Metal Building Insulation (MBI)
Today’s building codes have changed the way we insulate metal building structures. Insulation is no longer an afterthought. Choosing the right insulation system can have a major impact on reducing energy consumption and creating a good working environment.
Building owners and architects have finally discovered that withthebenefits of system construction, the standing seam metal roof, and low cost fiberglass insulation, metal building systems can create highly affordable, low maintenance, and energy efficient structures. In this guide we will discuss the most popular ways to insulate a metal building todayand how they can transform your jobsite.
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WHY INSULATE A METAL BUILDING?
The right insulation system can develop a metal building’s long-term structural integrity and add years to its lifespan.Here are just some of the benefits of finding the right insulation system for your metal building:
- Addedinsulation value
- Managed interior climate control
- Reducedheat loss and heat gain
- Increased sound absorption
- Improved air barrier with various facings
PURPOSES & BENEFITS OF INSULATING A METAL BUILDING
Insulating a metal building properly does more than conserve energy, it promotes comfortable living and profitable savings. Learn the many ways you can benefit from metal building insulation.
STABILIZES THE BUILDING’S TEMPERATURE
By reducing the heat flow into and out of a metal building structure, metal building insulation provides a building envelope that enables the heating and cooling system to reliably control the interior building temperature.
LIMITS THE BUILDING’S MOISTURE
For years, metal building insulation‘s primary job was to reduce condensation that was created with temperature differentiation between inside and outside temperatures. This is still the case, however, insulation is also helping to reduce thermal bridging that can create heat loss and condensation.
Perm ratings: the perm rating measures the facing’s ability to reduce or eliminate moisture transmission, reinforcing that fiberglass performs better.
With extra interior padding, metal building insulation keeps sound inside, resulting in happy neighbors and improved sound quality within the building’s interior. This is especially beneficial if you’re working with loud machinery.
TYPES OF METAL BUILDING WALL INSULATION
Create long-lasting durability with structural solutions that protect your building’s longevity. To find the bestmetal building wall insulationsystem for your building, consider the wide range of system solutions and their distinct benefits.
Fiberglass is the most popular insulation solution for metal building systemsbecauseit provides the lowest installed cost per R-value. With various facing solutions,the fiberglass insulation willresult ina durable and attractive finish.
Advantages: easy to install, eco-friendly, causes less stress on equipment
Disadvantages: PPE required in order to avoid exposure to carcinogens
STANDARD METAL BUILDING BLANKET INSULATION
Traditional faced fiberglass insulation is installed between the outside face of the girts and the exterior metal wall panel.Standard metal building blanket insulation is easily retrofit and very user-friendly when installing.For standard applications,the R-Value ranges from R-7 to R-19.
Advantages: easy to install, low installation cost, provides an approved air barrier.
Disadvantages: thermal bridging at each girt location reduces the effective R-Value.
FILLED (GIRT) CAVITY SYSTEMS
There are two differentmetal building wall insulationproducts that will fill the girt wall cavity. In both cases,the installer will first apply thermal break tape to the outside face of the girts prior to installing the wall panels.These filled cavity systems can stop air leaks and critters in their tracks, preserving air quality within your metal building.
- Advantages: low installation cost, easy to install
- Disadvantages:can interrupt the purlins
FABRIC LINER SYSTEM
After the wall panels are installed,the unfaced insulation is installed between the girts and are held up by insulation hangers.After that process is complete and the insulation is installed,a fabric liner system isplacedover the girts and the insulation.
- Advantages: works well in new and retrofit situations, meets most energy codes, easy to install, provides a high-quality vapor/air barrier, attractive white finish. Since coordination between the insulation provider and the building manufacturer is required, IDI can provide service solutions.
- Disadvantages:Installation process is complex, harder to access purlins for electrical, maintenance and HVAC services
RIGID BOARD SOLUTIONS
Polyisocyanurate insulation is a continuous insulation solution for metal building systems. If left exposed (or covered with a liner panel thinner than 22 gage), it is required that the product have a class A fire rating.
- Advantages: continuous insulation, reduces thermal bridging, durable facings are available, and meets most building codes.
- Disadvantages: expensive solution, special lengths are typically required, join conditions need to be addressed, coordination with building manufacturers is required in regards to trims and building lines
INSULATED METAL PANELS
Although this form of metal building wall insulation is not available through IDI Distributors, it has become increasingly more popular with metal building systems in recent years.
- Advantages: Attractive finish on interior and exterior, with right equipment easy to install, is a continuous insulation solution. Since coordination between the insulation provider and the building manufacturer is required, IDI can provide service solutions.
- Disadvantages: expensive, special equipment is required for installation
STANDARD FACED FIBERGLASS
With this solution the faced insulation needs to be equal to or slightly greater than the depth of the wall girts.Wheninsulating your metal building, it is important to fill any excess cavity space to reduce the risk of condensation.
- Advantages:low cost method to meet higher energy codes, wall panels are quickly installed as insulation is installed after the wall panels. Since coordination between the insulation provider and the building manufacturer is required, IDI can provide service solutions.
- Disadvantages: insulation width needs to be the same as the girt spacing.
SPRAY FOAM INSULATION
Over the past several years,spray foam has become aneffectiveoption formetal building wall insulation. We have seen spray foam mostly in smaller buildings. IDI recommends that building owners check with the building supplier to understand if the spray foam may affect any warranties.
Spray foam systems areinstalled directly to the inside of metal wall panels. The installer needs to prep the metal panel and assure that the surface is ready to accept the spray foam. Closed cell spray foam is typically used, however open cell can be used in some applications. A fire rated coating needs to be installed to the spray foam if left exposed.
- Advantages: easy to install, provides rigidity to the building (closed cell).
- Disadvantages: may void building manufacturers warranties, more expensive than fiberglass.
TYPES OF METAL BUILDING ROOF INSULATION
Properly insulating the roof of a metal building can be essential for its living and working conditions. If not correctly installed, condensation and water damage can begin to erode the building materials and could potentially lead to roof collapse.
Meet building codes easily and protect the structure of your building by finding the most suitable solution for your insulation needs. Metal building roof insulation systems can make all the difference when it comes to saving money and prolonging a structure’s lifespan. When looking at how to insulate a metal building ceiling, keep the following types of insulation in mind:
SINGLE LAYER FACED FIBERGLASS BLANKET INSULATION
This is the traditional method of insulating metal building roof systems. However,due to increased stringency in the energy codes,a single layer system does not meet the requirements for conditioned space in most of the US.
The single layer system is typically R-10, R-13, R-16, or R-19 (only up to R-13 is recommended with a screw down roof system). Thesingle layer faced fiberglass blanketinsulation is installed perpendicular and over the roof purlins (facing side toward the inside of the building), the roof system is then installed directly over the insulation. This system used either 2-3” tabs (which are stapled together) or 1-6” tab (that is overlapped or tape tabbed).
Advantages:low cost, easy to install, traditional method, good appearance.
Disadvantages:will not meet most energy codes, R-value loss due to thermal bridging.
SAG AND BAG TWO-LAYER SYSTEM:
This is a low cost solution to provide a high R roof system.Warning: this system does not meet most energy codes due to inconsistent sag and thermal bridging, caused by the roof purlins.
The first lay of faced insulation is installed perpendicular and over top of the roof purlins. Installers need to make sure to add in sufficient sag for the second layer. The second layer of unfaced material is then installed over top of the first layer between each purlin. The roof system is then installed over themetal building roofinsulation.
Advantages:easy to install, low cost. Since coordination between the insulation provider and the building manufacturer is required, IDI can provide service solutions.
Disadvantages:poor performing insulation values due to thermal bridging at the purlins, does not meet most energy codes for conditioned space.
LONG TAB AND BANDED TWO LAYER SYSTEM
For buildings that need a high-R value solution in the roof, this metal building roof insulation system is ideal. The first layer of faced insulation is installed between the purlins and over top of metal support banding (approx 30” o/c). The second layer of unfaced insulation is installed perpendicular to and over the first layer. Once the insulation is properly installed, the metal roof is then installed directly over the second layer of insulation.
Advantages: low cost solution for high-R value required projects (R-30 to R-38), various facing available, installation from roof deck, other trades still have easy access to the bottom flange of the roof purlins. Works well with flange bracing. Since coordination between the insulation provider and the building manufacturer is required, IDI can provide service solutions.
Disadvantages: bracing interferences (purlin channel bracing, and sag angle bracing) are difficult to work around
FABRIC LINER/MULTILAYER SYSTEMS
Fabric liner systems have become a very popular solution to meeting energy code requirements and delivering a well insulated metal building envelope.
The fabric liner system is installed below the roof purlins, and is supported with metal banding. Most liner systems do provide “leading edge” fall protection for the workers once it is installed. Once the fabric liner system is installed,the first layer of unfaced fiberglass insulation is installed between the purlins and directly over the liner system. The second layer of unfaced fiberglass insulation is installed perpendicular to and over top of the roof purlins and first layer of insulation.The metal roof is then installed over the second layer of insulation.
Advantages:meets or exceeds building energy codes, provides an excellent air/vapor barrier, attractive finish, and reduces thermal bridging by filing the purlin cavity, works well in retro-fit situations, works well with purlin channel bracing and sag angles. Since coordination between the insulation provider and the building manufacturer is required, IDI can provide service solutions.
Disadvantages:difficult to install the first time, other trades do not
RIGID BOARD INSULATION
Rigid board insulation is a good continuous insulation solution for metal building roof systems. If left exposed,the material needs to have a class A fire rating.
Advantages:easy to install, continuous insulation, reduces thermal bridging.
Disadvantages:higher costs, special conditions on the joints.
The rigid board is typically installed over the roof purlins with the roof panel being installed directly over the rigid board. Things to consider:
- Make sure that the rigid board endlaps terminate at a purlin connection.
- It’s a good practice to tape the outside joints of the rigid board to secure the board and provide a vapor barrier.
- Check with the building manufacturer to see if bearing plates will be needed for the standing seam roof clip attachment.
The science behind reflective insulation can work in the right situation. The situation being solar heat gain, or rooms with lots of windows, skylights and light penetrating in. If heat absorption is the concern, a Sol-R-Eclipse insulation product is the right choice of metal building insulation products.
- Reflective insulation provides a radiant barrier composed of high-grade aluminum that maximizes the reflection of unwanted heating.
- Sol-R-Eclipse systems have vinyl facing reinforced for easy installation and long-term durability.
- Our selection is available with white and silver facings.
SPRAY FOAM INSULATION
Spray foam insulation can be used with a screw down roof system, but spray foam is not recommended to be used with standing seam roof systems. In most cases,a closed cell spray foam is used, therefore increasing the rigidity of the roof system. This is a problem as standing seam roof systems are designed to expand and contract.
INSULATED METAL PANELS
Insulated metal panels (not sold by IDI) are more popular on the walls, but are available as roof panels. Coordination with the building manufacturer is critical due to loading (weight), and trim conditions.
Advantages: consistent R-Value, attractive interior finish
Disadvantages:cost, special equipment needed for installation
LEARN MORE ABOUT MBI & IDI DISTRIBUTORS PRODUCTS
IDI is a full supplier of all metal building insulation products. Here is a list of the products and services we provide:
- Energy code expertise. Your IDI MBI salesperson can help you and your customer make the right choice for an insulation system.
- Expert job take-off and cut sheets.IDI assures that the correct amount of material is shipped to your jobsite.
- Coordination of High-R systems.IDI will review the final metal building drawings to assure that the correct length and width are delivered.
- Standard blanket insulation. IDI carries standard blanket insulation that we laminate in our facilities.
- 11 different facings.Each facing has different properties to fit the building environment.
- Three different fabric liner systems. Simple Saver, MB Safety Liner, and Energy Craft
- Multiple options for rigid board insulation. Thermax, OX Board, R-Max
- Spray foam. IDI does not install spray foam, however, we have contracts with thousands of insulation contractors that can.
Fiberglass is the most popular insulation solution for metal building systems because it provides the lowest installed cost per R-value. With various facing solutions, the fiberglass insulation will result in a durable and attractive finish.What is the most economical way to insulate a metal building? ›
Fiberglass batt insulation: The most cost-effective insulation option for metal buildings, fiberglass batt material is widely available, relatively inexpensive, and easy to install. Reflective foil insulation: Reflective foil insulation is inexpensive, easy to install, and can be effective in hot climates.How thick should insulation be for a steel building? ›
But the thing is, most professionals will suggest you insulate steel building walls with no more than 4-inch fiberglass, which is the one with a 13 R-value. That's because thicker blankets could easily become too compressed and lose their effectiveness.Do you need a vapor barrier when insulating a metal building? ›
Facings and vapor barriers are used in metal building insulation as an important source of condensation control.
First and foremost spray foam insulation is effective at improving the energy efficiency in metal walls. Many contractors claim spray foam is the best insulation option for structures built of metal. It delivers an air-tight seal. This regulates the temperature by allowing minimal heat loss.How do I keep my metal building warm in the winter? ›
Install Radiant Barrier Insulation
This insulation should be installed in conjunction with constructing the structure on the exterior panels between the panels and support beams. If installed properly, it will help redirect heat into your metal building, helping to retain a warmer temperature.
Foam Board or Rigid Foam
They provide good thermal resistance (up to 2 times greater than most other insulating materials of the same thickness), and reduce heat conduction through structural elements, like wood and steel studs.
The best types of home attic insulation are open cell spray foam, fiberglass, and cellulose. Cellulose is the oldest insulation material used for not only the attic but other areas of the home as well. Cellulose can be either a loose-fill or blown-in material and is primarily made of recycled newsprint or denim.What is the cheapest insulation method? ›
Batt, or roll, insulation is one of the most inexpensive types of home insulation and one of the easiest to install, especially for DIYers.How thick should spray foam be for metal building? ›
For metal buildings, if the primary reason you are insulating is to simply stop condensation from forming, then 1” of closed cell Foam it Green is all you need. If you are looking to insulate for heating and cooling purposes, we generally recommend 2” of foam for the walls and 3” for the roof.
Metal building insulation is available in a wide range of R-values, including R-10, 11, 13, 16, 19, 25, 30 and a combination of these. It is also available in CCB (condensation control blanket). (R-value requirements are governed by the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) in each state or municipality.How do you keep a metal building from sweating? ›
Use a Dehumidifier
While metal buildings have a reputation for condensation issues, there are multiple ways to combat the problem. Investing in DripStop panels, providing proper ventilation, or using a dehumidifier can go a long way towards preventing condensation and extending the life of your metal building.
It provides an additional layer of insulation by trapping air and helps to prevent moisture buildup by allowing for ventilation. So, it's always recommended to leave an air gap when installing insulation, whether it's in your walls, roof, or floors.What is the best foam for metal building? ›
Closed-cell is the ideal choice of spray foam for your metal building for two reasons: its waterproofing capability and high racking strength. The cellular structure of closed-cell spray foam is tightly-packed.Is double bubble insulation good for metal buildings? ›
Double bubble insulation is one of the top-rated ways to insulate a metal building. It offers the best R-value, and it controls the condensation better than any other insulation options. It prevents the heat from penetrating the structure and helps maintain the inside temperature, keeping the building from “sweating”.What are the negatives of spray foam? ›
- It Can Lead to Mold. Spray foam insulation mold problems are quite common. ...
- It Can Have a Foul Odor. Spray foam insulation is mixed on the job site, and improper ratios of chemicals are common. ...
- It Can Lead to Termite Damage. ...
- It's Too Airtight.
Yes. Spray foam insulation can be applied to metal panels on open decking systems after the metal panels are installed, provided the following care is taken: Thermal spacers must be used on all metal purlins/framing to prevent rust or uneven color. All panels are properly installed and fastened securely.When should you not use spray foam insulation? ›
Spray foam insulation of any type should not be applied to a substrate or in an air temperature above 120 degrees Fahrenheit. In storage, you also want to keep your spray foam insulation at least 3 inches from any heat source.How do you insulate a metal building in a cold climate? ›
You should install radiant barrier insulation in conjunction with constructing the structure on the exterior metal panels between the panels and support beams. This steel building insulation will redirect heat into your metal building, helping to retain a warmer temperature.What happens when metal gets too cold? ›
The primary adverse effects that low temperatures cause are the loss of ductility (the ability to undergo plastic deformation before rupture) and increasing embrittlement of the material as the temperature falls below what is called the ductile-to-brittle transition temperature or DBTT.
Don't forget about the most natural way to heat your steel building – the good old sun in the sky. You can use the warmth of the sun to your advantage by strategically building in a spot where sunlight can hit the steel, or you could even add large windows or skylights in a spot where the sun shines.What is the 1 3 or 2 3 insulation rule? ›
Vapour barriers are important, as is their location. The 1/3 - 2/3 rule of thumb is close to the limit for acceptable positions (i.e. the vapour barrier can be up to 1/3 the way through the wall as measured by R- values, with 2/3 of the insulation value on the outside).What is the absolute best insulator? ›
The best insulator in the world right now is most probably aerogel, with silica aerogels having thermal conductivities of less than 0.03 W/m*K in atmosphere. of aerogel preventing ice from melting on a hot plate at 80 degrees Celsius! Aerogel has its amazing properties because it's mostly made out of air.Which insulation has the highest insulation value? ›
Vacuum insulated panels have the highest R-value, approximately R-45 (in U.S. units) per inch; aerogel has the next highest R-value (about R-10 to R-30 per inch), followed by polyurethane (PUR) and phenolic foam insulations with R-7 per inch.What thickness of insulation is best? ›
For insulation rolls and batts the recommended thickness level is 270mm, so this is what you will have to insulate to in a new property, and what you should be aiming to insulate to in an older one. If starting from nothing, you will probably have to buy and install two rolls or batts to reach the recommended depth.Which is better spray foam vs blown in insulation? ›
Both types offer excellent attic insulation and both types will resist fire, moisture, and mold. Spray foam insulation has the highest R-value, but it comes at a cost—you can achieve the same outcome with blown-in fiberglass for a much lower price.What is the number one material for insulation? ›
1. Fiberglass Insulation. Fiberglass is the most common insulation used in modern times. Because of how it is made, by effectively weaving fine strands of glass into an insulation material, fiberglass is able to minimize heat transfer.What is the cheapest way to insulate a metal shed? ›
Fiberglass batts are the least expensive option, followed by blown-in cellulose, foam board, and finally spray foam being the most expensive insulation.What is the thinnest insulation with the best R-value? ›
Aerogel insulation offers the highest R-value of any insulating material at less weight and thickness—ideal for construction, refineries, pipelines, and thin-gap thermal barriers.Can you put insulation directly against metal roof? ›
Yes, it is highly recommended to use insulation with your metal roof. Insulation helps improve your home's energy efficiency, keeping you warm during the winter and cool during the summer.
It is critical to insulate your metal building, because metal is a much better heat conductor than wood. If you don't insulate your metal building, it won't be able to retain heat in the winter, and the summer months will be unbearably hot. When the temperatures vary a lot from inside to outside, condensation forms.Is foam board insulation good for metal buildings? ›
Used for a Wide Range of Above and Below Grade Applications
Rigid board insulation can be used in your metal building project in a wide range of applications, which makes it a very useful form of insulation.
The best insulation for a shed is on that uses a reflective insulation with a rigid insulation. This insulation will not sag, is easily cut to size, and is easily joined using insulation tape. Foilboard® recommends Green 20, the 20mm Foilboard® as a minimum to span the distance between purlins for most sheds.What is the least expensive insulation? ›
Batt, or roll, insulation is one of the most inexpensive types of home insulation and one of the easiest to install, especially for DIYers.Do you need an air gap under a metal roof? ›
Therefore, metal roofing manufacturers often recommend providing an air gap between the metal roofing and the sheathing. This is achieved with furring strips ran vertically to assure air flow, and then run horizontally to support the roof.What is the air gap between metal roof and insulation? ›
The air gap should be ½" of air or more. The larger the air gap, the better your roof can ventilate but the foil will work the same whether your air gap is ½" or 1 foot. Your result is 97% of radiant heat is blocked and the structure (whether a home or a commercial building) is cooler inside.Can you use Styrofoam insulation under a metal roof? ›
Yes. Spray foam insulation can be applied to metal panels on open decking systems after the metal panels are installed, provided the following care is taken: Thermal spacers must be used on all metal purlins/framing to prevent rust or uneven color. All panels are properly installed and fastened securely.Should I vent my metal building? ›
Every metal building needs to have an adequate ventilation system, no matter the season. In the summer heat, ventilation is key to moderate temperature, create air movement and cut down on stale air.What is the best interior wall for a metal building? ›
Fiberglass is the most common and affordable option for insulating your home or commercial building. It's non-absorbent so it will protect your steel building from mold, rust and corrosion.