- What is ecowool
- Durability and biostability
- High thermal insulation
- Fire safety
- Moisture resistance and vapor permeability
- Good sound insulation
- Manufacturability and efficiency
- Advantages and disadvantages of the material in comparison with traditional mineral wool
- How much does eco-wool insulation cost
- Dry blast or wet application
- Dry blowing
- Wet application
- Ecowool laying by hand: process features
Ecowool is a modern insulating material. Let’s get acquainted with the technology of its production, advantages and disadvantages, methods of application. Let’s consider how to calculate the required number of packages of insulation and how much it will cost.
What is ecowool
Ecowool became one of the new developments in the insulation of premises. Loose light material is produced using a special technology from recycled cellulose, the mass fraction of which reaches 81%. The remaining components of the insulation are boric acid antiseptic and borax fire retardant. The fibers also contain lignin, which makes the material sticky when moistened. Waste paper is the main raw material for ecowool. The components used for its production are non-toxic, non-volatile and completely safe for the human body. As a result of many examinations, the insulating material was recognized as environmentally friendly and included in the Register of Natural and Safe Products.
The components and production technology of the insulating material determine its properties..
Durability and biostability
The composition of the insulation includes an antiseptic that prevents the development of various microorganisms, prevents rotting and growth of fungi. Small animals and insects also cannot live inside the material. Boron compounds found in ecowool clog their airways and irritate mucous membranes. Thanks to this, the quality of the insulating layer is maintained for a long time. Long service life and high biostability of the material makes it possible to recommend it for construction and repair. Used for the reconstruction of historical buildings. The service life of the material without loss of insulation quality is calculated in decades.
High thermal insulation
Ecowool thermal insulation performance is on a par with the best insulation materials. This is easily explained by the following factors:
- low thermal conductivity of cellulose, the main component of insulation;
- good insulating ability of the air inside the coating;
- fine-fiber structure of the material;
- low air permeability.
The structure of the material is such that it drastically slows down the movement of air within the insulation layer, which reduces heat transfer to a minimum. It was experimentally found that a layer of ecowool 15 cm wide in its thermal insulation properties is equivalent to 90 cm of expanded clay, 146 cm of brickwork, 46 cm of foam concrete, 18 cm of mineral wool and 50 cm of timber. At the same time, the properties of the insulation do not change over time..
Ecowool contains borax, one of the best fire retardants. Heating up to 90 ° C and above, it releases the accumulated moisture and extinguishes both the ecowool itself and the structure on which it is fixed. It is very important that toxic elements do not appear in this case. Under the influence of high temperatures, cellulose begins to decompose into pure water and carbon monoxide. In terms of toxicity, the reaction is equivalent to burning pine. The insulation does not burn, its upper layers only melt a little. Extinguishes immediately without direct exposure to fire.
Moisture resistance and vapor permeability
The special structure of the coating determines the ability to collect and release moisture, which stabilizes the humidity and temperature inside the building. In this case, the insulating properties are not lost. Hollow capillaries present in the insulation make it possible for moisture not to accumulate in the form of drops inside the layer, but to move towards the exit into the air. A building insulated with ecowool breathes in the same way as buildings made of natural wood. In addition, vapor barrier is not required for the coating, which greatly simplifies the arrangement of the building and reduces the cost of its construction..
Good sound insulation
The material consists of thin fibers, which, during installation, penetrate even very small gaps and recesses. The rough structure allows them to intertwine with each other in a chaotic manner and form an excellent noise-insulating barrier that perfectly absorbs sound energy. At the same time, the absence of joints, gaps and all kinds of voids prevents its further spread. The insulating material is successfully used in the construction of buildings with increased requirements for the absence of noise. The sound insulation index of ecowool is two times higher than that of mineral wool, and its 15 cm layer “keeps” the sound of about 9 dB.
Manufacturability and efficiency
Insulation installation is very simple and practically waste-free. It consists in blowing the fluffed material onto the base using special equipment. The insulating coating obtained in this way is characterized by the absence of voids and seams, which could subsequently provoke the appearance of cold bridges. Cellulose fibers are very resilient and do not shrink on vertical surfaces. This results in a very high quality insulation layer. Insulation is used not only during construction, but also for the reconstruction of structures, as well as for insulating buildings without preliminary analysis..
Advantages and disadvantages of the material in comparison with traditional mineral wool
Some similarity of names between mineral and ecowool can mislead developers. They may mistakenly think that they are dealing with a kind of traditional material, but insulation is radically different. Mineral wool is produced in the form of rectangular mats or long sheets, rolled into rolls. It is easy to lay on flat surfaces, especially if they are located horizontally or with a slight slope.
However, when mounting on complex or uneven surfaces, difficulties are inevitable. The appearance of unfilled voids or gaps can be considered a pattern, as well as surplus and scraps of the coating. In addition, mineral wool can be laid in one, two, and so on layers, which determines the thickness of the insulation. Whereas ecowool, produced in the form of compressed granules, makes it possible to “cover” a structure of any configuration. In this case, the thickness of the reservoir can be completely different, such as required by engineering calculations..
Features of the structure of mineral wool imply its use only in conjunction with protective covering materials. A vapor barrier must be installed from the inside to prevent moisture from entering the room. Outside – wind protection and waterproofing. This is necessary because of the high air permeability, low resistance to adverse weather conditions and the inability to absorb moisture. However, in any case, over time, the insulation settles, condensation, mold appears in it and cold bridges are formed..
Ecowool has a unique structure that provides excellent vapor permeability and moisture resistance. She does not need a vapor barrier, but in some cases it may be necessary to lay construction paper. Insulation “breathes” like wood. The structure, made of any material and insulated with ecowool, acquires the properties of wood. Whereas wood with mineral wool insulation completely loses its ability to “breathe”.
Another difference between heaters is fire resistance. Mineral wool has a non-flammable base. These can be glass melts, slags or rocks. However, their binder is flammable. When exposed to fire, it almost immediately flares up and burns out, releasing toxins into the air. The fiber may melt depending on the temperature. Ecowool contains a combustible base and stabilizing non-combustible additives. It does not burn, only melts slightly and “extinguishes” itself and the materials located next to it. However, it is not recommended to use it near chimneys and other similar areas..
Mineral wool is not biostable. It can be damaged by insects and rodents, which is impossible in the case of ecowool. The service life of materials also varies greatly. The manufacturer guarantees that the mineral wool will last up to 50 years. This is quite possible provided that all requirements for installation and subsequent operation are met. However, in practice this is not always the case. Ecowool is intended for longer use. Often, its service life is longer than that of the building that it insulates.
The only thing in which mineral wool outperforms ecowool is cost. On average, the price of cellulose insulation is not much higher. However, its installation requires the use of special equipment, so a certain amount will be required to pay for the services of installation specialists. This should be taken into account when choosing a suitable insulation. There is a possibility of self-assembly of ecowool, the so-called “backfill”. But you need to know that this method can be used not always and everywhere..
How much does eco-wool insulation cost
The cost of the insulation depends on its consumption. To understand the methodology for calculating the volume of ecowool required for work, consider a one-story building as an example. It is necessary to insulate the ceilings and floors inside the building and process the outer surface of the walls. Let’s start with the latter. Determine the total surface area of the walls. To do this, we measure the length and height. We multiply the obtained values and subtract the area of doors, windows and other fragments that do not need insulation.
We multiply the calculated values by the estimated thickness of the ecowool layer. Thus, we get the volume that must be filled with insulation. The method will work provided that the walls are relatively even, without drops. If you have to work, for example, with rounded logs or something similar, the calculations should be corrected. It is necessary to determine the average value of the width of the insulating layer. This will be the arithmetic average between the largest and smallest thickness of the material layer. Further calculations are carried out in the same way.
Calculations for ceilings and floors are made in the same way. The surface area is measured and multiplied by the estimated thickness of the insulation layer or by the height of the beams and the lag, between which the insulation will be laid. Then we determine the total volume of ecowool by adding the previously obtained values. To get the number of packages, you should know exactly the installation method on which the density of the insulation depends. Dividing volume by density gives the weight of the material. Then it is easy to count the number of packages, standard packing is 15 kg.
For an approximate comparison of the cost of insulation with ecowool and other materials, we take the average values. A cube of cellulose insulation costs about 1600 rubles, if we take the cost of packaging at 400 rubles. This amount of coverage is required to insulate walls with a density of 60 kg / m3. This is quite comparable with basalt wool, the price of a cubic meter of which is about 1600-1700 rubles. And a little more than glass wool. Its average price is 1,300 rubles. per cubic meter However, one should not forget about the cost of ecowool blowing, which varies from volume, level of complexity, etc..
Thus, insulation with cellulose material will cost more. The only way to save money is dry backfilling of flat floors. In this case, the density of the coating can be almost half less, which allows you to purchase fewer packs of material. However, manual blowing deprives some of the advantages that machine blowing provides..
Dry blast or wet application
Ecowool can be applied to the insulated surface in two ways.
The process involves the use of a blow molding machine. In the equipment hopper, the insulation material is preliminarily loosened, after which it is blown out through a hose under high pressure. Thus, all cracks and gaps of the surface are tightly closed, the material penetrates into the most inaccessible areas and forms a high-quality seamless heat and sound insulation coating. The technology is suitable for construction and repair work, which are carried out without disassembling the structure.
There are two types of dry blowing: open and into the cavity. The second option is used for insulating panel and frame buildings, plasterboard-lined walls, attics, etc. It is also very good for soundproofing partitions between rooms and ceilings. The main difference between blowing into the cavity is the presence of enclosing structures in which the insulation is placed.
At the initial stage of installation, small holes are made in the skin of the frame structure for subsequent blowing. Ecowool fluffed and mixed with air is fed into the cavity by a hose. After a certain time, the entire volume is filled and the material is compacted to values of 55–65 kg / m3. This allows the coating to successfully resist the shrinkage process throughout the entire period of operation. After installation, the holes are closed and carefully sealed.
Open dry blowing is used to insulate inclined and horizontal surfaces such as floors, attic or intermediate floors. Insulation from the device is directed through a hose to the surface and unfolds on it. They try to put the material as evenly as possible. Then the layer is finally leveled to the specified height. It should be borne in mind that the laying is done with a certain margin. Loose ecowool after a certain time becomes a little denser, so the width of the insulation layer may become smaller.
The advantages of dry blowing are:
- lower, in comparison with glue application, the cost of work;
- lack of dependence on the state of the environment: its temperature and humidity;
- the insulation does not require drying time, after the installation is complete, you can start finishing.
The disadvantage of this method is the increase in pressure in the insulated cavity. It is caused by the air that is pumped along with the ecowool. Before starting the installation, it is best to consult with professionals about the possibility of using dry blowing and especially carefully carry out the preparatory work..
The use of special glue or water as a binder is the main difference between the wet method and dry blowing. The adhesive mixture adheres well to the surface and forms a high-quality coating without seams. The technology makes it possible to lay ecowool almost perfectly evenly and to control the quality of installation. In addition, the insulating layer has a high density. It can be used as a base for facade decoration.
Wet application is carried out using a conventional blowing device equipped with a special device. The technology is slightly different from dry blowing. Fluffed insulation blown out of a hose is evenly spilled with a solution of glue or water from a nozzle attached to the device. After installation, the material is leveled with an electric knife with a special roller, which removes excess insulation protruding over its guides. The result of the work is a flat surface of a given thickness. At the end of the installation, the ecowool should dry out.
Advantages of the method:
- Profitability. To obtain an insulating coating similar in its characteristics, under equal conditions, on average, one third of the insulation will be required less than when using dry blowing.
- High-quality processing of hard-to-reach fragments. Even those where it is impossible to arrange cavities for dry blowing, for example, joints, abutments, etc..
- The ability to inspect the coating, which allows you to assess the quality of the installation and timely identify defects.
- No additional pressure on the base.
The disadvantages of gluing ecowool include the need to dry the coating after installation, which makes it impossible to use the method in cold weather, especially at low temperatures. In addition, the cost of installation work will be higher.
Ecowool laying by hand: process features
The only method that involves the installation of insulation without the use of blowing equipment is dry backfill. This is a very messy and time consuming method with limited use. It is used to insulate small areas and horizontal surfaces. You can also fill up the insulation in the previously prepared cavities in the roof, walls, etc..
For insulation of horizontal surfaces, a layer of ecowool is used with a height of 17–20 cm. This width is sufficient to retain heat at an average temperature of -23 ° C in winter. In regions where the average values fall below, the thickness of the insulating layer should be greater. In this case, the normal density will be 45 kg / m3. The required amount of material is calculated in the usual way..
A feature of the laying process on a horizontal plane is the preliminary fluffing of the material. The compressed insulation from the packaging is placed in a container of the required size and intensively “mixed” with an electric drill, on which the mixer attachment is fixed. As a result, the volume of ecowool should approximately triple. After preparation, the insulation is laid out on the surface.
Another feature of manual backfilling: after laying the insulation, you should wait a few days and only after that start finishing work. This is due to the fact that the lignin in the material must react with humid air. In this case, a dense crust appears on the surface of the insulating layer, its thickness is about 3–5 cm. The compacted layer prevents air from circulating freely through the ecowool layer, which significantly increases its thermal insulation properties.
Vertical backfill involves a slightly different technology of work. The main difference is the preparation of the backfill space for the fluffed material. Very often, a new structure is installed at a short distance from the wall to be insulated. For example, this method is very convenient. A plane is mounted from a lining or other material with a height of about half a meter. Cellulose insulation is poured into the formed cavity, the wall is raised another half meter, and ecowool is poured again. Actions are repeated until the final rise of the wall.
The density of the coating for vertical insulation should be higher, about 60 kg / m3. To obtain the desired value, the material is tamped with hands during the filling process. Actions are carried out until the insulation begins to feel like an elastic spring to the touch. Density control is done using simple calculations. The mass of the backfilled surface is divided by its volume. As a result, we determine the actual density. The value must correspond to the specified one, otherwise the insulation will not be of high quality.
Manual backfilling is the only way to install ecowool that you can do yourself. And this is its only merit. The disadvantages include a higher material consumption than with mechanical application, a lower-quality coating installation, since not all hard-to-reach areas can be reached. In addition, there are restrictions on the area, it can only be small.