27th Feb 2023 -

With a vast selection of internal and external insulation materials available, it can be difficult to choose which type will work best for your home or workplace. Both insulation board vs insulation roll have their advantages and disadvantages. Here, we look at the differences between them to help you make the right choice.   

What is an insulation roll? 

A flexible and soft material, an insulation roll is mostly used for loft spaces but can also be implemented across all areas of a house or workplace. Insulation rolls can also easily be cut using a tool such as a utility knife and secured in place with staples. They are made from several types of materials.  

1. Sheep’s wool

When applying sheep’s wool insulation, it will not irritate your skin and is safe to touch, so safety clothing is not required. Rafters and joists can be insulated using sheep’s wool. It is excellent for preventing rot and mould, as well as absorbing moisture. The downside is sheep’s wool is generally more expensive to buy compared to fibreglass and mineral wool. Plus, you will likely need to use more of it to achieve the same thermal qualities as fibreglass or mineral wool.

2. Fibreglass (glass wool)

Considered the UK’s most popular type of loft insulation, fibreglass insulation is also an affordable alternative. It is produced by melting sand and glass together, forming fibres after spinning them which are then bound together using resin. It is fire-resistant, flexible, eco-friendly and insect-repellant. However, protective clothing is needed when handling fibreglass as it can irritate your skin. It must also stay dry - if fibreglass becomes damp, it will turn less effective. 

3. Mineral wool

This type of insulation is made from heated volcanic rock, which is bound and spun together with oil and resin. The mineral wool insulation has excellent sound and thermal insulation qualities and can be laid between joists and can also be used to insulate rafters. You can cut and fit the wool to size and secure it with insulation fixings. But if you put weight on it, mineral wool will compress.  

4. Foil roll insulation

Also known as multifoil insulation, it can prevent condensation and heat loss. Because it is made from aluminised polyester and foil, this type of insulation reflects conduction, radiant heat and convection. As a result, it creates a seal which stops the outside air from seeping through, reducing your energy bills and improving energy efficiency. Despite the cost of insulation, the long-term financial benefits will pay off. 

What is an insulation board?

A particularly brilliant choice if you have ample loft space, loft insulation boards (also known as insulation slabs) are perfect for rafters and joists. Boards provide you with excellent thermal qualities at half the thickness of loft roll insulation. Insulation boards can easily be cut using a saw and it is safe to place boxes and other items on top. They are commonly used for external wall insulation behind plaster, masonry cavity walls, sloped roofs behind tiles and flat roofs below waterproofing membranes. There are different types of insulation boards and sheets to consider. 

Glass/rock wool insulation board

These boards prove to be very useful when insulating uneven surfaces. Despite their name, the boards are soft in texture and are primarily used to insulate a roof. Rock wool upholds excellent acoustic insulation benefits. 

PIR insulation board

Polyisocyanurate (PIR) insulation is well-matched to insulate cavity walls and can also be used as roof insulation boards. PIR is a thin material but can work effectively as thermal insulation boards. Also, it is a rigid foam board insulation with a strong fire safety rating and contains a vapour barrier on each side. 

EPS insulation boards

Expanded polystyrene (EPS) insulation is manufactured in sheets and boards and is commonly used in home environments. It is a lightweight option and easy to install. EPS boards can be used as cavity insulation and floorboard insulation. 

PUR insulation boards

Also manufactured as sheets, Polyurethane (PUR) insulation is flexible and can be used to insulate a floor, cavity wall and roof. Plus, PUR boards are thick with strong durability and are easy to handle. 

XPS insulation boards

These insulated boards are generally cheaper than other types and are mainly used for external areas such as facades, overlay roofs and sarking roofs. XPS insulation is also beneficial for insulating basement areas. 

Advantages and disadvantages

The benefits of insulation boards and insulation rolls differ slightly and can help you choose one over the other for your building project.

Insulation boards

1. Easy to install: Particularly if you have to insulate a large space such as a flat roof, using insulation boards is the best option. They are also lightweight, making them an easier choice to work with.1. Expensive to buy: Generally, insulation boards can cost more to buy. Although you may reap the benefits of this investment after some time, the initial cost makes insulation roll a more attractive option.
2. Save space: Because insulation boards are less thick than insulation rolls, they take up less space. This makes it easier to install between rafters, studs and joist blocks.2. Time-consuming: Insulation rolls can easily be rolled out, whereas insulation boards need to be fitted individually. This can take a considerable amount of time and will add to labour costs if you have hired a professional.

Insulation rolls

1. Cheaper than insulation boards: Generally, insulation rolls are less expensive to buy. It is an excellent choice for insulating your home or workplace without spending too much.1. Difficult to handle: Especially if you have not installed insulation rolls before, it can be tricky to handle and work with compared to insulation boards. Also, despite its flexibility, boards are easier to slot between studs.
2. Provide flexibility: For any awkward edges and corners, an insulation roll is more flexible to work with. It is easy to cut and work around any obstacles.2. Easy to compress: Because of its soft texture, insulation rolls are easy to compress during installation and when weight is placed on top. This can affect its overall performance, such as thermal and acoustic properties.  
3. Less time-consuming: Because an insulation roll can be installed by rolling it out onto the desired area, this takes less time than placing each individual insulation board.

Buy your insulation products from Building Materials Nationwide

If you are planning on insulating your loft or any other area of your home or building project, Building Materials Nationwide can supply you with high-quality materials with fast delivery options. Every product on our website has a competitive price, so you are guaranteed to find everything that you would need without paying over the odds. Be sure to call our team if you need help choosing the best thermal or acoustic insulation for you. For building and construction professionals, you could also consider opening a credit or cash trade account with us. Access to your own personal account manager and flexible credit options are just some of the highlights you can enjoy. Sign up online or chat with our team to find out more.