Insulation Explanation

Attic Insulation Types Explained by Original Attic Stairs Attic Insulation Types Explained by Original Attic Stairs

Different Insulation Types Explained


In this piece will be giving you some information on some of the most commonly used types of insulation. Being Original Attic Stairs will will be focusing primarily on the most common insulation types which are used to insulate an attic or a loft space.


FIBREGLASS. Fibreglass is produced by spinning molten glass into micro fibres. It is likely to be the most commonly used attic insulation, this is largely due to its ready availability and cost effectiveness. DIY installation is relatively easy but it is not a nice material to work with, the fibres get into your pores and can cause skin irritation (a hot shower is the only thing that helps!!). It is also important to avoid breathing in the fibres. Because of this it is very important to wear the appropriate gear i.e. gloves, body suit and mask.

ROCK WOOL. Rock Wool is similar in appearance to fibreglass but is produced using molten rock instead of glass. It is also readily available and cost effective. When comparing it to fibreglass the main pros would be that rock wool is more environmentally friendly (up to 90% recycled content) and has a better fire resistance. On the down side, it is possible for rock wool to foster mould if it gets wet. The same safety gear must be worn, however we find this material more pleasant to work with.

SPRAY FOAM. Liquid spray foam is a very effective insulator which has a very high U value. It is applied using a pump a hose and a spray gun. Whilst being applied the foam expands to 100 times its original size, which helps to ensure no gaps are left. The most common method is to spray between the rafters (compared to insulating between the ceiling joists). The down side to this method of insulation is that it must be carried out using the proper equipment, by a professional. Because of this, it is one of the more expensive options. 

RIGID FOAM. Rigid Foam is ordinarily constructed using polyurethane, polystyrene or polyisocyanates. It is extremely effective as an insulator but it can be arduous to install as each piece has to be cut to fit in between each joist, which makes it awkward to fit around obstacles and into unusually shape spaces . It is again one of the more expensive options.

CELLULOSE. Cellulose insulation is extremely effective as an insulator and is also much more environmentally friendly as it is made of of 100% recycled paper material such as new paper. One downside is that the material is very dusty, another is that it would be the most prone to settling and loosing much of the air within its self (and thus decrease its value as an insulator) over time. It is applied by pumping in the loose material. This method again requires the proper equipment and a trained professional, so it can be costly.

SHEEP WOOL. Sheep wool is also an extremely effective insulator and is extremely environmentally friendly, being a natural product, with no unfortunate by-products of construction. Sheep wool is a great choice for people trying to achieve a low impact building. It is important to note where you are getting your wool from, if it is coming from a few miles away then it virtually is a zero carbon option but if it is being imported from another country then this clearly isn't the case.


So there you have it, there are of course many other options in the world of insulation (we may indeed add some more information to this post in the future) but we do hope the information we did provide was helpful.


All the best from the Original Attic Stairs team.


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