Scarcity of supply not shortage of opportunity

Knauf Insulation’s Stephen Wise on how to get round the PIR shortage

kine3361cht pir v dritherm comparison chart2


In times of material shortages – merchants should be coming into their own.  As an industry that prides itself on the knowledge and expertise of its staff, this is a time where merchants can stand head and shoulders above the DIY retail outlets and on-line alternatives – and the current PIR insulation shortage is a case in point.

The shortage will have left merchant customers looking for alternatives – and provided merchants with an ideal opportunity to prove their worth.  Knauf Insulation has recognised this and developed PIR substitution charts aimed at helping merchant customers easily switch from PIR to a mineral wool alternative.

Switching from PIR to mineral wool does take some thinking through, so we’ve looked to remove any complexity, with tables that take into account every determinant.  

In masonry wall applications, for example, mineral wool is a full fill insulation with a different thermal conductivity to PIR products, which are generally used in partial fill with a 50mm residual cavity.  This means a thickness for thickness switch doesn’t work, so our comparison table will be invaluable for merchant staff and their customers alike.  We’ve also had to take into account the type of block used – as this also has an influence on the thickness of insulation required.  And with PIR available in different levels of thermal conductivity, this has been considered too.

The tables show where a simple substitute is possible and indicate where further advice should be sought. The Knauf Insulation Technical Support Team (TST) has also been fully briefed, so they can be on hand to generate U-value calculations on a merchant’s behalf or deal with more technical enquiries.

Although not ideal, situations such as this can certainly be turned to a merchant’s advantage, with relationships strengthened with robust advice.  Manufacturers of course have a responsibility too – and should be  keen to offer support.


Although PIR supply will return, the table’s value will remain. With mineral wool solutions often the most cost effective option to achieve compliance with Building Regulations, a PIR substitution chart can still be used by merchants to help customers looking to save on project costs.  


I’m sure detailed comparisons such as this are something that merchants could benefit from across the board; helping to build customer loyalty on the basis they are being given the best possible advice.

To find the Knauf Insulation PIR substitution charts and for further information visit


About Guest Blogger - Stephen Wise

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