Batt Insulation: Mineral Wool Vs Fiberglass

Batts are perhaps the most common form of roof insulation used in Australian homes. Fiberglass and mineral wool are the common materials that these batts are made of.

Insulation batts made of mineral wool are considered superior to those made from fiberglass for various reasons. Two of these reasons are discussed in the article below.

The Ease Of Installation

In this day and age of DIY-minded homeowners, great importance is attached to how easy it is to install insulation batts without professional assistance.

Insulation batts made from mineral wool are considered the better pick for  DIY-minded homeowner. This is because they're easier to handle than batts made of fiberglass. The density of mineral wool is higher than that of fiberglass. As such, batts made of the former are known to retain their shape installation, while those made of the latter are known to drape or fold easily, thereby losing shape.

The 'shape retention' ability of mineral wool insulation batts allows the DIY-minded homeowner fit these batts into studs perfectly and with greater ease.

This should not be taken to imply that DIY installation is not an option for fiberglass batts. It is. It's just more difficult for you to do it right on your own. Doing it right should be a serious concern because the effectiveness of insulation batts depends on their proper installation--DIY or otherwise.

The Health Risks

Exposure to the batt material during installation and the long-term exposure post-installation could have a negative impact on your health and that of your family.

The fibres present in fiberglass batts are known for their volatility. Exposure to these fibres can cause various allergic reactions (e.g. skin irritation). That's why you're advised to have personal protective clothing (gas mask, gloves, goggles etc.) that will prevent contact with the volatile fibres.

Mineral wool doesn't contain the volatile fibres but you still need protective clothing for DIY installation of these batts. However, formaldehyde is commonly used as a binding material in batts made of mineral wool. Exposure to formaldehyde can irritate the eyes, nose and throat. Long-term exposure is associated with various health complications including bronchitis.

The good news is that not all manufacturers of mineral wool batts use formaldehyde as a binding agent. Earthwool insulation batts are perhaps the best example.

Insulation batts that are free of formaldehyde might be slightly more expensive. Consider the extra cost an investment in your health and the health of your family.