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What is Mineral Wool Insulation? What it’s Made of and How it Works

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What is Mineral Wool Insulation? What it’s Made of and How it Works Blog Feature
Amanda Ringler

By: Amanda Ringler on March 30th, 2020

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There are a lot of insulation options out there and one you have been coming across is mineral wool insulation.

All of these options can make buying home insulation complicated, but we’re here to help.

RetroFoam of Michigan specializes in foam insulation, but we come across all kinds of types of insulation in the homes we work in. With that being said, we are here to help you by providing all the information you need to make an informed decision.

I’m gonna break it down for you and tell you exactly what mineral wool insulation is, what mineral wool insulation is made of, the material’s pros and cons, and how mineral wool insulation installation works.

What is Mineral Wool Insulation?

Mineral wool insulation is a unique product that is very versatile.

It’s a non-metallic, inorganic material that has thermal, fire, and acoustic properties. Mineral wool insulation material can be made in different densities to give it different benefits, according to Mineral Wool Insulation Manufacturers Association. 

The mineral wool can be loose granular material used as blown-in insulation installed in open cavities. There is also mineral wool batt insulation for walls, attics, floors, and ceilings.

What is Mineral Wool Insulation Made from and How Does it Work?

You now understand what mineral wool insulation is, now you’re likely wondering what is mineral wool insulation made of and how it actually works.

Mineral wool is a fiber insulation, similar to fiberglass, but is made from natural materials and not glass. There are two kinds of mineral wool available for home insulation – rock wool, which is made from fibers of stone and slag wool, are fibers made from iron ore waste.

The slag and stone mineral wool insulation works as both a thermal insulation and acoustic insulation.

Mineral wool can help slow heat loss in the home through convection as well as conduction. Because it is a porous material, it can also reduce noise in the home by allowing air movement into the fabric.

According to MIMA, the fluctuations of the air molecules that form sound waves move into the mineral wool where friction between the air particles and the narrow airways causes that sound to dissipate as heat.

Pros and Cons of Mineral Wool Insulation

Every insulation material available to homeowners has its own unique pros and cons.

Let’s take a quick look at what mineral wool insulation has to offer and what you might want to avoid.

Mineral Wool Insulation Pros

  • Mineral wool doesn’t retain moisture and keeps its insulating qualities when it gets wet.
  • One of the benefits of mineral wool insulation is that it helps to block the transmission of sound, making for a quieter home.
  • Mineral wool doesn’t serve as a catalyst in a fire and some materials won’t burn until temperatures hit around 1,800-degrees.
  • Mineral wool insulation is very versatile and comes in many different forms.

Mineral Wool Insulation Cons

  • Much like fiberglass, protective gear must be worn when working with mineral wool insulation as tiny slivers can embed in the skin.
  • These small slivers can also be inhaled causing illness.
  • Like most traditional insulation, mineral wool still allows for air movement through the material.
  • Mineral wool is more expensive than fiberglass.

How to Install Mineral Wool Insulation

Mineral wool insulation installation can be done in the attic, open wall cavities, and floor joists.

The most common form of mineral wool insulation found in homes comes in batts or rolls. The installation process for both is the same.

The roll or batt should be placed into the cavity while ensuring it is the correct size, so there are no air gaps and the material isn’t bunched into place. The mineral wool can be cut to make sure it fits the cavity properly.

A few things to keep in mind is if the mineral wool is added to existing walls with the drywall taken down, you will need to cut the mineral wool to fit around electrical boxes and outlets. When it comes to heat ducts on the floors, you will want to cover those ducts to maintain the air temperature.

The installation can be done as a DIY project or by a contractor who offers the material as an option.

Choosing Mineral Wool Insulation for Your Home

Mineral wool insulation is another option for homeowners looking to make their homes more comfortable.

One thing to keep in mind with this material is that while it can slow air movement into the home, it doesn’t completely stop it. While it does have some great benefits like sound dampening and fire safety, if you’re dealing with high monthly energy bills it may not be the solution you’re looking for.

Our Learning Center is packed full of information about foam insulation, but we also have a lot of other resources on other materials as well. You can read about foam of course, but also about cellulose, fiberglass, cork, and foam board.

Good luck and happy reading!

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About Amanda Ringler

Amanda previously has worked as a breaking news and crime reporter, TV news producer, and editor in Flint and Detroit. Throughout her career as a journalist, she has won several awards from The Society of Professional Journalists - Detroit Chapter and the Michigan Press Association. As part of the RetroFoam of Michigan family, Amanda uses her experience as a journalist to write content that will help educate homeowners on the benefits of foam insulation. When Amanda isn’t writing, she’s spending time with her husband and rescued huskies. She also loves knitting, making art, cooking, and hosting dinner and a movie night for friends and family.