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Thermo-acoustic insulation: is rock wool or glass wool better?

The developments within the European regulatory framework and the increasingly stringent directives in the building sector, added to the growth in energy costs, are turning the spotlight on the energy performance of buildings and on the value of thermo-acoustic insulation systems. The latter strongly affect the degree of living comfort and the quality of energy savings; in fact, they guarantee an optimal room temperature and a net reduction of noise coming from outside or from neighboring rooms.

Thermo-acoustic insulation allows you to maintain a uniform temperature and prevent problems related to the presence of condensation humidity, such as the formation of harmful molds and unsightly dark spots.
Furthermore, the insulation systems reduce heat loss and therefore represent a significant advantage both in terms of costs and emissions.

The selection of materials

To enjoy these benefits, a careful evaluation of the materials must be carried out in order to obtain the most suitable thermo-acoustic insulation system for the type of building, the structure, the location, and the climate.
Today there is a wide availability of materials for thermo-acoustic insulation: expanded polyurethane foam, cork, sheep’s wool, wood fiber, cellulose, glass wool, and rock wool; however, we will limit ourselves, in this content, to the analysis of the last two insulation solutions.

The similarities between rock wool and glass wool

Rock wool and glass wool are two versatile, inexpensive thermo-acoustic insulators with high insulating properties and high soundproofing power.
In particular, rock wool is an amorphous silicate, produced by the fusion of stones, such as diabase, basalt, and dolomite. Glass wool is instead an amorphous silicate obtained from the fusion of a mixture of recycled glass, sand, limestone, sodium carbonate, and boron.
In both cases, the molten material is centrifuged to obtain the formation of the fibers. They are treated thanks to the addition of thermosetting vegetable resins, which give the product the necessary mechanical resistance.

Glass wool and rock wool are therefore natural, eco-sustainable, long-lasting, impermeable to vapor materials, characterized by an open cell structure, and united by the ability to resist water and fire (in class A, the best for fireproof materials ). Furthermore, the two materials for thermo-acoustic insulation are easy to install and suitable for multiple uses.
Now, let’s try to understand the dissimilarities.

The differences

Rock wool is sold in felts, panels, and rolls, while glass wool is also produced in flakes. And what distinguishes them is, above all, the consistency: glass wool is more elastic and malleable, attributes that favor its adoption where there are curved or irregular surfaces and pipes.

Regarding the acoustic insulation function, it is appropriate to make a distinction between sound-insulating and sound-absorbing properties. The former characterizes the materials that prevent the transmission of an acoustic signal from one environment or space to another. The latter improves the quality of the sound transmission. This clarification highlights another difference between rock wool and glass wool. Rock wool is more sound-insulating than glass wool, which is instead more sound-absorbing.

Now that you know the peculiarities of these two materials for thermo-acoustic insulation, all you have to do is adopt the most suitable solution for your needs.


Read also: Why invest in the Italian glass supply chain?
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