Insulation for Steel Buildings

It's easy to insulate your building, but sometimes choosing the type of insulation can be difficult...
steel buildings often require insulation, just like other structures.

The insulation helps to stabilize the temperature inside the structure and to prevent moisture from getting into the structure and creating condensation.

steel building insulation options

You may want to insulate the inside of a steel structure as metal conducts heat more than wood does. The building will get cold in winter if it’s not insulated. The building will heat up in the summer without the right insulation. If there is moisture present, then mold will grow which can impact people with allergies. Moisture can also lead to corrosion, and rust may eat away at a steel structure.

Insulation and a Steel Structure

Insulation for steel buildings is added uniformly to wall panels to provide good coverage. This helps with the transfer of energy and keeps the moisture from the frame, wall panels, and the roof. There are different types of insulation that are used with metal buildings. The benefits and the costs of this insulation will vary. Where you live, the building shape, and the size are going to be factors as well as what you decide to use the structure for.

How Steel Building Insulation Works

steel building insulation optionsInsulation prevents condensation, controls the heat flow, and the noise from the structure. Some insulation can impact the effectiveness and the efficiency of lights in the structure. The insulation slows heat movement, so it stays within the building. This is important in the winter months. In summer it keeps the heat the outside of the structure. The heat in the building is controlled, so the energy usage is also controlled.

Blanket type insulation has a vapor retarder, and this keeps out water condensation as it blocks water vapor. This vapor won’t condense of the inside of the building or dampen the fibers of the insulation. Insulation also reduces the noise for the outside and absorbs inside reverberations.

U-value, R-Value, and Vapor Retarders

When we refer to U-value this is the thermal performance of the building envelope assembly. These are things such as the sidewall systems and the roof. A building that is fully assembled has various heat flow paths and a U-value. This will depend on the materials that are used within the heat flow.

R-value refers to the level of thermal resistance or how well the insulation works. You want insulation that has a high R-value. This means the thermal resistance of that insulation is high. It will insulation well when compared to insulation that has a low R-value.

A vapor barier layer prevents moisture from flowing through the insulation. If you have a low “permeance,” this means that you have a superior vapor retarder. They are also usually fire retardant.

Insulation Types

Loose Fill

Loose-fill insulation is made of fiberglass, rock wool, or cellulose. It is blown into the metal framing using a special machine. Loose-fill insulation is great for those hard-to-reach areas, including corners, and it provides excellent coverage.

To install loose-fill insulation, first cut small holes in the metal framing. Ensure to wear gloves and a mask when handling the insulation material. Next, insert a tube into the hole and use the special equipment to blow insulation into the metal framing. This is done until the area is filled. Once completed, you should then seal the holes with metal wool or caulk.

Batt and Blanket

blanket insulationProcessed fiberglass or mineral fibers of rock make up what is called a blanket and batt insulation. This is an inexpensive form of insulation, but it has to be installed in a careful way for it to be fully effective. Some of the versions of this insulation have a radiant barrier backing. This is ideal for metal buildings. It is a rolled insulation, and it will be cut to various lengths and widths. This type of insulation will have an R-value of around R-3 per inch.

Spray Foam Insulation

spray foam insulationSpray foam insulation is a liquid. there is a foaming agent that is used and a polymer like polyurethane. You can spray this into floors, walls, ceilings, and anywhere where it can expand to fit the space. This insulation will then harden into a solid cellular plastic that has air-filled cells. It's easy to use this insulation to get into all the crannies and Nooks of a structure. These areas can be made airtight. There might not be any other way to insulate these smaller areas. This is where spray foam insulation can be ideal. It's the perfect solution for unusual shapes or other areas that have obstructions. It has a better air barrier when compared to batt insulation, but it is more expensive.

Fiberglass Insulation

steel building insulation batts One of the least inexpensive forms of insulation is fiberglass. It is quite popular for insulating and metal structures. This type of insulation is familiar to homeowners. It comes in rolls or blankets. Most non-professionals can install this type of insulation, but you need to wear a mask. You should also have protective clothing because the fiberglass can shred into fine fibers that can get onto your clothing or onto your skin.

NAIMA 202-96R (Rev. 2000) is the type of fiberglass insulation that is used for metal buildings. This means that the fiberglass insulation to meet the requirements of the NAIMA standard and it's been certified by the National Association of Homebuilders. This means that it has the right thermal performance for a metal building.

This type of insulation can sometimes attract rodents, nesting bugs, or birds. The insulation can also absorb moisture. Metal building insulation usually has a vapor barrier or protective facing to prevent this from happening. These barriers add an attractive finished appearance for the inside of the structure. You can get the facing in different colors and styles to meet all of your requirements.

Radiant Barrier or Reflective Foil Insulation

Radiant barrier insulations deflect high temperatures during summer and help keep heating costs down in colder climates. It looks somewhat like bubble wrap with foil on each side and is usually installed on the inside of roof panels but can be used for walls as well. Radiant barriers are made of heat-reflecting materials, and it is among the most recommended insulation materials for metal buildings.

Installing radiant barrier insulation is not difficult, but it is quite time-consuming. In order to get going though you must begin by measuring the size of the metal panel and cutting the barriers to fit the dimensions. Once done you secure the insulation and screw on the outer metal panel, being sure to also use double-sided tape for reinforcement.

Rigid Board

You can use rigid board foam for any type of climate. These are usually made with polystyrene, fiberglass, or polyurethane. You can get it in different performance ratings. It's great for a dampening noise as well as resisting moisture and heat. You can get an R-value from around R-4 to R-8 Depending on how the foam is cut and the thickness.

This type of insulation is easy for a non-professional to put into the structure. You should let your building provider know that you want to use this type of insulation so they can extend panel lengths and use longer fasteners, which will make it easier for you to install the installation in your new structure.

Insulated Panels

steel insulated panelsInsulation is insulated panels. They are often built of two metal panels that have an insulating foam core. The panels will eliminate the need for a fiberglass blanket or rigid board insulation. It's more expensive when you compare it to other insulation options, but these insulated panels give great insulating properties, offer a streamlined architectural appearance, and are faster to install.

Which Insulation is Right for You?

Your building needs proper insulation. It will improve the return on your investment, keep it clean, and protect those that are inside the structure. It will reduce noise from interior equipment or activity that is going on outside, such as traffic, hail, rain, or heavy machinery. You will save money by using insulation, have better heating, and your air conditioning cost will be reduced.

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