Metal Building Insulation

The manufacture of metal buildings is one of the fastest growing areas in new building construction. They’re used as garages, RV shelters, workshops, warehouses, stores and homes. Metal building insulation is a critical factor in controlling temperature, noise proofing and energy conservation. New methods of insulating metal buildings have expanded the market for this type of construction by creating more livable spaces.

The most common methods of insulating a metal building are standard fiberglass insulation and blown-in foam. Standard fiberglass insulation is what is used most commonly in homes. Foam works well in odd-shaped buildings. Alternative forms of insulation are created from cotton fiber, plastics, cellulose, recycled materials, straw and composites. Radiant barrier insulation reflects the heat that is already in a room back into the room, rather than letting it escape.

Standard fiberglass insulation used in metal buildings has a protective lining called facing, sometimes made of polypropylene that acts as a vapor barrier. Spray foam can be purchased in kit form, or installed by a contractor. It is made from polystyrene and expands, eliminating gaps. Newer spray foam products are less ozone depleting. Less commonly used insulation materials such as cotton, plastic and wool come in batts or rolls, just like fiberglass insulation, and are installed the same way. Recycled materials are eco-friendly.

Metal building insulation increases the livability and energy efficiency of buildings that are heated or cooled. Check R values and U values for appropriateness to your climate. These refer to the effectiveness of the insulation. A higher R value means a more effective insulation. A lower U value means better performance. Besides temperature control, insulating your metal building means increased lighting efficiency, condensation control and sound control. Some foam insulations provide better fire protection and can prohibit the growth of mold. Painting your metal roof white will increase the effectiveness of the insulation in the summer months.

Metal buildings are cheap to build, and can be designed to meet any need. Consider the Quonset hut, used by the military since it was first patented in 1916 as barracks, mess halls and warehouses. Metal building has evolved to include steel built homes that appear to be no different from stick built houses. Properly insulated, a metal building offers energy savings and a smaller carbon footprint. Good metal building insulation, combined with other green ideas like passive solar, make a work or living space more environmentally friendly.

Some radiant barrier insulation does not provide the fire protection of other forms of insulation. Most insulation installation can be done by a talented do-it-yourselfer, but proper installation is necessary to guarantee the effectiveness of the product. Use products that have been approved for metal building inuslation. Be aware of your area’s building codes before starting your project.

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