When building a home, one of the biggest concerns is insulation. The proper installation of insulation may make or break your house. Commonly used insulation today varies. Structural insulated panels or SIPs, for example, are very popular and the best method of insulation for do-it-yourself projects and self-build homes. They are also good for modular houses where parts of the house have to be manufactured elsewhere, then delivered and assembled on the construction site.
There are many types of insulation used these days. If you’re a person looking to build a home as a self-build project, you should research the different types of insulation available and check their affordability and use. Some insulation types have advantages and disadvantages.
How do they compare with structural insulated panels
SIPs are lightweight, easy-to-apply, all-purpose insulation materials that are the choice materials for many self-builders. Unlike fibreglass they’re non-toxic. Unlike mineral wool, they’re very airtight and can’t be affected by moisture. They can come with insecticide properties or can be treated with insecticide before installing. And unlike cellulose, SIPs are very easy to use, so even amateur builders can use them properly.
The most basic of insulation materials, fibreglass is available in many forms, both for amateur and self-build projects, and professional use batts, blankets, and as loose fill. They’re made by bunching up fibres of glass that trap pockets of air in between the clumps of the threads, giving it excellent insulating properties. They’re easy to apply and can also be used for other purposes, like soundproofing.
There is, however a downside to using fibreglass. It is very harmful to humans, since they’re, thin fibres of glass after all. It irritates the body when in contact and is dangerous when inhaled. It is safe to create, though there are regulations regarding manufacturing it. Construction companies require their workers to wear protective gloves, clothing, and masks to prevent being in contact with fibreglass when applying it. Fibreglass also needs to be handled carefully so that it doesn’t lose the air pockets and sponginess, thus reducing or losing its insulating property.
- Mineral wool
Similar to fibreglass, mineral wool is made up of fibres. Unlike fibreglass, mineral wool is formed using molten pieces of rock. These materials come in several different types, each with their properties and composition. Each strand is a good conductor of heat, but when packed together just like fibreglass they create pockets of air that give them insulating and soundproofing properties.
There is a small drawback – they are not very resistant to moisture and may become a breeding ground for moulds should they be filled with moisture.
Cellulose is an excellent insulator that is made out of plant fibre. It is very eco-friendly, since all you need to make cellulose is plant matter or former plant matter (like cotton or paper). Cellulose is blown in between the walls, filling up space in between. This creates pockets of air that give cellulose excellent insulating properties. It can be treated with several chemicals to provide it with other different properties, like fireproofing, anti-mould and anti-insect. Cellulose, however, is not for amateurs, and must be densely packed into the wall to work. Though each insulation material has clear advantages, they don’t measure up to SIPs, which have no disadvantages whatsoever.