How to insulate a steel building?

On the topic of insulation one of the most asked questions our support team receives is 'How do you insulate a steel building?' followed by ‘Can you insulate a steel building?

If you will be spending money on heating and cooling a steel building, it is an excellent idea to also insulate it. Adding insulation may cost you initially, but it will drastically reduce your utility bills for day to day usage. Insulation slows down heat transfer (keeping it cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter), reduces condensation build up and also reduces noise.

Traditional fiberglass blankets insulation is not the most efficient choice in a steel building. For the best insulation in this application choose a combination of fiberglass and reflective insulations (such as eFoil or Solar Guard). Pay attention to the facing of your insulation (the side that faces into the building), and make sure to choose something durable. Products with a layer of scrim (nylon or fiberglass mesh) are the best choice. If they also have a light or reflective color, they will help to maintain brightness inside the building.
Liner panels can be installed over the insulation (check with the manufacturer for details) and traditional walls can also be framed on top of the insulation where necessary.

Make sure you consider insulation with good permeability. Find one with a low perm-rating (less than 0.1) and you will reduce the transfer of condensation.

Today, there are a variety of building insulation material options available, and new technologies as well as long-forgotten ideas are coming to public attention as thermal resistance and energy savings become more of a concern in green building design. Below, from the Insulation Fact Sheet (DOE 2002,) are the r-values for some common building insulation materials expressed in r-value per inch of material.

* Fiberglass batts 2.9-3.8
* High performance fiberglass batts 3.7-4.3
* Cotton batts 3.0-3.7
* Sprayed polyurethane foam 5.6-6.2
* Loose-fill rockwool 2.7-3.0

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

1. High R value (thermal break)
2. Eliminate condensation
3. Radiant heat barrier
4. Not be affected by humidity
5. Vapor barrier
6. Install easily
7. Not allow nesting for rodents, birds or bugs
8. Recognized by ICCES and Qualified by Energy Star

Steel buildings and metal buildings are uniquely affected by:

1. Condensation
2. Radiant Heat
3. Cold

Steel building insulation options are limited to insulations that address at least these three factors.

For further information see: Insulation for Steel Buildings a Buyers Guide

Learn more about the types of insulation for steel buidlings.

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