Thermal insulation materials

There are many ways to skin a cat, and almost as many ways to keep heat from entering or escaping your home. Different materials offer different things - some are easier to install in certain circumstances, some are better for retrofits, some simply perform far better than others and some have added soundproofing benefits that may tip the scales in their favour.

See how different insulation materials compare, and find out what suits your needs best.

Cellulose insulation

Cellulose insulation is made from plant fibres, and is used to insulate wall and roof cavities. Cellulose insulation does an excellent job of controlling heat at a good price, and is highly versatile.

Glass wool insulation

Glass wool is made from fibreglass, and is available either as rolls of insulation, or as batts or blanketing. Glass wool is relatively inexpensive, and as a result it's sometimes layered for improved insulating performance.

Rock wool insulation

Also known as 'mineral wool', this type of insulation is made from rock spun into thin strands and then bound together. It's normally sold in rolls or batts, is inexpensive, and is relatively effective and easy to install.

Natural wool insulation

The ability of sheep's wool insulation to provide effective soundproofing comes down to how thick it is. Find out more about how sheep's wool insulation can be used for soundproofing.

Polystyrene insulation

Polystyrene is an increasingly popular insulation material, used either as a part of structural insulated panels (SIPs) or as individual blocks or sheets. Polystyrene is an excellent insulator, and is relatively inexpensive.

Polyurethane foam insulation

In the right form and circumstances, polyurethane foam insulation can work well as a soundproofing material - particularly for muting midrange noises like music and voices.

Structural insulated panels (SIPs)

SIPs are wall materials comprised of polystyrene sandwiched between two rigid panels. While they're not cheap, SIPs offer additional advantages in terms of thermal performance that go beyond their R values.

Straw bale insulation

People have been making houses from straw bales for centuries. Straw bales can be remarkably effective insulators, but straw bale homes must be expertly constructed to avoid the risk of fire or rot.

Autoclaved aerated concrete (AAC)

AAC is concrete that contains many tiny air bubbles, making it 20% of the weight of regular concrete. AAC is an excellent insulator, and can also be used as a structural material.

Reflective foil insulation

Reflective foil insulation

Foil-type insulation is reflective insulation, designed to prevent radiated heat from entering your home. This type of insulation is most often used in warmer climates to keep heat out of a house.