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The Different Types of Thermal Insulation

The Different Types of Thermal Insulation

Insulation has several unique applications and is made from a wide variety of materials. Being aware of the different types of thermal insulation will give you the opportunity to pick and choose what type you need and make an informed decision. Don’t jump into a project without exploring your options; otherwise, you may find you’ve invested in something unsuitable for the intended task.

Fiberglass Insulation

Fiberglass is among the most popular options when it comes to insulation; this is due in large part to how inexpensive it can be. This cheaper price point is appealing to many people. This type of insulation also offers a great deal of heat resistance relative to its price point. However, this economical option can also come at the cost of safety. Fiberglass gets its name from its design, which is a construct of fine strands of glass. Because glass is so sharp, if your fiberglass insulation were to break, it could cause serious injury to anyone handling it. This makes safety equipment mandatory for anyone dealing with it.

Calcium Silicate Insulation

A chemical composite of calcium, silicon, and oxygen, calcium silicate (also known as cal-sil) offers high durability against intense heat, excellent compression resistance, and impressive corrosion resistance. Knowing how cal-sil insulates will give you the knowledge to best apply it, but cal-sil finds its most useful application in piping insulation.

It’s a high-performance material, but cal-sil does come at an increased price point, making it more expensive than fiberglass and other common insulators. And due to the firmness of the material, replacing cal-sil insulation can be difficult.


Polystyrene is a common form of waterproof insulation that dissipates both sound and heat. Because of its chemical composition, the material is smooth yet rigid; this means that insulators typically cut it into individual blocks. This characteristic makes it ideal for wall insulation.

When you’re purchasing polystyrene insulation, you can choose from two different types: expanded polystyrene (EPS) and extruded expanded polystyrene (XEPS) insulation. The significant difference between the two is that XEPS costs more but offers more heat resistance than EPS.

Know the Application and Your Needs

Every type of insulation has its own advantages and disadvantages, and you need to know which type is the best fit for your needs. Knowing the exact specifications of the different types of insulation materials will give you everything you need to make the right purchase the first time. Otherwise, you might waste time and money experimenting with different materials, slowly finding what works and discarding what doesn’t.

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