Difference Between Thermal and Acoustic Insulation

Difference between thermal and acoustic insulation

Thermal insulation restricts heat transfer, whereas acoustic insulation restricts sound transfer or sound reverberation. The combined product is thermal acoustic insulation, which is effective in both reducing heat and noise transfer.

Video: Difference Between Thermal and Acoustic Insulaion

Keeping Your Home Cooler in Summer and Warmer in Winter

Thermal insulation works as a barrier against the transfer of heat. In winter, we generate warmth inside the home and effective insulation keeps the heat there. Our thermostat recognises when the house has reached a set temperature and the heater is automatically switched off. Without insulation, however, warmth escapes and the heater has to continue producing heat to maintain the desired temperature. The result is a higher energy bill.

Big Savings on Your Energy Bills

In summer the roles are reversed. The heat is then on the outside and the same insulation stops much of it from penetrating the home. This reduces the need for air-conditioning units to run incessantly and you pay less on your energy bill. Many people report that they have earned back the cost of insulating their home already within the first few years.

External Wall Acoustic Insulation Blocks Out Unwanted Noise

The type of external wall insulation that home owners invest in often depends on the amount of noise pollution surrounding the home, such as road traffic. Other factors such as barking dogs and noisy neighbours also come into play as does the amount of time occupants spend at home. All thermal bulk insulation will reduce some noise transfer, but acoustic insulation is specially designed for soundproofing purposes.

Acoustic Insulation Between Rooms Within the Home

Furthermore, it is becoming increasingly common to install acoustic insulation in at least some internal walls for sound management. It is unlikely that money spent on acoustic insulation within the home will ever be recovered through reduced energy bills. However, it can contribute towards a more quiet and pleasant place to spend time, which is often the reason it is installed in the first place.

Standard Practice to Include Some Level of Sound Management

These days this type of internal wall insulation is almost expected, rather than regarded as an optional extra, especially around theatres where modern sound systems easily make their presence felt throughout the house. Sound insulation can improve viewing experiences in home theatres by blocking out unwanted noises such as the washing machine and kitchen appliances, and at the same time causing fewer disturbances to the rest of the house. Other rooms that are commonly insulated for sound are laundries, bathrooms, offices and bedrooms. There is, however, a factor other than sound management to consider when insulating internal walls.

Ultimate Climate Control Through Internal Wall Insulation

Internal wall insulation can be used in conjunction with a sophisticated climate control system, where heating and cooling energy is targeted to where it is needed most. They may have the option to turn up the heating in the living room, but save energy by leaving it off in the unused spare room. Insulation in walls reduces heat flow between rooms and ensures that occupants maximise the benefits intended by the advanced heating and cooling system.

16 thoughts on “Difference Between Thermal and Acoustic Insulation

    • Pricewise Insulation says:

      Hi Nicole,

      Thank you for your question. R2.0 SoundScreen Insulation will certainly help to reduce the transfer of heat between rooms. The effectiveness of insulation in reducing heat transfers is measured in the R-value, which in this case is R2.0. If you are looking for a higher quality outcome then would recommend upgrading to R2.5 wall insulation for the internal walls. Feel free to give us a call on 1300 729 639 if you have any more questions.


  1. Theresa says:

    Does rockwool safe and sound provide any form of thermal insulation. My contractor used it in one of our room and I am very furious about it …

    • Pricewise Insulation says:

      Hi Theresa,

      Thank you for your question. Rockwool insulation is superior to many other types of insulation, so you have got nothing to worry about. Rockwool insulation offers great thermal, acoustic and fire rated properties when compared with other insulation products such as glasswool. The reason it is not so popular in Australia is because of how expensive it is, however it is used extensively in other countries. We hope this helps!

      Pricewise Insulation

    • Pricewise Insulation says:

      Hi Vasanth,

      Thanks for your question. Both the R2.0 Sound Screen Insulation and R4.0 Ceiling Insulation will help to reduce noise transfers within the home. The R4.0 ceiling batts are generally not as dense as the acoustic wall batts, however due to their thickness they do help to absorb some sound. Knauf Earthwool have a new R4.0 insulation product that is good for both thermal and acoustic results.

      For the best thermal and acoustic results we generally recommend R2.5 acoustic wall batts for the external walls, R2.0 acoustic batts or higher for the internal walls, R5.0 or R6.0 ceiling batts and the new R4.0 Earthwool Soundshield Batts for between floors. Feel free to contact our team on 1300 729 639 if you have any further questions.


  2. Jay says:

    Hi there,
    R2.5 thermal insulation batts For ground floor ceiling will reduce noice transferring?

    Also, Which is better will reduce noice transferring,
    R2.0 Sound Batt Insulation to walls or R2.0 thermal wall insulation batts to walls.?
    R2.0 sound Batt insulation is lot expensive tho.

    • Pricewise Insulation says:

      Hi Jay,

      Thanks for your question. We would recommend the new R4.0HD Earthwool Sound Shield Insulation for between floors, as this has both thermal and acoustic benefits. An R2.0 acoustic product will always be better at reducing noise than a regular R2.0 thermal product. This is because sound insulation batts are much more dense than regular batts and this allows them to reduce noise transfer.

      The R-value simply measures the thermal performance, whilst the density (kh/m3) measures the acoustic performance. Not all brands publish the density ratings of their products, however a sound batt with the same R-value as a thermal batt will always be more effective at reducing noise transfer. The reason that sound insulation is more expensive is because it takes more materials to make the same product (due to the compression process needed to create a denser product). We hope this helps, otherwise feel free to contact our team on 1300 729 639 if you have any further questions.


  3. Grant Middleditch says:

    Hello I need some advice or options regarding the Foilboard 50mm panels or Bradford r6 Batts for the insulation of a Colorbond corrugated gable roof with a 20 degree pitch The shed Floor area is 5.6m x 4.2m this will be a home recording studio with the concept of room within a room design. Unfortunately the east west aspect has Qld’s hot summer heat on the shed for most of the time during daylight hours. We live in a subtropical area on the east coast so there are a few concerns regarding heat build up / radiant conductive heat blocker and condensation.

    Q1. As the foilboard indicates a reflective surface does this deflect the heat either radiate or conductive heat back onto the underside of the colorbond roof even if a air gap that is a purlin 40mm in height and the foil mounted on the underside of that purlin. Will i need to create a air flow from under the eves and vent the top ridge cap to allow the heat build up to escape to the surface air?

    Q2. If I use batts I will need to construct a barrier to stop condensation but I need to install an air seal to stop conductive heat tranfering back into the inner cavity, being a room within a room design so sarking will be also used but with the concerns of heat build up and condensation is the foilboard more economically cheaper to install as the product requires less in regards to installation / mounting / thickness. and is able to endurer a small amount of exposurer to the outside elements while batts seem to have a shorter life span and doesn’t handle exposure to the outside elements aswell as foilboard ?

    Q3. Other aspects is foilboard better than batts for vermin and fire. As the inside material is Poly has it been treated on the edges or will I need to ensure at the ends that are exposed to the elements to use a end cap like metal c shape purlins this will stop burning ash fibre contacting the sheet but possibly vermin from eating or making cavities in the Poly compared to fibreglass wool batts.

    Kind Regards

  4. Peace says:

    Rebuilding a caravan from the 1980’s as a tiny home/recording studio.
    How thick are the R2.5 wall bats?
    How thick are the R2.0 wall bats?
    How thick are the R4.0 earth wool sound bats?
    How thick are the R5 ceiling bats?

    • Pricewise Insulation says:

      Hi Peace,

      Thanks for your question! Here are the thicknesses for our Earthwool Insulation products:

      R2.5HD Earthwool Sound Shield Insulation Batts – 90mm thick
      R2.0 Earthwool Wall Insulation Batts – 90mm thick
      R2.0HD Earthwool Sound Shield Wall Insulation Batts – 75mm thick
      R4.0HD Earthwool Sound Shield Insulation Batts – 140mm
      R5.0 Earthwool Ceiling Insulation Batts – 210mm thick

      You can purchase these products by clicking here.. If you have any further questions please don’t hesitate to contact us on 1300 729 639.


    • Pricewise Insulation says:

      Hi Daniel,

      Thanks for your comment. We recommend installing a minimum of R4.0 ceiling insulation, regardless of where you live in Australia. In Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide we recommend upgrading to R5.0 or R6.0 ceiling insulation. If you live in Brisbane, Perth and northern NSW, you will still benefit from upgrading to a higher R-value, but the payback period will be slightly longer.

      The higher R-values such as R5.0 and R6.0 will also provide some acoustic performance due to their thickness and density.

      Feel free to give our team a call on 1300 729 639 or email sales@pricewise.com.au if you have any further questions.


  5. Rick says:

    We have a VanHome and are looking to insulate against the cold and also against noise from rain on the roof. The roof is constructed of ‘Insulated sandwich Panels’ and the walls are ‘Composite Sheeting – Aluminum face’. So no roof space and no wall cavity.
    Can you please advise what material we can use to for both thermal and acoustic protection?

    Thanks in advance.

    • Pricewise Insulation says:

      Hi Rick,

      Thanks for your question, it sounds like a ‘think outside of the box’ type of situation as the insulation I am recommending is designed to go into a cavity and cladded.

      However, I believe you could line the inside of the van with polyester rolls or batts. Having no wall cavity just means you will have to get creative with attaching the material to the inside of the van. Maybe you can try stapling, taping or glueing the material to the surface.

      An idea to give the walls a nice aesthetic finish could be to staple fabric material on top of the polyester after it is fastened to the wall and roof.

      If you have any further questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of our friendly team members on 1300 729 639 or email sales@pricewise.com.au

      Kind Regards,
      Pricewise Insulation

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