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How to Insulate a Metal Building

Kenneth Aguilar

Some people choose not to insulate their metal garages and commercial buildings; however, insulation should always be considered. It’s essential to learn about insulation options available and their many benefits. 

If you are working in the building for hours, insulation will improve your comfort in regions with high or low temperatures. Insulating a metal building does more than increase creature comforts—it also reduces power use. Insulation keeps heated or cooled air in to improve energy efficiency, which reduces heating and cooling costs. An additional comfort feature is that insulation contributes to a quieter work environment. Insulation absorbs sound well and can reduce noise levels by up to 5 to 6 decibels.

Aside from keeping yourself comfortable, a major benefit of insulation is that it prevents condensation from gathering under roof panels and water dripping on to your vehicles, machinery, equipment, or stored boxes. Whether the metal building is for your business or a hobby you enjoy, it’s important to keep your valuables secure and protected from the elements.

Types of Insulation

There are five insulation options for you to choose from. It’s important to know the differences between them when selecting insulation for your metal building.

  • Loose Fill: Loose-fill insulation consists of insulation clumps that an installer blows into the wall or ceiling cavities. It is not a common option for metal buildings, and installation can be expensive. However, some people prefer it because it insulates corners well.
  • Bubble Insulation: This is basically bubble wrap for a metal building. If you are interested in controlling temperature and condensation, bubble insulation is a good option.
  • Batte and Blanket Insulation: This inexpensive insulation choice is made of rock wool or mineral fiber and works well in metal structures.
  • Rigid Board Insulation: This insulation is sourced from polyurethane, fiberglass, or polystyrene and is used to insulate flat roofs.
  • Spray Foam: This popular and versatile form of insulation comes as a liquid polymer, often polyurethane, that, when sprayed, expands into a solid foam. Spray foam applies easily, even to atypically shaped spaces. 

    How soon are you hoping to install your metal building? Talk to one of our  specialists about available dates.

R-Value of Insulation

R-value measures how well building insulation can prevent the flow of heat into and out of the building. Pay attention to the R Values of the insulation you choose. Higher R-value means greater insulation performance and thus more savings on your next power bill.

The Best Insulation for Metal Buildings

Though a variety of options exist, some insulation solutions work better than others for metal buildings. The most popular insulation options used in metal buildings are fiberglass insulation, spray foam, and prefabricated insulated panels.  

Fiberglass insulation is two inches thick and works well for metal buildings. It has an R-8 value, which is less than insulation used in a home, which has an R-value of 32. Using thicker fiberglass insulation can cause problems because the thick insulation may bubble up as it’s stapled into place.

Spray polyurethane foam (SPF) is a premium building insulation utilized widely in structures of all types, including metal buildings. Spray foam insulates, and air seals the building, preventing heated or cooled air from escaping. It is recommended that SPF be installed after the building goes up.

Insulated metal panels are also available and offer many benefits. Each panel comprises two single-skin metal panels and a foam core sealed at the sides. These prefabricated panels lock together to create the building walls. They are more expensive than traditional metal building panels. 

Work with your installer to choose the right insulation for your building and budget. Then, have it professionally installed. Your installer will insulate each section of the building as it goes up. 

You also can choose to insulate your building yourself. However, before doing so, consult an expert to make sure you take the appropriate steps to insulate the building correctly. 

Related Content: What Does A Metal Building Cost?

Insulation Costs for Metal Buildings

The cost to insulate a structure is determined largely by the insulation you choose, who does the installing, the building size, and which areas you’ve decided to insulate. Consider the overall application before selecting your insulation. For example, a storage building requires lower quality insulation than one where people will work.   

The cost of spray foam insulation averages $1 per square foot for each inch of thickness. One-inch of spray foam offers around an R-7 insulation value. Getting to an R-25 insulation value would require at least 3.5 inches of spray foam for $3.50 per square foot. With fiberglass insulation, an R-25, 8-inch-thick batt averages .85 cents per square foot.

Insulating your building is an investment that will pay for itself. Insulation lowers energy costs and reduces wear and tear on the HVAC systems used to maintain building temperature, which will save you money in the long run—after all, saving just $100 a month on heating/cooling costs will add up to $24,000 in 20 years.

Metal Buildings Cost