INSULATION

Benefits of Insulation:
Not all insulation material is the same. It is advisable to seek out a long-standing insulation industry professional to assist you with your choice of insulation material for your specific application and climate zone as well as construction type.

The key point to remember:
Insulation is application dependant. There is no one “BEST” insulation.

Not all insulation products will provide the same result choosing the wrong insulation type could not only be ineffective but a costly mistake.

General Information:

Insulation acts as a barrier to heat loss and heat gain, some insulation material may have added of acoustic benefits.
Helps keep your home cooler in summer and warmer in winter
Reduces the use of your heater and air conditioning systems, allowing them to operate more efficiently, making them more reliable, reducing operating costs and extending their life.
Helps reduces YOUR family home greenhouse gas emissions reducing your personal Carbon Footprint.
Dramatically improves the level of comfort of your home year-round.

POLYESTER

Polyester insulation is a good choice for residential home wall, floor, ceiling, and roof applications.

Polyester insulation is manufactured from thermally bonded polyester fibre with a high percentage of recycled fibres such as from PET bottles or soft-drink bottles. Because polyester is very safe it is commonly used in clothing, bedding and extensively in medical applications.

Polyester insulation is extremely popular with allergy sufferers as it is what is termed hydrophobic (repels or does not hold water) thus can help eliminate condensation, mould and mildew a major benefit for your health especially if you have asthma.

Polyester is a non-itch non-irritant and non-allergenic material. It is an ideal insulation material for attic space occasionally as it does not create extra dust or have loose fibres that can cause irritation.

It can also be used in new construction for wall and retrofitted to under exposed joist floors to reduce heat loss and drafts through joins in the floor structure.

Professionals such as Architects and builders prefer polyester insulation because of its long effective life span and safe handling. It is a premium insulation product so you will find that it is more expensive than most other alternatives such as glass wool. (fibreglass) / cellulose (loose fill and other blow-in insulation materials)

Features of polyester insulation:

✓ Non-irritant, non-toxic, non-allergenic
✓ Fire Safe
✓ Unaffected by mould, mildew, or rot
✓ Resistant to insect and vermin attack
✓ Unaffected by moisture (Hydrophobic)
✓ Formaldehyde-free
✓ Environmentally Friendly
✓ Will not corrode or deteriorate over time

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FIBERGLASS / GLASSWOOL

Fibreglass or Glass wool insulation offers proven thermal and acoustic performance. It is made largely from recycled glass. Should not be confused with “wool” (sheep’s wool).
Glass wool batts are bonded thermally so there are no added chemicals such as phenol and formaldehyde. They are also classified as a low allergen as they emit no measurable volatile organic compounds, which are known to trigger allergies.
Studies have shown that there a no long-term health concerns from using glass wool insulation and has been classified by the National Occupational Health and Safety Commission as non-hazardous. However, glass wool can cause short term irritation to the skin, eyes, nose and throat so the use of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) including protective clothing to prevent any discomfort when handling these materials is advisable.
Some manufactures claim the product is “Bio-soluble” meaning that if you happen to inhale some fibres it is rapidly cleared from the body.
Glass wool batts are inexpensive. You will find they are cheaper than Polyester insulation due to the nature of the raw material used in the construction.
Glass wool insulation is easy to cut and install. Like all fibrous batts. The fibres trap tiny pockets of air making them poor conductors resisting heat flow entering your house from outside when it is hot, and trapping warmth inside when it is cold outside. Like all bulk insulation glass wool, batts act like a sponge to help soak up energy thus reducing unwanted noise from outside your home and from room to room.
In the Australian marketplace, you will find a couple of reputable manufactures of fibreglass insulation materials. Check for compliance with Australian Standards.

Features of glass wool insulation:
✓ Non-combustible
✓ Highly sustainable
✓ Does not sustain vermin
✓ Will not encourage the growth of fungi, mould, or bacteria

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CELLULOSE INSULATION

Sometimes referred to as “loose-fill” or “Blow-In” Cellulose Insulation

Cellulose insulation for commercial and home insulation are generally derived from recycled newspapers, cardboard, office paper, and other common waste paper products.  During its manufacturing process, it is blended with a combination of chemicals to make it a viable insulation product such as boracic Acid and fire retardants and pest retardants.

Cellulose insulation is a paper-based product. It is mechanically blown into or onto empty spaces in the structural part of a house to slow down the transmission of heat or cold. is thick, dense, and clumpy, with a consistency much like down feathers. The benefits of this type of insulation are it could fit in enclosed areas and can conform around obstructions such as wires and ducts however with the advent of halogen lights it has been known to cause problems.

Today 2020 we have seen the cellulose insulation shrink almost disappear from the Australian marketplace due to higher R-value requirements for both new and retrofit homes.  The impracticality of loose fibre in a roof cavity be difficult for other trades to work around and the overall generally messy nature of the product. 

ADRA Special Note:

Should you find your home has older loose fill blown-in cellulose or granulated fiberglass insulation in the roof cavity contact one of our associate members regarding vacuum sucking the material out of your roof and disposing at a regulated EPA-approved waste facility. 

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SHEEP'S WOOL INSULATION

Sheep’s wool insulation became popular during the Sydney Airport Noise Insulation Program back in 1995   Basically, large stockpiles of sheep wool were available, and it was considered to use it as an insulation product.

It was only later after it had been installed that it was starting to fail.  Carpet beetle infestation was rampant, and a program was put in place to vacuum remove the product from ceilings.  Occasionally, it can still be found in roof cavities in various states of breakdown.

Later in its development of Sheep Wool batts to try and make it a viable insulation product it was blended with Polyester.  So we see today we can find Wool/Poly blend products 60/40 mixes.  However, this process still puts the cost /m² well above even 100% polyester batts making it an expensive option.

ADRA SPECIAL NOTE:

We are sometimes asked what is the most natural insulation? 

The answer is There is NO one commercially available Natural Insulation Product

All materials are either refined, additives include, blended, or mixed with chemicals or percentages of recycled material.   

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MINERAL WOOL. NATURAL MINERAL FIBRE (NMF)

Mineral wool.  Again, the word wool is used, and it should not be confused with Sheep’s wool Thinking it is a completely natural insulation material.

Mineral Wool offers excellent thermal and acoustic properties. It also has exceptional fire performance characteristics and is classed and rated as non-combustible is effective where high temperatures or when insulating in fire zones.

Mineral wool/ Rockwool is generally us in more industrial applications or where higher density insulation is required for sound attenuation such as between floors or between walls.

Rockwool is a brand name and is one mineral fibre made from rock, basalt, anorthosite and carbonates made in a blast furnace process somewhat similar to the molten lava. The rock is melted in a furnace, then spun into fibres and processed to produce a range of mineral wool insulation products.

ADRA Special Note:

Should you find your home has older loose-fill blown-in granulated Rockwool fibre insulation in the roof cavity contact one of our associate members regarding vacuum sucking the material out of your roof and disposing at a regulated EPA approved waste facility. 

REFLECTIVE FOIL

There is a variety of reflective foil insulation materials on the market. Some come as a combination of flexible rollout materials some laminated to rigid insulation boards. All have different applications and results.

Again, we advise you to contact a well-established industry professional to help assist with your application-specific requirement.
Reflective foil insulation is generally manufactured with aluminum foil however, some are manufactured with spray coatings and plastic laminations. Again, is critical to find out about the product compatibility to your project as some will not perform as well as others.
Reflective Foil is designed to reflect up to 97% of radiant heat transfer across air open spaces.
Reflective foil insulation can be used in a variety of applications under roofs, in external walls, and under sub-floors. The products are greatly used in new construction as well as retrofitting to existing buildings warehouse factories.

Benefits

✓  Fibre-free, non-allergenic, and non-irritant – non-asthmatic and poses no health and safety risks, ideal for asthma or allergy sufferers
✓  Easy to handle and install
✓  Tough, strong, durable – hail resistant, unique anti-tear surface material
✓  Waterproof and unaffected by moisture – ideal in humid climates and protects against water damage
✓  Anti-bacterial and anti-fungal – will not promote the growth of fungi and bacteria
✓  Rodent and insect resistant – does not provide a nesting medium for rodents, birds, or insects
✓  Suitable for both new and renovated properties
✓ CFCs and HCFCs Free.  zero Ozone Depletion Potential (ODP)

RIGID BOARD INSULATION

There are a comprehensive range of products, brands, and construction in this category of insulation materials.  

Features to look out for:

  • Fire rating combustibility
  • Thermal Rating
  • Application suitability
  • Board dimensions
  • Ease of handling fixing
  • Thermal properties
  • Moisture retention

Some classes are:

Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) Open cell construction. Varying grades densities and strengths

Extruded Polystyrene (XPS) Closed cell construction. generally denser high R value then EPS

This next group are generally more expensive due to the nature of the manufacture These boards also have higher R values per thickness than other rigid boards and most other insulation materials.  These insulation boards are generally laminated with finishes/ foils/scrims/laminates/

These insulation boards are generally used in new construction for both residential commercial and industrial applications.   There is very limited use for retrofitting in existing residential homes.

Benefits:

  • Higher R-value per (mm) thickness
  • Aesthetic visual finish (reflective foil/ black/ white)
  • High fire rating
  • Easy to cut and install to suit most applications.
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