Fiberglass and mineral wool batts are two of the most popular insulation options for residential wall cavities and attics. Despite the fact that both types of insulation are excellent options, knowing their advantages can help you choose the best one for your building project. Below is a graphic that contrasts mineral wool and fiberglass, followed by a more thorough explanation of each topic.
THERMAL COMPLEXITY OF INSULATION
The regulation of thermal and acoustic conditions is the main reason why people opt to insulate. Mineral wool outperforms fiberglass somewhat in terms of both of these factors. In comparison, JM’s fiberglass batts offer an R-13 at the same thickness while its mineral wool batt, TempControl®, offers an R-15 at 3.5 inches.
Notably, mineral wool has a higher R-value than fiberglass, but because it is denser, it weighs more. The weight of the mineral wool would be much higher than that of the fiberglass in applications where you might need a highly robust R-value, such as an R-49. As a result, the weight of mineral wool may be prohibitive in situations like an attic where the insulation would be placed directly on the gypsum board, favoring fiberglass instead.
SOUND CONTROL OF INSULATION
However, the variation in acoustical performance is so slight that people would not be able to tell the difference between the two materials in a wall cavity. Mineral wool offers slightly greater sound control qualities. To satisfy particular Sound Transmission Class (STC) requirements, a variety of assemblies can be constructed using both mineral and fiberglass.
FIRE RESISTANCE OF INSULATION
Many individuals focus their decisions on fire protection when choosing insulation materials, in addition to thermal and acoustical performance. Unfaced mineral wool and unfaced fiberglass are both noncombustible and aid in slowing the spread of fire, but because mineral wool has a significantly higher melting point than fiberglass, it is frequently regarded as having more fire resistance.
INSULATION FACING & MOISTURE CONTROL
Both materials would require a facing to stop vapor drive when it comes to water vapor, but mineral wool doesn’t have one. Therefore, a faced fiberglass solution might be preferable to an unfaced mineral wool alternative with a separate vapor barrier if preventing vapor drive and condensation is a top objective.
Finally, installers need to think about how they want to handle the materials. Fiberglass with a lower density has a tendency to be significantly more flexible. It is important to note that stable, bonded glass fibers won’t settle or crumble in typical applications, despite their flexibility. Because of its density, mineral wool is significantly more hard than fiberglass, which is more flexible. Some installers favor mineral wool’s stiffness over fiberglass’s flexibility. Installers’ handling preferences can differ, and in this case, a lot will depend on what you want.
IDEAL USE OF INSULATION
While mineral wool and fiberglass can be used in many situations that are very similar to one another, there are instances where one is more frequently utilized than the other. Exterior walls, basements, and heated crawl areas are all frequently insulated with mineral wool. It can also be utilized in applications requiring continuous insulating. However, fiberglass is not used as continuous outside insulation; instead, it is used to insulate interior and exterior walls, basements, garages, and attics.
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