How Are Metal Buildings Insulated?

Posted by CDMG Team on Jun 19, 2019 2:17:40 PM
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With metal buildings, insulation does two main things.

It stabilizes the structure's interior temperature, and prevents moisture from entering or collecting via condensation.

It is critical to insulate your metal building, because metal is a much better heat conductor than wood.

If you don't insulate your metal building, it won't be able to retain heat in the winter, and the summer months will be unbearably hot.

When the temperatures vary a lot from inside to outside, condensation forms.

That moisture will allow unhealthy mildew and mold to grow, and that will be particularly harmful to people with allergies.

WIthout proper building maintenance practices, the moisture will also cause rust and erosion, the last thing you want in your metal building.

In traditional timber buildings, insulation is installed between the stud.

In metal buildings, insulation is typically installed over the framing to provide continuous coverage.

That prevents any transfer of energy and/or moisture between the framing and the exterior roof and wall panels.

There are several different types of insulation used for metal buildings.

The costs and benefits will vary between them, so it's important to do your research before deciding what the best option is for your metal building.

In the article below we will discuss the different types of insulation available and how they work.
Choosing the right type of insulation is an important part of the metal building process

Table Of Contents

How Does Metal Building Insulation Work?

Insulation controls heat flow, prevents condensation, and controls noise.

Depending on the facing, some insulation can increase the efficiency and effectiveness of lighting fixtures.

Insulation slows the movement of heat and keeps it inside the building during the winter months.

In the summer, the insulation does the opposite and keeps the heat outside, exactly where you want it.

This controls the heat transfer rate in your building, reducing your energy consumption.

The vapor retarder of blanket-type insulation also prevents the formation of condensation by locking the passage of water vapor so it won't condense onto the interior building surface, or dampen the insulation fibers.

Insulation can also deaden the noise from the outside of your building by absorbing reverberations inside.

Your lighting will be more efficient because you can choose facings for their brightness and reflectiveness.

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U-Values, R-Values, And Vapor Retarders

The U-value describes the specific thermal performance of a building envelop assembly, like the roof or sidewall systems.

A complete assembly with multiple heat flow paths has a particular U-value that depends on the materials within the series heat flow.

The R-value is how well the insulation works, or it's level of thermal resistance.

You want a high R-value, which means the insulation's thermal resistance is high.

That means that it is a better insulator than one with a low R-value.

And finally, a vapor retarder is just what it sounds like.

It is a facing that prevents or slows the flow of moisture through to the insulation it is attached to.

A low permeance indicates a superior vapor retarder. Vapor retarders are also usually required to be fire retardant.

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There are many types of insulation to choose from for your metal building

Types Of Insulation

Loose Fill is made up of loose fibers or fiber pellets.

The insulation is blown into building cavities, similar to shooting water from a hose.

It's usually more expensive than the other options, but it can get into corners and crevices where a typical blanket might not fit.

Spray Foam Insulation is similar in nature to loose fill but comes as a liquid with a foaming agent and polymer such as polyurethane.

It can be sprayed into walls, floors, and ceilings where it expands to fit the space.

The insulation hardens into a solid cellular plastic containing air-filled cells.

It can easily fill all the nooks and crannies until they are airtight in areas you might not be able to insulate any other way.

Spray foam is ideal for any place with unusual shapes or an area with a lot of obstructions.

Fiberglass Insulation is the least expensive and most popular method of insulating metal buildings.

This type of insulation should be familiar to most homeowners and comes in rolls of blanket material.

It can be installed easily by just about anyone, but it's always a good idea to wear a mask and protective clothing because fiberglass can irritate your eyes and shed fine fibers in your clothing.

Because fiberglass insulation is soft, it tends to attract nesting bugs, rodents, or birds, and can easily absorb moisture.

This is why metal building insulation is almost always provided with a protective facing vapor or barrier.

Insulated Panels consist of an insulating foam core sandwiched between two metal panels.

This panel eliminates the need for fiberglass blanket or rigid board insulation.

Although more expensive than the other insulation options, insulated panels offer exceptional insulating properties, faster installation times, and a streamlined architectural appearance.

Reflective Foil, also known as foil bubble, is waterproof, and the reflective surface can considerably brighten the interior of the building.

Reflective foil insulation can be a bit pricey, but it's clean and easy to install using staples, nails, or glue.

It requires no mask or other protective gear.

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Insulation Is Important

Just like with any other type of building, the insulation you choose for your metal building is very important.

Proper insulation can muffle sounds from interior equipment and activity, as well as exterior noise like rain, hail, traffic, or heavy machinery.

It saves energy, reducing your carbon footprint, and saving you money on energy costs.

Insulation can significantly improve your return on investment for your metal building, keeping it clean and in excellent condition longer and protecting the health of the people that use the building.


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Topics: insulating a metal building