Insulation is essential for ensuring energy efficiency in the home. Without it, heating costs would skyrocket. Recently constructed homes are typically fully insulated; however, older buildings were sometimes built with no insulation. Pre-existing walls can be injected with insulation, otherwise known as cavity wall insulation. The type of cavity wall insulation you use will be contingent on the demands of the construction.
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Mineral wool, also known as rock wool, is made from spun steel slag. Resistant to water, fire and mould, mineral wool is a safe, general purpose insulation. Once blown into a wall, it looks and functions much like sheep's wool insulation. Mineral wool is also environmentally friendly because it is made from recycled materials. Mineral wool has advantages over fibreglass insulation, like having a higher density, which makes it better at soundproofing and preventing airflow.
Often used in the cavities of brick walls, polystyrene beads are small pellets of plastic foam that are injected with adhesive. These are the same beads used to stuff toys and bean bag chairs. Water does not damage polystyrene beads, and any trapped moisture will drain effectively. Polystyrene bead insulation also will not degrade or require future maintenance. Polystyrene bead insulation, however, does have a lower level a thermal resistance than polystyrene board insulation, which is denser.
Urea Formaldehyde Foam
Urea formaldehyde (UF) foam is also used in brick walls. It starts as a liquid solution and then quickly expands and sets once it is extruded. The way UF foam expands is efficient because it conforms perfectly to the wall cavities, fully filling all empty spaces. UF foam also will not be damaged by moisture, but is breathable and does not serve as a vapour barrier. UF foam, also permanent, will not need maintenance. When installing expanding foam, it is important to be wary of vents, flues and other necessary holes so as not to accidentally block access or flow.
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