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How To Insulate Pole Barn Roof

Area #: Wall Insulation

Insulating the Pole Barn Roof and other Tales

Metal walls are a major source of potential heat conduction. Look for the following types of insulation for your pole barn:

  • Vinyl Back Vinyl back is fiberglass that includes a vinyl backing on one side.
  • Single Double Bubble Single and double bubble insulation both function the same way. Both utilize the principles of air space and radiant barrier to stop heat transfer from one surface to another.

Should Poly Plastic Barrier Be Used On Interior Of Walls And Ceiling

Reader JUSTIN in MONROE writes: Hello. Hopefully an easily answered question? I have built a 52×30 post frame, steel siding and roof. Walls have Tyvek between steel and girts. Roof is steel directly on purlins with no barrier of any kind. It has a concrete slab and I plan to periodically heat it during winter months. Id like to insulate but not sure of best method with my situation and climate. I plan to use R-19 for walls and possibly ceiling. Or blow in for ceiling. Also I have 50% soffit ventilation with 18 overhang as well as 40 ft of ridge vent. Should I use poly plastic on interior of walls and ceiling? Im concerned I will create a moisture problem. Im open to doing things whichever way is best. Things are always easier and cheaper to do it correctly the first time. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

Dear Justin,

I agree things are always best when done correctly the first time around. While it is not always less of an investment, when the long term problems arise and things have to be corrected, it makes it nearly not as fun and cheap becomes expensive. Usually in a quick hurry.

If the roof trusses are not designed for at least a five pounds per square foot bottom chord dead load, you are sunk on adding a ceiling without an engineered truss repair. This would be the place to start, as it will dictate the solution.

I will approach the building as if it is my own and from where it is now.

Mike the Pole Barn Guru

How Much Does It Cost To Insulate A Pole Barn

The cost of insulation is usually priced out per square foot. For walls, R19 insulation is 6 thick and costs approximately $3.13 per square foot. R19 roof insulation runs slightly less at around $2.43 per square foot. As mentioned earlier, the higher the R-value, the better the insulation which means the per-square-foot cost of insulation for your pole barn will go up and down relative to the R-value.

If youre looking for a more economical insulation option for your pole building, radiant barrier insulation runs about $1.13 per square foot.

Ultimately, the best way to insulate a pole barn is the one that fits your needs. If you have questions about pole barn insulation, construction or any other pole building-related questions, please contact our team of pole barn professionals at Beehive Buildings.

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What About Those R

Insulation is rated by R-value which measures the materials thermal resistance. That being said, we arent going to get into the nitty-gritty of R-values here and now. What you need to know, for now, is that an R-value tells you how well the insulation resists heat flow.

You also need to know that there are tons of factors that influence the effectiveness of your insulation, and the R-value doesnt take all of that into account. So, the actual performance of your insulations is not a direct reflection of R-value.

You see, thermal energy moves in 3 ways:

  • Conduction: by touch
  • Convection: air circulation
  • Radiation: radiant energy transfer

An R-value is only a measure of a materials resistance to conductive heat transfer. So its only a part of the whole picture.

We advise speaking with a builder to get their input before determining which insulation is the optimal choice for you. In many cases, working with a builder you trust is one of the best places to start. Proper insulation installation can have a bigger impact on energy performance than the R-value alone. Take this case study for example.

How To Insulate A Pole Barn With Prodex: Equipment Checklist


Already decided on Prodex? Congratulations! You will benefit from a fast and easy installation process and a short and concise equipment list.

To insulate your pole barn with Prodex, you will need:

  • Reflective tape
  • A staple or screw gun
  • A utility knife

The reflective tape can be used to seal seams to create a vapor barrier.

The double sided tape can be used to hold the insulation in place during install and keep it safe from the wind.

To cut pieces of insulation, use your utility knife and fasten them with the help of the screw gun.

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Select Your Insulation Thickness Strategically

What will your building be used for? And what R-value best fits with that use? Remember, the R-value indicates the insulative properties of the material used. The higher the R-value, the higher the insulation capacity.

One- or two-inch insulation.One- or two-inch insulation can be placed on the exterior of the building, underneath the steel. It ranges from R-5 to an R-16 value, depending on the type.

R-5 faced fiberglass insulation, for example, has a relatively low insulative value and is often used under roofs to avoid condensation on cold days and to reduce heat on sunny ones.

Alternatively, a two-inch rigid foam insulation rated at R-16 provides three times the insulative value under steel.

In addition to providing modest heat gain and condensation control, thinner insulation also provides both a degree of noise protection from the outside and noise absorption on the inside of the building.

Six-inch insulation.A six-inch fiberglass batt typically has a value of R-19 and is thicker than whats generally applied directly under steel.

This type of insulation has a higher insulative property, as well as a higher cost.

Six-inch insulation is typically used with interior framed walls often called flush walls in a pole barn. While it adds to the price of the building, it also allows for a number of interior finishing options such as steel, drywall, and sheeted wood products like OSB/plywood.

Items Needed For Installation

  • Scissors or a Sharp utility knife to cut the product
  • Insulation Tape to seal the seams – Never to be used to attach the product to the building!
  • Construction Staples – 3/8″ wide is a very popular size
  • A staple gun – mechanical, pneumatic or electric
  • Recommended – Someone to help hold the product while installing

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The Best Way To Insulate A Pole Barn

Increasing durability, sustainability and overall comfortability should be a top priority in any building envelope. Pole barns are no different and can achieve the same insulation performance as an everyday home. By insulating a non-insulated building the use is completely changed. A proper insulation system can transform an old farm building into a high-quality, multi-functioning shop environment.

Some things to consider when insulating a pole barn include: air-ventilation condensation issues and the specific thicknesses and types of roofing and wall insulation materials. There most common options for insulation are fiberglass blankets and spray foam. The spray foam is great for sealing air leaks but is more costly and unattractive, making fiberglass blankets the best option on the market today.

Fiberglass Insulation Benefits:

  • Fiberglass blankets have varying thicknesses
  • Energy Savings
  • Provides barrier against extreme temperatures, resulting in less use of the heating/cooling system
  • Attractive & Bright Polypropylene Exterior
  • Fiberglass blankets are finished elegantly for a clean, crisp look
  • Controls Moisture & Condensation
  • A healthier, dryer environment is achieved, prolonging the buildings lifespan
  • Easy Install
  • Fiberglass blankets come rolled with simple install instructions
  • Pest-Protection
  • Insulation covers and seals exposed areas preventing critters of all sorts from entering
    • Never use a ladder
  • Patience and Attention to detail
  • Take your time
  • Do not take short cuts
  • Foam Insulation For Pole Barns

    How to Insulate a Pole Barn – Insulating the Workshop With Foam and Fiberglass

    When it comes to pole barn insulation, the best insulation to eliminate condensation, save money on heating, and strengthen your building is closed cell spray foam. Closed cell spray foam is not only a great insulation, but is an air and moisture barrier as well. It can add up to 200 300 % racking strength to the structure and will result in a building that can be heated very economically. Our spray foam expands to fill gaps and cracks, leaving behind a hard surface that resists settling and structural degradation. Whats more, spray foam is impervious to damage by birds and rodents.

    • More consistent, heating / cooling temperatures.

    • Creates a seamless barrier.

    • Environmentally friendly formulas that include no CFCs, formaldehyde or ozone depleting agents.

    • Protects and strengthens structural integrity of containers and tanks.

    • Foam can be coated or painted if required directly to the foams surface.

    Spray Foam Solutions are expert agricultural and commercial spray foam insulation installers. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help your business benefit from our spray foam, pole building insulation.

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    Convert To Residence Insulation And Truss Spans

    Todays Pole Barn Guru addresses reader questions about building upgrades to convert to a residential use, how to best insulate a monitor style building, and the possibility of trusses spanning 40 to eliminate interior posts in a shop/storage building.

    DEAR POLE BARN GURU: We bought a pole barn with no insulation, just studs and metal siding. We added faced batting insulation. But now we are thinking of making it a residential building. Do we need to remove the siding and put OSB and a vapor barrier house wrap on it? How do we refit this for a residence? KIMBERLY in COLUMBUS

    DEAR KIMBERLY: No you do not have to add OSB and a Weather Resistant Barrier to your exterior walls.Most pole barns are not designed to support wind and snow loads to extents required for residential applications you should invest in services of a Registered Professional Engineer who can do a physical examination of your pole barn to determine structural adequacy and provide solutions for upgrades to make it safe for you to live in.

    DEAR THOMAS: Unless you are planning on some degree of climate control in your building, there would be no real reason to make an investment into closed cell spray foam. If controlling interior temperature is a goal, then spend your money on insulation in your roof/ceiling where over ¾ of your heat loss/gain is coming from, before spending money on wall insulation.

    Insulation Solutions For Your Pole Barn

    Now that you understand the importance of R-value, well dive deep into the different insulating materials for your pole barn.

    As you consider the options, ask yourself the following questions:

    • Will the post frame building be heated?
    • If so, how warm will the structure be?
    • Will it be temporarily or permanently heated?
    • When you look up, do you see trusses or a finished ceiling?

    Your answers will guide you through the decision-making process.

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    New Constructions: Roof/wall Insulation With Two Layers Of Prodex

    Recommended Prodex type: 48 Inch, Fast Action, 10M, 72 Inch, White, Rustic

    • Use double-sided tape to keep the insulation in place.
    • Attach the insulation perpendicular to and over the frames.
    • Use reflective tape to bind seams.
    • Take advantage of 10M or Prodex Fast Actions adhesive line if you want to avoid the taping process.
    • Fix your sheeting.
    • Screw the insulation to the underside of the purlins with wide-head screws every 3-4 feet.
    • Run the insulation perpendicular to the purlins a 72 inch or 48-inch-wide roll will work regardless of the width between your purlins.

    Insulation: Foam It Or Fiberglass It

    Pole Building Insulation installed at the Bottom of the ...

    I enjoy Hansen Pole Buildings Designers who really like to sink their teeth into a subject.

    This morning Rick asks me, Have you ever done a cost comparison on spray foam roof insulation vs the costs of condensation barrier, ceiling load trusses, joists, drywall ceiling and blown in insulation?

    The entire question was brought about, as Rick really gets his clients to think about how they will be using their buildings.

    In order to do a comparison, I just plucked from the air a 40×60 building, double trusses every 12 with a 4/12 roof slope and 12 overhangs. Fairly common, pretty standard.

    So, what needs to be done in order to spray foam a pole building?

    For starters, keep in mind spray foam insulation cannot be left exposed, it has to be covered with inflammable material like gypsum wallboard. Gypsum Wallboard is not as flexible as steel, so it has deflection criteria which mean upsizing the roof purlins from 2×6 to 2×8, or changing the column spacing to 10 on center. In the end, when I priced it out the change to 10 o.c. was less costly, adding only about $900.

    In either case, the truss loading will need to be increased to support the extra weight of the system the top chord loading for spray foam or the bottom chord to create the dead attic space. Statistically pretty much a wash in costs.

    Due to the run of the roof, the spray version is going to take a little more drywall call it $50

    Total added costs for spray foam = $14,810

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    What Is The Recommended Pole Barn Spray Foam Thickness

    Pole barn spray foam thickness really depends on which material is being used.

    We usually recommend open cell spray foam to be 6- to 10-inches on a roof deck or ceiling and 3-inches in the walls.

    Closed cell spray foam should 4- to 5-inches on the ceiling or roof deck and 2- to 3-inches in the walls.

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    Best Way To Insulate An Existing Pole Barn That Has Metal Siding And No Wrb

    I have read many versions of this question on your site, and at this point I am looking for the most current responses and solutions to this age old problem. I am well aware of the inherent pitfalls associated with pole buildings but it is what i have and i am hoping to make the best of it. I reside in Central Oregon and I am planning on making a workshop within a 30×50 pole barn. The shop will be approximately 20×30 and i plan on heating it during the winter. It has metal siding mounted on 2×6 horizontal girts. The girts are mounted on the exterior of 6×6 poles which are spaced 10 apart. There is no sheeting or weather barrier under the siding. I realize removing the siding and starting over would be ideal, but that is no an option. I do plan on framing interior walls to hang either OSB or drywall on the interior.

    What are my best options to insulate my walls?


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    How Is Spray Foam Pole Barn Insulation Installed

    Before a pole barn can be insulated, any items in the building need to be moved to the middle of the structure before spray foam pole barn insulation can be installed.

    Once the installation crew has ensured everything is out of the way, they will tape plastic over the windows and doors.

    Next, they suit up and start spraying the walls and the ceiling. When finished the crew cleans up and does a final walkthrough with the owner before collecting the final payment.

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    Drywall Or Foam Board

    What is the Best Way to Insulate a Pole Barn?

    You can consider your pole building insulated with the addition of the building wrap — but take it to the next level if desired by adding drywall or foam board. Again, the application of either material typically is horizontal instead of vertical. Screw the drywall or foam board directly to the horizontal studs. Bear in mind that the walls on pole buildings may not be as perfect or even as straight as other buildings, and the drywall joints may not come together in some places like you would normally expect. But pole buildings are functional at the expense of appearance. You still can texture and paint, but you’ll never get the finished look in most homes.

    Writer Bio

    Specializing in hardwood furniture, trim carpentry, cabinets, home improvement and architectural millwork, Wade Shaddy has worked in homebuilding since 1972. Shaddy has also worked as a newspaper reporter and writer, and as a contributing writer for Bicycling Magazine. Shaddy began publishing in various magazines in 1992, and published a novel, Dark Canyon, in 2008.

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    Prevent Condensation Before It Occurs

    Condensation is not a natural force thats beyond your control. Its a matter of science, and understanding what factors are causing excessive humidity within your structure.

    These factors can be influenced before the construction process begins, and some can be altered once the building is in place. Its a balancing act, and you will likely cheat the system using methods like insulation and membranes like DripStop.

    Whatever you do, for the well-being of whats inside your structure, be careful not to underestimate the corrosive powers of condensation. Water is the stuff of life, but left to its own devices, it can also be the stuff of drained bank accounts. Treat any condensation problems with the respect it deserves.

    Build a Wick Post-Frame Buildingand Get 50% off DripStop Moisture Protection

    How Do You Insulate A Pole Barn Roof

    How to Insulate a Pole Barn: 5 Tips to Help You Do It Right

  • Determine what your needs are.
  • Animal confinement buildings often don’t need wall insulation.
  • Consider DripStop condensation control.
  • Use an air/moisture barrier layer.
  • Address proper ventilation.
  • . In this way, should I insulate my pole barn?

    Insulating A Pole BarnNumerous types, R values, and product quality. Using the right installation is incredibly important. If you have the money, professionally sprayed on foam insulation is the absolute best option but is very expensive. This type of insulation should be covered since it is very flammable.

    Beside above, can you spray foam a pole barn? The quick answer is no. Open cell spray foam allows water to move right through it. This is great if for some reason your pole barn springs a leak. Closed cell spray foam won’t allow the water to pass through it, but it won’t retain it either.

    Subsequently, question is, what kind of insulation do you use for a pole barn?

    Blown in foam insulation is the most effective way to insulate a pole barn. It seals air gaps during the expansion process. Blown in insulation is the most expensive type. Loose fill is less expensive than blown foam.

    How much does it cost to insulate a pole barn?

    The projected cost to insulate a pole barn varies between $8,000 and $20,000 depending on the size of the structure and the area that needs to be insulated.

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