Metal buildings don’t offer much in terms of insulation. Plus, given the seasonal fluctuations we experience year round, it’s only natural to want to make your metal structure habitable – especially if you plan to use the building during extreme weather conditions.
Flagship Metal Structures specializes in the construction of various structures using pre-engineered metal. The firm is also happy to clue you in on how to insulate your building. To this end, here are some tips to help you protect an existing metal building:
1. Initial Assessment
Start by assessing the current insulation of your metal building. If it’s already insulated, determine whether it needs to be replaced or if you can add to it. Generally, old or damaged insulation requires replacement. If you’re unsure, rope in a professional to get a more informed opinion.
2. Have a Plan of Attack
After deciding that insulation is necessary, develop a plan of action. This can help you avoid potential problems later and makes the installation process go smoothly. Typically, your plan may include the following aspects:
- Determining the R-value you need after choosing your preferred insulation material.
- Deciding how you’ll fasten the insulation to the metal surface.
- Making a budget and sticking to it.
- Setting aside a day for installation and preparing accordingly.
3. Choose the Right Insulation
Various insulation options are available on the market. As such, you’ll need to select one that will work best for your building and budget. Some of the most popular insulation materials include fiberglass, cellulose, and spray foam.
Do your homework to find the ideal material. This may entail checking out other metal buildings in your area to see what type of insulation they’re using or reading online reviews to establish the ideal R-value for your type of structure.
4. Measure the Area You Need to Cover
After selecting an insulation material, calculate how much you’ll need to cover the walls, floor, and ceiling. For the walls, measure the height and width of each wall and multiply those numbers to get the square footage.
Then, measure the thickness of the wall and multiply that figure by the square footage to get the cubic footage. Adopt the same approach for the floor and ceiling, but also measure the length and width of the building to get the square footage.
After that, calculate how much insulation you’ll need to purchase. Doing so ensures you have enough to complete the job without running out. Most insulation is sold in rolls or bags. The package will list the amount you’ll need.
5. Prepare the Area
Remove the existing sheathing or insulation, if necessary. While at it, clean the area to remove dirt, dust, or debris. This will help the new insulation stick.
6. Apply the Insulation
You can now proceed to apply the insulation. Ensure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to avoid damaging the insulation material.
For walls, start at the bottom and work your way up. Apply pressure to the insulation so that it sticks to the wall. Do not leave gaps or spaces, as this will reduce the effectiveness of the insulation. Also, insulate around the wall outlets, switches, and other openings.
While insulating the ceiling, ensure the material fits snugly between the joists. That way, you can avoid leaving gaps or spaces. Also, ensure the insulation doesn’t touch wiring, as this could be a fire hazard.
Again, the process may vary slightly depending on your insulation material. Case in point, if you’re using closed-cell spray foam, you’ll need to apply at least a two-inch layer to your walls and ceiling. Also, remember to use the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), such as gloves, goggles, and a respirator, to avoid coming into direct contact with the insulation material.
As for the floor, install foam boards or batt insulation between the floor joists. You may also use spray foam to insulate the underside of the floor, but this may be challenging to do yourself.
Install the insulation directly to the metal surface if you’re insulating an unfinished metal building. However, if the building is complete, you’ll need to install furring strips before attaching the insulation.
7. Seal the Area
After applying the insulation, seal all gaps and spaces. Use weatherproof caulk for the exterior and fiberglass mesh tape for the interior. This helps improve the energy efficiency of your building.
It might also help to install a vapor barrier to prevent moisture from damaging the insulation material and, as a result, the building. In that case, a sheet of 6-mil polyethylene will suffice. Staple it to the furring strips or underside of the floor joists.
Lastly, take a moment to congratulate yourself on a job well done. Insulating your metal building makes it more comfortable to use and improves energy efficiency. Plus, it can help prevent moisture and condensation issues. And now that you’re in the know, why not get right to it?