Discover the ideal thermal insulation for your project


In the construction sector, choosing the right thermal insulation isn’t just about comfort – it’s about energy efficiency and sustainability too. With a variety of options available in the market, it’s essential to understand the unique characteristics of each to make the best decision for your project.


Today, we’ll explore four widely-used types of thermal insulation: PIR, XPS, Rockwool, and Cork. Keep reading to uncover the advantages and disadvantages of each material, from their insulation properties to environmental and installation considerations.



1. PIR (Polyisocyanurate)


PIR is one of the most efficient thermal insulators available on the market. With a rigid cellular structure that minimizes heat conduction, it represents an evolution of polyurethane (PUR) insulation.



  • Low thermal conductivity, starting at 0.022 W/m.K, which means it is highly efficient in slowing down heat transfer.
  • It is self-extinguishing, designed to slow down or stop the spread of flames. This material does not continue to burn once the source of ignition is removed.
  • Lightweight material, easy to handle with large panels, providing quick application and reducing labor costs.
  • Durability, standing out for its resistance to compression and deformation.
  • Compared to rockwool and cork, it has low humidity absorption, which helps maintain its thermal insulation properties over time.



  • Moderate to high initial cost compared to other insulating materials.
  • As a synthetic polymer, it is not biodegradable, although this is mitigated by its long lifespan in application.



2. XPS (Extruded Polystyrene)


XPS thermal insulation is another widely used material in construction. It is produced by extruding polystyrene, resulting in a rigid and dense material with closed cells. This type of insulation is commonly applied in foundations, floors, and roofs.



  • With its high compression resistance, it can be used in load-bearing or high-traffic areas, such as floors, without compromising its insulating properties.
  • It boasts extremely low water absorption, outperforming all other insulation materials in this regard.
  • Durable and resilient, it ensures long-term performance with its properties remaining stable over time.
  • Like PIR, it is also self-extinguishing.



  • Greater environmental impact due to the manufacturing process that emits CO2.
  • Some solvents can damage XPS, which may limit its applications in certain industrial or commercial contexts.




3. Rockwool


Rockwool is a versatile material made from basaltic rocks and other minerals, which are heated to high temperatures and transformed into fibers. These fibers are then bound together using resins or natural binders, forming panels or blankets used for thermal and acoustic insulation in buildings.



  • Excellent acoustic insulation, perfect for environments that prioritize noise control.
  • It’s a sustainable material, made from abundant natural resources (basaltic rocks) and can incorporate recycled materials in its composition.
  • High fire resistance, enhancing building safety.
  • Naturally resistant to rodents and insects.



  • During installation, it can release fine particles that irritate the skin, eyes, and respiratory tract, requiring safety precautions.
  • While resistant to moisture, it can absorb small amounts of water over time, slightly reducing its thermal insulation properties.
  • It has lower compression resistance, which may cause it to lose shape and volume over time.
  • It adds significant weight to roofing solutions (density of 150 to 170 kg/m3), potentially overloading structures.



4. Cork


This insulation material is an eco-friendly choice that combines thermal insulation with sustainability, making it ideal for projects aiming to minimize environmental impact.



  • Completely sustainable and recyclable material, made from renewable resources.
  • Does not emit toxic gases.
  • Possesses natural properties that make it resistant to insects and fungi.
  • Provides good thermal insulation, soundproofing, and vibration damping.



  • Lower thermal resistance compared to the insulation materials discussed in this article.
  • Limited availability in some regions, making it difficult to obtain and increasing transportation costs.
  • It has the highest cost price among the materials compared in this article.



Choosing the right thermal insulation is crucial to maximize energy efficiency and space comfort. Each material – PIR, XPS, Rockwool, and Cork – has its own benefits and drawbacks, which should be weighed against specific needs.


At Prudêncio, we’re ready to assist you in making the best decision, ensuring solutions that blend innovation, safety, and sustainability.


Contact us for more information and discover how we can provide optimal thermal insulation solutions for your project.

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