When it comes to insulation, there are a few options available to help you keep your home or business more comfortable and energy-efficient during extreme weather. Among these are batts or blankets, which are placed between studs or posts in a structure, then covered over with some type of hard wall surface, such as drywall or paneling. The materials available for these batts include mineral wool and fiberglass as the most common varieties. But which one is better for your situation? Here’s a quick look at the benefits and drawbacks of both types of insulation.
Mineral Wool Insulation
In many ways, mineral wool is a superior insulation product. It has a higher R-value per inch compared to fiberglass, about a 22-37% higher R-value. It contains 70% recycled material, making it a greener product than fiberglass at 20-30% recycled material. With a density over three times that of fiberglass, mineral wool has superior sound-deadening properties. The stiffer batts don’t tend to flop over as easily as fiberglass, making it easier to put in place, and they don’t require staples or wire to keep them in place. It’s hydrophobic, so it won’t absorb water or encourage the growth of mold and mildew. Mineral wool is also very fire resistant and can act as a fire stop.
However, like many building materials, mineral wool also has its drawbacks. It tends to be more expensive than fiberglass, often between 25-50% higher in cost. Because it is more unusual, it’s not available in as wide a range of sizes as fiberglass and is almost never available in a paper-faced format. Because it’s denser, it’s also heavier, which can make it more ungainly to handle during ceiling installations. Its dense nature requires the use of a serrated bread knife or wood saw to cut batts down to size, and it’s very difficult to find in a loose-fill format.
Fiberglass is much more commonly used, partially because of its affordability. It has a good R-value overall, even if it’s not the best. Its popularity means that it’s available in a wide range of sizes and with or without a paper facing. It is a somewhat green material, with 20-30% recycled content. It’s lightweight and easy to install in a wide range of circumstances, often with just a tack nailer. Loose-fill options are widely available, allowing you to fill odd wall cavities or add insulation to your attic.
Fiberglass also has its downsides. Fiberglass can be compressed, causing it to lose R-value. When it gets wet, it can absorb water, causing it to lose R-value. Though it’s a non-combustible material, it doesn’t provide the level of fire block that mineral wool does. It doesn’t have as high an R-value as mineral wool, which can be a problem in extreme climates with minimal wall depth. Because it has a lower overall density, it doesn’t deaden excessive sound as well as mineral wool.
By having a basic understanding of the differences between mineral wool and fiberglass insulation, you can quickly determine which option is the best solution for your specific situation. If you’re not certain or need help deciding, the experienced associates at Poulin Lumber are happy to help you make an informed decision. Please feel free to contact us today with any questions, for more information or to place an order for some of our high-quality building materials.