Even the most powerful and reliable walls of the house are often not able to provide an optimal indoor climate. That is why insulation becomes so necessary, which not only helps to maintain warmth and comfort in the house, to protect itself from the negative effects of street conditions, but also to save decent money on heating. So, it has long been calculated that about 40% of the heat loss of a house falls on the walls, so it is so important to properly insulate them. What materials can be used for this?
It should be noted right away that insulation can be external and internal. Internally, although it does not spoil the facade of the house, it still takes away useful space inside the room. External insulation has a lot of advantages: it preserves the useful area of the house, protects the walls from external influences, so they remain in their original state for a long time. Such insulation does not affect the foundation in any way, but the main thing is that external insulation protects the walls of the house from freezing and from the formation of mold, mildew, which can appear if you use internal insulation. And, of course, external thermal insulation can still save home owners from unnecessary sounds, which is important for those who live near busy streets or highways. All these are the general advantages of outdoor insulation, but there are many options for organizing it, since the modern market offers a huge number of such materials. What are their main features, advantages and disadvantages, and what kind of insulation will be optimal in each specific situation?
# 1. Mineral wool
Mineral wool is very often used as a heater, which is associated with a number of its advantages. Mineral wool is made from artificial mineral fibers, and depending on what raw materials were used in its production, mineral wool can be stone, slag, etc. The material can be sold in the form of slabs or mats, but in any case, all its advantages are retained.
So, mineral wool is characterized by high thermal insulation properties, in fact, which is why it is used in the insulation of external walls. The coefficient of thermal conductivity of this material is very low, comparable only to foam, therefore it is a reliable barrier to all cold weather. In addition, mineral wool has excellent vapor permeability, which will allow you to maintain an optimal microclimate in the room. Another useful property of this material is incombustibility, therefore, even when the house is ignited, you can be sure that the mineral wool will not catch fire, and, therefore, will not emit toxic substances formed during the combustion process. The ignition temperature of this material exceeds 10,000C, so there is nothing to fear.
Due to the porous structure, mineral wool perfectly absorbs extraneous noise, therefore, protects the room from unnecessary sounds. In addition, this material is very resistant to mechanical damage and deformation of various kinds, and that is why it is distinguished by its durability and practicality, which cannot be said, for example, of foam. And the fact that rodents will not touch the mineral wool can also be considered a huge plus. The list of these advantages can be supplemented by a low price, which makes mineral wool one of the most demanded heaters on the market.
Depending on what material the mineral wool is made of, it can be of several types: glass wool, basalt wool and stone wool. Each of these types, with the general advantages of mineral wool, has a number of disadvantages. So, for example, glass wool is very fragile and brittle, and fragments of fibers easily get into clothes, skin, and into the respiratory tract of a person, causing harm. That is why you need to work with it only in special protective equipment.
Slag wool is much less often used for wall insulation than other types of mineral wool, due to its numerous features: it is fragile, does not withstand high temperatures, hygroscopic. Stone wool has a minimal set of disadvantages, and that is why this type of material is often called mineral wool by builders.
# 2. Expanded polystyrene (foam)
Polyfoam, as the people call expanded polystyrene, in popularity can only compete with mineral wool. This is a reliable and proven insulation, which is often used when it is necessary to optimize the indoor microclimate.
Foam plastic consists of small granules, which are sintered into a single mass during the manufacturing process under the influence of high temperatures. Between them there are air gaps, microcells, therefore, in general, the foam is 98% air. Today, there are two types of expanded polystyrene on the market, which differs in nuances and manufacturing technologies: extruded and expanded. The first one has smaller granules, is often used to insulate garages, basements, and other outbuildings, while the second is distinguished by the presence of larger granules, it is used to insulate residential buildings.
Polyfoam has gained wide popularity today, which is due to the totality of its advantages. So, it is quite easy to carry out insulation with its help, since it is easily cut and weighs a little, the material is inexpensive, but at the same time it has excellent thermal insulation properties, is resistant to the influence of moisture, does not absorb it, so a fungus cannot form and develop on its surface … It is also worth adding to the general list of advantages high soundproofing properties, resistance to heat, frost, and temperature extremes.
But even a material like polystyrene is not without its drawbacks. So, it is characterized by low resistance to mechanical damage, therefore, after installing the thermal insulation, an additional layer must be provided that will protect it from all kinds of deformations and mechanical influences. In addition, nitro paints and other coatings on this basis can easily destroy foam. Well, and, finally, rodents are not indifferent to expanded polystyrene, and it itself is highly flammable and burns, therefore, unlike mineral wool, it cannot become a barrier to the spread of fire.
No. 3. Linen slabs
Insulation of external walls with linen slabs is not yet so popular due to the high cost, but nevertheless this method can be called one of the most environmentally friendly, since when installing such material there is no danger to humans, and during operation, toxic substances are not emitted, because such insulation – natural materials. Linen slabs are durable, fire safety, since they do not support combustion, they have high sound insulation, and absorb external noise. Naturally, the thermal conductivity coefficient is very low here, which ensures reliable thermal insulation. Such slabs are resistant to temperature extremes, have good vapor permeability, ease of installation and low weight, so they are not able to create a strong load on the foundation.
There is only one drawback, and it has already been mentioned – the high price that must be paid for environmentally friendly materials, but in return you can get a warm and safe home. If we supplement such insulation with the windproof plates presented on the website www.E-T1.ru, then the building will receive additional protection from wind, noise, in addition, thermal insulation will improve, but the main thing is that this is the same environmentally friendly material as linen plates.
No. 4. Polyurethane foam
Polyurethane foam insulation is a mixture of two substances – polyol and isocyanate. When insulating, either spraying or pouring into molds is used, but if we are talking about insulating the outer walls, then only the first option is used, and the process itself is very similar to spraying paint.
This method of insulation has a lot of advantages. So, the material has low thermal conductivity, excellent waterproofing properties, is resistant to various chemical aggressive agents. In addition, even a thin layer of such insulation can become a reliable sound insulation for a home, and the material itself does not lose its declared properties in a wide temperature range: from -15000C to + 20000C. Such insulation fills all cracks and depressions on the surface of the walls, allows you to create a single monolithic coating, and at the same time adheres perfectly to almost any material, and metal surfaces, thanks to such insulation, receive protection from corrosion. In addition, polyurethane foam will not become a habitat for rodents or insects, and the installation of the coating is performed as quickly as possible.
Despite all the advantages of this material, it remains not very popular due to its high price. You will also have to spend money on the services of professionals who use special equipment. It is better not to perform installation on your own, since the quality of insulation largely depends on the skill of the work performed. In addition, it is better not to use such insulation on an industrial scale, but only in small areas. It is worth noting that he is very afraid of direct sunlight, so you have to tinker with reliable protection: sheet materials, due to the need for fastening, will destroy the solidity of the material, so two options remain – plaster or ventilated facade. But only plaster is able to reliably protect the material from the influence of rays, and this is the only option for finishing the facade.
No. 5. Ecowool
Such material as ecowool is still new for the domestic market, since a couple of decades ago very few people heard about it. Now this insulation is beginning to enjoy well-deserved popularity. Ecowool itself is 80% cellulose fibers, which means that the end result is a seamless material with high thermal insulation values. The main disadvantages of wood in the form of flammability and instability to the effects of certain biological factors are eliminated by adding some natural components. So, boric acid in the composition protects the material from the influence of rodents and fungi, and borax helps to improve fire resistance.
Ecowool as insulation allows you to get a seamless final layer, which means that there will be no cold bridges that can violate the thermal insulation of the room. In addition, the material has excellent sound insulation properties, and most importantly, it is as safe and environmentally friendly as possible, and does not emit any toxic substances during operation. Ecowool is prone to moisture absorption, but even in this case, it almost does not lose its thermal insulation properties, unlike, for example, some other heaters.
Among the disadvantages of this type of insulation, one can only note that special equipment is required for installation, and it is difficult to do without the help of professionals.