Has anyone used raw sheep wool for insulation in a building?

soeasytocraft Posts: 237 ✭✭✭
edited November 2020 in Building Projects

Apparently; sheep wool makes great insulation for buildings. It is available processed into sheets of insulation but we are wondering how to use our own fleeces instead.

Anyone tried it? Is it a good idea? Perhaps a bad idea? Please share any knowledge you may have.


  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,216 admin
    edited May 2020

    I think it would be excellent, but I have suspicions about critters.

    Mice love to nest in wool. We had a bag once and that is where mice set up shop. You would have to be very careful to fully seal everything & continuously check for breaches to the walls.

  • shllnzl
    shllnzl Posts: 1,810 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I have seen sheep's wool sold as plant fertilizer.

  • Karin
    Karin Posts: 272 ✭✭✭

    We can get wool insulation for walls and ceiling here, but I'm guessing its not raw, and must be maybe treated in some way to deter insects and rodents. I never thought of that until @LaurieLovesLearning mentioned it! I imagine it would make great insulation though.

    Apparently you use Borax to deter insects and it's also antifungal

  • JodieDownUnder
    JodieDownUnder Posts: 1,481 admin

    I bought a house once that had sheeps wool insulation in the ceiling. I believe it was just washed beforehand and then pumped up into the roof space, it would have been around 3" thick when settled. Seemed to do a reasonable job but the rodents loved nesting in it. So twice a year I would throw rat baits around up there.

    I once saw a home reno show and people put it in the walls but they somehow stapled it in place before the gyprock went up. Hope this helps.

  • soeasytocraft
    soeasytocraft Posts: 237 ✭✭✭

    I’ll pass this info along. Someone I know has the sheep’s wool and no money for much needed insulation for their home. She was hoping it would be a good option.

  • Wool insulation sold commercially for construction is usually heavily compressed to increase its R-value (a measure of insulation performance). Also, some companies add Borax to it for fireproofing, but many do not. When I was still a shop teacher I attended a presentation on it at a teachers' conference, and was impressed enough to remember these small details. Also, it absorbs moisture in a non-harmful way, and if you leave a path for it will naturally release the moisture. Also, wool has natural anti-mold properties. Here is a pretty good introductory summary of its use in construction, enough to get you started, anyway: https://www.builderonline.com/products/building-materials/insulating-homes-with-natural-sheeps-wool_o

  • silvertipgrizz
    silvertipgrizz Posts: 1,990 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @soeasytocraft When I lived in the far North, insulation was everything...Here is what I did:

    I put bubble wrap on the windows, no nails or tacks..just spray water on the window and the buble wrap will stick easily, flat side to window. Then I hung on a curtain rod a fitted piece of 'insulbright', a kinda fabric with insulation built in kinda thing..and the inside and final layer was quality felt to size, with a curtain over it if you like. But where I lived if the power went off you could freeze in a very short time, or go freeze in your car after the batter ran down lol..This worked very well and vastly improved the comfort/warmth level.

    If your friend can't use the wool for her ceiling or walls, maybe she could stich it between the curtain and felt or a bed sheet.

    For the outside, my landlord at the time had a thick foam insulation spray/professionally done around the base of the trailer and the top of it...that I lived in and that cut the cold from under it and from over it. It was not so pretty but it was the closest place to live while I was on call and the temp esp for a trailer was vastly improved with those two methods. I don't know how expensive the foam insulation is.

  • soeasytocraft
    soeasytocraft Posts: 237 ✭✭✭

    @silvertipgrizz inventive ideas. Now I’m curious about where you lived? I remember some very extreme cold where I grew up in northern Alberta.

  • silvertipgrizz
    silvertipgrizz Posts: 1,990 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @soeasytocraft I lived in the ... wait for it:

    -60 degree Fairbanks Alaska. Not to mention the warm summars and huge skeeters..and moose that walk over your garden and up on your porch scarring the tar out of your cats..I loved it there but I hate the ridiculous cold, and shipping costs were many times, equal to the cost of the product ordered. The beauty of Alaska, and British Columbia and the Yukon...oh to be in my early 20's knowing what I know now and just starting out I would never leave Alaska.

  • soeasytocraft
    soeasytocraft Posts: 237 ✭✭✭

    @silvertipgrizz I hear you about never wanting to leave! Oh those long summer days! I think they’d make up for the long winter nights. I still miss the much longer summer days from Northern Alberta and always wanted to move farther north then south. Sadly the job opportunities were south.

    I had a brief visit to Alaska and a longer visit to the Yukon. Loved it!

  • silvertipgrizz
    silvertipgrizz Posts: 1,990 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @soeasytocraft I drove that road/hwy from okla to ak 3 times with my most beloved 'travel kitties'. The beauty of the Yukon, British Columbia and Alaska will always be with me as part of my most precious memories. Along the way, Montana and Wyoming and Utah I also found to be quite beautiful...Oh, one of my fav's... Idaho..I love the mountains and the cool mountain air... trouble is, I love growing hot weather food and the older I get the more I hate the cold..

    One of my fav places to stop on the way there and back and there again...lol, is a place off the hwy that is a hunting outfit. They have some really nice coats, boots etc and their cinn rolls aren't bad either!!

  • soeasytocraft
    soeasytocraft Posts: 237 ✭✭✭

    @silvertipgrizz i agree the places you mentioned are very beautiful! On our trips into the states we try to stay off the interstate when possible to appreciate the beauty more. I love taking the backroads wherever I go. 😀

    My dad worked on the Alaska highway back in the day. Thought of him often while on that road.

    So far I prefer the cold over the heat. I can always put more clothes on but can only take so many off. 😁