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Community and Q&A

Mineral Wool Sourced from Alibaba

sulli370 | Posted in Green Products and Materials on

I am specing out a renovation for my home that will require 4 inches of rigid mineral wool. I’m having a difficult time finding this for less than the $2.50 – $3.00 sq/ft range from local and online sources. I have found a source on Alibaba that will get it to me at $0.90 sq/ft delivered. Does anyone have any experience they could share around using mineral wool products sourced from Chinese exporters?

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Replies

  1. EthanT | | #1

    Can you verify its density and formaldehyde content?

  2. Expert Member
    BILL WICHERS | | #2

    I would recommend avoiding sourcing your own building materials from potentially less reputable suppliers. There have been all kinds of issues with things like this (the relatively recent drywall problems in Florida, for example). You have no guarantee as to what you're actually buying, and no recourse if what you get is unuseable or otherwise problematic.

    I have found a lot of knockoff and counterfeit products coming out of China. I am careful in my own projects to not source materials from there as much as possible for this reason. I actually disallow the use of chinese-made pipe on my commerical projects due to many past problems with it (especially with fittings). My supplier says there are so many people doing this that they are stocking domestic material specifically for this reason. I did find on one project that my supplier was unable to locate a domestic supplier for 8" schedule 40 steel pipe, which suprised me. My contractors were surprised when the 8" pipe we ended up using had "MADE IN UKRAINE" printed on it, but it was fine quality-wise, and the victaulic grooving machine would sometimes fracture overly brittle pipe, but had no problems with the Ukranian made material.

    What I tell my customers is "be careful where you save money". Saving money on material that is built deep into the structure, and can't be easily replaced in case of problems, is not usually a place where it is a good idea to try to save money.

    Bill

  3. sulli370 | | #3

    Thanks guys, these are valid concerns. I've decided to go ahead and purchase samples from a couple of the suppliers and have them tested. They do all specify the densities and they all say no formaldehyde - as this is from external insulation I am less concerned than I would be for something blown in or in a batt within the building envelope on that.

    Typically I wouldn't consider products like this but if the savings are going to be in the $15-20k range I think its likely worth the investigation especially as mineral wool is by definition an industrial byproduct which China should have ample supply of given their pace of building.

  4. sulli370 | | #4

    The samples I received were pretty clearly not of the quality/density that was stated. For future reference I wouldn't say that Alibaba shouldn't be looked at as a source for mineral wool but from the two suppliers I received samples from, the product was sub-standard.

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