The Family Handyman|September 2016
I’ve filled thousands of stud spaces with fiberglass batts over the years. So when I think insulation, I think fiberglass. But I recently tried a different type of insulation called “mineral wool.” Mineral wool has been around for decades, is widely used in Canada and Europe and is making a comeback in the United States. It’s made by melting down basalt stone and recycled slag from steel mills, then spinning it into fibre that can be formed into batts or boards. I did some research, talked to installers and filled a few walls with the stuff. Here’s my verdict: Mineral wool has some real advantages over the alternatives. If you have an insulation job coming up, I strongly recommend that you check it out.
THE PROS AND CONS
Mineral wool batts are slightly better insulators than the off-the self fiberglass batts sold at most lumberyards and home centers. Mineral wool batts for 2x4 walls have an R-value of 15, while a standard fiberglass batt made to fit in a 2x4 wall has an R-value of 11 or 13. However, you can special-order R-15 high-density fiberglass batts. (The larger the R-value, the better insulator the material is.)
Mineral wool batts for 2x6 walls have an R-value of 23, compared with R-19 for fiberglass batts. A 2x4 stud cavity filled with blown-in cellulose has an R-value of about 13. Spray foam insulates better than all of these, but it’s far more expensive.
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