How To Insulate Your Metal Building

Posted by Ben Sparhawk on Sep 14, 2021 10:40:52 AM

Insulation shouldn't be an afterthought when designing your metal building. It's one of the best ways to help keep your metal building warm during the winter. 

If you choose the right insulation type for your metal building from the many insulation types available, it can have a major impact on reducing energy consumption and creating a good working environment. 

But insulating a steel building isn't just about energy costs and controlling temperature.

If your steel building is properly insulated, it will prevent the growth of mold and mildew and prevent rust and corrosion.

Building owners know that metal building systems can create affordable, low maintenance, and energy-efficient structures with proper insulation.

In the article below, we will discuss meal building insulation in-depth and how to insulate your metal building.

Table of Contents


How Does Steel Building Insulation Work?

Metal building insulation controls heat flow, prevents condensation and the growth of mold and mildew, and controls noise and mildew.

Some insulation can even increase the efficiency and effectiveness of lighting fixtures.

Insulation will slow the movement of heat (or cold air in the summer) and keep the heat outside.

You'll be controlling the heat transfer rate throughout your building which will reduce energy usage.

Blanket-type insulation has a vapor retarder that will prevent the formation of condensation by blocking the passage of water vapor.

This keeps it from condensing onto the interior surfaces of the building or from dampening the insulation fibers.

Insulation also works to dampen the noise from inside and outside of your building by absorbing reverberations.

Your lighting is also more efficient because you can choose different facings for their brightness and reflectiveness.



Is Insulation Necessary?

Although insulation has many benefits, it might not be completely necessary for your steel building depending on your environment.

Although you generally have a high return on investment if you insulate your prefabricated steel building, many building owners opt to skip insulating their building due to the costs and the environment where their building is located.

This might be acceptable sometimes.

However, if your building is in a region with high humidity, for example, insulation on the roof will prevent condensation from gathering on the underside of your roof panels and dripping down.

Being comfortable in your building might be the single greatest benefit associated with insulating a metal building, but you also have to consider the reduced power usage it creates.

Since thermal energy is being trapped inside and not escaping, you can heat and cool your building with more efficiency.

Proper insulation will also muffle sound from interior equipment or activity and exterior noise like traffic, rain, hail, or heavy machinery.

Insulation significantly improves return on investment for any metal building.

It will keep your building in prime condition longer and will protect the health of the occupants of the building.

So while insulation for your steel building might not be an absolute necessity, the advantages of insulation make it well worth your time and monetary investment.

How To Insulate A Prefab Steel Building

The installation process for insulation for traditional buildings requires insulation to be installed between the studs.

When you insulate a steel building, the insulation is usually installed above the framing, providing more continuous protection.

This placement prevents heat transfer prevents moisture from developing between the framing, exterior roof, and wall panels.



Four Types of Insulation for Metal Building Kits

There are four popular insulation options for steel buildings.

Each option will have varying costs and benefits.

When considering which material to use to insulate your steel building, remember that the characteristics of the material should match your building’s shape, size, location, and the intended use of the building.


Reflective Foil Insulation

Reflective foil insulation or foil bubble is waterproof insulation that has a reflective surface.

That surface can significantly brighten the exterior of your building.

Reflective foil can be a little more expensive than the other options, but it’s pretty simple to install.

Your insulation materials will consist of staples, glue, or nails, and you won't need any special protective gear or equipment.

Fiberglass Insulation

This type of insulation is the most popular and least expensive method used to insulate a steel building.

Fiberglass insulation comes in blankets and is sometimes referred to as blanket insulation, and the ease of installation is what attracts most business owners.

When you install your fiberglass insulation, you should wear gloves, a mask, and protective clothing because loose fibers from the fiberglass will shred into fine fibers and irritate your skin.

Fiberglass insulation can also attract rodents, birds, and nesting bugs due to the soft batting fiberglass material and its ability to absorb moisture.

That's why fiberglass is is almost always sold with a protective facing that can double for interior appeal.


Spray Foam Insulation

A polymer combined with a foaming agent can be sprayed into steel walls and ceiling cavities.

After it's sprayed, the liquid will turn into a solid cellular material of air-filled cells that will fill every space.

If your building is in an area prone to cold weather, spray foam insulation is great because it seals the building from insects and pests. 

However, there are some opponents of spray foam insulation because it can trap moisture where it was sprayed.

Over time the trapped moisture can corrode and rust away the underside of the metal panels.

To combat this, experienced metal building contractors use techniques like flashing and will carefully monitor the area to prevent this from happening.

Overall, spray foam is widely accepted and is still a great option for steel buildings.


Insulated Metal Panels

Insulated metal panels are made with two metal panels that have an insulating foam core between them.

Insulated panels are one of the more expensive ways to insulate a metal building, but they can reduce the need for other insulation options like fiberglass blankets.

Insulated metal panels will provide great insulation, fast installation, and a modernized appearance for your pre-engineered metal building.


U-Values, R-Values, and Vapor Retarders

The U-value

U-values are the specific thermal performance of things like your roof or sidewall systems.

A complete installation with multiple heat flow paths will have a particular U-value dependant on the materials used in the series heat flow.


The R-value

The R-value indicates how well the insulation works.

It could also be an indication of its level of thermal resistance.

You want insulation with a high R-value so the insulation has a high thermal resistance.


Vapor Retarder

A vapor retarder is just what it sounds like.

They prevent or slow the flow of moisture through to the insulation it is attached to.

Low permeance is an indication of a superior vapor retarder.

Vapor retarders are often required to be fire retardant.

The term “vapor barrier” can be used interchangeably with the term “vapor retarder,” with no repercussions.



Start Your Metal Building Project With CDMG

If you still have questions about steel building insulation, you can bring them to the expert metal building suppliers at CDMG.

As one of the top meal building suppliers, CDMG can provide full details about pre-engineered metal buildings and insulation for metal buildings.

CDMG serves industrial markets and beyond, and their multi-disciplined engineers and construction project management professionals are dedicated to quality and efficient operations.

When you work with CDMG to supply and construct your new prefabricated metal structure, you you can count on them to complete your project within budget, on schedule, and to the highest degree of quality.

An experienced and professional engineer from CDMG is standing by today to help you determine the type of pre-engineered metal building insulation best for you.

Click the button below to see how we can get your metal building kit project started for you. 


Check out our other metal building kit articles:

Is A Metal Building Better For Data Centers?

What Are The Newest Industrial Metal Building Trends?

Benefits of A Pre-Engineered Metal Building For A Manufacturing Facility

Topics: metal buildings

About The Author

ben-sparhawkI'm Ben Sparhawk, the Content Writer and Marketing Account Manager for CDMG. I write to showcase the work that CDMG does and everything related to the pre-engineered metal building industry as well as their engineering capabilities. When I'm not working on content, you can find me spending time with my wife and children. You can also find me in the gym, trying to better myself, and I also enjoy spending time outdoors hiking or checking out local parks.