provided the product complies with the
Australian Standard, good levels of performance
and reliability can be expected. If no Australian
Standard exists, it is vital to ensure the product has
been independently tested to ensure performance
is optimised. This should be done in a National
Association Testing Authorities-accredited
laboratory.

Bulk insulation

> Denser than glasswool, so R value per unit
thickness is higher
> Better sound absorption qualities than
glasswool
> Generally more expensive than glasswool
Other characteristics are similar to glasswool
Glasswool and rockwool are together referred to
as ‘mineral wool’ products. Due to their potential to
irritate the skin and the upper respiratory tract, full
protective clothing, including gloves and a face
mask, should be worn during installation.

Bulk insulation contains millions of tiny pockets of
still air trapped within the material. This air
provides the material’s insulating effect so it is
important not to compress bulk insulation. Bulk
insulation is available as batts, blankets and
boards, or as loose fill which is pumped, blown or
placed by hand into an area.

Natural wool

Batts and blankets

> Moth-proofing of wool is vital—check with the
manufacturer for test results to guarantee this
(test results should not be more than four
months old)

Glasswool (fibreglass)
> Made from melted glass spun into a flexible mat
of fine fibres
> Available as batts or blankets
> Easy to cut and install
> Commonly sold in DIY packs with R values
clearly labelled
> Should not be compressed or moistened
> All ends and edges should be butted together
firmly during installation
> Blankets are manufactured in rolls for specific
types of installations, e.g. under roofing in a
cathedral or raked ceiling or under a flat roof
> Blankets are thinner and denser than batts,
and are available with reflective foil attached to
one side
Rockwool
> Made from volcanic rock melted at high
temperatures and spun into a mat of fine fibres
> Available as batts or blankets

> Made from sheep’s wool formed into batts or
blankets
> Should only be manufactured from new,
scoured wool treated with a vermin and rotproofing agent during the scouring process

> Most batts and blankets are made of a woolpolyester blend to reduce settling and compression
> Naturally flame-resistant, however, the addition
of synthetic fibres increases
flammability—check with supplier for fire
resistance testing results
> As different types of wool can provide different
R values for the same thickness, check with the
supplier for R value tests and certifications
Polyester
> Made from polyester fibres (including recycled
PET bottles) spun into a flexible mat
> Available as batts or blankets
> Similar physical properties to mineral wool, but
is non-irritable, with no known physical or health
hazards
> Does not burn, but will melt if exposed to a
direct flame at high temperature

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Loose-fill insulation

Granulated rockwool

This type of insulation consists of shredded or
granulated material supplied in a loose form, and is
usually installed by the supplier/manufacturer. It
must be correctly installed at even depth to provide
adequate insulation cover. Barriers should be
installed to prevent insulation falling down through
exhaust fans, wall cavities, ceiling vents and light
fittings.

> A loose-fill form of rockwool

Loose-fill material may settle over time, reducing
its effectiveness—your contractor should quote
you a guaranteed ‘settled R value’, which is the
final R value achieved after any settling has
occurred.

> If treated with a water-repellent agent, can
sometimes be used to fill cavity brick and brick
veneer...
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