5 options for thermal and sound insulation of an apartment

8 min

Everyone wants their home to be comfortable in all respects, and among them, silence and warmth are almost the most important. To create an optimal microclimate and maximum comfort in an apartment, it is necessary to insulate it with high quality and protect it from external sounds that come from the street, highways or from neighboring apartments. To kill two birds with one stone will help special materials related to the class of heat and sound insulators. Due to their structure, they regulate the indoor climate and absorb sound waves. You can find several types of such materials in hardware stores.

# 1. Heat and sound insulation boards

Heat and sound insulation boards are one of the most popular materials that are used when it is necessary to simultaneously protect your house from noise and increase its thermal insulation so that it is comfortable to stay there in summer and winter with minimal heating or air conditioning costs. This is a natural material, which contains only coniferous wood, and there are no adhesives, synthetic additives or other harmful substances here. First, the wood is ground, then wetted to make it easier to form a homogeneous web, then pressing occurs under the influence of high temperatures. During this process, the wood is compacted, and then the drying stage follows, after which the material is ready for use. The sheets may differ in thickness and other parameters so that you can choose the best option for each specific room.

Heat and sound insulation boards are an excellent insulation material, whose efficiency can be compared with mineral wool. Such material helps to maintain the same temperature in the room, preventing the house from quickly warming up in summer and cooling down in winter. Features of the structure allow you to reliably detain extraneous sounds, isolate those in the apartment from impact and airborne noises, which makes it possible to protect yourself from loud neighborly conversations and almost neutralize the sound from working instruments. In addition, the slabs can improve the acoustics of the interior, and get rid of the echo effect.

Heat and sound insulation boards 2But only on sound absorption and thermal insulation, the advantages of the material are not limited. So, stoves are able to regulate the microclimate in the room, absorb excess moisture and give it away when the air in the room becomes too dry. It is worth noting some of the features that appear upon contact with water. The wood fibers of the material are somewhat reminiscent of felt, which means that the board, even when absorbing about 20% moisture in relation to its volume, will still retain its original geometric dimensions. In addition, it is a fairly durable material that will last at least 50 years. As a rule, one of the sides of the slabs is smooth and is intended for further finishing, which will be simplified as much as possible, because the surface does not need leveling. Installation of thermal insulation boards is not difficult: they can be attached both to glue and to the lathing, and on top of the material you can use any finish: wallpaper, paint, plaster, etc.

# 2. Basalt slabs

Basalt slabsBasalt slabs are another unique material that combines the properties of insulation and sound insulation, and all thanks to the peculiarities of the structure. The manufacturing process begins with a melt of raw materials, which are used as rocks such as basalt, clay, limestone, dolomite. Further, the melt turns into many thin fibers, which are bound together due to the addition of special substances. The final stage is drying at high temperatures, which gives the material additional useful performance, incl. strength and elasticity.

The fibrous structure of the plates also determines low thermal conductivity (about 0.04 W / m * K), but this characteristic largely depends on the moisture content of the material: in a dry state, the thermal insulation properties are the best, and as they get wet, they deteriorate. The structure of basalt slabs allows you to protect your home from the most annoying low-frequency noise, and these are the steps of neighbors, the blows of different instruments, etc. The material also effectively protects against high-frequency noises and significantly reduces the time of revibration, because the sound wave is absorbed and converted into heat energy.

Basalt slabs 2Basalt slabs are distinguished by fire-fighting properties, good vapor permeability, which allows the walls to “breathe” and remove excess moisture into the atmosphere. This is a safe material with high strength that does not change during operation, and this property allows the use of basalt slabs when arranging heat and noise insulation systems at any facilities. The high strength characteristics are explained by the fact that the fibers are reoriented during the production process. Plates are resistant to decay, aggressive environments, can last 70 years more, which is explained by the origin of the material: in fact, it is a stone stretched into threads. This type of heat and sound insulation can be called safe for health and environmentally friendly. Moreover, the material is easy to cut, which makes it possible to simplify the process of its installation as much as possible and even to perform it yourself.

No. 3. Ecowool

EcowoolEcowool, already by its name, betrays the fact that it is a natural material, which means that it is not capable of causing allergies and other diseases in people. This is one of its main advantages. Ecowool is made from waste of the cardboard industry, the remains of newspapers, corrugated packaging, as well as from defective printed products, etc. As a result, the material is more than 80% cellulose. Boric acid is also added during production – a powerful antiseptic that resists the development of fungus and mold, and fire retardants – substances that reduce the flammability and resist combustion. Often sodium tetraborate acts as a fire retardant. As is clear from the composition, there are no synthetic substances in ecowool, which gives the right to call it one of the most environmentally friendly heat and sound insulators. And when it burns, no specific toxic substances are released.

Ecowool 2The material has a relatively low coefficient of thermal conductivity, which is at the level of 0.032 W / m * K, which is approximately equivalent to the radiation of mineral wool insulation. But in terms of sound insulation, ecowool is even more effective than basalt slabs, and to create the same effect, it is necessary to use a much thinner layer of material. The elastic structure of ecowool allows you to detain sound waves, thereby protecting the inhabitants of the apartment from noises of any nature. A striking example of the sound insulation characteristics of the material: the structure of a wooden frame 7.5 cm thick, on which sheets of plasterboard with a total thickness of 1.3 cm are attached on both sides, reduces external noise by 37 dB. If ecowool 2.5 cm thick is attached to one of the sides of this structure, then the sound insulation of the partition will increase to 65 dB. Another example: a 12.5 mm thick drywall sheet with a 5 cm layer of ecowool has a sound absorption index of 63 dB. If we take into account the fact that a person already perceives a decrease in external noise by 10 dB as a 2-fold reduction, then with ecowool you can achieve incredible results and make your apartment comfortable.

ecowool 3A layer of ecowool is able to absorb excess moisture from the room and give it away, but the performance properties of the material do not deteriorate. Since the structure of the material is capillary, micro-droplets do not accumulate in it – moisture escapes into the atmosphere, thereby regulating the microclimate in the room. When using this material, vapor barrier is not needed, which simplifies the process of arranging such thermal and sound insulation and reduces the cost of the structure.

Despite the fact that ecowool is 80% paper, it resists fire well: it ignites poorly and does not support its spread. It’s all about the fire retardants, which are part of the material, and the water molecules contained in the salts of boric acid are released when heated and contribute to the spontaneous attenuation of the ecowool. Due to the presence of boric acid, the material is protected from the spread of mold, bacteria, and rodents do not start in ecowool. This material can be called durable, as it will last at least 50 years.

№4. Penosteklo

PenostekloFoam glass is a very popular insulation with excellent sound insulation parameters. The material has long been actively used in European countries, but in our country it only makes itself felt. It is interesting that it was invented in the middle of the last century, but at that time its manufacturing technology was so complicated and expensive that it did not become popular. Today, technologies have become much more sophisticated, and although foam glass still cannot be called a cheap material, it has become a popular thermal insulation material.

In the manufacture, only safe components are used: silicate glass and some kind of gas generator, for example, coke, coal, soot or anthracite. After heating the mixture to 10000C, passing the reaction and foaming, the volume of the material increases 15 times, and a mass of bubbles saturated with air or carbon dioxide appears in the structure. In such a structure, all the useful operational properties of foam glass are hidden.

Penosteklo 2Although the thermal insulation properties of the material are slightly inferior to ecowool, they still give the right to use foam glass as a good insulation. The thermal conductivity coefficient is 0.045 W / m * K, but this indicator does not change during operation, and after 50-60 years it remains exactly the same, which cannot be said about many other heaters. The structure of the material helps it absorb external noises of a different nature: for example, a 10 cm layer of foam glass can reduce the noise level by 56 dB.

Other advantages of the material include resistance to moisture, air permeability, low density, which makes it possible not to heavily weight the structure. Foam glass has good vapor permeability, retains all its operational properties in a wide temperature range. In addition, it is a completely non-combustible material, because in fact it is ordinary glass. Previously, foam glass was used in nuclear power plant floors, in the construction of expensive hotels and at other facilities where the highest safety requirements were put forward. It is clear from the composition of the material that it is safe, it will not become a place for the development of rodents, mold, bacteria, etc. Foam glass has good adhesion to almost all building materials and boasts durability. The only drawback of this heat and sound insulator is its high cost.

No. 5. Foamed polyethylene

Foamed polyethyleneFoamed polyethylene – a material obtained from polyethylene, has a closed-porous structure, thanks to which it is widely used as a heat and sound insulator. It has excellent thermal insulation properties, as evidenced by the thermal conductivity coefficient, which is at the level of 0.038 W / m * K. Foamed polyethylene is used more and more often as an insulating material, and a 1 cm layer can replace 5 cm of mineral wool in terms of efficiency. As a sound insulator, the material also performs well, absorbing a significant part of sound waves, which is possible due to its structure.

Among other things, this material is absolutely not afraid of water and almost does not absorb it even with direct contact. It is biologically stable, non-toxic and durable, and its service life is about 80-100 years. The process of its transportation and installation is simple, but there are also some disadvantages. These include flammability and sensitivity to ultraviolet rays, therefore, during transportation, installation and operation, it must be carefully protected from direct sunlight.

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Passionate about DIY for over 10 years and all the new tools, I give you through this blog all my advice, tips, tests in all areas: carpentry, electricity, masonry, gardening, home automation ...


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