There are several materials for insulating a house or apartment. Vermiculite is one of the most advanced of these materials. But, despite the dazzling success it has shown, there are many persistent debates around the trust to be given to it. Indeed, one of the basic elements of this insulation is asbestos. So, should we have reservations about its use at home? What are its advantages? To answer these questions, this article will provide you with the benefits of using vermiculite.
Vermiculite: what is it really about?
Discovered in America in the 60s, vermiculite is a natural clay mineral that comes from rock. Under the effect of heat (about 1000 ° C), it tends to expand and take the form of small granules. This new appearance that becomes its own holds in the process good insulation properties. This is the reason behind its massive use in the construction or rehabilitation of housing. Vermiculite is also used as a packaging material or in gardening as part of the cultivation of certain plants.
Vermiculite in insulation
On the market, vermiculite is an insulator available in two forms. The first, the most observed is the bulk form. As the name suggests, it is a collection of distinct units of pellets. In this form, it is mainly used in the context of the insulation of hard-to-reach areas thanks to the different blowing methods. The panel shape is the second. It is obtained by binding the granules together thanks to the press. It basically makes it possible to insulate ceilings, partitions or walls, places that are more or less easy to access.
The advantages of using vermiculite for insulation
Used as insulation, vermiculite has a number of advantages on different levels. Among other things, it offers:
Good sound insulation
Being a material of clay nature, vermiculite has excellent properties in terms of sound insulation. It considerably reduces the shock and resonance noise of the walls. It even muffles airborne noises from the outside.
Vermiculite does not only protect against external noise. Its capabilities also allow it to keep the sound inside and thus improve the sound within a room. It is therefore highly recommended for the insulation of recording studios, cinemas, conference rooms, etc.
Significant thermal performance
Compared to other existing insulation systems, vermiculite is rather average in terms of thermal performance. Its heat conductivity is generally in the range of 0.06 to 0.08 W/m.K. It therefore corresponds in reality only to regions where the temperature remains in the average throughout the year.
Its real advantage in this respect is its predisposition to be used in combination with other insulation systems. Indeed, in its bulk form, vermiculite can be used to fill holes that exist on a panel or roller of an insulating device already in place. This addition even significantly enhances the performance of the latter. This makes it indispensable in some cases.
Whether in its panel or frac shape, vermiculite is an easy material to handle. It is easy to install. In its granular form, it makes it easy to make waterproof, even the most isolated corners of the attic, ceilings, etc.
Even if it does not grant great freedom of movement, vermiculite in its panel shape still allows easier installation than other insulation devices. It should also be noted that vermiculite is a natural substance classified A in terms of reaction to fire, that is to say that it has the ability to delay the evolution of fires. You can then use it as a home fire prevention solution.
Is asbestos still present in vermiculites?
It is true that during the first extractions, the pieces of vermiculite contained asbestos. The latter being harmful to human health because of its quality as a vector of carcinogenic cells, the vermiculites containing them were decreed as dangerous.
But today, the risk they represent seems to be completely ruled out. Indeed, since 2020, vermiculites containing asbestos are prohibited for sale. With the new tests, these are easily spotted and extracted from the market. In addition, manufacturers of vermiculite insulation are extremely vigilant today. They always make sure to do an asbestos decontamination before putting them on the market.
For even more safety, you can ask a Quebec decontamination company, for example, to operate other air tests for you. You can also request a new Laval decontamination or residential disinfection, if the insulation is already done and you have not tested the vermiculites on your own.
In short, vermiculite is a good option if you are looking to insulate your home. In addition, the risk associated with asbestos no longer has any reason to exist today. So, feel free to take this option.