Keep the Cold Out of Your Metal Barn with the Right Insulation

A metal barn building is one of the best additions you can make to your home or business property. Obviously a steel barn has immediate agricultural uses, like keeping horses or livestock, housing crops and feed, or sheltering tractors and other farm equipment. These structures can be used in other ways too, including as garages, workshops, office spaces, and detached storage for general purposes. Steel buildings are durable, economical, low-maintenance, and versatile in their many applications.

How Does Insulation Work?

If you’re just planning to use your metal barn for outdoor storage, it may be tempting to try and save a little money by skipping the insulation. A popular misconception is that insulation isn’t really necessary for metal structures. While it is true that traditional insulation isn’t essential for maintaining structural integrity, a steel building still does benefit from having some type of insulation. Having the right insulation in place helps prevent moisture from infiltrating, and it also helps prevent condensation from collecting inside. For this reason, you should strongly consider having a vapor barrier installed on your metal barn at a minimum.

The other real benefit of insulation is its ability to help stabilize and maintain a structure’s interior temperature. Since metal is such a good conductor of heat, an uninsulated metal barn can get quite hot in the summer, and pretty chilly in the winter. Adding insulation with a sufficient R-value can help mitigate the rate of heat transfer, keeping your barn more comfortable in the face of outdoor temperature extremes. And depending on how you plan to use your barn, you may also want to consider the sound-buffering value of adding insulation to help limit noise pollution, especially if you’ll be operating any loud machinery.

What’s the Deal with R-Value?

R-value is simply a measurement of how well certain building insulation materials can resist heat transfer. Generally speaking, the higher the R-value, the better the insulation performs in terms of regulating temperature. If you plan to use a barn as heated space for residential or business purposes, it’s a good idea to add enough insulation to meet the R-values recommended by the U.S. Department of Energy for your regional climate zone.

How Much Insulation Do You Need for a Metal Barn?

How much insulation you need for a metal barn really depends on how you intend to use it. For example, Purdue University recommends the following minimum insulation R-values for livestock structures located in IECC climate zones 4 and 5:

  • Open-front buildings Wall insulation not required; minimum ceiling insulation R-value of 4
  • Enclosed, unheated, naturally-ventilated buildings Wall and ceiling insulation R-values of at least 13
  • Heated buildings Wall insulation R-value of at least 13; ceiling insulation R-value of at least 20

Again, these recommended R-values are specific to a livestock barn, horse barn, or other animal shelter that’s located in the Midwest. If you’re just planning to use your barn for general storage purposes, then all you may need for insulation is a good single-bubble or double-bubble vapor barrier.

Insulation Types that Metal Barn Central Can Install for Your New Barn or Farm Building

Regardless of how you want to use your custom barn, it’s a good idea to include some sort of insulation in your building plan. You should consider having some sort of moisture-and-condensation-preventive material in place, and it’s also good to have insulation with enough R-value to help keep out the winter chill. Here are the insulation options that we can install with your custom steel barn when you order from Metal Barn Central:

  • Single Bubble Insulation The single bubble insulation we offer is our most economical option, and comes with an R-value of 4. Single bubble insulation won’t do much to affect the heat or cold; it’s a metal-wrapped vapor barrier that’s designed to prevent moisture infiltration and interior “sweating” from condensation.
  • Double Bubble Insulation Our double bubble insulation includes a second layer of wrapped air bubbles, and comes with an R-value of 8. This insulation is a very effective vapor barrier, and it does offer a moderate amount of thermal performance as well.
  • Prodex Total Insulation Prodex is not a bubble wrap, but rather is a reflective insulation with an equivalent R-value of 16. Prodex eliminates moisture and condensation issues, and it also works well in preventing 97% of radiant heat transfer. Of the insulation types that we install with our steel structures, Prodex provides the best insulation performance.
  • You Can Also Choose to Completely Finish Your Metal Barn Building on Your Own

    Many of our customers also elect to put in more insulation themselves and completely finish their metal structures to create a fully climate-controlled environment for residential, commercial, or other purposes. If you want to add some more insulation, you could always consider options including traditional rolled insulation, spray foam, insulated panels, or even blown loose-fill insulation for maximum thermal protection.

    Let Metal Barn Central Help You Get the Metal Building You Need!

    If you need any kind of barn, farm building or other sturdy steel structure for any variety of purposes, you can trust the team of professionals at Metal Barn Central to help you get your perfect building solution. We partner with only the best manufacturers, and we serve nearly the entire continental United States! Plus, we INCLUDE delivery and installation of your custom metal building with purchase! Reach out to us online, or give us a call today at (980) 321-9898, and let’s get started!