Metal Building Insulation

Metal Building Insulation

A Good Metal Building Insulation will have the following benefits/features:

  • High R value (thermal break)Eliminate condensation
  • Radiant heat barrier
  • Not be affected by humidity
  • Vapour barrier
  • Install easily
  • Not allow nesting for rodents, birds or bugs

Steel buildings and pole barns, are uniquely affected by: 1. Condensation, 2. Radiant Heat, and 3. Cold. Your metal building insulation options are limited to insulation that addresses at least these three. Properly insulating a building requires an insulation with high thermal resistance (R value), radiant heat barrier and vapour barrier. A good reflective building insulation should addresses all items above. A complete metal building insulation system is achieved with a reflective building insulation.

steel frame building insulation
using insulation in your steel frame buildings

Fiberglas is NOT the recommended “insulation for metal buildings” or pole barns. Adding traditional fibreglass batt insulation to slow the loss of inside heat from a metal building creates a problem. Instead of warm air rising and striking the metal walls and roof directly causing condensation and dripping, the insulation will make the air cool more gradually. The warm, moist indoor air will cool and reach the dew point either somewhere inside the insulation or when it reaches the roof or siding trapping moisture. Moisture trapped within the insulation will cause its R-value and effectiveness to drop dramatically as water is a very good conductor of heat. Even though the metal in a quality steel building will be treated, water trapped can cause rust and lead to other problems like fungus appearing. These conditions will degrade the steel walls and shorten the service life of the building. Condensation in can also lead to degradation of crops and even bacterial growth.A vapour barrier installed on the warm side of the insulation will act as a physical shield to repel moisture, keeping it inside in the form of water vapour. A building vapour barrier like aluminium foil will slow the movement of water vapour. Air infiltration through the building exterior in humid areas will also allow some moisture in below the roof decking and into the insulation. As any amount of moisture severely degrades the insulation capabilities of fibreglass batt insulation, fibreglass is not recommended for use in steel buildings in humid areas. reflective building insulation is recommended instead because it insulates totally: Eliminates condensation, cools the building in summer, it’s thermal insulation for the winter and creates a vapour barrier that protects the building.

Ever wonder why it’s so hot inside a metal building in the summer? It’s the radiant heat. You can insulate against radiant heat! Traditional fibreglass insulation does not affect radiant heat transfer. Estimates are between 80 and 90% of the radiant heat striking fibreglass will pass right through it. Metal pole barn insulation ca prove to be an outstanding radiant heat barrier.

Disadvantages of Fiberglas insulation

Does not stop radiant heat transfer which is the main way of heat-flow in and out of your structure.

Potential health risks such as lung damage

Batts do not seal wall and ceiling cavities tightly Need an additional vapour barrier to protect it from moisture

Can settle resulting in a decline in effectiveness

Compressing the insulation reduces its effectiveness Resistance to heat transfer drops dramatically when wet

Moisture buildup between the fibreglass and the building exterior cannot evaporate and causes mould, mildew and decay.

Don’t include fibreglass insulation as part of your metal building insulation materials

A good steel building insulation system requires a vapour barrier, thermal break, and radiant heat barrier. The metal skin will lead to condensation, unbearable heat in summer and frigid temperatures in winter. Foil insulation will make a proper vapour barrier and condensation eliminator, a high r-value (thermal break) and number one performing radiant heat barrier. Radiant heat makes a metal building unbearable in the summer.
Why use a Reflective Building Insulation?

All new buildings should incorporate a reflective building insulation as part of the insulation system, especially metal buildings. The principle is straightforward; every each unit of radiant heat energy that is reflected away from a building in hot weather, and every unit reflected back in during cold months, will lead to lower heating and air conditioning use, less wear and tear on your equipment, and less money you pay in utility costs.

Heat transfer will occur across any barrier when there is a marked heat gradient between two discernible areas. Hot air will naturally try to fill a cooler space and essentially “push out” the cooler air. Consequently, an area that is artificially cooled or heated will inevitably revert back to equilibrium with the space around it if left free to do so.

Metal building insulation will not eliminate this process altogether, but it will slow it to the point that the issue will cease to be detrimental to the operation of the building. When considering a large industrial complex that is heated or cooled by large climate control systems, the benefits of limiting the amount of work done by the air conditioning system are apparent. The better the insulation, the less the equipment will work and the lower the energy costs will be.

Metal Frame versus Wood Frame Construction

The primary differences in insulation installation are between wood-frame (pole barn) and metal-frame buildings (steel building). When you insulate a metal-framed building, it is important to recognise that much more heat flows through metal studs and joists than through wood. Because of this difference, placing insulation between the wall studs, or between attic or floor joists, doesn’t work as well for metal-framed buildings as it does for wood-framed buildings.For metal frame walls, you will need to place an insulation sheet over the outside of the wall frame, between the metal framing pieces and your exterior siding similar to whole house wrap. If you’re doing a metal building insulation retrofit, attach insulation to the underside of your framing. R-Value, or Resistance, is the measure of a material’s ability to stop heat flow.

Insulation Challenges in Metal Buildings

Metal buildings have unique challenges that properly installed building insulation can address. The benefits of metal building insulation include:

Heat flow control

Unfortunately, like most metals, steel is a very good conductor of heat. In hot weather, steel framing and sheeting rapidly transfer the sun’s heat into a building, and in cold weather they rapidly transfer heat out.

Noise control

Metal building insulation can significantly help reduce the level of both exterior and interior noise.

Increased lighting efficiency

Metal building insulation is frequently installed with surfaces that are visible from the inside. Reflective building insulation provides a bright, attractive wall and ceiling treatment that acts as a reflector to increase lighting efficiency. Aluminium foil reflects light, which makes it easier to illuminate the building interior. Installing reflective building insulation makes it even easier to illuminate the building interior as its surface reflects light very efficiently. In addition to light selectivity, a reflective surface can provide an aesthetic appearance. Using a multipurpose reflective building insulation product combines thermal barrier, radiant barrier, and vapour barrier in one making it ideal for either commercial or residential applications alone or in conjunction with other insulation.