No creative person likes either-or situations.

Imagine a painter with a color palette of just black and white. A writer restricted to a 100-word vocabulary. A songwriter trying to compose with a 22-key piano. Or an architect trying to advance rainscreen and cavity wall applications with limited continuous insulation options.

It’s not a black-and-white world. That’s why architects and specifiers should cheer the news that the world of continuous insulation (ci) is about to expand. For building projects that demand outstanding comfort, occupant safety, and sustainability, a new generation of mineral wool ci boards offer even more ways to express creativity without compromising envelope safety and performance.

No one is more delighted about the news than Owens Corning Commercial Building Systems specialist and registered architect Tiffany Coppock. She understands the difficulties architects often face in designing rainscreen or cavity wall systems that meet code, design intent, and owners’ expectations.

Mineral wool ci is a pro favorite because of its outstanding hydrophobic and UV-resistance qualities, along with its legendary fire resistance. Case in point: the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, N.Y. Mineral wool was exposed to three seasons of rain, sleet, snow, wind, and sun before the cladding was installed. The mineral wool panels emerged virtually unscathed, a remarkable outcome. “It highlights the abilities of mineral wool ci versus other insulation types,” Coppock says.

High Compressive Strength

“High compressive mineral wool ci has the same hydrophobic and UV-resistance qualities,” explains Coppock. “High compressive strength allows builders to install the cladding system completely separate from mineral wool ci. Lower compressive strength mineral wool ci requires the cladding attachment system to be installed first. Mineral wool insulation is then added later around the girts, clips, rails, or channels before cladding is secured. High compressive strength means mineral wool boards are installed prior to and independent of the cladding attachment system. The only ci thermal bridges are cladding attachment fasteners,” explains Coppock.

Owens Corning has added three new high compressive strength continuous insulation products to its Thermafiber RainBarrier Insulation portfolio. These new high compressive mineral wool ci boards are part of a product series called Thermafiber RainBarrier ci High Compressive and are designed to be used in continuous insulation applications where both the cladding and the cladding attachment are fastened outboard of the mineral wool insulation. Using ThermaCrimp technology, these new products offer the highest compressive strength mineral wool ci and can be used behind any cladding type, including combustible and open-joint assemblies. Thermafiber RainBarrier ci High Compressive board products reduce thermal bridging, optimize R-value, and meet ASHRAE 90.1 requirements.

Coppock says architects and specifiers can scale their wall assembly solution with three grades of compressive strength mineral wool ci including lightweight, medium weight, and heavyweight cladding.

Easy Installation
“High compression doesn’t mean high density and the cutting and notching issues that might imply,” Coppock says. “RainBarrier fits between cladding attachment elements, such as masonry ties, and clip and rail systems. Pliability and flexibility lets installers form the boards around most attachment hardware without cutting or notching,” she reports.

For architects and specifiers looking to explore new design possibilities, high compressive strength mineral wool ci may be just the answer they’re looking for.To learn more about expanding your design palette using continuous insulation, visit

The terms Thermafiber, RainBarrier, and ThermaCrimp are registered trademarks of Owens Corning.

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