James Mills, Product Manager at Rockwool UK, takes a look at the key factors builders should consider when choosing insulation materials.
When it comes to insulation, the primary driver behind customer choice has historically been to improve the thermal performance of homes and reduce energy bills. However, in more recent years, homeowner priorities have also turned to minimising environmental impact, improving living comfort and increasing fire safety.
The very nature of insulation means that thermal performance should be a given. While the level of this can vary across materials, increasingly savvy homeowners are no longer satisfied to simply know that insulation products will achieve a specified U-value. Instead, many are wanting to understand exactly how insulation will perform over time and what kind of sustainable credentials it possesses.
The issue of living comfort for homeowners is primarily driven by reducing the travel of external noise into the home, as well as preventing sound transfer between rooms within a dwelling. However, modern houses ‘over heating’ and lack of natural air flow are also now a common challenge facing homeowners, which means they are just as concerned with keeping cool in summer, as they are with staying warm in winter.
Finally, with an increasing awareness of fire safety, homeowners often seek assurances that building insulation will not contribute to fire spread.
Simultaneously addressing these criteria with a single insulation material might seem like an impossible task, but the natural properties of stone wool mean it can help you to achieve all of this – and much more.
Understanding how stone wool can deliver the performance benefits which your customers are looking for will enable you to communicate better with them – and help you secure more work. Here are the main things you need to know:
Stone wool is manufactured from naturally occurring volcanic rock. This is abundant in supply because it’s continually replenished by the earth’s crust. While this makes stone wool a sustainable choice, further environmental credentials can be found when choosing a manufacturer that has a recycling process in place.
The tiny pockets of air trapped within the physical structure of stone wool insulation make it incredibly effective at achieving the optimal temperature in a home, whatever the weather is doing outside.
Natural fire protection
Being made from volcanic rock, makes stone wool non-combustible and enables some insulation products to achieve a European Reaction to Fire Classification of A1 – the highest possible rating. In fact, stone wool insulation is capable of withstanding temperatures in excess of 1,000oC, giving homeowners extra reassurance.
Stone wool insulation has added benefits in terms of absorbing sound as it reduces sound vibrations. The dense, non-directional fibre orientation and its open porous structure trap sound waves and reduce sound energy.
Once installed, stone wool insulation is built to last and does not degrade over time. It is also non-hygroscopic, meaning it does not attract water and is vapour permeable. For extra peace of mind, stone wool insulation provides no food source for vermin and does not encourage growth of mould, fungi or bacteria.
The installer advantage
The benefits of stone wool extend beyond its performance credentials. When it comes to handling and installing the material, you can save time and secure a better fit more easily than with rigid alternatives.
This is because stone wool is typically friction fitted and the material is quick and simple to cut. Moreover, as the same product can often be used for multiple applications, such as a loft, floors and walls – it helps to minimise wastage and makes it easier to plan your material purchase. Using stone wool should also help to avoid customer call backs over time as it will not sump or sag.
Finally, stone wool is widely stocked in merchant branches nationwide, very often backed up by technical support from the manufacturer. Utilising this source of advice can prove invaluable for making more of the insulation opportunity.
This is particularly true for builders in England currently, with the Government’s Green Homes Grant scheme open until March 2022. The scheme, which is part of a £3bn government plan to reduce carbon emissions, will provide a voucher worth up to £5,000 or £10,000 to help cover the costs of energy efficient improvements to homes.
If you’re a TrustMark registered installer working with homeowners in England, learn more about creating a competitive advantage with the new initiative by visiting rockwool.co.uk/installer
For further information on the range of products available from Rockwool visit https://www.rockwool.com/uk/