Remember this time last year? While we were enjoying the nice weather, and planning our summer holiday trips, deep down, we were all worried by the potential rise in electricity and heating costs during the winter.
To our surprise, things weren’t as gloomy as we feared. And after making it out of the mild winter without any significant dents in our wallets, we all felt relieved. But we shouldn’t let our guard down yet.
Just because this past winter was kind to us doesn’t mean that the next one will also be like that. The reality is that fossil fuels continue to deplete while global warming threatens to cause unpredictable weather events. So, without any dramatic shift to alternative fuels, household energy bills are expected to rise to record-high levels.
What this means is that we need to reduce our energy expenditure in any way possible so that we’re not caught off guard next winter. That said, one of the most effective ways to do so is to improve our homes’ insulation. And when it comes to insulation options, currently one of the most popular solutions that offers great value for money is PIR.
What Is PIR Insulation?
To get a better grasp on the benefits this type of building material offers, you first need to have a good understanding of what it is. The acronym stands for polyisocyanurate, a type of rigid foam that is used to make insulating boards.
PIR boards are made up of two sheets of aluminium foil sandwiching a hard foam core. To increase a building’s thermal performance, these boards can be installed on either the interior or exterior walls, as well as on roofs and floors.
Often confused with PUR, it’s important to note that this is an entirely different insulating material. While both are derived from polyurethane and have a similar chemical composition, they differ widely in many properties.
Polysiocyanurate is also known for its low weight and reduced thermal conductivity, just like PIR. However, unlike PIR, it doesn’t hold moisture and is flame and smoke resistant. Additionally, you can find thinner polyisocyanate boards that have the same insulating properties as thicker PUR options.
This makes PIR superior to PUR when it comes to internal wall applications. For instance, you can install a 25mm PIR insulation board on an interior wall without losing valuable floor space.
What Are Its Benefits Compared to Other Solutions?
Exceptional Insulating Properties
Compared to other popular foam boards, PIR boards feature a higher R-value. The R-value measures a material’s ability to resist heat. That said, PIR has an R-value of 7, while the R-value for PUR is 6.25. EPS has a significantly lower value of 4, and XPS has a value of 5.
The higher R-value of polyisocyanurate boards is a result of their advanced design, which features a foil facing, a closed cell structure, and the use of blowing agents.
As mentioned, polyisocyanurate boards can be made thinner than PUR boards. But they’re also the thinnest solution compared to other options like mineral wool and fibreglass. There are boards as thin as 12mm, but for most applications, a 25mm PIR insulation board can do the best job. And keep in mind, this is still significantly thinner than other options.
Simple Installation Method
This type of board is easy to install. Due to their thin profiles, they can fit in tight and awkward spaces. As such, they are a great solution for older homes and retrofits.
Additionally, due to their lightweight nature and the ability to be cut into different shapes, these boards are perfect for DIY applications. Before installing them, you only need to prepare the area by removing any insulation and wiping the surface clean and dry.
Homeowners looking for insulation for their floors and walls also want something that can protect them from outside noise. PIR is a great way to soundproof your home. It’s been found to help lower outside sounds by up to 38 dB. To illustrate, 38 dB is the noise volume of modern refrigerators.
That said, those who live in busy districts or near train stations or airports will appreciate this property of PIR.
A Highly Durable Solution
Every modification you make to your home should be done with longevity in mind. Especially when it comes to installing insulation.
As mentioned, PIR boards do not hold moisture, so this makes them resistant to mould and dampness. Additionally, they are also UV-resistant and can withstand all kinds of weather conditions when installed outside. That said, these foam boards are very durable and can usually last for decades before needing to be replaced.
Reduced Environmental Impact
Besides helping to reduce your energy bills, good insulation also helps the environment. When your home is well-insulated, it emits fewer greenhouse gases.
Additionally, PIR boards are recyclable. So, if you do any remodelling and need to remove the insulation in the future, the boards can be put up for recycling. What’s more, PIR boards do not produce toxic fumes and do not cause air pollution.
Choosing the Right Boards
These boards range in thickness from 12 to 150 mm. The ideal choice will depend on the specific application and needed level of insulation. In regions with colder weather, it is advised to go for thicker insulation.
Additionally, you also need to consider the space where the boards will be installed. The 25-mm PIR boards are considered multipurpose as they can be installed on roofs, walls, and floors without taking up a significant amount of space.
Many renowned businesses, including Kingspan, Ecotherm, Quinn, Mannok, Celotex, and others, manufacture polyisocyanurate boards. These businesses are well known for producing items of the finest calibre that are durable and effective at insulating different construction elements.
In conclusion, PIR insulation is a very cost-effective way to increase your home’s comfort and energy efficiency. Now is the time to install PIR in your home and benefit from lower energy costs this winter.