Tips and Advice for Insulating a Metal Building
The Benefits of Insulation
There are many reasons why you should use insulation in your metal buildings, such as:
- Temperature Regulation – The biggest benefit of insulation is its ability to keep your building’s interior temperature stable. This can make it more comfortable inside and prevent it from getting too hot or cold.
- Energy Efficiency – If you heat your building during the winter or cool it in summer, insulation helps preserve the temperature changes. This reduces your overall energy use and keeps your building at the desired temperature longer.
- Moisture Control – One common problem with metal buildings is condensation. However, insulation can help prevent condensation problems by reducing the open air that can access the metal surfaces of your building. In turn, this also helps prevent mold, mildew, and water damage caused by condensation.
- Sound Dampening – Insulation can also create a noise barrier that prevents exterior sound from getting inside your building, making it more comfortable to occupy and use.
Do Metal Buildings Need to be Insulated?
Although insulation does have many benefits, not all metal buildings will benefit from being insulated. Insulating is a choice you’ll have to make depending on your own needs.
Depending on what you plan to use your building for, you may not need to insulate at all. While occupied buildings should be insulated, buildings used less frequently can safely go without insulation. If you plan to use your metal building as a garden shed, garage, occasional workshop, or storage space, you might not need to worry about insulation at all.
However, in some cases you may want to insulate your building even if you don’t plan to occupy it much. This is especially the case in areas with wide seasonal temperature ranges or high humidity. Especially hot, cold, or humid weather can cause problems with condensation or heat buildup, but insulation largely solves these issues.
Choosing the Right Insulation for Your Metal Building
When you do choose to insulate your metal building, you’ll need to determine which type of insulation is right for you. Different types of insulation have different qualities and suit different projects and budgets. Here are a few of the most common types of insulation used in metal buildings:
Loose Fill Insulation
Loose fill insulation is a popular choice in many types of buildings, but it requires particular kinds of construction methods in order to be effective. Unlike other insulation types, loose fill insulation isn’t secured to the walls. It must be held in place by interior walls (such as drywall or sheetrock paneling) or drop ceiling panels. If your building has unfinished walls or ceilings, you won’t be able to use loose fill insulation.
That said, loose fill insulation does have some benefits. Because it is blown in rather than placed, it is good at filling in small and hard-to-reach spaces. It also creates a very good air barrier that preserves the temperature inside your building. If you plan on using your building as a living or work space, loose fill can be a good choice.
One of the most common and inexpensive forms of insulation, fiberglass batting is a great choice for metal buildings. Fiberglass insulation is quick to install and easily secured to a variety of surfaces. It’s also available in many different thicknesses and insulation values, making it appropriate for many different climates and use cases.
However, installing fiberglass insulation does require some expertise. It’s also bulky and can be difficult to work with if you aren’t experienced. Finally, fiberglass batting has a habit of leaving fibers behind on surfaces and in clothes that can be irritating to the skin and eyes.
Rigid Board Insulation
Rigid board insulation is similar in many ways to fiberglass batting, but instead of thick blankets it is more similar to styrofoam packing material. Rigid board insulation is constructed from heat-resistant polyurethane boards in varying thicknesses. It is lightweight and available in many different insulation values, making it a good choice for many different climates and types of building. Rigid board insulation is also a good choice for buildings that may have increased fire risk such as workshops and barns.
However, rigid board insulation can be difficult to install if you aren’t experienced with it. Since the pieces are firm, they must be cut to fit different lengths and to avoid obstacles like wall studs or ceiling joists. They also have a hard time fitting in hard-to-reach spaces and can leave significant air gaps if they aren’t installed properly.
Spray Foam Insulation
A final type of insulation commonly seen on metal buildings is spray foam. Spray foam insulation is a type of expanding polyurethane foam that is blown onto the interior surfaces of your building. Because it is self-adhering, spray foam insulation is fast to install and can be used in virtually any building type. It is also excellent at filling in small spaces and getting around obstacles, and since it adheres directly to the interior surface it leaves little to no air gaps.
That said, spray foam insulation is tricky to install and should be put in by a trained professional. It is also more expensive than other insulation types since it requires special equipment and expertise.
Should You Use Radiant Barriers?
Along with insulation, a radiant barrier is an important part of keeping any building’s temperature and moisture stable. Radiant barriers help reduce heat transfer by reflecting heat and infrared radiation back onto the exterior walls of your building. They can also help prevent condensation problems and make your insulation last longer and work better.
Radiant barriers come in several varieties appropriate for different types of insulation. However, you’ll need to install your barrier before your insulation is in place. Make sure you discuss radiant barriers with your contractor early on to make sure you get the right type and have time to install them properly.
If you have more questions about the installation and care of metal buildings, contact us today at Bargain Barns USA. We install and maintain a huge variety of metal buildings across the country, and we have the expertise you need for your building project. Call 405-872-0338 today or visit us on Facebook to learn more.
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