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What are the typical types of residential thermal insulation materials?

The following types of insulation are common:

  • Rock Wool - blanket form and most common before 1950.
  • Fiberglass - most common since 1950; more resilient than rock wool.
  • Cellulose - made from scrap paper products.
  • Perlite - A loose material usually used to fill voids; inorganic, noncombustible, and moisture and insect resistant.
  • Vermiculite - Naturally occurring mica-like material that expands by heating; used as loose fill; organic, noncombustible, and resists decay and insects.
  • Polystyrene Form - Usually in pellet form or as bead-board; inorganic polymer that is combustible but decay, moisture, and insect resistant.
  • Polyurethane & Polylsocyanaurate Foam - Usually in rigid board form; formable and subject to dimensional changes due to curing and aging.
  • Formaldehyde Foam - Inorganic foam pumped into wall cavities most common as a retrofit on older homes.



Dr. Ronn Phillips, Arch.D., and Bobbi Hauptmann, Environmental Design, College of Human Environmental Sciences, University of Missouri-Columbia









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