At Amity Environmental, we’re the first to explain all the incredible properties of asbestos. Not long ago, asbestos was a miracle material. It’s a great insulator, fire resistant, chemically inert, and affordable. Of course, it also kills people, so Canadians have had to find alternatives.
Polyurethane Foam, otherwise known as spray foam, is a popular form of insulation that offers a good R-value and fire resistance. While blown fibre glass has a R-value of between 3 and 4 per inch, spray foam can get up to an R-value of 6.7 per inch. The foam expands 30-60 times its initial volume when sprayed into place, and because of its water and fire resistance, it’s particularly popular for ceilings and basements. Spray insulation can also get into all the tight nooks and crannies and seems to perform better than traditional insulations by about 50%.
In today’s day and age, many people are interested in finding “green” or “natural” alternatives. Of course, asbestos is an all natural mineral that has been mined for 1000s of years, so the insistence that natural means healthy has never sat quite right with our team. However, for Canadians who really prefer their insulation comes from a natural source, straw, wool, hemp, and cellulose are all options.
Fiberglass & Mineral Wool are perhaps the most common insulations now that asbestos is no longer used. Fiberglass is made from spun glass fibers and mineral wool from spun volcanic rock. Mineral wool is more expensive than fibreglass, but it offers a higher R-value, modestly better fire-resistance, and is significantly more water resistant and durable than fiberglass. Despite these differences, fiberglass and mineral wool are fairly similar and either can be used in most circumstances. They can also complement one another fairly well, so you may want to use mineral wool where the water-resistance and higher R-value really matter and fibreglass elsewhere to save on your budget.
Technology is constantly changing. What was a miracle material a hundred years ago is no longer used, and that means new insulations have move in to replace asbestos. If you’re worried that your home uses asbestos, contact the experts at Amity Environmental today. We’ll be happy to test your home, remove any asbestos we find, and replace it with a great alternative for keeping your home warm and cozy all winter long.